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27/11/2008

Ascent 142 Posts New BBC Drama 'Apparitions'

Ascent 142 has carried out the full post-production on the new BBC drama 'Apparitions', written by Joe Ahearne ('Ultraviolet', 'Doctor Who', 'This Life'), who also directed four out of the six episodes.
The hard-hitting drama, produced by Lime Pictures for the BBC, stars Martin Shaw as Father Jacob, a Roman Catholic priest who is working to promote candidates for sainthood, but is drawn against his will into the world of exorcism.
When ten-year-old Donna turns up in his office, convinced her father Liam is possessed, Jacob fears for her safety and attempts to convince Liam to consent to an exorcism.
The initial two-part pilot was re-edited by Ascent 142 due to the necessary new material shot to expand the drama into a six-part series for which Ascent 142 did the full post.
The visual effects on 'Apparitions' are on the scale of a feature film and although created with a TV budget, it is remarkable for its creativity. Simon Brook, Senior VFX Artist at Ascent 142, carried out the online and VFX post-production, as well as the titles, commented: "I was really impressed by the techniques employed in this series. They've used some really clever prosthetics - the best I've seen on TV. Our job was to take the technical work that was shot on set and enhance it wherever necessary."
'Apparitions' is full of striking imagery and visual effects, Ascent 142's task was to augment the production values. In several cases, the prosthetics used needed enhancement in post to increase the realism of the features. Ascent 142 also created individual effects such as tracking the eyeballs of an actor to show only the whites to create a look reminiscent of severe cataracts. In another scene, a man walks across a pool that begins to boil. The mechanical element, which produced the bubbling water had to be edited to make the man's feet appear to be in contact with the water.
The editorial was carried out using Avid, with Brook working on the online and VFX using DS Nitris.
The sound was also completed in-house with Sound Editorial supplied by Reelsound at Pinewood, with Ascent 142's David Old carrying out the sound mix. Old commented on working with Ahearne: "His use of effects tends to be sparing, although those that he does use are likely to be striking.
"Hal Lindes did a fabulous music score and Joe loves to use it to the max and as a one time Picture Editor, Joe is keen to get his hands on the music before it reaches the mix stage to make slight adjustments of position and occasionally content, which saves time during the mix.
"It's always good fun to work on a project where the person in charge has a clear view of the direction they want to go in, and it is always a challenge to try and make the next episode a bit closer to what you think is wanted based on the one you have just completed - and then see if you were right!"
Alice Greenland, Project Manager at Ascent 142, noted that keeping all the post-production under one roof kept the project fluid and any alterations were carried out seamlessly: "If Joe spotted something he wanted to change, he could just walk upstairs and talk to Simon, who would then walk over to, say, David for it to be adjusted immediately.
"Usually just booking to see someone can take a couple of days. It also meant that everyone was aware of what was going on, and therefore involved in every aspect of the production. We were able to form close relationships with the whole team - Lime Productions ended up knowing everyone at Ascent 142, from the runners right through to the heads of department."
'Apparitions' can be seen on Thursdays at 9pm on BBC1.
(KMcA)
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