Definition November 2021 - Web


Fact File

LOCATION Though the series is set in Oakland, California, the filming largely took place in Melbourne, Australia. Luckily they are both vegetated with gum trees!

DIRECTORS As well as having a large cast, there were four directors working on episodes over the course of the series

the house, with felled space lights for ambience and warmed 20Ks for sunlight, along with an 18K HMI for when I wanted more shape and contrast.” Though light and colour were integral to emphasise space, Dean was creating the specific visual style of the series: “This urban noir look was created through a restricted gel pack I devised in pre-production.” The series artfully uses the obscuring shadows associated with thriller and mystery genres, while pushing the limits of coloured light to remind us about the eerie aspects of the devices we unquestioningly hold dear. The result is a scene, “bathed in the artificial glow of screens, urban hues of deep sodium oranges, unsettling green fluorescent glows and the artificial colour sources ever pervasive from technology surrounding us”. The green, in particular, enhances the woozy, sickening feelings of dread, discomfort and unease that underscore the plot. Though viewers often associate orange with warm, natural light – indeed, most production teams want it to read as sunlight – the ocherous hues here are uncompromisingly artificial. This culminates in a series that oozes contemporary style and has a faint feeling of hyperreality. SCREENS ON SCREEN Aside from the traditional lighting solutions to mimic screen light, like gels and LEDs, the production also made use of the real thing. This ranged from

phones providing an extra fill, to relying heavily on computer monitors lighting the actors. The most notable example is when we enter Ethan’s room (Camaron Engels). Dean paints the picture: “Ethan’s room is an island carved out in this space, lit virtually entirely from the huge screens that dominate his space, serving as a portal to an online community with questionable motivations.” In many ways, it is typical for a young man’s bedroom to be lit solely with his devices. Within the context of the story, the blue light spilling onto Ethan’s face in the close-ups highlights his isolation – contributing to Clickbait ’s distinctive look and feel. There’s also a heavy nod to film noir visuals in episode two ( The Detective ), when Ethan is sat on his bed and lit from beyond a window. This casts a shadow of Venetian blinds on his face, in an unmistakable reference to classic mysteries that audiences are no doubt familiar with. Pia’s house and Ethan’s room are just two examples of the use of these unconventional light sources. The glow of phones and tablets is abundant throughout the series. This posed a unique challenge for production. As Wareham explains, controlling the screen light through the device’s software would cause unwanted flashing, which they felt would interrupt the viewers’ absorption in the series. “When you dim phones, they can flicker, so we made up neutral density gels to fit over the phone.”

A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE The narrative switches between viewpoints to curate a smoke and mirrors noir

This allowed the team to have greater control over the lighting coming from the screens, reducing the intensity, without causing any flicker. However, these surfaces were all green screens. This was done so that the team reserved the ability to tweak the narrative in post-production. They could choose what text or web pages would be visible, without having to create graphic overlays that may have lacked realism. Aware that actors interacting with green screens can also seem inauthentic, the team devised a solution. “They made up this programme where it said ‘swipe here’ or ‘swipe there’, so the actors knew exactly where to touch,” says Wareham. “You might think ‘of course they did that’, but that’s not always the case.” Though the use of green light is purposefully present throughout the series, Wareham states that they were careful not to capture any extraneous


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