PRODUC T I ON . EMMY SPECIAL
SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL NEVILLE KIDD, THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY
If you’ve seen Fargo , you’ll recognise the black humour wrapped in violence that marks Steve Blackman’s writing style when watching his latest show, The Umbrella Academy . Based on a comic-book series of the same name written by Gerard Way, The Umbrella Academy revolves around a dysfunctional family of adopted sibling superheroes, who reunite to solve the mystery of their father’s death – and repel the threat of an imminent apocalypse. The comic became something of a cult classic in the US following its release in 2007. “Visually, we wanted to give it a Wes Anderson spin because of that dysfunctional family angle. But since it’s a VFX-heavy show, with one of the main characters, called Pogo, being a CG
chimp, it would of course have its own aesthetics,” explains DOP Neville Kidd. “Weta Digital was brought in to produce Pogo; it was great to work with them to see the character’s realism come alive. Weta took our lighting cues and replicated them in post, and if there was ever any confusion, they would come back and ask what we wanted.” In planning, the Weta team described what requirements they needed from Kidd; for instance, the witness cameras had to be
in 4K to capture a high enough resolution. “We started on Sony F5 cameras, run either side, giving us full-length actor shots that could be applied to the chimp character they were making,” he says. For the shoot, Kidd wanted the same camera-and-lens combination he used on fellow Netflix show Altered Carbon (also written by Blackman). This meant all his experimentation with the Arri Alexa 65, Canon Cine Primes and Cooke S5s on that show would come in handy.
“Our worlds are two degrees apart... mixing Tungsten with LED lighting showed this contrast”
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