• Professional Camera Solutions

VariCam 35 adds colour to BBC’s Broken

LA Production has used Panasonic’s VariCam 35 to exclusively shoot six-part BBC One drama Broken, featuring Sean Bean and Anna Friel, in and around the city of Liverpool, alongside the company’s post-production arm LA post


Created by screenwriter Jimmy McGovern and shot by LA Productions in Liverpool, Broken was first broadcasted in May 2017. The six-part drama series, shows the unflinching portrayals of modern British life, highlighting the colours of Northern England within a hard-hitting storyline.

Director of Photography Joel Devlin whose credits on VariCam include BBC’s 2015 series Dr Foster, as well as 2017 Channel 4 drama Born to Kill. “The colour aesthetic was one of the reasons I went with the VariCam. I was lucky enough to have used the camera on Doctor Foster, so had confidence in its abilities, which allowed me to spend less time testing for Broken’, he explained.

For visual inspiration, Devlin looked at photographers, in particular the work of American William Egglestone, who was prolific in the 1970s and 80s and focused on America's so called 'Bible belt' in the south and the midwest.

"They're similar communities to those covered in Broken, they're impoverished, they're feeling very distant from the mechanisms of society, and yet Egglestone photographed these communities in a very bright and colourful way," said Joel Devlin. "He celebrated light and colour in ordinary life and I really wanted to use that approach in Broken and stay away from the 'grim up north' pallete."

Working closely with rental provider Panavision, Joel used vintage ultraspeed lenses on the production - "There's a lot more drama out there, but there's not necessarily a lot more money around, so you're under a lot of pressure to shoot something high quality, fast. The technology allows us to do that, but it still has to be tempered against something that gives an artistically good look. From a cinematography point of view I think it's very important."

"Even though the low light capability may be the deciding factor on certain shoots, the VariCam also has an advantage in that it's a 4K camera. There are not a lot of cameras out there that will produce this kind of picture and do it in 4K. Capturing deliverables in 4K is also becoming more and more important."

"Like the old documentary VariCam from way back, it offers not just one thing, it offers a range of things that elevate it above its competitors and that's what I like about it."

Please note: All images © LA Productions Ltd. 

To view the full series for ‘Broken’ please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/group/b08s7nyz  

Read the full case study at https://business.panasonic.co.uk/professional-camera/force-download/120133/varicam-35-adds-colour-to-bbcs-broken.pdf 

Or view it via the link https://business.panasonic.co.uk/professional-camera/varicam-35-adds-colour-to-bbcs-broken 

For more information on Panasonic Broadcast & ProAV, please visit https://business.panasonic.eu/broadcast-and-proav