ITV’s Litvinenko graded in DaVinci Resolve

Jan 12, 2023

Based on actual events, ITV’s crime drama Litvinenko, starring David Tennant, turned to Goldcrest Post Production to complete the grade, conform and finish for the four-part series.    

Directed by Jim Field Smith, the ITV miniseries Litvinenko follows one of the Metropolitan Police’s most complex and dangerous investigations in history – the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.  

Working alongside Smith was DP Ed Moore who lensed the series while Goldcrest’s senior colourist Andrew Daniel completed the digital intermediate.        

“I’ve worked with Jim several times previously, so we had an established shorthand of sorts that aided our preparation. However, it was my first time working with Ed but he’s a very prepared, professional and considered DP,” Daniel said. 

Before reaching the grade, the three collaborated to establish the series in pre-production. “Miniseries tend to be every bit as weighty as feature projects. However, you tend to have less time on TV, so good preparation is even more key.” 

“Jim and Ed were clear in that they wanted a bold feel to the series and certainly for the Russia scenes to have a different look to London. It was a very bombastic and cinematic look that reflected the stills that Ed and Jim put forward.” 

To help inform the series look, the crew used the early 2000s as the era of influence, with the true events taking place from 2006 onward. “Essentially, it’s a period piece albeit a very modern period. Had we emulated a look of that time, it may have felt dated or somewhat prosaic. Instead, we decided to go for a stronger and higher contrast look, letting the story tell itself without getting in the way,” Daniel explains. 

The series explores heavy topics and various locations which Daniel had to reflect and differentiate between in the grade. “All of the content in Russia was particularly fun. It was a real “let’s push this” moment and I’m pleased with the results. It’s bold and punchy and has a sense of Enemy of the State or Spy Game about it,” he described.  

“DaVinci Resolve has an incredible colour management system and that always gives the most satisfying final image on project like this. That’s what I’ve noticed the most since moving across to it.” 

“The whole process is exciting, especially these days where color is a part of the conversation much earlier on, and so there’s a greater sense of collaboration and involvement.” 

The sign off process was straightforward, involving Ed and the executives coming together to review the work and share their thoughts. “It was honestly one of the friendliest, most open jobs I’ve done with very few notes.”

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