The Job Lot, ITV1. Arri Alexa
VMI supplied equipment for Big Talk’s series The Job Lot for ITV1, a 6 x 30 minute situation comedy from Big Talk Productions for ITV; about life, love and long-term unemployment.
It is also a great example of best practice in tapeless production.
Live signals from two Arri Alexas are monitored in rec 709 while Log-C ProRes 422 is captured onto SxS cards. With DIT Matthew Oaten of Mission Digital co-ordinating the workflow on set, data from the cameras is regularly backed up, verified and synchronized on dual secure drives and copies delivered to the edit. QuickTime rushes are then uploaded for remote viewing by production execs and sync dailies are produced for the Producer and Director to review on iPads.
“It’s a great workflow. It’s very secure, very fast and really helps shape the production at every stage. This immediacy and level of interactivity is what non-linear digital technology is all about,” says DoP Laurie Rose. "Having that amount of control on set means we're delivering proxies with a non-destructive LUT applied at source plus we're monitoring pictures very much as they're intended to look in the final product."
A comedy set in a job centre, the cameras record the life and work struggles of a team of advisors and their job seeking ‘customers’. The fly-on-the-wall approach requires the 2 camera operators to be mobile and agile. This was achieved with the help of Easyrig harnesses:
“By the time you’ve added all the accessories – onboard monitors, focus motors and wireless transmitters – digital camera systems can be ungainly: each kit fully loaded could weigh as much as 17KG. With the Easyrig, we had the freedom to move and shoot steadier shots in longer takes.” remarks Rose.
In consultation with director Martin Dennis, the standard Rec 709 output was tweaked for a slightly warmer look, with the aid of a Gold filters on Angenieux Optimo lenses. Also, the office spaces were lit with Kino Flo banks: “We were keen to maintain a subtly enhanced, natural look which the lighting helped to achieve.” notes the DOP.
With the cameras on rigs and the tapeless workflow in place, the shoot moved quickly. The selection of Optimo zoom lenses helped speed up the production even further, as Rose was able to adjust focal length instantly, without having to change optics between scenes.
“For speed, I used the fast zooms as variable primes. The quality and speed is great – they’re easily sharp enough for HD television.” Rose concludes.
Lenses used included Angenieux Optimo short zooms:
1 x Angenieux Optimo 15-40,
2 x Angenieux Optimo x 28-76,
1 x Angenieux Optimo 45-120.
The Job Lot, starring Sarah Hadland (Miranda) and Russell Tovey (Him & Her), is set in a busy West Midlands Job Centre, and focuses on the relationships between the people who work there, and the people who don’t work there, or anywhere else for that matter.
The new series, airing in primetime on ITV1 in 2013, boasts an impressive supporting cast, including Sophie McShera (Downton Abbey) Tony Maudsley (Benidorm) Martin Marquez (Hotel Babylon), Angela Curran (This Is Jinsy), Jo Enright (Life’s Too Short) and Navin Chowdhry (Teachers).
The Job Lot from Big Talk Productions is written by the writing team of Claire Downes, Ian Jarvis and Stuart Lane. The Commissioning Editor for ITV1 is Myfanwy Moore, and the Executive Producers are Kenton Allen and Matthew Justice. The series was commissioned following a successful pilot produced by Hannah Pescod (Rev), and directed by Richard Laxton (Him & Her).
Kenton Allen said “the moment I read the script I immediately thought The Job Lot was a comedy idea that captured the spirit of these times and could be the answer to ITV’s ambitions to reignite primetime comedy on ITV1. We are all delighted with the pilot and can’t wait for audiences to get to know the brilliant characters that lurk within Brownall Job Centre’.
Episodes: 6 x 30’
Writers: Claire Downes, Ian Jarvis and Stuart Lane
Producer: Hannah Pescod
Director: Richard Laxton (Pilot), Martin Dennis (Series)
Executive Producers: Kenton Allen and Matthew Justice
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