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How DaVinci Resolve set the mood on Pagan Peak

Colourist Martin Szafranek recalls finding the Sky Deutschland series' emotional tone

The creative team behind Pagan Peak (Der Pass) deployed DaVinci Resolve Studio across the award-winning Sky Deutschland series.

According to Blackmagic Design, the editing, grading, VFX and audio post software was used for dailies and final colour grade in both the show’s seasons.

Named as Best Drama at Germany’s national television awards, Pagan Peak follows a German detective and an Austrian detective tracking a serial killer at the border between their countries.

Colourist Martin Szafranek collaborated with DP Philip Peschlow and directors Cyrill Boss and Philipp Stennert to create the colour grade for the crime thriller.

“Much of the action takes place outdoors in Alpine or wooded landscapes, and so our aim for the grade was natural and not too pretentious,” said Szafranek. “I had a lot of freedom and tried to create looks based on a scene’s emotional tone, rather than location or keeping continuity. This approach really adds to the final tone of the series.

“My favourite scene starts with a close up on Gideon, the Austrian cop, where you get the feeling he is locked up somewhere,” he added. “I pushed the reds in the whole image to give a more threatening but also abstract feel and create doubt as to where he really is.

“Setting up the look with the whole tool palette of DaVinci Resolve already during the dailies process made it very easy to finish it in the final grade,” Szafranek continued. “I just added some masks and used one of my favourite tools, the temporal denoise, to give it the finishing touches.

“It was important that our relationship was clear and collaborative because of the multiple looks and approaches that could be taken for each scene,” he concluded. “We made certain there was a constant dialogue, and having DaVinci Resolve as our base across all of the project at each stage of the colour pipeline made a complex creative process much easier to work through.”