Prime Focus has teamed up with TV production company Nutopia and the History Channel to post an epic 12-part series titled 'America The Story of Us', an overview of the history of America from the pilgrims to President Obama. The series is being described as the first comprehensive television history of the country since Alistair Cooke's 1972 series 'America: A Personal History of the United States'. The first episode on April 25th will be introduced by President Obama who will tell viewers that an examination of the turning points in the nation's history "remind us that our American story has never been inevitable." Click here to view the introduction.
'America The Story of Us' tells the extraordinary story of how America has evolved, using CGI animation, dramatic recreations and thoughtful insights from some of America's most respected artists, business leaders, academics and intellectuals. It is an in-depth look at the people, places and things that have shaped the nation, and the tough and thrilling adventure that is America's 400-year history.
Post production work was completed at Prime Focus using their facilities in New York and London. Work included grade, audio and online. Elements of the post process were managed through the use of CLEAR™, the proprietary content and workflow management platform from Prime Focus, which was used to simplify communication and send information and content between London and NY. CLEAR™ also came to the rescue when due to volcanic dust affecting European airspace; two episodes were sent electronically across the Atlantic to be played out and delivered to the History Channel.
Richard Fearon, who graded the series along with fellow colourist Graeme Hayes, said: "We started out trying to come up with a series look, but we very quickly found that the grade for the early settlement section, for example, wouldn't fit in with the look back at the 1929 Wall St crash. Therefore the grade evolved depending on what was going on in the story, which is nice as it allows you to have different looks within each episode."
Richard adds "The reconstruction scenes are nicely shot; there is a lot of production value in them. Then there are the talking heads. The contrast between the two is interesting, and it makes the drama stand out a lot more. Your eye gets used to how you’ve graded a certain section and I'm sure that it's the same for the viewer, you almost forget that the grade is there because you're engrossed in what is going on and then when it cuts to a talking head you are reminded that the drama is quite different."
Prime Focus' Phitz Hearne, Rada Danilovic and Alex Bingham were responsible for the audio work including mixing and sound design. "There was a lot of sound design required for the dramatic reconstructions so we sourced a lot of sound effects that are of the time, such as British canons and muskets for the battle scenes" said Phitz.
The online work was completed by Ronnie Newman and Alex Pickering, and it was post produced by Juliet Gonsalves, Will Garbutt and Louisa Sutherland-Smith in London and Mary Martin in New York. Sara Hill was the Post Production Executive. Read the Case Study on 'America The Story of Us' here.
Project: America The Story of Us
Broadcaster: The History Channel US
Executive Producer: Jane Root
Production Manager: Ceri Smith
Post Production Manager: Peter Miller
Series Producer: Kathryn Taylor
Series Editor: Ben Goold
Post Production: Prime Focus
Colourists: Richard Fearon, Graeme Hayes
Online Editor: Ronnie Newman, Alex Pickering
Audio: Phitz Hearne, Rada Danilovic, Alex Bingham, Anthony Faust
Post Producers: Juliet Gonsalves, Will Garbutt, Louisa Sutherland-Smith, Mary Martin
Production Assistant: Dominic Roberts
Post Production Executive: Sara Hill