The Guardian shines a light on the Swedish series ‘Before We Die’

‘Before We Die’ is an emotional och unpredictable drama thriller about fragile family constellations, dangerous love and a brutal fight of power in the world down under. The police officer Hanna Svensson uses her own son Christian to infiltrate a criminal organization, she initiates a relationship with her colleague Sven who soon is kidnapped and her son is arrested for drug use. And also, who are the Mimicas family, the family with really strong bonds that seem to be planning a takeover of the underworld? Are they somehow connected to the disappearance of Sven or Christians arrest? The Guardian ties the Gordian Knot by giving the series well deserved attention and writing this amazing article!

The gray and gloomy Sweden

The article in The Guardian deals with everything from Swedish clichés, such as typical Swedish names and phenomena, to why the weather always seem to be so gloomy and gray in the North. Chimney has worked on all postproduction for ‘Before We Die’. We had a quick chat with our colorist Carl Skaff who raises the importance of using your working tools just right to achieve outstanding colors when creating the perfect melancholic look.

– Working together with all the different photographers was really developing. To find a certain look with a color palette that fits the story, location and material is always a fun part of the job. Having lots of low-key and dark scenes, especially in the beginning, required a gentle touch on the contrast controls not to lose the definition and characters, says Carl.

One of the characters – a phone

The process of ‘grading’ a film, also known as ‘timing’ or ‘color correction’, is the process where the colorist goes through the material shot by shot and configure the balance of color in each shot. The grading of a video production can set the tone for the whole production.

Carl, how did you experience grading ‘Before We Die’?

– I really enjoyed it! With a ten hour project like this, being shot over a long time, one big challenge was the weather and how to make the storyline feel smooth. Apart from the normal task of matching skin tones, I was very surprised to discover that one character basically was a phone! With hundreds of text messages that builds up the story, the producer and I noticed how important it was to make sure that the viewer looked at the screen just as if it was the face of an actor. That, together with having to adjust the text on the phone, made us push the boundaries between grade and VFX.

As The Guardian said in their article, which we agree on, is that we can easily state that Sweden is good at producing dark crime drama. The Nordic touch together with corrupted moles, great acting and complex relationships seem to be a winner.

Do you wanna know more about Hanna, The Mimicas and Christian’s complex thrilling life, don’t miss the article in The Guardian. You can find it here. ‘Before We Die’ was broadcasted in Sweden last spring and is now available for streaming on SVT Play.

Photo: SVT