DEFINITION - April 2020 - Web


The courtyard Jonathan Harker sees when he looks down is a CG 3D model

LEFT Digital effects enabled subtle yet horrifying sequences, such as this fly crawling into Jonathan Harker’s eye

“That doesn’t mean we reverted back to old-school techniques,” he clarifies. “It would have been too expensive, and audiences wouldn’t have accepted it – saying that, we reinvented an old gag for Dracula’s cloak.” Wood reveals: “It’s often assumed that anything is possible in CGI, but when we tried to simulate Dracula climbing the castle walls – and in that scene, it’s scripted that he moves from side to side and up and down – his cloak was all over the place. It looked ridiculous!” Previously, wall-climbing gags would have been done by filming someone crawling across the floor and tilting the camera in a way that made it look as though they were climbing a wall. And whatever they were wearing naturally hung towards the floor, because of gravity. “We realised it’s the image that’s been established in people’s minds – they expect to see Dracula’s cloak clinging to the wall because of this old gag. So, in our cloth simulation, we flipped gravity on its side

DRACULA IS CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX AND BBC IPLAYER push-ins, or where they might have rotated the 4K frame within the 6K frame and so on, because there’s more likelihood of us slipping up and delivering something that isn’t quite the same as the way they had done it. It’s not a passion killer, but it can catch you out.” and ended up with an image that felt right,” Wood enthuses. DOWNSIZING DELIVERY Dracula was delivered in 4K for budget reasons but, as DOP Tony Slater-Ling revealed in our last issue, the first two episodes were shot in 6K with Canon K35s. “When you shoot 6K for a 4K delivery, you can push in on the image by 50% and get close-up shots for free, but anything that gives the edit more flexibility can sometimes backfire on our department,” explains Wood. “We’ve got to keep track of all those

looks to the side and above are digital matte paintings, assembled from photographs I took around Orava.” Wood worked from daytime photographs because when they were edited for night in Photoshop, the clouds and buildings were still visible in the distance. He notes that, “this helped emphasise the feeling of classic horror.” TRICKY CLOAKS Writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss advised Wood that the series is a ‘love letter to all the old Draculas’, and that the visuals should embody that.

APR I L 2020 | DEF I N I T ION 39

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