The BBC team filming the next series of Last of the Summer Wine are making use of a new live on-set pre-grading technique, the latest in a line of workflow innovations aiding production of the classic sitcom.

Summer Wine was one of the first productions in the country to use the Grass Valley Viper Filmstream digital camera back in 2006 and now the show is now being produced with the aid of a “mobile colour timing suite”.

Provided by Rogue Element Films, the suite incorporates a Cinetel monitor, Tangent grading panels and Iridas Speedgrade software all connected via a MacBook Pro.

It enables colour correction to be done on live pictures, giving the director a chance to understand what the finished image will look like while on set, and facilitating the creation of Look Up Tables (LUTs).

Described as “Photoshop for movies”, LUTs provide colour information that can be passed on to the post-production grading team, giving them a better idea of how the image was intended to look when it was shot.

Last of the Summer Wine camera operator Dan Mulligan, who provided the timing suite and is also acting as the show's technical consultant, believes that this new set-up provides a very responsive scenario.

“Up until now we would have had to grab a still, save that still, do a LUT, save the LUT and then reapply that LUT back into the monitor in order to apply it to the live image as it's being replayed on set,” he said.

“Being able to apply corrections to the live image saves a whole lot of this bother.”

Mulligan believes that this kind of approach can help to bring post and production even
closer together.

“Ideally we would want to get somebody from post integrated into the production photography end,” he said. “There is no reason why a pre-post person cannot be on set running the Tangent panels while we're shooting, saving the metadata and then emailing it back so that grading can start as soon as the master tapes turn up. It would help to ensure that what we're doing on set is not adversely affecting what is being done in post and vice versa.”

Last of the Summer Wine is currently halfway though a 14-week shoot in and around Holmfirth in West Yorkshire. Directed by Alan JW Bell with Pat O'Shea as DoP, series 31 of the BBC production will air next year.