With Britain and the world facing an unprecedented crisis and with social distancing sabotaging togetherness, it makes it really tricky for groups of people to get together and sing as a choir. This obviously didn’t stop Gareth Malone who is on a mission to bring the nation together through the power of music. He reached out to the country’s frontline workers, all of whom have a courageous story to tell. An uplifting experience, this has been with done with the best of what technology has to offer to create an online facsimile of the choir-singing experience. Produced by TwentyTwenty Television.
ENVY Online Editor – Luke Carter:
“The Choir: Signing For Britain is a beautiful show filled with sentiment & emotion. It was a real pleasure working with the talented team behind the production.
The majority of the programme was shot on a variety of different cameras and mobile devices in order to adhere to the social distancing guidelines in place at the time. This meant that Gareth Malone & all the contributors had to setup their interviews themselves; which in turn meant small inconsistences were apparent in shots across the board. In order to give the interviews a more professional look we had to finesse the shots by painting out digital dropout, sharpening footage using Boris FX and cleaning up digital noise on low light footage using Neat Video. I also used Neat Video to reduce other digital imperfections like aliasing and pulsing light sources.
One of the key challenges for us was to ensure that all IVs were running at 25fps. With a project like this, were there are so many different devices being used by such a large number of operators it’s always likely that some of the frame rates won’t match – in this case some of the contributors IVs were not recorded in 25fps. To fix this we used Alchemist File software which seamlessly converts one frame rate to another, enabling us to change all IVs to the desired 25fps.
ENVY Colourist – Graeme Hayes:
“One of the effects of Gareth & the other contributors having to set up & shoot their own footage was that the imagery was largely influenced by the lighting, camera type and shooting environment available to each person– consequently meaning each clip was visibly different to the next.
To provide a consistent finish and seamlessly bed the footage together I performed hue shifts & colour tweaks alongside the use of custom shapes and windows; while being able to match colours, tones and styles I was also able to preserve the lockdown aesthetic by lightening up and darkening certain areas. On a similar note I used shapes and gradients in conjunction with the D-Key to isolate and lift skin tones for a more refined & polished finish.
In some circumstances contributors had captured their footage in a low light environment meaning there were large amounts of noise and grain present in their recordings. I used the D-Noise plugin to remove the unwanted noise and graininess without smearing the images, while making sure to mask the compression artefacts.
ENVY Head of Edit Support – Ed Stevens:
From the early pre-production zoom meetings I had with the client, my goal was to ensure that the best possible technical quality was achieved, despite the restrictions that were in place due to the Covid 19 lockdown.
UGC footage was recorded using the Mavis camera app, ensuring a higher data rate and 25 fps frame rate. Rig cameras were streamed to an EVS system, creating Avid friendly MXF media. The result was optimum picture quality while also allowing for efficient ingest which was essential due to the fast turnaround of production.
Watch ‘The Choir: Singing for Britain’ Tuesdays at 9pm on BBC Two.
Online Editor: Luke Carter
Colourist: Graeme Hayes
Post Producers: Kate George & Hayley Dexter
Want to stay in the loop? Subscribe to our newsletter here