As they began work on the HBO production Divorce, production designer Stuart Wurtzel and art director Fredda Slavin found themselves facing a challenge. They needed to create a set of backdrops that matched the wintry look that had been established in the pilot – which was shot eight months earlier. Drawing on his long history of collaboration with Rosco, and his first-hand knowledge of the capabilities of Rosco Digital Imaging, Stuart knew where to go to get the backdrops he needed.
The original location was a residence in Hastings, NY with views overlooking the Hudson River, the Palisades to the west, and neighboring houses to the south. Due to the late arrival of fall, there was still heavy leaf cover on the trees when the photography team arrived on-site to shoot imagery for the backdrops. This restricted the lines of sight in every direction, making consistent imagery – and continuity with the pilot episode – next to impossible. Two days of shooting were required to achieve the right combination of lighting conditions for the views that needed to be captured. Single point of view shots from the location were taken to set the scale and perspective of the required drops. These images were then joined by a much larger number of images from sub-locations around the house (and, in fact, from the entire neighborhood!).
The actual POVs from the house were used to create an overall skeletal layout for two Rosco SoftDrops that would be created for the shoot. Onto these were layered “clear” shots of each element, taken from positions that were unobstructed by vegetation or architecture. Over and around this were placed bare branch trees and shrubs to simulate the location’s look from the previous February, along with grass taken from a nearby neighbor’s yard. The next layer was a driveway, created from scratch by the Rosco Digital Imaging team. Finally, a light dusting of snow was applied to every element. Stuart was fully involved with each step of the process applying his renowned attention to detail.
The results were two 80’ x 20’ SoftDrops – each of which reproduced, with remarkable finesse, the look of the previous winter on the Divorce set. Wurtzel claimed “…it was masterful!!! People couldn’t believe from where it started.” Rosco’s Digital Imaging team is capable of creating almost any digital image for your project requirements.
Be sure to watch HBO’s Divorce to see our SoftDrops in action! If you’ve got a project coming up that needs backdrops, contact us to see how easy it is to integrate a Rosco SoftDrop onto the set of your next production.