January 16, 2015

The Eichmann Show documents the first trial to be televised in history

The feature length episode of The Eichmann Show, showing on BBC 2 on the 20 January, is based on the story of Adolf Eichmann, a key architect of the Holocaust.

Starring Martin Freeman and Anthony LaPaglia, as a TV producer and Director, we see them navigate the debate surrounding whether Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem (1961) should be televised. Winning the permission of the court, cameras were placed behind special enclosures in the wall. The Eichmann Show follows the story of the team as they film and follow the trial over a four month period. The first trial in history to be televised, it was transmitted in the US, UK and Germany, providing shocking coverage of testimonies from survivors of the Holocaust.

The Broadcast team at Technicolor London delivered full sound and picture post. Jules Woods, Sound Mixer at Lexington Street described the project as incredibly rewarding; not only because of the important story it recounts, but also due to the challenge that sound presented in terms of the archive footage.

‘Some archive footage had audio that was unusable due to various technical issues, so several sections were re-recorded. I then used a range of ProTools plugins to treat the audio so it matched the tone and quality of the genuine archive material it was next to. The use of Archive audio from the original trial of Adolf Eichmann added to the complexity of the mix, but was vital in maintaining the raw and powerful nature of the harrowing testimonies given by the witnesses’.

Jules described the overall sound track as ‘ incredibly rich and detailed’, he went on to say that from the perspective of the audience the story is ‘experienced from several perspectives, both in terms of our physical location and in different time spaces. The many layers that come together to build the soundtrack had to constantly change depending on the location’. On location sound issues and additional lines meant that Martin Freeman came into the sound studios in Lexington Street to record extra ADR, Jules added that ‘ADR editor Simon Price and myself worked hard with Martin to ensure the ADR we captured matched his performance on set as best possible. Martin was performing with an American accent which added one extra element that we had to keep an ear out for good match’.

The Eichmann Show was graded on Baselight by Senior Colourist, Dan Coles. He worked closely with the DOP to ‘create an authentically period feel to the material (which was shot on ARRI Alexa) – making it feel like we were in Jerusalem in 1961’. Dan explained that the colour grading process undertaken included ‘gently de-saturating and slightly darkening, along with introducing a generally softer contrast to give it a much more filmic tone, we then added very subtle amounts of grain to add to the texture of the footage’. The mix of archive footage also meant that Dan had to carefully match it with new footage and described the final outcome as creating ‘a real sense of being in that era and witnessing the trial of Eichmann’ for audiences.

The Eichmann Show is part of the BBC’s commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau.