Aired in 2016, “Drama-W COLD CASE JAPAN” (WOWOW) was awarded the special award at the 2017 Tokyo Drama Awards . One of the reasons they won the award was the quality of their video. Kosuke Yamada, who was responsible for shooting, also known for his work in the film, “Shin Godzilla,” and the IMAGICA staff who worked on post-production had a dialogue on the joy of winning the award and what went on behind the scenes of the production.
With recognition for their new challenge, they delight in winning the award
I mainly work on films, and this is my third TV series with the other two also being WOWOW works. We began with the goal of creating in 4K and HDR. Having taken on such as risk, doing things that we wouldn’t have normally done, it feels even better knowing that our videos achieved recognition.
Tomohito Kanamaru (IMAGICA Shooting & Ingest Group, Production Department, Movie Production Division)
I was in charge of the camera, lense, and equipment coordinating. Films used to be at the forefront of video technologies. But now, TV series are leading in terms of technologies. In such a situation, I had given my all to the TV series all in 4K and HDR, so I feel very happy to be receiving this award.
Tetsuji Yamashita IMAGICA Data Imaging Group, Production Department, Movie Production Division)
I was responsible for coloring grading. It is what determines the look of the video. It was the TV series that took on a new challenge where there was not much information compared to now. How far can we make a world we have never seen before with 4K and HDR? It was a project that widened and changed the possibilities of videography, so I am very honored to have received this award.
Challenges and Hardships in Creating Work in 4K and HDR
My role was to put forward cameras that I deemed fit for the work. I wanted them to use the newest camera at the time for their task in filming in 4K and HDR. A camera that has not been put on the market in Japan, Weapon Dragon from Red. This work had a slow motion part at the end, and I thought of this camera for filming high speed in 4K.
My first impression of filming with this camera is that it was like a wild horse. In terms of color replication, it is a camera that does not replicate color accurately. But I thought that it had great potential. So, I wanted to tame this wild horse. It began from creating a look for the work with Mr. Yamashita towards the video we imagined. This work is a remake of an American TV series. But I decided to not think too much about the original work. A cool but still very human look,the contrast between the darkness of the accidents and the human subtleties,how to express these in a picture was a challenge for us.
I have felt Mr. Yamada’s strong desire to make an impact because this is the first time shooting with this camera. So I wanted to help that. I talked with Mr. Yamada about in which direction to take the looks and how to create the perspective for the video as well as what to do about the colors.
After deciding that we were going to film in 4K and HDR, I have watched a lot of demos, but what I was curious about is how that texture was going to turn out as a TV series. For video technologies to improve further and monitors to evolve to become closer to the human vision is where the world is going, I think. But I always end up thinking about if people are looking for something so real in TV series. This time again, the problems were how much reality we were going to retain while still creating a look for the work. I had the most difficulty—or I placed the most importance—on creating a look for a perspective of the TV series in which the audience can immerse themselves.
When filmed in 4K, it ends up looking too real. It’s a look that we refer to as raw. Because it is a technology that pursues reality, it of course looks raw, but we have to keep it to where it is just right. Mr. Yamada was also looking for a calm texture in the video. We needed a form where we could express as a specific tone. We discussed as we went to settle that.
The key for success derived from trial and error
To solve unsolved cases is the concept of this drama. It always involves scenes where it flashes back to the past. I wanted to treat it right. Although it goes back and forth between the past and the present, it goes back to different points in the past. In regular films, there is a method where it uses a specific taste to make it easier to understand that it is flashing back to the past. We made each look referring to each point in time to show the picture of that time. It was a lot of work but extraordinary fun.
Now that I think about it, I am impressed that we made it that far before starting to shoot. It is hard to go that far.
So, we decided to use the 16 mm film for flash backs. I think it went extremely well. We were able to express the texture of the film digitally. We fully utilized the ability of 4K scanning for 16 mm film.
It was probably good that we shoot with master prime lenses.. It has the highest resolution in the lenses that are available today. We used it for the 16 mm film. I don’t think anyone would do it. It is actually the lenses for 35 mm film.
It really doesn’t feel like a 16 mm film. There is a surprise that I have never seen any picture like that from a 16 mm film. I’m sure everyone has an image of how a film looks, but there is a texture that no one has ever seen before. After this work, I now know that at this technical level, we can now make so much out of the films.
The last struggle in high-definition video work—Color Grading
A great thing about WOWOW production is that after the filming comes post-production. Filming and editing at the same time would be a lot of work for the director alone. Being able to take a process like a film production is impressive. We were given time to do the color grading for all schenes at once and that helped me a lot. First, shoot. And then color grading would be my last struggle.
Color grading is a repetition of saying, “Something is not right.” There is a clear path—a vision—that we need to follow. Color grading involves going towards the goal while senses what is different. Being on the same page with Mr. Yamada in terms of how we sensed the video was important in this process.
Recently, the need for color grading has been growing. First of all, grading is uncommon in TV series. It is common to film. In TV series, put together, and air as it is. WOWOW requires a much higher technique. Because there is a desire to create a good picture, the process involves color grading. It is possible because it is WOWOW, and the producers understand everything. I am thankful because IMAGICA can improve our technique through these kinds of works. Mr. Yamada, IMAGICA, and WOWOW made a good team.
A sequel has been decided—Going out to the world with this team
There was a talk about a sequel, so I feel like it is finally here. I know that we had to top this one. So we will keep the 4K and HDR as a base, but it will be about what is beyond that. The strength of this work is that we can create flashback scenes for each of the 10 episodes.So we have to start thinking about that from now. We might use a 35 mm film and scan in high resolution. It’s work we can experiment with. It opens up many possibilities, so I am looking forward to doing new things.
The people involved in this work have a common goal of creating something we have never seen before, so we want to bring out a different atmosphere and amaze the audience. We want to make a strong impact. What kind of technologies we will use will be decided from here on.
I want to level up technically from the previous work. I am thinking of giving them the best camera they can get. Producer Okano of this work is saying that we will go international with this work. We decided on a Part 2 as well.
Videos depend on people’s memories. What I saw might be from a past film. I believe that depending on the era, what videos are to people are different. For young people, 4K and HDR might not be so special. I feel responsible about that situation, but at the same time, I am looking forward to it. Facing new technologies and believing in my senses, I want to make new videos that will become people’s memories of what videos are.
TV Series Information
WOWOW “Drama-W COLD CASE JAPAN Season 2”
Schedule to be aired in 2018 on WOWOW Prime
Director: Takafumi Hatano (“SP” Series, ” Drama-W Kageriyuku Natsu”)
Cast: Yo Yoshida, Kento Nagayama, Kenichi Takito, Ken Mitsuishi, Tomokazu Miura
“Drama-W COLD CASE JAPAN”
Blu-ray & DVD are now on sale
Distributor: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
© WOWOW／Warner Bros. Intl TV Production
＊The COVER STORY is the one before the merger to IMAGICA Lab.Inc.. The company name in the text is when we have interviewed.