The Third Day: Post Production Review


The Third Day is a co-production between Sky and HBO. It is the first original drama to be produced in house by Sky Studios, Sky’s new Europe wide production arm, in partnership with Plan B Entertainment, the world-renowned immersive theatre company Punchdrunk.

This 6 x 1-hour Sky Atlantic/HBO series was graded by Farm Colourist, Aidan Farrell using Digital Vision’s Nucoda. The look of the films are separated into two distinctive styles. In the first three episodes, ‘Summer’, the style used in the grade is one of the use of a very considered colour palette with very strong contrast, grain structure and tone. Although the first three episodes are set around the summer season, the key objective from a grading point of view was to avoid usual grading clichés. From this meant an approach of not embracing the warmth and golden hues and reaching out for the obvious in order to achieve a stereotypical normalised glossy television programme look.

In ‘Summer’ Director, Marc Munden, required a look of high saturation, contrast and of distinctive style but in a very Munden-esq unique and bold approach. Every single frame was carefully manipulated to create the fantastic colourful but yet monochromatic tones intertwined keyed and mixed within the frame. Aidan and Marc have previously worked together on series including Utopia and The Devil’s Whore, so a major objective was to create something as visually striking yet completely different and raise their game.



In the final three episodes – ‘Winter’ – Aidan’s approach was of complete contrast to that of the first block and to embrace a very soft and pastel grading technique using very minimal colour tones and washes throughout the mid tones and darker areas of the frame. Each scene is intended to be representative of a hand tinted photograph but yet still appear very photographically natural. The brief for ‘Winter’ from Director, Philippa Lowthorpe, from the outset was that her vision of every frame of the films was to be like a painting with very subtle texture and mood but retaining a softness and elegance throughout.



Aidan Farrell commented, ‘I feel that the finished result from a grade perspective is a truly new and fresh look rarely seen on our television screens.’

Producer Adrian Sturges commented ‘The Third Day was intended from the outset to be a visually arresting piece, with two distinctive halves on television, accompanied by an innovative live element. It’s been really exciting to see the passion and invention that the post production team have brought to it, never letting the challenges of lockdown dampen their enthusiasm for the creative opportunities of the show.’


The series was shot on the Sony Venice camera and graded from the outset in UHD SDR in Aces 1.1 using 16-bit EXR files from the conform followed by an HDR grade pass.

Owen Hulme completed the Online and FX using Autodesk Flame.

Post produced by Lauren Andrew.