DEFINITION June 2019

DRAMA | GOOD OMENS

The angel and demon were always filmed and lit to look heroic, and appear somehow heightened

IMAGES The show’s consistent good looks were achieved despite multiple locations and weather conditions

All sets, including the exteriors, had to be lit. Production occurred between September and December in the UK – which, as you can imagine, brought with it very variable weather – and from January to March in Cape Town. At one point, the enormous Soho street set had to be lit ‘night for day’ because it had become drenched in darkness at around 3.30pm, but the crew needed to continue shooting day scenes. “We used six-metre Hybrid Helium balloons – six in total – each controlled by its own crane, plus two more cranes each with two remote-controlled 18Kw HMIs. We also had four mobile 20ft by 20ft independently lit green screens on JCB Telehandlers for set extensions.” “The forest scenes were also lit with cranes, as was the big end sequence – no spoilers, we promise – which was filmed over eight days at an airbase. The interior sets all had dimmer controlled lighting, which often had to change in-shot,” explains Finney. From the clips we’ve seen, it’s clear that the character and character dynamics influence a lot of Finney’s visual decisions, not least because the two main characters are an angel and a demon, two of the strongest of archetypes. In one beautiful shot, we see the lighting literally creating a halo for the angel Aziraphale. “Each group of characters had a different look. The angel and demon were always filmed and lit to look heroic and, whilst mingling among mortals, always appear somehow heightened. The gang of kids that Adam hangs out with live a perfect life in a perfect village – it’s perfect because Adam is the Antichrist and he has special powers, although he doesn’t know that yet.” The rushes were graded on Da Vinci Resolve with DIT Rich Simpson (who we interview next issue). Different looks were applied to each period in the story, often

Good Omens debuts on Amazon Prime Video on 31 May and is being co-produced with the BBC, who will show the drama after its release on Amazon. Finney tells us that Amazon backed the production of the show creatively and wanted all involved to do their best work. “They were very supportive and appreciative of what we were doing, and gave Mackinnon and Gaiman the freedom to really go to town with translating the book to screen,” he says. Finney was about to board a plane when we last caught up with him. He’s an all work, no life kind of guy – his words, not ours! “You try and fit a bit of life in between jobs,” he concludes. “But as I have just finished another six-month-long shoot, straight after finishing Good Omens , it does get tricky. Whenever I finish a job, it doesn’t take me long before I’m itching to do something else.” GOOD OMENS WILL AIR ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO FROM 31 MAY, AND BE BROADCAST BY THE BBC AT A LATER DATE.

using a modified film emulation plug-in. For Finney, it was important that the rushes looked great to establish an early look that could inform the grade later. Simpson helped Finney to select the right look, and was able to export the selected looks and workflow to the South African DIT in Cape Town. “This formed the starting point of the online grade done at Molinare on Baselight, under the hugely capable hand of senior colourist Gareth Spensley.” “Spensley had a big influence over the appearance of the series. He did some fantastic work balancing all the different day exteriors and adding some real magic. He got the ambition of the show and was a great asset,” says Finney. Finney has worked on quite a number of complex and CGI-heavy television series and films, many with fantasy elements. “I love doing them. Good Omens was one of the biggest in terms of resource and sheer range of looks, but every job is different, and I will never stop learning and trying out new things.”

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