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HomeNewsLipSync Provides Full Post Services for BBC’s Death Comes To Pemberley

LipSync Provides Full Post Services for BBC’s Death Comes To Pemberley


Death Comes To Pemberley
Death Comes To Pemberley
London-based LipSync Post recently provided grading, online editing, sound, VFX and titles for BBC One’s three-part drama Death Comes To Pemberley, based on PD James’ acclaimed sequel to the Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice. The series, produced by Origin Pictures will air Dec. 26-28 on BBC One.

The beautifully shot photography had to rely on a lot of natural light due to rigging restrictions in period locations and stately homes.

“Pemberley was mostly shot on location in stately homes – Castle Howard, Harewood House, Chatsworth House – rich, ‘contrasty’ settings,” said director of photography Steve Lawes, (Sherlock Holmes, Hunted, The Street, Skellig, Strike Back). “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.”

Color grading was carried out 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. Fyvie’s selective grading helped to enhance or shade parts of the image that would ordinarily have been lit on set.

“I sat down on the Pablo with the director of photography Steve Lawes 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,” explained Fyvie. “Pablo is a fine color correction system, and it’s 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. Equally importantly, when you’ve finished the job on Pablo, it’s finished – clients can leave with their deliverables.”

The drama also features flashbacks of a previous incident, remembered from several characters’ points of view. Fyvie added subtle nuances such as glows, highlights and desaturations that would help the audience know where they were in the story.

“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,” said Lawes. “Stuart also brought a welcome ‘fresh eye’ to the material and looked at it from a story-telling point of view. It’s not just about the color.”

For the sound mix, re-recording mixer Rob Hughes worked hard to bring a feeling of a working home to Pemberley, with details such as distantly heard servants and passing conversations. A lot of the foley tracks were recorded on location, augmented by recordings shot in a 15th century music shop in Surrey that had just the right amount of creak to the floor.

The VFX work also needed to maintain the reality of a period production. Key shots included the compositing of a period cottage into an ideal riverside location, complete with chimney and smoke, and bringing exterior shots of Pemberley to life by adding the glow from a single light source shining through windows at various angles.

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