Colourists Jean-Clément Soret and Matthieu Toullet talk about grading the series with the DoPs on Baselight, from continuity challenges to relying on a LUT, to finding the look for every scene

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The 2024 Netflix series The Gentlemen was created by Guy Ritchie as a spin-off to his 2019 film of the same name. The show features Eddie Horniman, an Army officer who inherits his family's estate and discovers it houses a large-scale cannabis operation. This unexpected inheritance plunges him into the world of organised crime and complex family dynamics.

As the series progressed, photography moved between three cinematographers – