Post Magazine

November 2013

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much about supporting program makers. British TV has a sort of an authored approach — it's all about the voices of the people who make it. American network TV? Not so much. Cable is somewhere in the middle." POST: How is the show presented? SMITH: "It's a BBC half hour, which is 29 minutes. Zero commercial interruption!" POST: You shot the series a little differently than would be typical for TV? SMITH: "We shot on a movie schedule and not on a TV episodic schedule. It was more like a film schedule, which for me was more what I am used to anyway. We shot the whole thing. There was no reason to block it out really. It was a 40-day shoot — eight fiveday weeks, so we shot six half-hours in 40 days. It's a quite a high page count per day, especially for action, but we did it somehow." POST: Did the schedule dictate the camera choice? SMITH: "We shot it in a way we felt was right to shoot it.The series was predominantly shot on Arri Alexa. We used a lot of uncoated lenses. We shot the whole thing kind of wide open to give it a really narrow depth of field and to feel more filmic than TV. The production process was more like a film production process I would say." POST: Are you looking at footage on-set? SMITH: "We didn't have playback on-set because I tend to operate quite a lot anyway, so I am kind of in it in the moment, and I am not a massive believer of pouring over playback. I have a very fast and efficient editor, who was with me on-set, who was able to assemble stuff and show me stuff. Because we were shooting in the ProRes format, you could literally take the card out of the camera and get it into the Avid suite within minutes. So we could be shooting in the morning and at wrap, I could go to the edit suite and look at stuff we shot that morning." POST: When did the edit begin? SMITH: "We start the edit on Day 1. It's like a movie, where you are assembling the whole time and learning as you go along. I have a good relationship with my editor, where he can say, 'Look, you might want to go in and grab this if you've got the opportunity.' There are a few locations where we were at the location long enough that we could do pickups on the fly. That's the great thing about this show, because the turn around was so quick." POST: How many cameras did you shoot? SMITH: "We predominantly shot a singlecamera. I am not a massive fan of shooting two or three cameras because I think you end up compromising all of the shots. The camera was moving a lot as well, and I think the moment you have more than one camera, the camera movement immediately gets locked down and everyone gets so restricted. Unless you are doing a cross shooting set-up in a situation where you don't really care about the lighting, then that's fine. I just find that if people end up restricting themselves and try to grab two shots at a time, then you end up working half as fast than if you shot it with one camera and re-struck it and reset for a different angle. I think you have a more singular vision as well." POST: Who was the editor on The Wrong Mans? SMITH: "David Webb. He and I have done a few commercials together here in the UK. It's actually his first long-form TV thing. I wanted someone with a real style and a good sense of music, and someone who could work quickly and understood basic visual effects comp'ing, because there are a lot of bits and pieces in the show where I knew we were going to have some visual effects. So I wanted someone in the edit who could handle that. "David has a company in London called Final Cut, and they are a commercial editing facility, but he worked out of there. They supplied an Avid to the set, so we had an Avid on set, which David worked from. He was working with the camera department and the DITs to ingest the dailies and assemble the show. Once we finished production and were in post, we de-camped back to Final Cut's facility in central London. The offline edit was at Final Cut, and Molinare, who did all the final post on the show, was pretty much across the road, so I was running between the two buildings for a couple of months." POST: What were the VFX demands? SMITH: "I much prefer doing things incamera when possible. Most of the stuff for the show, I am very proud to say, is in-camera. There's a lot of weather clean up that we had to do in visual effects because in the opening sequence of the first episode, for example, we had to do a lot of snow matching. We were half way through the day and it started snowing, and we had to go back in visual effects and add snow to 20-odd shots, which was a really complicated process. Molinare, who did all of our post on the show, handled all of the visual effects. They are what I would call 'invisible' visual effects. There are a couple of moments where two characters have to jump over a gap between two buildings, and that was entirely done in visual effects, but most of the moments in the show are for real." POST: Tell us about the look you were going for? SMITH: "We had a very basic look up applied to all of the footage. Once we locked picture, we went through and graded everything. I didn't want it to look like a comedy. I wanted it to be dramatic. There are a lot of visual references in the show, without pushing it too far, but I wanted it to have that actionmovie feel. I was referencing Michael Mann, and a lot of the night stuff has got that teal and orange look to it. We worked closely with our colorist to create that look. I think a lot of comedy ends up looking bright and saturated. The whole production process was that we were not shooting a comedy. It just happens to have jokes in it, so let's make it visually a drama." POST: Did you use any original music? SMITH: "It's a huge amount of original score actually. There's over 90 minutes of original score in six half-hours. It was all composed by Kevin Sargent, who's a great British composer, who has composed for a lot of shows here. I gave him this impossible task of creating this big, punchy, action-thriller score on a very challenging budget. "There is some licensed music as well, and www.postmagazine.com Director Jim Field Smith at the US premier of The Wrong Mans in NYC. continued on page 46 Post • November 2013 15

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