Behind the Post Production
Sonny Sheridan, ENVY Colourist
“The BBC Studios team gave me creative licence to really push the boundaries of the grade and really play around with the colours.
With Uncanny coming across from a podcast format, I really wanted to create an exciting, dynamic grade to immerse the audience with the stories being told. For the reconstruction sequences, I wanted to create quite an abstract look and this was achieved by using Baselight’s Diffuse tool. The effect diffuses the image, and then by changing the aspect and softening the picture as well, the picture looks streaky and combined with a dark colour palette makes the scene feel cold and harrowing. To offset this, I added colour into the highlights to represent the spirits and supernatural occurrences being discussed. The diffuse effect is very similar to what I used to do earlier in my career where I would smear Vaseline onto a glass frame which went into a telecine gate to create the streaky effect. With reconstructions, you don’t necessarily want to see everything and the more abstract the image, the more interesting the picture is.
The clients also wanted to try and create some movement in the shots using colour. We experimented with a few different effects, but we really liked the movement when making the colour highlights fade in and out, it really made it feel like there was someone else in the room. This movement combined with the score and the sound mix really puts you on edge when you’re watching, which is what you want with a horror programme.
For other flashback scenes, I applied a variety of subtle grain and texture effects to create a filmic look which transports the audience back to the time of the stories. I also played round with different film stocks to achieve the desired look, using it as a foundation before building up layers of grain, sizing, and softened edges within Baselight.
In contrast to these dark, eerie flashback sequences, the show is intercut with interviews taking place in a studio with Danny and for this I wanted to create a warm and safe environment by utilising warm colours rather than maintain the cool colours.”
Louise Owen, ENVY Online Editor
“Uncanny was such a fun project to work on. With podcasts traditionally a purely audio medium, it was a unique challenge to work with visuals which matched the podcasts mysterious tone, which comprised of interviews and dramatic reconstructions. The clients wanted to maintain the atmospheric look that had been created when shooting the dramatization sequences.
I completed the Online within Avid Symphony and utilised Boris FX’s Mocha Pro plugin which helped me with tracking and blurring out any personal information in shot. For the flashback sequences, I painted out any modern-day features to the scenery which gave the impression that we were being transported back to the time of the story. There were some parts of the show that the clients wanted blurred out, however, I was able to paint these objects out instead giving a much cleaner result which they were really pleased with. I also designed the episode title cards, establishing a style with the clients and then keeping that consistent across all 3 episodes.
During the series, there were audience calls to action, a chance for people watching to send in letters and comments on the show. This presented me a challenge of working to tight deadlines with the next episode transmitting the following day, making sure everything matched across the entire episodes. The BBC Studios team were amazing to work with and they knew exactly what they wanted which resulted in a fantastic series that we’re all really proud of.”
Rada Danilovic, ENVY Dubbing Mixer
“The final mix was split up between the studio interview and the dramatic reconstructions of the supernatural encounters out on location.
With the reconstructed sequences, I wanted to create a stylised mix which complimented the picture. There were a few jump scare moments, the clients and I had to pick and choose the right moments to use these scary sounds, otherwise the impact it has on the audience wouldn’t be as effective.
I applied some reverb and treatment to some sections of the audio to change the perspective of the story. For example, if the guest on the show said they heard a noise from another room, then I would perform some minor tweaks in the mix to reflect that and to make it feel more ghostly and mysterious.
The way the soundscape is created for podcast and for television varies slightly, with podcast sound, you have to build up the environment through sound as you cannot see what is happening. Whereas with television, you have the pictures to help drive the story but combined with the final mix, the end result creates a chilling feeling when you watch as an audience. The score was composed specifically for the show and contains a lot of dark drones which kept the tension growing throughout when you’re watching the programme.
The sound designer from the podcast, Charlie Brandon-King, came aboard to help with the mix – the two of us and the Producers collaborated really well when it came to ideas and creating the soundscape. The clients already had ideas for the mix but together we fine-tuned the audio by applying effects or cutting back on the sound to compliment the visuals.”
Nicola Whitehead, ENVY Business Development Manager
“Having been a fan of Danny’s Podcasts ever since the ‘Battersea Poltergeist’ I was ecstatic about our creatives working on Uncanny. I knew that the BBC Studios team would be in the safest of hands and the end results have been outstanding, I had to watch the show with all the lights on!”