Rob Hardy, BSC and colourist Asa Shoul discuss how they achieved the visual aesthetic for Alex Garland’s series Devs

This Televisual film was shot two-camera in 4K and edited using extensive clips from the series. The film explores Rob Hardy, BSC’s influences and approach to cinematography, working with Director Alex Garland and how he shot Devs. Colourist Asa Shoul, from Warner Bros De Lane Lea, further outlines how he approached the HDR grade and how together they created a unique and defining look for the series.

Devs, for FX Networks, is cinematographer Rob Hardy, BSC and director Alex Garland’s third collaboration and first television project following feature films Ex Machina (2014) and Annihilation (2018). Rob Hardy, BSC is one of the UK’s most accomplished and admired cinematographers and won a BAFTA award for Best Photography and Lighting for feature film, Boy A (2007).

Devs is cinematically rich with a broad canvas of lighting and environment. Hardy uses multiple lighting set-ups throughout the series with very brightly lit daylight interiors and equally bright San Francisco exteriors with a soft contrast feel playing to the natural very bright light of the area. The Devs ‘Cube’ interiors on the other hand are very dark with bright gold panelling highlights and backgrounds and the exterior night time scenes are often only lit with available light sources. The series additionally includes majestic aerial scenes of San Francisco unusually coming out of the fog with extraordinarily subtle nuances in the mid-tones and the most effervescent and memorable night time aerial shots with exceptionally bright highlights that never seem to clip while retaining all of the details in the shadows.

Devs was shot over 100 days mainly on location in Northern California including a six-week studio shoot in Manchester and with a grading session that ran over two months in London.

Devs was shot on the Sony Venice with Panavision C Series anamorphic lenses using both the full size camera and Extension Unit. The film was graded in HDR by Asa Shoul at Warner Bros De Lane Lea on Baselight where Shoul tells us he was pushing and pulling the images and HDR far more than he would usually to further articulate Garland and Hardy’s vision. Sony kindly supported Televisual in making the film.

Rob Hardy, BSC and Asa Shoul’s collaboration includes:

The Invisible Woman (director, Ralph Fiennes, 2013)

Testament of Youth (director, James Kent, 2014)

Ex Machina (director, Alex Garland, 2015)

Annihilation (director, Alex Garland, 2018)

Mission Impossible – Fallout (director, Christopher McQuarrie, 2018)

Jon Creamer