Work on the production had to be finished with the post team working from home during lockdown
London post house The Look handled the full conform, grade, online and delivery in 4K HDR and SDR of this high-profile 10-part Sky Originals series, working alongside multiple VFX vendors, and the sound team at Bang in Cardiff.
The production was in the final stages of post during March, when the UK went into lockdown.
The Look CEO Thomas Urbye, explains: “For more than three years, our CTO Mark Maltby had been actively using remote working. He had set up our Cardiff office, as well as team members on evening and weekend shifts, so that they didn’t need to come in unnecessarily.
“So, by the time lockdown hit, 80% of the operators already had remote capabilities, the only thing missing was the grading panels. Within a day, this was sorted, and everyone’s spare room or bedroom desk became their new suite. Before I knew it, I was final grading the last three episodes of Gangs of London from my home in HDR and SDR, with the whole team communicating on a group voice chat – and not a single machine was moved from W1.”
Gangs of London producer Hugh Warren, adds: “Fortunately all the ADR had been completed when lockdown happened, but nonetheless there was still a way to go with picture post. Gangs is a very VFX heavy show and while the main grades had been completed – literally the day before lockdown – there were many VFX shots still to complete and drop in, as well as the whole QC process to go through with Sky. I was very concerned about completing everything in time for a 23 April TX.”
Dan Marbrook, senior producer, The Look, explains the process of getting client approval for its work on Gangs during the lockdown: “Confidence files were sent that enabled notes, but after this point we asked clients to trust the fact that we implemented to their requirements. Any other method of screening those amends would have risked an infinite crash loop that our timescales didn’t allow for.”
The lead VFX vendor on the production, London’s Dupe VFX worked on the series for a year, including seven months of on-set supervision. It produced 800 VFX shots.
The CG environment team at Dupe (Dan Newlands) developed a procedural process to vary and build 8km of London skyline using a bunch of carefully curated assets.
“From modern buildings and skyscrapers to victorian warehouses, this process helped to keep us close to a London skyline rather than something generic,” he says.
The company’s work included animated cars, buses, taxis and trains; shader-driven building interiors through the windows; controllable lighting for interiors, street, building, crane lights.
Dupe joined the production team shooting the green screens for all car shots throughout Gangs of London. These were shot at 3am on a Sunday morning to create 270-degree car plates.
This footage was edited into mini edits nicknamed ‘9ups’. 4 angles where exported for playback on the LED panels – front, back and the two side views (see photo top of page).
These videos project light onto the characters which “give some lovely interactive lighting, which was then blended together with the actual plates in the final comp,” says Newlands.