London — Death Comes to Pemberley, written as a sequel to Jane Austen’s novel “Pride and Prejudice,” was entirely post produced at LipSync Post (http://www.lipsyncpost.co.uk) in London, with color grading and deliverables done on one of the facility’s three Quantel Pablo color correction and finishing systems by senior colorist Stuart Fyvie, who completed the grade on all three one-hour episodes in just nine days.
The series will air between Christmas and the New Year on BBC1 in the UK, with international distribution to follow in 2014.
Pemberley is co-production of BBC Drama Productions, Origin Pictures and Screen Yorkshire, and was directed by Daniel Percival (Waking the Dead, Strike Back, Hunted, Crossing the Lines). Set six years after “Pride and Prejudice” in 1803, the series combines classic British costume drama with a murder-mystery theme.
“This is proper top-end TV — high-end drama; the kind of thing the BBC does so brilliantly…. mini-films with feature film production values,” said Fyvie “It’s a logical extension of the kind of work LipSync does for movies — but just with not as much time available so you have to crack through the grade.
“I sat down on the Pablo with the director of photography Steve Lawes (Sherlock Holmes, Hunted, The Street, Skellig, Strike Back), initially to set up looks for certain scenes — ‘blocking’ the grade — daylight, afternoon, evening, day for night, etc., laying down broad strokes. We then went through a second pass to smooth it all out across all the scenes — it’s an iterative process. DPs love working with us at LipSync because they’re in charge, and whatever they want to achieve, we have the tools and experience to deliver it, all in a relaxed atmosphere that’s naturally conducive to the creative process.
“‘Pemberley was mostly shot on location in stately homes — Castle Howard, Harewood House, Chatsworth House — rich, ‘contrasty’ settings,” said DP Lawes. “Lighting those kind of spaces to any extent is not practical for a production of this size, so I modeled my approach on a technique favored by the Dutch Old Masters, using contained pools of light and taking advantage of bounced natural sunlight coming in through large windows. I used Arri Alexa cameras throughout, which are particularly good for low-light night scenes, often illuminated with just candlelight. I had a Sony OLED monitor on-set and used the same LUTs when we went into the grade at LipSync, so I knew exactly where we were starting from.
“When working with colorists, the most important thing to me is that they can get the results we want out of the system quickly and intuitively, and Stuart Fyvie and his Pablo certainly delivered this. Stuart also brought a welcome ‘fresh eye’ to the material and looked at it from a storytelling point of view; it’s not just about the color!”
“Pablo is perfect in attended sessions. What it also uniquely offers us is a great workflow; I can make subclips and replace shots, and I can edit on Pablo — it has really solid editing tools that I invariably need in grading sessions,” explained Fyvie. “Equally important, when you’ve finished the job on Pablo, it’s finished — clients can leave with their deliverables. With Pablo it will import and export in the background while you’re grading, saving further time. All this made it possible for us to grade the three episodes of Pemberley in just three days each.”