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Wallander (UK Version)


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#1 Keith Walters

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 10:55 PM

Well, just on a year after its UK release, the crime series Wallander finally debuted on Australian TV on the Seven network.

Three weeks out from Christmas is not the most prestigious programming slot; this is where countless series have shown just enough episodes to get me interested, then to vanish without a trace. (Does anybody know what became of "Dexter"?)

Wallander is an English-language re-make of a Swedish TV crime drama series, mostly shot in Sweden with English actors, by BBC Scotland, on the RED One. As far as I know, this is the first Red-shot episodic TV series shown in this country.

Digital TV transmission standards here are tightly regulated, with each network only allowed to broadcast one full-HD subchannel, and four standard-definition, so in general, we don't suffer from the data rate strangulation enjoyed in some countries. Usually there is a SD simulcast of the HD service, which has the expected drop in resolution, (always assuming the HD program had true HD resolution in the first place of course). In other words, a program delivered to the station as 1080 x 1920 is likely to look like it on a 1080 x 1920 HDTV.

However I couldn't really see all that much difference between Wallander on the SD service and Wallander in HD, so I don't know whether it was actually delivered to them in SD.

Picture-wise it was pretty ordinary, generally consistent with what I have come to expect from the RED one: Done with care, it's not all that bad, and it's not all that good, but the images seem to lack that elusive "sparkle". (Yeah, I know, that was the: "the look the producer or DOP was aiming for". Just as surely as B.S. is brown, sloppy and malodorous because that's the effect the bull was looking for... :P)

Leaving aside the usual suspects who will either:
A. Insist it totally looks like arse because it was shot with the Red One or,
B. Insist that it represents the very pinnacle of Gaelic production excellence because it was shot with the Red One or
C. Regale us with what I presume are rabidly pro-Red expostulations in a language none of us understands,

What did anybody else think?
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#2 Mei Lewis

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 09:21 AM

There's an episode of rhtis on iPlayer now, but it looks like it might be the Swedish version:
http://www.bbc.co.uk...ontainer_Lorry/
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#3 Keith Walters

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 03:40 PM

There's an episode of rhtis on iPlayer now, but it looks like it might be the Swedish version:
http://www.bbc.co.uk...ontainer_Lorry/

You can only access that service in the UK.
I can only see the first frame with a message box to that effect blocking out most of the actor's face.
The Swedish series had a somewhat older actor playing Wallander, but I'm sure the actor playing him in the UK version had fairly short hair, so really I don't know what I'm looking at there.
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#4 Dominic Case

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 04:14 PM

the images seem to lack that elusive "sparkle".

I watched this too. I was struck by the "look". It seemed very similar to "The Eagle", a slightly similar Danish show (with an Icelandic cop). Part of that is the always low light of far northern latitudes.

I wouldn't say it lacked sparkle, I don't think is was meant to have sparkle. That hard, desaturated look works well for this kind of program.

Didn't know it was shot on Red. Are you suggesting that this restricted the "look"? In which case the choice seems to have been a good one.

BTRW "the actor playing Wallander" is Kenneth Branagh - distinguished Shakespearean and film actor. Times must be tough if he's doing TV cop shows.
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#5 Keith Walters

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 12:28 AM

BTRW "the actor playing Wallander" is Kenneth Branagh - distinguished Shakespearean and film actor. Times must be tough if he's doing TV cop shows.

I don't know; actors are strange creatures.
Maybe a working holiday in Sweden appealed to him :lol:
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#6 John Holland

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 01:23 PM

The Swedish Version was shot on Red ! The British version ,not to sure if they used Red on that , Anthony Dodd Mantle did shoot it though !
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#7 Mark Dunn

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 02:55 PM

That's the Swedish original on the iplayer. It's being shown on BBC 4 at the moment. The lead is Krister Henricksson.

Presumably the rights don't allow it to be seen outside the UK. In addition, it's only available for a week after broadcast.
Of course, outside the UK you haven't paid the licence fee, so that's another reason.
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#8 Keith Walters

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 05:36 PM

The Swedish Version was shot on Red ! The British version ,not to sure if they used Red on that , Anthony Dodd Mantle did shoot it though !


Geoff Boyle shot two episodes of the Swedish version on RED
http://www.gboyle.co.uk/wallander.html


The UK version was also shot on RED
According to Wikipedia:

They agreed to use the Red One digital camera to shoot on,[8] which has a near-35 mm resolution and is not as expensive as 35 mm; Dod Mantle said that the BBC "has politics" about the cheaper 16 mm and Super 16.

Apparently the BEEB will only accept Red-sourced programs if they are completely finished. That is, they won't accept it for internal productions until a workflow infrastructure was been established.


