Set during the explosion of the sixties Mersey Beat music scene, ‘CILLA’ unveils the sensational story of the teenage typist who was transformed into the chart-topping superstar CILLA BLACK!
Technicolor provided a host of expert services for the long awaited three part biopic – Cilla – picture post production, VFX support and online deliverables.
The Grading Process
Colour grade was carried out on Baselight by Dan Coles, senior colourist at Technicolor Soho. He commented “Myself and DOP Martin Fuhrer got together to discuss the look of “Cilla” at the camera testing stage prior to the shoot, where we discussed the colour palette and visual goals of the production. Martin was interested in the work of the stills photographer John Bulmer as a visual reference.”
In 1965, Bulmer first photographed the north of England in colour, for the Sunday Times magazine. [n 2] Colour photography was "a medium in which Bulmer was the British pioneer”. Using colour for the north of England was Bulmer's idea, as was the choice of winter or wet weather, when colour film was yet harder to use.
Dan continued. “We liked how the colours were seemingly muted and yet saturated at the same time. Strong reds blues and greens stand out in otherwise fairly muted frames which give them a vintage feel. We also discussed the types of film stocks that created these images, the lenses and their imperfections, and how all of these contributed to the overall look and feel of the reference images.”
Dan was then able to spend some time experimenting with the actual Alexa footage prior to the grade days, so when it came to the grade he was able to present some ideas and looks to Martin, which we then showed to (Director) Paul Whittington.
“In order to achieve the look we muted some colours and allowed other more individual and primary colours to be vibrant, subtle blues and greens were used in the shadow areas. We added diffusion to highlights to mimic more of a ‘film look’, and we added a tiny amount of grain to add texture. We used a nice level of contrast to create more of a vintage print feel.Secondary colour correction was used on occasion such as to accentuate the colour of Cilla’s hair, and grads and vignettes were used to add depth and detail to the image. We all felt that we had achieved a genuinely period feel that was quite natural, subtle and believable, and not overstated in any way” said Dan.
VFX shots, conform, and online deliverables
Technicolor was also given the opportunity to work on a few VFX shots within the show, alongside 360 Media in Manchester.
Using Autodesk’s Flame, Head of Technicolor’s Design Lab Dolores McGinley worked closely with Paul (Whittington) to achieve a few key scenes within the show. “In Episode 2 there is a dramatic upward panoramicshot where we see Cilla and Brian on a rooftop, which reveals Liverpool in all its 60’s glory. In Episode 3 we created a vast 1960’s London skyline. Builds were created by combining old and new photographs taken using the same perspective where possible. There was also a huge amount of care put into ensuring we were showcasing an accurate 1960’s vision of Liverpool and London.”
Conform work and online deliverables were carried out on Avid DS by Technicolor Soho Senior Editor Siôn Penny.As well as the doing the titling and adding captions on all three episodes,time and care was given to removing any modern items to ensure the episodes were as authentic to the period as possible – whether that was painting out road markings, making modern lamp posts black, altering the colour of some paint work on the outside of buildings and removing aerials and satellite dishes.
Cilla was Technicolor’s first drama to be delivered as DPP files for broadcast and airson ITV at 9pm Monday 15th September.
Senior Colourist: Dan Coles
Senior Editor: Siôn Penny
VFX: Dolores McGinley
Conform and Online Deliverables – Siôn Penny
Producer – Aileen McIntosh
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