October 24, 2013

Technicolor Strikes Back

Left Bank Pictures calls in Technicolor support for Emmy® Award-nominated series Strike Back

Technicolor provided expert post production colour grading and extensive VFX for the latest instalment of Emmy® Award nominated Strike Back.

The big budget action series was graded by Technicolor’s Principal Colourist Paul Ensby (Politician’s Husband, The Challenger, The Mill), on Autodesk Lustre. Other Technicolor credits include the Design and VFX Lab team: Dolores McGinley (Shetland, Black Mirror, Spies of Warsaw), Sion Penny (DCI Banks, Shetland, VEEP) , Simon Giblin (Agatha Christie: Poirot and Miss Marple, The Mill, Black Mirror) and Richard Cradick (Law & Order: UK, Playhouse Presents).

Strike Back is based on a novel of the same name written by ex-special forces soldier Chris Ryan. It follows a covert group of MI6 agents called Section 20 that undertakes daring missions across the globe.

On working on the project, Paul said: “Each episode in season four is set in a different part of the world, which meant that a distinct atmosphere and feel for each needed to be created through the colour grade. Filming mainly took place in South Africa and Hungary, but these countries stood in for a number of different locations. The brief was to use colour and tone to create a sense of place so the viewer could quickly differentiate between each setting. We needed to maintain the show’s signature style, which emphasises a strong colour palette and vivid tones but also to offer a visual short-hand to the location.”

The first episode takes place largely in Columbia, so Ensby gave scenes a distinct tobacco effect by bathing the highlights in a yellow hue. The second is set in Beirut and while colour saturation remains high, the grade offered the episode a more natural look. As the action in subsequent episodes shifts to Eastern Europe, a cooler tone was combined with lush, rich hues for interior shots and night scenes.

“Strike Back is always great fun to work on, it offers plenty of explosive action scenes and the series’ trademark fireballs are a gift to a Colourist! That said, the greatest challenge we faced was in maintaining a consistent tone throughout, especially since the show often used different directors and directors of photography for each episode. We also needed to take in to account that scenes were shot in different locations and during various times of day,” concluded Ensby.  

Strike Back, a co-production between Sky and Cinemax/HBO produced by Left Bank Pictures returns to UK screens on Monday 28th October.  


Technicolor Credits

Senior Colourist: Paul Ensby
VFX: Dolores McGinley, Sion Penny, Simon Giblin, Richard Cradick


Watch Strike Back’s Trailer