You can read a bit more on this Reduser post (pre- dosing with anti-nausea medication recommended ) B)
http://reduser.net/f...amp;postcount=3
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#9 Keith Walters

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 05:47 PM

Didn't know it was shot on Red. Are you suggesting that this restricted the "look"? In which case the choice seems to have been a good one.

So Red should put on their website:

"Hey all you production dudes: If you're making a grim and gritty crime series featuring copious amounts of serial murderers, pedophiles, sex slave rings, seriously deranged teenagers, brain damaged relatives and so on, and you want to emphasise the general air of dismalness and hopelessness with a wan, washed-out, soot-and whitewash look with blown out highlights and drab faded colours, have we got the camera for you!!"

Midsomer Murders it ain't.

Edited by Keith Walters, 07 December 2009 - 05:49 PM.

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#10 Mei Lewis

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 01:43 PM

It's defintiely the Swedish version on iPlayer, I watched the whole episode with subtitles.
I thought it would be okay to post a UK only link as there are plenty of reference to the US only Hulu here.

According to the end credits it was shot in 2005 so not on Red, but it looks very similar to the screen grabs of the UK version posted on Red User.

To me it looks very crisp and real in a way a lot of TV doesn't. Very dry, which fitted with the whole understated tone of the programme.
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#11 Keith Walters

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:15 PM

According to the end credits it was shot in 2005 so not on Red, but it looks very similar to the screen grabs of the UK version posted on Red User.

That must be an earlier season then, but at least some of the Swedish version was shot on RED; I don't think Geoff Boyle was making it up! :lol:
Actually, I'm pretty sure in the more recent Swedish episodes, Wallander had a different hairstyle, not the slicked-back version I can see (about all I can see!) on the BBC website.
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#12 Glen Alexander

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 09:10 PM

Yeah, I know, that was the: "the look the producer or DOP was aiming for". Just as surely as B.S. is brown, sloppy and malodorous because that's the effect the bull was looking for... :P)


Ha ha ha, waaa. Funny shite.
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#13 Keith Walters

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 06:04 PM

I saw the second episode on Saturday. There were some interesting artefacts on a scene shot in a wheat (maybe barley) field on a windy day. The heads of grain looked weird, like cheap CGI, so obviously the compression system was struggling.

I finally saw an example of the dreaded rolling shutter effect on some trees on a car chase scene, although if I hadn’t been looking for it I never would have noticed it.

This episode had an even drabber and more washed-out look than the last one. They did a lot of low-light work, and some of those scenes came out pretty ordinary-looking. On some of the night scenes there was a strange vertical fixed-pattern noise in the background, that looked a bit the “faux-worn-film print" effect you get with cheap video editing packages.

Where the whole thing really fell over was in the sort of “daylight at the end of the tunnel” closing scene where Wallander was walking with his daughter in the sun. They obviously tried to introduce a more cheery atmosphere as a dramatic contrast to the darkness of the previous events, but the camera just fell over in broad daylight. You can really only do that effect properly with film.

There is some truth to the Fanboy mantra, that: “It doesn’t look like video, and it doesn’t look like film,” if you add “a good example of” before the words “video” and “film”. -_-

Bzzzzzzt!! NEXT!!!

Edited by Keith Walters, 13 December 2009 - 06:07 PM.

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#14 Mei Lewis

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 06:20 PM

It sounds to me like you're blaming a bad piece of film-making on the camera.

And some fo the faults you can't know if it was the camera or the transmission/reproduction system surely, like any 'grain' or compression artifacts which might just be down to whatever compression it was broadcast with?

I'm not defending the Red, I'm just saying your logic for damning it isn't sound.
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#15 Keith Walters

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 05:03 AM

It sounds to me like you're blaming a bad piece of film-making on the camera.

And some fo the faults you can't know if it was the camera or the transmission/reproduction system surely, like any 'grain' or compression artifacts which might just be down to whatever compression it was broadcast with?

I'm not defending the Red, I'm just saying your logic for damning it isn't sound.

The show itself is OK, and I'm sure they they did the best they could with the equipment they had available.

Unfortunately, the same "you can't know if it was the camera or the transmission/reproduction system surely", gets trotted out every time by the Red apologists. It's beginning to wear a bit thin.

The 7 network have very high transmission standards, and Australian TV networks are prohibited from the engaging in the sort of "shovelware" programming that has ruined Digital TV in many other countries, so generally, anything they transmit on their HD service is going to look as close as possible to the original source material.

The simple fact is, other HD shows on the same channel have looked stunning, even some shot with other types of video cameras. Wallander did not.

I've gone out of my way to get some actual eyeball experience of how the Red performs in the real world, so far I have been somewhat underwhelmed.

The other problem is, despite the impression of industry ubiquity you might get on certain other forums, Wallander is the first TV series shot on the Red that I've ever actually seen!

Indifferent results, and virtually no serious programs using the system. What does that tell you?
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