April 15, 2013

Technicolor offers quality performance for SKY's Playhouse Presents

Technicolor completed audio mixing and digital intermediate work for three strands of 2013 SKY Arts Playhouse

Technicolor completed audio mixing and digital intermediate work for three strands of 2013 SKY Arts Playhouse - ‘Hey Diddly Dee’ and ‘Cargese’, (by Sprout Pictures), and Mr. Understood (by Eleven Films)

Technicolor’s credits include Lead Colourist Paul Ensby, Online Editor Simon Giblin (Hey Diddly Dee), Online Editor Richard Cradick (Mr. Understood, Cargese) and Sound Mixer Richard Straker. Technicolor Producer Emma Hulme lead the team in one of the most exciting and involving projects brought to Technicolor Soho this year. 

Mr. Understood – TX 16th May

 Co-created by Kate Hardie and Grayson Perry, written and directed by Kate Hardie, Mr Understood is a deeply personal and comic drama following a young transvestite, Gary, as he battles with self-doubt. Gary has decided to emerge from years of isolation by attending a weekend convention for transvestites. An encounter with another older transvestite helps Gary to explore questions of self-acceptance and happiness.

Paul Ensby commented: “Shot on Arri Alexa and graded on Autodesk Lustre, this one-off comedy drama has a light, warm feel throughout. Exterior day scenes were the most challenging due to the nature of the English weather, and in particular the sunshine levels changing throughout the shoot. Once inside and in the more controlled conditions, we tried to keep a nice light, making the use of the mixed colour lighting whenever available. The flesh tones were closely scrutinised throughout to keep some form of realism to the main characters. We had to carefully control the flashing images and lights during a ‘disco’ towards the end of the piece to create a creative and technically approved balance for the scene. Throughout the process, I would add that Kate Hardie and her crew were a joy to work with”

On the sound front, the episode made use of a narrative device centred on creating an inner voice for one of the characters. Dialogue for these sequences was recorded separately using a close microphone technique and coupled with a specific EQ and reverb in post. Reverse reverb was also used in the lead up to the delivery of each line of the internal monologue to create a surreal effect.

Explaining how these sequences were created, Richard Straker, said: “The episode is quite conceptual and there are moments where the audience goes “inside” the characters minds. We used the sound design to enhance this, filtering all the high frequencies of the external sound down to focus on the dialogue. We differentiated the inner voices from the real ones by using clip mics for the internal monologue; this gives a close sound with minimal room acoustic on it. External dialogue was recorded using the boom mic, which offers a more natural sound quality.

On her experience working with the team, Katie said: 'I loved my time at Technicolor. Everyone was both utterly practical and hugely creative! Going out of their way to understand the film we were making and pulling out the stops to add their ideas to it.”

Cargese – TX 30th May

Written by Simon Stephens. Directed by Matt Smith, Simon and Matt joined forces to create a unique piece of poetic realism which mines the tragic seam of adolescent love and loss. Starring Craig Roberts, Joe Cole and Avigail Tlalim.

Paul Ensby commented on the grade work: “A visually stimulating piece, ‘Cargese’ has many interesting looks throughout. For the exterior day scenes, the natural glow from the snow gave these scenes a boost which we helped by playing with the costume colour saturation within the scene to pop them out. As one of the characters appears as deceased, for these moments the flesh tones were de-saturated to whiten up the skin colour against the other cast members’.”

“Exterior night scenes were kept rich and dark with some subtle use of vignettes to focus the eye into the characters when required.  For the interior house at night, a warm cast was the order without ever feeling like a colour wash was applied and in one location we pushed the sodium yellow/green lighting to emulate streetlight coming through the windows which worked very well indeed”

Richard Straker on the sound front said, “It was important that the background atmospheres weren't too obtrusive but provided a bleak backdrop to the superb performances from the cast. Matt was very experimental in his approach to the sound mix, often wanting to strip away sound completely during key points in the story and the challenge was to make sure this technique wasn't overused, becoming unsettling for the viewer. This was finely honed using a series of reviews where, watching in context it became clear which sequences worked well and which didn't. Everyone was very pleased with the end result which truly enhanced the film.”

Hey Diddly Dee TX 18th April

Hey Diddly Dee is a black comedy drama starring Kylie Minogue (Doctor Who), Peter Serafinowicz (Shaun of the Dead) and David Harewood (Homeland). The whodunit, centred around a group of actors putting on a play about Andy Warhol, is directed by actor Marc Warren (Hustle, Band of Brothers), who is making his directorial debut.

Technicolor colourist Paul Ensby said: ‘Working with Marc, we established a feel for the largely interior theatre setting, by contrasting harsh light with the warmth of the stage lighting. For the most part, details were heightened on stage while allowing the back stage area to fall away into darkness. To exaggerate some of the more surreal moments we introduced extra colour temperatures. For instance, a black cat that appears infrequently had its eyes whitened and the rest of the frame darkened to draw the viewer into the moment whenever it appeared.”

Sound design on the episode included a number of extended pop promo-styled music sequences. “In order to make these elements work successfully within the constraints of TV broadcast specifications, the Technicolor team used a combination of Pro Tools plug-ins. These included the Oxford Inflator to increase apparent loudness without loss of quality or audible reduction of dynamic range, as well as Waves compressors and limiters to create maximum impact.” said Technicolor’s Richard Straker.

Commenting on working with Technicolor on Hey Diddly Dee, Marc Warren said: “As a first time writer/director I had the great fortune of having Technicolor overseeing the post-production. I had no experience of the post-production process and every department was gracious with its time and expertise. It has been a steep learning curve, helped along by top industry professionals and we are all delighted with the results. I hope to be working with Technicolor again in the very near future!"


Technicolor Credits

Producer – Emma Hulme
Colourist - Paul Ensby
Online Editor - Simon Giblin, Richard Cradick
Final Mixer - Richard Straker