The Walking Dead Daryl Dixon Graded With DaVinci Resolve Studio

Published: 05 February 2024

The Walking Dead  Daryl Dixon Graded With DaVinci Resolve Studio

Blackmagic Design announced that AMC Network’s newest series in “The Walking Dead” franchise, “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon” is graded in DaVinci Resolve Studio editing, grading, visual effects (VFX) and audio post production software by Chris Boyer of Picture Shop.

In the fifth spinoff of the popular “The Walking Dead” franchise, Daryl washes ashore in France, the origin of the zombie virus, and struggles to piece together how he got there and why. The series tracks his journey across a broken but resilient France as he hopes to find a way back home. As he makes the journey, though, the connections he forms along the way complicate his ultimate plan.

Boyer’s experience throughout the previous series gave him a unique insight into the world of the new show. "'The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon' is the fifth 'The Walking Dead' show now that I’ve worked on,” said Boyer. “All the shows have a unique look specific to that show. ‘Daryl’ is not only unique in the look and feel of the show, but also its location being shot in France. Cinematographers Tomasso Fiorilli and Michel Amathieu, as well as Director Dan Percival’s approach is that of European filmmaking inspired by art, being boldly cinematic, and treating the locations and landscape as a character in the story.”

While the main “The Walking Dead” show was an homage in look and feel to George Romero’s “The Night of the Living Dead,” showrunner David Zabel, who was not part of the “Walking Dead” universe, was brought in for a fresh perspective on “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon.” “David writes in a cinematic way,” added Boyer. “The ‘look’ for ‘Daryl’ is rich in contrast while pulling out high end saturation, keeping it slightly off center with cyan shadows, while still keeping it naturalistic.”

The original show was mostly shot on 16mm film, and flashbacks to those moments require some added manipulation. “We do stray from that naturalistic look in scenes like the Demimonde or in flashbacks with more color saturation, as an ode to times before,” said Boyer. “We add a 35mm grain on the digital footage for 'Daryl' to pay homage to that look.”

Boyer finds certain tools in DaVinci Resolve Studio critical for creating the right look. “I lean on the custom curves in DaVinci Resolve pretty heavily for the look of the show,” said Boyer. “Low end contrast, taking down high end saturation, bending greens away from yellow and then a heavy desaturation on the green for a more dystopian feel. And of course lots of tracking windows and magic masks to fine tune the frame.”

From the beginning of the series Boyer could tell the imagery was going to be unique. “From episode 101 they set up the show perfectly with beautiful, sweeping images of a post apocalyptic France,” Boyer added. “I could tell the series was picking a very unique, wonderful style from day one on set, and I was excited to elaborate on that in the grade. David, Tomasso, Michel and Dan are all very involved with the color grade on the episodes. I find it very gratifying to be able to collaborate with such incredible artists.”

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