World War II: From The Front Lines


World War II: From The Front Lines

‘World War II: From the Frontlines’ is a moving and innovative six part documentary series from 72 Films which plunges the viewer directly onto the frontlines of WW2 in a totally new way. Spectacular and rare original film footage, much of it shot by the soldiers themselves, has been restored, colourised, sound designed and repackaged in UHD HDR to create a truly immersive cinematic experience. Featuring powerful first-person stories told by the men and women who fought on all sides of the global conflict.
Halo provided full picture post production.

Senior Colourist, Duncan Russell says, “This show was propelled by an outrageous ambition, to run both colour and colourized footage together, in UHD and HDR to tell the story of WW2 in a new, cinematic way.
As colourist I was tasked with finding a way to blend footage from wildly different sources. We had shaky, combat material from a camera bolted to a spitfire at the battle of Britain, we had beautiful soviet propaganda films, home movies, newsreels and interviews with participants that were shot on TV cameras back in the nineties.
Sometimes the footage was so beaten up that the colourisation process could barely find an edge to grab onto. In these cases it was necessary to break up the digital colours, which could be a little simplistic. Using film emulation profiles, and some good old fashioned ‘grading’, we re-aged the digitally enhanced images so that they sat down more comfortably with their real colour siblings. This gave us an opportunity to use different colour palettes for various parts of the world. Northern Europe was desaturated, bleak and gloomy, the Pacific was vibrant and lush while the Mediterranean was dusty and golden. These palettes helped not only to blend all the different sources together, but to help convey a sense that this war was fought on a global, epic scale.
Initially we had trouble finding a way to handle this material in HDR, it didn’t seem right to crank up the brightness and saturation just because we could. Instead, we held back, only ‘going big’ when it was going to yield the maximum response. The fire bombing of Dresden and Hamburg, for example is transformed from blurry black and white, into an impressionistic vision of hell. You can almost feel the heat from the intensity of the explosions, it’s terrifying.
On top of that, the combination of digital restoration, the colourization, the high resolution and the power of HDR creates a fresh experience that has so much impact. It no longer seems like ancient history, but something that happened to people just like us, and there is a great lesson in that.

Exec Producer, David Glover wanted to present this project from the ground up, from the perspective of soldiers and civilians on all sides. It was a huge privilege to breathe life into the footage and contribute to the telling of this vital story.

Exec Producers: David Glover & Mark Raphael
Director: Rob Coldstream
Colourist: Duncan Russell
Online Flame Editor: Tom Young
Post Producer: Stephen Morrison
Sales Exec: Will Garbutt

‘World War II: From The Front Lines’ is available on NETFLIX from 11th Dec

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