Sunday, December 2, 2012

The King's Fog Machine

by Drew Martin
I am writing this on a foggy Sunday morning. The row of arborvitae outside my window are deep green but the buildings and trees beyond them fade into a cool gray world. The fog is appropriate because that is what I want to write about.

Last night, I watched The King's Speech. This 2010 film, set in pre-WWII England, shows us a stammering King George VI who relies on an eccentric Australian speech therapist to help him make his first radio broadcast on Britain's declaration of war on Germany. It is a wonderful film that was nominated for 12 Oscars and awarded the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay. The British Stammering Association applauded the film and said it was a "realistic depiction of the frustration and the fear of speaking faced by people who stammer on a daily basis".

Because of the nature of this blog, one would think I would be interested in the media details of the film, or some cross reference to the arts, but what caught my eye was the ubiquitous heavy air that fills almost every interior set and exterior shot. There is an intersting set of photos from the making of the film, which shows everything from the fog machines that were used, to red fiberglass period-telephone booth facades covering the modern parking meters. There is also a set of building-size period adverts that caught my eye in the film. Click here to view the Flickr gallery: The King's Speech, Filming, Southwark, London.

Additionally, there is a technical write up on the FilmLight website about how the smoke, fog, and mist were added in post-production. Click here to read the case study: The King's Speech: Molinare DI Colourist Gareth Spensley uses Baselight to help Tom Hooper perfect the details of a modern classic.