Organize Your Inbox and Never Waste Time on Email Again

Modern Family’s New Episode Takes Place on the Screen of a MacBook Pro

Here’s something you don’t hear every day: next week’s episode of ABC’s Modern Family will take place entirely on the screen of a MacBook Pro. The Verge writes:

In the Modern Family episode, we’re looking at the computer screen of Claire Dunphy (Julie Bowen) while she’s waiting at the airport. She’s had a disagreement with her daughter Haley (Sarah Hyland) and can’t reach her, and over the course of the episode Claire jumps across multiple Mac apps and video chats to talk to her family and track Haley down (apparently everyone in the Modern Family universe uses Apple products for convenient FaceTime and iMessage sessions).

The best part, tech-wise, is that the graphics have been entirely recreated manually for resolution needs, forcing the authors to cope with changes in the Yosemite betas.

“I was building the assets for Yosemite back when Yosemite was still in beta,” he said. While it helped ensure the episode wouldn’t feel dated when it finally aired, it also led to the unfortunate situation of Brown finishing up assets, only to have to tweak or swap things around when Apple updated the interface in a new build. “It was frustrating to be like, ‘Act one, totally locked,’ and then come in Monday and hear the FaceTime notification has changed.”

And Re/Code:

The trick was producing footage that would look good (and prove readable) on a giant living-room TV. That required the technical intervention of a post-production team, which worked for months to create a replica of Apple’s OS X “Yosemite” desktop operating system painstakingly updated with every revision to the software.

“Basically, what you’re seeing on screen is all hand-made,” said John Brown, the show’s motion graphics producer, who had previously worked on commercials for the Google+ social network that uses a similar narrative approach.

Modern Family isn’t new to Apple devices. In 2010, before the iPad’s release, the show featured an episode focused on the device and Phil (one of the characters) struggling to get one on launch day.