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With so much more creative freedom to explore the wider colour gamut, Howard reveals that the biggest temptation for him was to increase luminance levels and introduce more contrast. A documentary series like Planet Earth would need to be as faithful as possible to real life, so each shot would require meticulous care. Using DaVinci Resolve’s colour management toolset as well as its new HDR features, he needed to readjust how he approached grading to get things right. “Seeing more range means that you have a better perception of detail, it feels like pictures are more true to life without being 3D, edges are more defined and everything just feels sharper,” Howard tells. “For instance you could have a scene where there are differing highlight luminance levels such as clouds, reflective puddles with specular highlights. On an SDR display, it can be hard to distinguish between all those highlights particularly well, whereas with HDR you have these distinctive planes of highlights which makes the viewing experience closer to the human eye. Even on a cloudy day sometimes you would have light coming through the clouds, and on the SDR display you can’t see that light coming through and there’s little detail, whereas with HDR you suddenly see all of this extra information. I took advantage of the flexibility it gave me in post to more faithfully deliver and represent the world than ever before, and the producers on Planet Earth were very enthusiastic.” FILM MAKES A COMEBACK Together with HDR, one of the biggest changes evident in post-production this year was the return of the idea of using film as a viable medium – on which thanks to companies such as Blackmagic Design and Kodak, it seems the production industry is now truly coming around full circle. “It’s easy to forget that digital is not without its hidden costs,” begins Rip Hampton O’Neil. As the director of research and development at Paris based post-production company Film Factory, which has been working in professional film development and processing for more than 20 years, he has not been surprised by the recent trend that is seeing a rise in the use of film. “Of course, there are a few challenges we still have to face as film makes a resurgence, especially as fewer companies today actually know how to handle film,” O’Neil continues. “The knowledge of how to process and manipulate film is disappearing at an incredible rate. I’m getting DPs from production companies asking questions where it’s evident that they don’t know what film is because they are so used to digital. Luckily, as more and more film is used we’ll naturally see those skills return once again, we just need to support filmmakers as they learn.” “It’s really exciting to see that we’re finally coming back to the swing of the pendulum where film is becoming a true creative medium,” he adds. “Production companies are starting to realize that there are many hidden costs to digital. For instance, because the actual process of filming costs so little, cameras tend to run from morning until night, which incurs a huge cost in post-production. Because using film as a medium is still slightly more expensive, film production on the other hand tends to be more tightly controlled, which makes everything much more efficient. And, while it is still slightly more expensive to process, the falling price point of new technologies means that the cost is a rapidly diminishing issue for filmmakers.” KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 121 January 2017 | 39