3sixtymedia, ITV, 4th Floor, Orange Building, MediaCityUK, M50 2HE
0161 952 6000
We produced a broad range of effects, many invisible repairs and some major shot enhancements and builds that were critical to the story.
Although the story had a real supernatural element, the Visual Effects needed to feel part of the real world and not fantasy or too horror in anyway. We opted to use filmed elements as the basis of some effects sequences, rather than computer generated effects. Oozing blood and flames wrapping around characters were created using bespoke filmed elements.
The main task for the vfx team was to enhance the wintery feel of all the exterior locations which Neil in the Grade had established. Removing blossom from trees, adding frost underfoot and to rooftops, was a constant requirement throughout the three episodes. Extensive pixel tracking and rotoscoping where needed on many scenes where a ‘free’ camera was used. Subtle luminance keys were use to help create varying levels of frost cover in both rural and urban scenes. For instances were tree blossom was too extensive to remove, we chose to remove the trees entirely and recreate the background digitally.
The vfx team were also asked to make other major environmental enhancements. Some locations shot at daytime needed a nighttime look which we created as digital matte paintings based on the daytime photography. Some scenes were entirely created using our second unit plate photography, actors were then composited into the shot to complete the scene.
There were also standard ‘nip and tuck’ effects, for example: a key location was covered in scaffolding during parts of the shoot which had to be digitally removed. Drone camera footage of rural roads needed street lights adding to imply a location closer to a town. Many scenes required a rural Herefordshire backdrop adding to reinforce the story's location.
Tanvir Hanif | Visual Effects Supervisor | 3sixtymedia
We always like to begin our relationship with the production team as early as possible, to discuss the overall style of the film and any initial thoughts on how they would like it to look. On a technical level, we ensure the necessary media management is in place to protect data security based on the chosen camera and codecs used. Midwinter of the Spirit was shot on Alexa 2K. Although the offline took place in London using transcoded lower resolution proxies, it was important to maintain the grade in its original native 2K ProRes 4:4:4:4 format to allow maximum creative freedom.
At the end of the shoot I met up with Director of Photography Matt Gray, to experiment with various tones for key scenes. Some very helpful reference images were loaded into the Baselight, this was an opportunity to get a real feel of where he and Director Richard Clark were looking to go with this piece.
The most challenging requirement was to make the film look like it was set in the depths of rural winter, when it was actually filmed in the full bloom of spring. All foliage had to be dulled down to an evergreen / pine green hue. Individual flowers in some key shots had to be taken right down.
The film was given a separated atmosphere from the regular world to add to the supernatural narrative themes. This was achieved using a partial duotone effect to skew to the cooler part of the spectrum, which also added to the wintery feel. This was done by harnessing the blending of multiple layers within Baselight.
In addition, certain scenes were deliberately desaturated to suggest a dated location. A particularly important scene based in the hospital, which set up part of the narrative, was given a very dirty unpleasant look by combining yellow and greens.
The grade added dramatically to the overall tone and atmosphere of the film and took the viewer into an unsettled environment full of mystery.
Neil Parker | Senior Colourist | 3sixtymedia
The General brief was to create an empty, eerie, frozen soundtrack using spooky unrecognizable sound effects and atmospheres to match the visual landscape. A combination of horror genre specific sound design, a slightly old school feel to the more traditional locations and a beautiful musical score rounded it all off.
Before pre-mixing began, the dialogues were carefully edited and any summery birds were removed. A selection of weird breaths and spooky noises were recorded, bespoke uneasy stereo atmospheres were created by combining screams, whispers, animal noises and low frequency drones. The aim was to make scenes that would otherwise be quite normal seem slightly off and build a subconscious sense of unease.
A multitude of horror genre sounds, such as creaks, crows and whispers can be cliched but would be missed if omitted. It was a challenge to include them, combined with new sound design to create something fresh and different.
Sounds were established at certain events and then repeated throughout the series, attached to characters or as sequences unfolded. For example; Denzil Joy’s breaths, Rowenna Joy’s crows and Jane Watkins’ clocks.
The ‘old school’ feel was achieved in certain locations by using old phones, typewriters and cars. A lot of low wispy winds and rumbles were added to create a slight strangeness to otherwise everyday places.
There are several moments where the characters would appear withdrawn as they struggled with their experiences. This was enhanced with the use of sophisticated delays and reverberations. Enough to distort the reality of the situation but not enough to obscure the clarity of the dialogue.
Classic techniques such as high and low frequencies put the viewer on edge, whilst carefully managing the level of sound design to work alongside Edmund Butt’s wonderful musical score.
The audio was incredibly enjoyable to mix. We have created a wonderfully deep and detailed soundtrack and are very proud of the end results.
Tim Cockerill | Dubbing Mixer | 3sixtymedia
Senior Post Producer | BECCI BLOOD
Post Producer | LAURA ZERAATI
Bookings Co-ordinator | CHARLOTTE CRICK
Online Editor DAVE TILL
Colour Grade | NEIL PARKER
Sound Effects Editor | BEN SHERRATT
Dialogue Editor | PAUL HORSFALL
Dubbing Mixer TIM COCKERILL
Visual Effects Supervisor TANVIR HANIF
Media Management | 3SIXTYMEDIA
Publicity Artwork | PAUL SENIOR
Download the full case study here.