Set during the current global pandemic, Pandemonium from the BBC brings us the Jessop family who are forced to sacrifice their dream holiday due to coronavirus outbreak and instead, they opt for a not so exciting October break to Margate. Starring Katherine Parkinson, Alison Steadman, Jim Howick and Tom Basden.
Pandemonium was shot in November, but the story plays out over three seasons - winter, spring and autumn. The grade had to feel natural as the idea was that the film was being self-shot by the teenage son.
In the grade, Splice's Head of Picture, Adam Dolniak, used an ACES workflow with the Arri photometric DRT to match the starting point to what the DOP had on location.
January was relatively neutral in tones, the ARRI Alexa had to be matched to the car-mounted GoPros. May was warmer, Adam added a diffusion layer to help with the perception of bright sunlight and also upped the saturation, especially with the greens in the garden. October was much cooler in tone but without feeling forced.
Pandemonium was mixed by Splice’s Senior Dubbing Mixer Matt Baird. The dialogue, beautifully captured by Sound Recordist Rikki Hanson, was embellished by lots of small ADR lines from characters entering and exiting scenes. With so many people on screen in almost every scene, it wasn’t workable to have them all talking on set at once. The ADR was used to increase the intensity of the drama and bring the busy family milieu to life. Matt mixed the ADR with the help of Altiverb by AudioEase. iZoptope RX8 handled all the noise reduction duties.
Sound effects help tell the story of the different locations and the seasons passing during the various phases of lockdown. In his sound mix, Matt kept birds loud in an aeroplane-less sky during the summer scenes, and winter urban areas were kept lockdown-quiet. Sound Editor Michal Maletz worked on upping the madness of the big set piece finale with his artfully chosen SFX.
Similarly, coronavirus news archive footage was piped in from radios and TVs in scene (from the original reports on the emerging situation in Wuhan to lockdown 2 being announced) with the help of AudioEase’s Speakerphone effects.
The final mix review session was completed remotely with writer Tom Basden, producer Tom Jordan and this year’s RTS winning director Ella Jones all attending from various locations.