Harry and Paul's Story of the Twos

Balloon Pictures | BBC 2

Perry Gibbs


Full post production on 1 x 60 min one-off biography of BBC2 that formed part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the channel.

Shot in the studio and on location with an Arri Alexa, the programme parodies in the region of 50 different shows, and there are 150 of BBC2’s favourite presenters, actors, comics and politicians on parade, most of them portrayed by either Harry or Paul. 

The main challenge for The Farm’s creative team was to emulate the look of the entire broadcasting history of the channel.

Free experimental reign was given across the project, and problems were created on purpose in order to recreate the old styles of recording. In order to achieve this, the footage was conformed into a series of copies, including HD, DVD, VHS, composite Beta, and component Beta. Effects were then layered and blended by colourist Perry Gibbs who used Nucoda Film Master to create the many different period looks for the 90-minute spoof.

Barney Jordan used Avid DS to add film artefacts such as scratches and grains to correlate with the time period that each sketch sent up. Time was taken to research, in detail, each original title sequence to ensure that the embedded FX matched the originals from BBC2’s programming history. Jordan recreated the exact title fonts, graphics, idents and logos and then animated them with new shots that enhanced the organic guise of the programme. These were then embedded within the pre-grade before Gibbs selected certain shots to integrate into the period look. Moreover, Jordan had to recreate entire studios for the game show scenes that included rebuilding background and floor GFX and specific name badges as Harry and Paul played specific characters within the ‘Panel Show’. 

To reproduce sounds of the many periods featured in the programme a mix of original tape sound, the Vintage Filter plugin from Air and lots of compression was used by Stewart Marshall, who mixed the audio with Pro Tools 11.
The war documentary sketch required mixing stilted repeated sounds associated with war to emulate how shows like that were made in the past. One of Marshall’s biggest challenges was to make the well recorded audio sound dated. As recording and mixing changed so much over the 50-year period, he used archive and YouTube references to create an audio template for every year of BBC2’s life.