Cinematographer Si Bell and Director Anthony Byrne move crime drama series to a more cinematic look and feel
For four seasons, Thomas Shelby, his family and his gang — Peaky Blinders — have been captivating audiences around the world with this crime drama set in 1920s Birmingham, England in the aftermath of World War I. But the fifth season would mean a total change in how the series was to be shot, moving from Cooke S4/i spherical lenses (used since season three) to anamorphic with Cooke Optics' Anamorphic/i prime lenses as well as 4K for this season’s Netflix full-season distribution in the US, which became available on 4 October 2019 (UK distribution on BBC One began in early September with one episode per week).
One of the challenges for cinematographer Si Bell and director Anthony Byrne — both big fans of the series — was maintaining continuity with the four seasons that came before them, regardless of the new production changes.
“Anthony and I had wanted to do this series for a number of years, having watched all of it and always talking about it,” explained Bell. “When we got the gig, we both watched the entire series again and paid special attention to the things we loved, things we thought could be different and things we thought could be better. But we obviously had to keep continuity.”