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Bulleit – When Legends Die

Gunslingers

Life Below Zero

Life Below Zero
National Geographic - Life Below Zero season 4 launch
Life Below Zero is a show about desolation, complete loneliness, the struggle to survive and the amazing inner strength it takes to overcome Mother Nature's toughest obstacles. Minus-60 degree temperatures are the norm. Food is scarce. No one is around to help.

We were able to get mostly untreated prores files for this edit/grade. Our challenge was to create a stylized look to really enhance the ominous, creepy and dangerous vibe of the edit.



Drag the sliders below to the left and right to see the before and after
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Step 1 was setting the scene. Wide shots. This area is cold and dead. Create a surreal, hyper-detailed and desaturated look. Shadows and mids to cool blue and add a bit of contrast to the sky to define the clouds and make it more ominous.
To keep our look consistent, we removed all warm tones that might allude to comfort, safety, hope...
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Step 2 focused on creating a look for the characters. Pretty portraits with a soft beauty pass was not the goal here. Every imperfection in their skin, every wrinkle, pore and line tell a story of hardship, determination and survival; and I wanted everyone to be able to read those stories in a single moment.
This is Sue. Sue is badass. There's just not much more to say about her.
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These shots came to us with the obvious extremely blue/purple wash. My goal was to desaturate and push the remaining blue/purple towards a very desaturated blue/green. From there I focused on luminance. Where could I stretch contrast to pull detail not seen in the before image. I wanted to separate mids from highs in the snow, and then really crush the blacks to reveal all the hidden detail unseen in the original. Then my favorite, vignette the hell out of it, obviously, which helps to add the depth and focus to an otherwise flat shot.
Same deal here. Danger was the goal. I knew there was so much detail to be revealed in the ice that just needed some love. Pushing the ice from light blue to dark desaturated blue/green, then isolating and pushing the gain from the mids in the ice while crushing the blacks really helped to make the ice look like dangerous sharp shards instead of just blending in.
Color
Justin Kanner
Producer
Sarah Murphy
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Life Below Zero

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