BAND OF BROTHERS

Colored by Stuart Fyvie

 

The post and grade on ‘BOB’ (That’s what we called it.) was achieved with a team of around 10 people and a pool of talented colourists and assistants. This was using bleeding edge technology at the time and probably millions of U.S. and U.K. Dollars & Pounds. It set the template for how films and TV are done as standard now, but at the time it was very time consuming and very, very touch and go. From camera negative to final HD Delivery it took longer than the period from the Allied invasion of France to end of the Second World War in Europe.

Every colourist has their own approach and you are never too experienced to pick up tips. The day you stop learning is the day to give up

- Stuart Fyvien -

Work for the Spirit

So, best start at the beginning. My involvement began thus. It was 1999. I was employed at the BBC in Post Production. Back then it was an age where the BBC actually ran their own resources. It was a big department. It had grading, telecine, videotape, lots of offline- and online suites and lots of people running around and actually making television programmes. I was in the telecine department and was busy on various projects. The grading kit was ‘Pandora Pogle’ with a few antique ‘Digigrade’ systems amongst some of the telecine bays. We had just purchased a brand spanking new Spirit Telecine. This was after quite a heated debate whether to go with a Spirit or a Cintel C-Reality, (a conversation for the Pub if ever there was one.)

But the Spirit was chosen and the march was on to find some work to actually use it on. Our marketing department at the time thought it would be a great hook to send out an invite to a launch with the promise of bottle of Malt Whiskey. Glasses with ‘BBC Resources - get some Spirit’ engraved on the tumbler were duly posted out in jiffy bags to all the post supervisors in the film and TV community. We had the launch event, the booze was consumed and a post production producer, Bruce Everett, attended. At the time, Bruce was engaged in building a team for the oncoming ‘BOB’ project and by chance he came across the engraved invite. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, he turned up. He had some new ideas regarding dailies rushes and he obviously saw something he could exploit (As well as getting a free bottle of malt).

We were then chosen to provide dailies for the upcoming series ‘Band of Brothers.’ This has taught me two things: never underestimate the power of good marketing, no matter how bizarre, and never underestimate the power of free booze.

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These stories are why I gladly pay my subscription.. and now they even do tutorials.. here.. take my money!

 

My only question is, the reference to Avid being new and early days.. in 99. It may just have been the one the BBC had to use for you, but I was already cutting in Avid DS in HD in 2001, so in 99, we were using Avid MC Meridien 9000. Which is still one of the most rock solid systems I ever used.

I know that's just a minut detail. In those days, I bet the BBC moved much like Hollywood, very slow to upgrade and use new tech..

And it's funny how many times I've been asked to do the BOB look too.. of course, with Resolve these days, so much more can be accomplished, it's a mental fight to keep it simple.

 

Excellent story Stuart! Thank you.

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Hi Stuart - great to read your story on Band Of Brothers and I'm delighted to see the credit you have given Luke, who was not only the most extraordinary colourist I've worked with but a close friend too, sadly missed. And you are absolutely right about the transparent jiffy bag that arrived at my home - that led to the BBC's involvement. And actually, your team grading the BoB dailies led to BBC management's interest in the project and to them ultimately buying the rights to premiere the show in UK, for a record £7million. These days, to my surprise, I still have to remind directors and producers of the value of colour timing or grading. It's amazing how often its an afterthought. Great to see you're still in the grading business yourself. All the best. Bruce Everett

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On 4/14/2019 at 1:31 AM, Marc Fisher said:

These stories are why I gladly pay my subscription.. and now they even do tutorials.. here.. take my money!

 

My only question is, the reference to Avid being new and early days.. in 99. It may just have been the one the BBC had to use for you, but I was already cutting in Avid DS in HD in 2001, so in 99, we were using Avid MC Meridien 9000. Which is still one of the most rock solid systems I ever used.

I know that's just a minut detail. In those days, I bet the BBC moved much like Hollywood, very slow to upgrade and use new tech..

And it's funny how many times I've been asked to do the BOB look too.. of course, with Resolve these days, so much more can be accomplished, it's a mental fight to keep it simple.

 

Excellent story Stuart! Thank you.

Hi Oskar. from memory the Avids were Mac based and in Standard Def Pal. With frame for frame playlists for picture and drop frame for 24 for the sound. They were hired machines from the production. There must of been 20 systems in total. Not the BBC machines.

 

best, Stuart.

 

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5 hours ago, Bruce Everett said:

Hi Stuart - great to read your story on Band Of Brothers and I'm delighted to see the credit you have given Luke, who was not only the most extraordinary colourist I've worked with but a close friend too, sadly missed. And you are absolutely right about the transparent jiffy bag that arrived at my home - that led to the BBC's involvement. And actually, your team grading the BoB dailies led to BBC management's interest in the project and to them ultimately buying the rights to premiere the show in UK, for a record £7million. These days, to my surprise, I still have to remind directors and producers of the value of colour timing or grading. It's amazing how often its an afterthought. Great to see you're still in the grading business yourself. All the best. Bruce Everett

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Hi Bruce, great to hear from you. Yes, I remember that visit from the 'Management'! It was definitely something special and luckily they didn't drop the ball in acquiring it! Luke was a master grader. I would love to of seen him burst a few colourist ego bubbles with todays scene. The business model has changed so much. The kit we had then can now be done at a fraction of the price and I'm sure Luke would of really taken to it. That Jiffy bag....just shows how random things can work out!

Catch up next time your in town!

 

best

Stuart.

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