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"The Ultimate CTU" is a featurette on the Season 8 DVD and Blu-ray Disc set about the conception and development of the new CTU New York sets.

Summary Edit

Howard Gordon explains that New York had always been considered as a location for 24, and after Season 6 they realised that Los Angeles had been picked on too many times for terrorist attacks. He says that they considered setting Season 7 in New York but decided that its storyline was more suited to Washington, D.C.. As Season 8 is about Jack preserving peace, they went for New York, also due to its links with 9/11.

Carlos Barbosa recalls that all he was told of the project was that it was set in New York, CTU would be revived, and there would be a peace treaty at the United Nations. He says the architecture and location were important to him, and he realised that placing CTU in close proximity to the UN on the tip of Roosevelt Island made sense. He compares the river to a medieval moat.

He shows photos of the real Roosevelt Island, with some abandoned buildings. He shows some photos that inspired the tunnel beneath the river, and then a schematic of the CTU building. He says he used the idea of a four by four grid in the architecture to imply control. He shows pieces of the ceiling, each with a small light in them. He mentions that everything was designed for efficiency, with no personal objects or art allowed.

Howard then explains 24 has always been about technology, and that the real counter terrorism unit in Washington claimed to have been inspired by the show's production design. Carlos explains he had 14 weeks from being hired to delivering the three sets as well as the locations. He says that Carlos Osorio was one of the first people on board, and Osorio explains that he and Barbosa are two of the only Colombians in the industry and so had already met. Phil Stone then explains that he was responsible for constructing all of the sets and making any modifications. He says they have about 125 people working on building the sets. He describes how Brian Hastings's office was held up by a structure made entirely of glass.

Carlos Osorio describes the challenge of maintaining the set once built, as damage occurs during filming. Phil says that after the explosion in episode 12, maintenance was easier as it was meant to look damaged. Howard explains the importance of the giant computer screens in selling the setting of New York. Barbosa explains that the screens were like windows to the outside world, and he deliberately made both the big screen and the tunnel 24 feet wide.

Howard explains that Carlos loves numbers and based a lot of design decisions on them. Olivier Benamou says he nicknamed the screen "Bertha" which caught on among the crew. He says he had about 10-12 elements on the giant screen at once, and it was always displayed live and not added in post.

Carlos Barbosa describes the color scheme of brown and orange, and the use of lights and glossy reflections. He says the colour brings warmth and balances the coldness of the tech. Howard Gordon says it's hard to reinvent a show in its eighth year. Phil Stone talks about the challenge of lighting when the camera uses 360 degrees of motion. Howard says that Carlos is always excited about sets on movies, and that his design choices influenced the story. Carlos then describes the first day of shooting, how the set was finished at the last second and he was impressed when it all came together.

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