February 08, 2018

Technicolor Develops The Look of Black Mirror

Technicolor London returns to the cult hit anthology series on Netflix to deliver another round of picture post-production uniquely graded for each episode.

  • Technicolor London provided picture post on all new Black Mirror episodes and also contributed cinematic-level VFX work. MPC also provided VFX work on Crocodile.
  • The team provided delivery in 4K and, for the first time, HDR; this required creating a bespoke workflow for the show.
  • Technicolor talent – including MPC’s Jean- Clément Soret and Mark Gethin, and Technicolor London senior colorist Dan Coles– brought a unique look to each episode.
  • The team also included DI Manager Alex Gascoigne who oversaw and managed the HDR workflow; Online Editor Simon Giblin; 2D Visual Effects by Nick Timms; and Producers Aileen McIntosh and Benjamin Stower.

Black Mirror – the dark, often surrealist anthology series by Netflix – has become a cult hit by tapping into the audience’s unease of the modern, technological world. New episodes for season four are among the most ambitious to date; matching this ambition meant assembling some of the finest talent from film and television, including directors Jodie Foster and John Hillcoat, Directors of Photography such as Lol Crawley, and the team at Technicolor London.

After working on seasons 2 and 3, Technicolor returned to provide picture post-production for all episodes of the new season, as well as VFX on the Black Museum episode. This was also the first season of Black Mirror to be delivered in High Dynamic Range (HDR), so the Technicolor team in London created a bespoke workflow for the show. As DI Manager (HDR and SDR) for all six episodes, Alex Gascoigne created and managed the workflow.

As in past seasons, showrunner and writer Charlie Brooker utilized a variety of storytelling genres – whether he was taking the viewer to a Star Trek-like universe, exploring the dark side of dating apps, or creating a noir-style chase film. Three Technicolor colorists worked on this new collection of episodes at the facility based in Soho, London: from the Technicolor family of brands, MPC’s Global Creative Director Jean- Clément Soret and US Creative Director Mark Gethin; and Technicolor Senior Colorist Dan Coles. Each brought a unique stylistic approach developed through their collective wide-ranging experience across theatrical, TV/episodic, and advertising. This diversity and depth of experience was a perfect fit for the series’ wide variety of stories and genres, and the unique cinematographic style brought to each episode.

Dan Coles, who worked on the episode “USS Callister,” explained the process: “We talked about lots of different looks and employed several different grading styles for the distinctly different setups within the [episode]. We also had to test these looks in both SDR and HDR to make sure they worked across both formats. It was an incredibly collaborative experience for me and I feel we really pushed some boundaries.”