The City And The City

Mammoth screen | BBC Two

Perry Gibbs


Owen Hulme


Full post-production on 4-part drama produced by Mammoth for BBC2.

Adapted from China Miéville’s novel, screenwriter Tony Grisoni tells the story of two worlds living side by side but remaining invisible to one another. This is learned behaviour and ‘breaching’ the boundaries is strictly forbidden. Something of an allegory for our times, the world of Ul Quoma is hi rise and modern, whereas its poorer counterpart Bezel is faded and old fashioned.

Filmed throughout Liverpool and Manchester where this very architecture exists cheek by jowl, art direction; cinematography; costume; and of course, post-production all played their part in building a disparate but convincing world.

In ‘Bezel’ vintage anamorphic X-tal Express lenses were used to add a slightly softer and more warped look to the image. Conversely, Zeiss super speed spherical lenses were used to film ‘Ul Quoma' to make the image straighter and slightly harder. In addition, the grade was used to manipulate the look still further to make a distinction between the two cities.

Working closely alongside director Tom Shankland and DoP Stephan Pehrsson, Farm colourist Perry Gibbs used Digital Vision’s Nucoda to develop two very distinct looks, sometimes on screen at the same time.

In each case offsetting the sensitivity of the primary colour channels immediately gave the material a colour bias, either ageing or modernising the look and providing a good starting point for the grade.

Editor, Owen Hulme completed the online using Autodesk Flame.

Dubbing Mixer, Nigel Edwards mixed the audio using ProTools 12 on an Avid S6 console.

Post-produced by Harriet Dale and Annie Gordon.

Episode 1 will air on Friday 6th April on BBC Two.

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