Memphis Small Creative Businesses Contribute to “TED Talks Live” PBS Broadcast Specials Starting This Wed, March 30

Mar 28, 2016 | Cooper Young, Crosstown, Downtown, Headlines, Midtown

In just 2 days the hard work of Memphis small businesses K Brandon Bell Creative, Sarah Rossi Photography, and animator Dan Baker will be featured on WKNO-PBS’s broadcast of TED Talks Live: Science & Wonder.

The team worked together to creat the virtual sets for TED Talks Live, a first-of-its-kind series of events that took place from November 1-6, 2015 at NYC’s Town Hall Theater on Broadway. This is the second time that Bell has designed screens for a live TED event; the other was TED’s first-ever broadcast special, TED Talks Education which premiered on PBS in the Spring of 2013.

The six nights of TED Talks explored three topical themes: War & Peace, Education Revolution, and Science & Wonder. PBS (including WKNO) will broadcast these as individual thematic specials beginning this Wednesday March 30 with Science & Wonder. Tune in to see the hard work of these Memphis creatives supporting TED’s “Ideas Worth Spreading”.

The evenings featured speakers and performers such as Elvis Costello, Adam Driver, Anna Deavere Smith, Chris Anderson, Meshell Ndegeocello, Rufus & Martha Wainwright, Thomas Dolby, and others from NASA, Pixar, DARPA, MIT, Radiolab, Stanford and more.

The physical sets were created by NYC-based Seth Easter Design and consisted entirely of large LED screens which formed a full-view backdrop for the hosts and guests. These screens were filled with beautiful photography, video, and animations to create whole environments that wrapped the stage. Each of the three themes had its own “look”, and each of the speakers received digital treatments that worked conceptually with their talks.

Bell then spent two weeks working remotely with TED producers and set designer Easter to build a large bank of digital imagery for the show. Another Memphis local, Dan Baker, was instrumental as well in helping Bell with animations. The last week of October was spent in New York City with programmer Peter Acken, meticulously putting the content into a Pandora’s Box media server which was used to control the feeds to the screens. Once in the Town Hall theater on Saturday Oct 31, the schedule was nonstop, as rehearsals and adjustments filled the majority of the day, with daily evening performances beginning Sunday Nov 1 and running through the rest of the week.

Bell and Rossi, along with the rest of a small set design department, won an Emmy Award, an Art Directors Guild Award and an Addy Award for their hard work together on the Tony Awards in 2012. They share an office at 852 South Cooper.

Bell, who in 2011 returned from NYC to Memphis (where he received an MFA from the UofM), is a graphic designer by training and has done everything from designing printed materials and logos to creating video and animated graphics as well as building websites and more. He has recently worked with ESPN, Goldman Sachs, Stax, Memphis Music Hall of Fame and the Tony Awards, as well as creating visual effects for several video production companies here in Memphis.

A native of Corsica in Southern France, Rossi came to Memphis in 2012 as the former Director of Photography for Downtown Magazine in NYC, where she had also worked with wedding specialist Craig Paulson Photography. In addition to portraits and wedding photography, Rossi recently photographed all of the marketing visuals for AAF Memphis’ American Advertising Awards as well as the interiors and advertising materials for Folks Folly Prime Steak House and Humphrey’s Prime Cut Shoppe, for which she won three Addy Awards last year.

While Bell and Rossi do collaborate on some projects, their separate businesses under the same roof in Cooper Young allow flexibility for those looking solely for design work and content creation or specialized photography for weddings, family portraits or commercial applications. The two recently worked together to create the Relevant Roasters logo, packaging and website (, and launched new Web sites for DIY boutique Me & Mrs Jones (, interior designers GCD Interiors (, and the Young Avenue Deli (

For a more extensive look at their work, visit and