Providing The Background Reality For Anthony’s Flat In The Father

In the Academy Award®-winning feature film The Father, the audience is confronted with the trauma of memory loss and Alzheimer’s as they follow the life of Anthony, played by Anthony Hopkins. The Father was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Production Design because the setting – Anthony’s flat in particular – played such an integral role in the narrative of the film. Rosco is proud to have provided a SoftDrop for Production Designer Peter Francis’ vision. We are honored that he and his team relied on Rosco to help integrate the backdrop into his production design. In the video below, the filmmakers share the benefits that their Rosco SoftDrop provided as they created the background imagery for “Anthony’s flat” in the film.

Rosco became a member of the filmmaking team for The Father and assisted in many aspects of the backdrop to help make their set design a reality. Sarah Horton, Rosco’s Digital Imaging Backdrop Specialist, was brought into the project at the very beginning. Throughout the process, Sarah made use of her previous experience as an art director to advise on how the Custom Roco SoftDrop could fit into the overall set design for “Anthony’s flat.”

Creating The Image File
Rosco's Sarah Horton - three stories up - shooting the original photos that would be used to create the background imagery for The Father.

Once the production had chosen the street that would serve as the background, Sarah shot the photos that would be used to build the day/night image file. Due to the script, which placed Anthony’s flat on the third floor, photography had to be from a scissor-lift that moved through multiple positions at the residential London location.

The first layout established the scale, crop, and horizon line of the backdrop image. Once those aspects had been approved by Peter Francis and Director of Photography Ben Smithard BSC, the team at Rosco Digital Imaging continued to refine the image over several passes.

Working in a close collaborative process with the filmmakers, the RDI team incorporated their feedback to remove trees and add more illuminated windows into the night image. They also replaced the sky in both the day and night files to create an optimized version that would provide the greatest flexibility for various lighting setups in the studio.

A subtle blur filter was applied in order to provide the proper depth-of-field for the background imagery in The Father.

(Click on the image to see a larger version of the image)

Working with Francis, Smithard, and Art Director Astrid Sieben, Sarah and the Rosco team provided consultation along the entire development process. This ensured that revisions to the image could be tested using the 3D set model prior to finalization. It also enabled the camera department to examine the depth of field/blur filter that was applied to the final version to make sure it worked well with the camera settings.

The final background imagery file used to print the Rosco SoftDrop.

The final image file used to print the custom 16’5”H x 110’W Day/Night SoftDrop for The Father.

Installing The SoftDrop

Rosco SoftDrop offers flexibility for filmmakers that need to create background imagery in tight spaces. This was recognized by Construction Manager Warren Lever, who first recommended SoftDrop due to the small space available behind the drop for backlighting.

Once the SoftDrop was printed and delivered to the studio, it was hung behind two sides of the set with a curve in the middle. The image file was built to accommodate a natural break in the architecture. This enabled the 110ft wide backdrop to seamlessly wrap around two sides of “Anthony’s flat.”

A Rosco SoftDrop hangs behind the "Anthony's Flat" set to provide the background imagery for The Father.

If you’d like to see the Day/Night SoftDrop at work – as well as Anthony Hopkins’ Academy Award-winning performance in The Father – the film is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, and FandangoNOW. It will also be available in cinemas for UK viewers beginning on June 11, 2021.

A look at how the Day/Night SoftDrop provided the background imagery for The Father - for daytime, nighttime and dawn/dusk scenes.

If you’d like to learn more about SoftDrop for your upcoming production, visit the Custom SoftDrop page on our website. It’s also worth noting that the SoftDrop created for The Father is now one of the many backdrops we have available in our rental inventory. Please, contact us with any questions you may have.

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About Lauren Proud

Marketing Director: Lauren Proud has been with Rosco Laboratories since May, 2014. Coming from outside of the entertainment lighting industry, Lauren brings a unique perspective to all things Marketing at Rosco. Her background includes growing up in a household where her father was a Creative Director, and her mother was a Photographer and Illustrator’s Representative, so marketing was in her sights from an early age. Having worked with iconic brands such as Campbell Soup Company and British Airways, Lauren is well-positioned to write for Spectrum about the dynamic world of Marketing at Rosco.