DEFINITION July 2022 - Newsletter


Production Fact File

GENRE Series creator David Jenkins pitched the show as an ‘historical pirate rom-com’

CAST The younger Stede Bonnet is performed by Rhys Darby’s own son, Theo

SCHEDULE Filming took place between June and September 2021

make the sky a little darker, vignette the sun some more, bring a moon in and put it over the left-hand corner of the wall?’ You’re editing on multiple screens at the same time. Once it’s done and looks great, it has to be played at 24 or 48fps. That was definitely a challenge.” As for the missing pieces of the typical puzzle, Resolve was run on custom-built computers, and 14 Nvidia A6000 graphics cards were needed to drive the NEP Sweetwater wall itself. But yet another piece of hardware was relied upon for efficiency and reliability. “We couldn’t have any downtime on set, but we had a backup, which was a

“Access is difficult, you’re swinging around in the waves, weather is harsh and the sun is going down. You don’t want to have to change data”

entire volume, so the crew could point multiple cameras anywhere and still have a usable shot. We didn’t film in the stage based on a frustum philosophy, where only one camera needs to see a single section of the wall at a time. We wanted a playground for the cinematographers. “The water we shot had to be dead still, so it was steady on the wall,” Nicholson continues. ”Thankfully, the resolution and stabilised rig made sure this was possible. After that, we added motion with Unreal Engine. You need perfect material going in; only when it’s redistributed do you start to play with it.” With so much capacity to handle, six synchronised DaVinci Resolve platforms were necessary to drive this particular volume – modified to let crew make full colour and focus adjustments on multiple 8K channels. “Resolve gave us all the control we wanted,” Nicholson adds. “You’re essentially compositing onto a gigantic display. The creatives will ask, ‘Can you

as a full, 360° array with eight cameras was reduced to five. This opened space to stabilise the rig, with plenty of resolution left over thanks to the 12K sensors at play. “Imagine five cameras on top of a boat,” says the DOP, returning to one of his three deciding factors. “Access is difficult, you’re swinging around in the waves, weather is harsh and the sun is going down. You don’t want to have to change data. We found a great solution, putting 4TB Sandisk SSDs on each cam. You’ve got off-the-shelf storage to shoot on all day. Plus, it simplified the DIT lay-off when we got back to the hotel.” But why go so large scale at all? Well, a big ship demands a sizable volume. “Our visual effects team at Stargate stitched the individual recordings together. So, we had a 60K original background, squeezed down into a 20K anamorphic signal, then chopped up through Blackmagic hardware and redistributed to a large 165ft LED wall. Full resolution was required across the

RUNNING A TIGHT SHIP Creating and filling a volume of this size was no small feat. Stede Bonnet’s vessel, the Revenge, was built in three parts – so it could be manoeuvred and filmed as required


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