The sixth season of the reality drama “Selling Sunset”, which is known for its beautiful images and glamor, was recently released on Netflix. Depicting the day-to-day events and incidents of The Oppenheim Group, a leading real estate firm, the film reflects the Los Angeles real estate market and the luxurious lives of realtors and wealthy clients. According to Blackmagic Design, to create the unique look for the second season of the show, co-creator Joe Eckardt of Unbreakable Post and colorist Aleks Ver used DaVinci Resolve Studio editing, grading, VFX and audio post-production software to perform a variety of tasks.
Eckardt, who has been involved with the show since the first season, wanted to simplify the post-production process.
Eckardt: The goal was to be able to finish and deliver shows in-house rather than outsourcing to a third party.
Netflix has been very supportive, allowing us to build a workflow that accommodates the complex needs and schedules of our shows.
Once an episode is edited, Eckardt, who also works as an online editor, conforms the project in DaVinci Resolve Studio and hands it over to Barr, who does the grading. Like Eckardt, Aleks Ver, who has been involved with the film since the first season, evolved the workflow and grading to further refine the look of the film.
Ver: The first season was SDR only. By the time we got to the 4th and 5th seasons, we moved to Dolby Vision HDR. We built a workflow based on ACEScct in Resolve to support various camera formats and streamline IMF delivery.
The film’s sophisticated look was crafted by Aleks Ver in his grading.
Ver: I created a hook curve with an 80% luminance point and a 100% luminance rolloff. This will raise the mid/high portion of the image without clipping it. The node structure is fixed and we never change it. Each scene has its own group. This allows me and my assistant Alexandra Makarenko to apply quick color changes to entire groups when an entire scene needs to be warmed or cooled or lightened or darkened.
He also softens the skin in each shot using DaVinci Resolve Studio’s built-in texture pop OFX.
The biggest challenge, he says, is the bright sunlight in Southern California.
Aleks Ver: Interviews, drone shots, and indoor scenes with bright windows take the longest.
To accomplish this, the highlights globally for these shots, then use the Highlight Tool at -100 and use the Soft Luminance Qualifier to reduce the brightness of bright objects as needed.
After grading, Eckhart applies noise reduction shot by shot.
Aleks Ver: Applying noise reduction to about 900 shots in each episode is very time consuming, but well worth the effort in getting the episode to perfection.
Combining this with Ver’s grading gives a gorgeous, glossy and glowing look.
Back online, VFX artist Ryan Moser uses Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Studio’s Fusion tool to paint over unwanted elements in the shot.
For Ver and Eckardt, the ultimate payoff is producing quality work and seeing how audiences, including other filmmakers, react to it.
Eckardt: The happiest moments are when other shows contact us for color grading like “Selling Sunset.” It’s really nice to know that other producers have noticed the quality of our work and shows, and are demanding the same level of quality in what they’re making.