TRACE

“ŚLAD” (“TRACE”) is the latest TV series from POLSAT, inspired by criminal productions such as CSI. To make “ŚLAD” visually different from traditional TV series, the Virtual Magic studio has developed a complete production workflow, based on professional Ursa Mini Pro 4.6K cameras along with full post-production created in the Davinci Resolve system. Thanks to this, the series will be look more like a cinema productions rather than a television production. The development of an appropriate style together with the image quality has had a large impact on the reception of the atmosphere in this criminal production. A large part of the series takes place in the modern environment of the Central Bureau of Investigation – CBI (PL: Centralnego Biura Śledczego – CWŚ.) For this purpose, a huge stage design was created covering an area of 800 m2. The creator of the set design is Daniel Zduńczyk, the owner of the Virtual Magic studio. The set design had to fulfil many important functions. Its main function was to be designed in such a way as to make it practically autonomous, in other words to perfectly illuminate the interior while at the same time accurately illuminate the actors acting in it. In order to achieve this we have developed a special virtual lighting model, taking into account the intensity, directions and appropriate colour temperature of the lights. We then applied this to real scenography. A total of 189 light sources were used, which can be freely arranged to match the requirements of the scenes.

The most difficult part of designing the set was the layout of its topology. The set design must be used for many episodes of the series and as a result must provide its operators with a wide range of possibilities. We solved this issue with the help of VR technology, which we utilised earlier on during our production of Lost Circus VR. Thanks to the VR headset, we could “enter” the set design and arrange virtual cameras with the appropriate lenses, as if we were doing it on a real movie set. This allowed us to arrange the layout of rooms and interior fittings in order to achieve the maximum amount of interesting shots. Around 120 key camera locations settings were created, which guaranteed that the set design would have many creative possibilities in planning shots for future operators. Thanks to the VR application created, the operators and directors could work on the set for a long period of time before it was actually built. Additionally, thanks to the development of appropriate lighting as well as planning reflections in glass elements, we managed to create high quality three-dimensional shots, which make the visual part of the studio series look very attractive.

Even furniture designs have been created in order to give the set design an original style. The final phase involved the selection of appropriate colours and materials for interior finishing. This was important as everything had to be in harmony with the actors’ costumes as well as provide great visual possibilities during the next post-production phase, i.e. colour grading, which also takes place in our studio. The entire process of advanced visualisation was also greatly facilitated by the actual construction phase of the set, which was created in just two months. Rafał Kaufhold, Jerzy Krzysztoń and Maja Zaleska were responsible for realising this phase of our vision.

The following phase consisted of creating the original opening title sequence, inspired by further scenarios. In its creation, we decided to combine film images and computer graphics, reflecting the full atmosphere of the series and what viewers can expect in the upcoming episodes. The first season of the series consists of 48 episodes.

Currently, Virtual Magic is still working on the visual quality of the series and the final colour grading, which is the culmination of the entire team of creators and actors working on the production. More information is available in the Colour Grading tab. Tako Media is the producer of this Polsat TV series.

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