Technicolor post production for BBC's Shetland murder mysteries

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March 18, 2014
Technicolor has provided a host of expert services to the second series of Shetland, a dark, atmospheric murder mystery based on the novels by best-selling crime writer Ann Cleeves.
 BBC’s Shetland murder mysteries

 

Technicolor has provided a host of expert services to the second series of Shetland, a dark, atmospheric murder mystery based on the novels by best-selling crime writer Ann Cleeves. Technicolor completed the colour grading, online editing and VFX for the show that follows DI Jimmy Perez, played by Douglas Henshall (Doors Open, The Secret of Crickley Hall, The Kidnap Diaries), a Shetland native, and his crime-solving sidekick PC Sandy Wilson, played by Steven Robertson (New Tricks, Being Human, Ripper Street).

 

The show captures the raw, rugged beauty of the island and singularity of its people. Technicolor Senior Colourist Dan Coles graded season two at Technicolor London, using Baselight.

 

The grade echoed the mood of the series,” says Coles. “We wanted to enhance the tension and add to the feeling of claustrophobia so we were bold with the look in some scenes. However, in others areas we went for a softer look, emphasising warmth and natural splendor. Generally we used contrast and cooler colours in the spectrum to create a rich image, along with grades and shapes to bring out subtle details. At times we muted colours but often left dominant colours in the frame – this gave us a sinister feel without risking making the scene bleak.

 

“The natural beauty of Shetland itself was enhanced in a variety of different ways – skies were generally deepened, sometimes we allowed the sea to glow faintly, and at other times it would have a deep black sinister feel introduced. This required very different grading techniques and was entirely dependent upon narrative content as to where they were used in the series.”

 

Technicolor also provided expertise on the visual effects. Dolores McGinley, senior designer, used Autodesk Flame to build, light and composite a scene in which an oil refinery was required for the shot.

 

One of the VFX requirements was to create a working oil terminal or refinery on the island. As timescales were challenging we had to come up with a simple yet effective solution that would allow us to build up the look and feel of a busy working environment throughout the scene. An establishing shot, both on the horizon and just as DI Jimmy Perez arrives by car at the gateway, were the key introduction shots in the scene,” says McGinley.

 

“We worked closely with the director and his vision to combine live footage and 2D stills - slowly building up this once empty existing backdrop into an industrial hub. The main challenge was to give a correct sense of perspective and depth whilst working within a very tight 2D environment.”

 

Technicolor’s Siôn Penny, who had previously worked on the series pilot, was the online editor on this second series.

 

Shetland is currently airing on the BBC One.

 

Technicolor Credits

Senior Colourist: Dan Coles

Senior Editor: Siôn Penny

Senior Designer: Dolores McGinley