October 26, 2017

Going Supernatural – and Super-retro – for Stranger Things 2

Creators of the hit Netflix show reteam with Technicolor and the award-winning artists who were instrumental in creating the signature 1980’s look and sound of season one.

  • Technicolor’s Skip Kimball developed his own color system to give the show a unique film look from the eighties.
  • The Emmy-award winning Technicolor Sound team ensured the 1980’s era sounds would play true across today’s various devices.
  • Technicolor VFX worked to “de-modernize” the show for its small town retro look and time period.
  • Stranger Things 2 was shot in Atlanta with dailies processed by colorist Chris Giuffrida at Technicolor Atlanta.
  • Technicolor Marketing Services previously created Netflix’s much talked about – and first ever – Super Bowl ad.

In a growing partnership, Netflix and Technicolor continue to champion up-and-coming storytellers like Matt and Ross Duffer, the creators of Stranger Things.

“A big reason we came back to Technicolor [for season two] is that these guys helped us find the show; they’re part of the original group that made it what it is,” said Ross Duffer. “It’s this unpolished thing and suddenly it comes out of [Technicolor] and it feels like magic.”

“It’s very satisfying,” added brother Matt. “You start to develop a language, with Skip, Brad, Joe, and Adam [the Technicolor team]. We’ve all found the voice of the show – it’s that language we developed with Technicolor especially. We’d be hard-pressed to leave.”

Technicolor colorist Skip Kimball, who completed the SDR and HDR grades, was focused on giving the show its unique 1980’s film look and feel, even developing his own color system to immolate film grain. “That’s very specific to only Skip and Technicolor – this technology,” explained Ross Duffer. “It blew us away. I remember holding up a still from E.T. [against one of ours] and thinking, ‘This guy is a genius.’ It’s been incredible working with Skip; he really is a magician working with these tools.”

Besides the look of the series, getting the sound right is also critical to the nostalgic appeal of Stranger Things 2. “We’re working on a compressed schedule, we’re under a lot of time pressure, but what [the Technicolor Sound team] has been able to accomplish is really incredible,” said Matt Duffer.

“There’s a lot more going on [and] the Duffer brothers wanted to make it bigger, badder, and better,” added Supervising Sound Editor Brad North, who led the sound work along with the Sound Mixing team of Adam Jenkins and Joe Barnett.

Jenkins concurred: “The biggest challenge has been outdoing season one! Everything has been amped up. Keeping things familiar and new at the same time is always a challenge. Everything was analog back then – the sound of walkie talkies, tube television sets – and there were no cell phones. We kept the sound true to the 1980s.”

Though there were no cell phones then, the series would have to play across them today. “Finding the sweet spot for optimal viewing both in large format home theaters and on [iPhones, iPads and other] personal devices was a consistent theme,” said Barnett. “Much credit goes to the [Duffer] brothers in raising the bar…for both sound and picture…to its highest standard possible.”

Technicolor VFX was also tasked on the second season of Stranger Things, with Senior Supervising VFX Artist Mark Intravartolo and VFX Artist Brian Ross handling various “de-modernizations” among more than 700 shots for the show.

Technicolor Pulse, a secure web-based platform, was used to deliver over two and a half million frames on the show. The product was utilized by client VFX production as well as Technicolor Marketing and DI.

Watch this exclusive Technicolor featurette on the spooky sights and sounds of Stranger Things 2.


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