Anthony Raffaele crafts unique looks for documentary series on climate change.

NEW YORK— Currently
airing on the National Geographic Channel, the documentary series Years of Living Dangerously recently
returned to Technicolor PostWorks New York to finish the eight 1-hour episodes
that comprise its second season. Created by former 60 Minutes producers Joel Bach and David Gelber, the show won a
2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series and has earned
wide praise for its thought-provoking stories on the human and environmental
costs of climate change. It is also notable for its outstanding production value
from the epic imagery captured by production teams operating around the globe
to the detailed color treatments applied during post.
Each episode of the series looks into a different aspect of
climate change in a different part of the world with a different celebrity
acting as interviewer and guide. In the new season, David Letterman travels to
India to learn about government plans for renewable energy; Jack Black looks
into what sea level rise portends for the city of Miami.

Executive Producer Joel Bach explains that it was a
deliberate choice to employ stars with comedic backgrounds in the second
season. “Climate change can be depressing, so to infuse a bit of comedy into
the storytelling adds a breath of fresh air,” he says. “It’s also very entertaining
to watch David Letterman learning about climate change in India, because it’s
Dave and he’s doing something he’s never done before. He’s a proxy for the
Production for season two was even more ambitious than
season one. Crews ranged across the United States and also visited Cuba, the
Philippines, Australia, Canada, China and three locations in Africa. “In Niger,
we had armed guards and kept the crew numbers small, due to the threat of
terrorists,” Bach recalls. “It was harrowing. Temperatures reached 118
Working conditions weren’t quite so stressful during post
sessions in New York, but the team at Technicolor PostWorks faced their own set
of challenges. The delivery schedule was extremely tight and the bar set by the
series’ Emmy-winning first season was high. The show is also complex with
interweaving storylines composed from a mix of new and archival media drawn
from a potpourri of sources.
During post sessions, Colorist Anthony Raffaele worked with
Bach to give each of the series’ many locations a distinct color treatment. The
idea was to help viewers follow along as the show moved between narrative
lines, and to subtly reinforce the message of each story. “In India, the colors
are hot,” observes Raffaele. “We want you to feel the warmth, the brightness of
the country. The story there is about renewable energy and we wanted to make
viewers aware of how much untapped solar power is there.”
The Miami sequences were quite different. There, oranges and
blues pop, while reds are muted. “It’s a look of artificial beauty,” Raffaele
says. “It goes with the story of a beautiful façade that disguises a city that
is in trouble from sea level rise. Everything is picturesque, but a little
Raffaele credits the production teams for delivering so much
high quality material. “The show is lit and shot creatively,” he notes. “The
interviews are very well done; the environments are well chosen, and it pays
off in the look of the show. It’s distinct.”
“Color is an integral part of the storytelling,” adds Bach.
“We wanted to push it to have a cinematic look, to make it feel big.”
Like most filmmakers, Bach wishes that he had more time in
post to further massage the looks. Still, he is thrilled with the results. “We
had eight episodes and fifteen stories,” he says. “We had to invent dozens of
looks and it’s not easy to keep coming up with something fresh, but we managed
to pull it off.”
“Working with Anthony has been great,” Bach adds. “He’s
fallen in love with the show. He’s a true collaborator and brings his own
palette and his own ideas to the process.”
In fact, the whole team at Technicolor PostWorks took a
personal interest in the show and its subject. “They believed in what we were
doing and emotionally invested themselves in the project,” Bach says. “They
brought their talents and poured their hearts and souls into it. And it shows
on the screen.”
 About Technicolor PostWorks New York
PostWorks New York is the East Coast’s most comprehensive digital motion
picture and post-production facility, employing an exceptional team of creative
artists, engineers and project managers to serve our clients through the film
and TV finishing process.
PostWorks New York offers one complete source for every post requirement,
including in-context digital dailies, film imaging and restoration, collaborative
non-linear editorial and HD/UHD broadcast finishing, 4K digital cinema, global
content lifecycle support, and comprehensive film and TV sound services on nine
mix stages.
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