Nucoda Film Master creates gritty look for BBC one drama Public Enemies

London, UK, 2nd March – Image Systems has announced that its Nucoda Film Master grading and finishing system has been used by Bristol based post production facility Films at 59 Ltd to conform and grade upcoming BBC One drama Public Enemies. The 3 x 60 minute series created by multi-award-winning writer Tony Marchant was produced by Tiger Aspect Productions and aired in January 2012.

Shot on ARRI’s ALEXA digital camera the series was conformed and graded by Tony Osborne. He began the process by using Nucoda Film Master to create a ProRes 4:4:4 colour space QuickTime workflow. Osborne says, “The offline was completed on Avid Media Composer v5 DX. Once we received the Avid EDL we pointed the Nucoda Film Master to the ALEXA material on our nearline storage and completed the conform. The ease of integration between the Nucoda and the other systems makes the workflow very simple.  As well as the ALEXA, a couple of sequences were shot on a Canon 7D, which we also conformed in the Nucoda Film Master.”

Public Enemies explores the relationship between 28-year-old Eddie (Daniel Mays), recently released on life licence from prison after serving ten years, and his probation officer, Paula (Anna Friel), returning from suspension following a shocking crime committed by an offender under her supervision.

When it came to the grade, the look and feel that DoP Tony Miller and Director Dearbhla Walsh wanted to create was something that wasn’t too glossy or contrived. They wanted a very realistic look to reflect the gritty nature of the storyline. Osborne explains, “We went for a look that had a lot of warm tones like tan, beige and brown because it suited some of the grim locations. For example there’s a shopping centre that had a lot of browns, the look has fairly high contrast, there’s some very deep shadows and bright highlights but not to the point of being too stark; it’s more natural than that. If we saw anything that was a strong blue or green we tended to subdue it because we wanted to keep within the range of a restricted colour palette in those warm tans and beiges. There was one scene where Daniel Mays’ character talks to his sister in the street and the ALEXA really captures the warmness in the tones. They’re standing in front of a black garage door with the paint peeling and that looks really great but just off to one side was a bright almost luminescent green recycling bin so I used the Nucoda Film Master I-Keyer tool to pull out some green from that and tone it down so it didn’t dominate the scene.”

The series includes a lot of intense one-to-ones, which were generally played out as mid shots and close ups in an interview room, between the two main characters. Osborne adds, “It’s quite critical to see their eyes, we wanted them to be pin sharp and just occasionally the focus was slightly out so I used Nucoda Film Master to create mattes for their eyes adding a little bit of the system’s DVO sharpen tool and then tracking the matte onto their faces to keep the eyes sparkly and alive and to draw the audience in. The look and feel in the grade really adds to the drama of the piece.”