Prehistoric Planet
How do you grade a Dinosaur?

Apple TV

Prehistoric Planet is a ground-breaking collaboration between BBC Studios Natural History Unit and Apple TV +

Films at 59 has extensive experience in natural history programming making but this series was a departure from our usual approach to natural history grading explains Senior Colourist, Simon Bland.

The back-plates were filmed on location and the CGI creatures were cleverly incorporated by the talents at MPC but a new challenge was presented – how to balance the components to accurately present a prehistoric natural world?

We spent significant time balancing the textures of the CGI assets to sit comfortably within the specialist shot landscapes of the back plates, de-saturating the CGI to embed the hyper-real colours within the back plates. We added noise texture, camera shake and lens distortion, mainly to underwater or camera trap footage, to give a sense of the reality you would experience if you were out in the field filming this natural world. An ACES/EXR colour pipeline through Baselight, Flame and AE provided us the full colour spectrum and all the tools we needed to achieve the desired outcome.

Together with the Bristol based editorial team headed by Mike Gunton, Executive Producer, Jon Favreau, and his team based in LA were central to the look and we utilised Clearview Glow software, feeding HDR pictures from the Baselight to specifically setup iPad Pros, that gave Jon and the LA team live real-time view of the grades ensuring effective and responsive collaboration at this most critical time in the creative process.

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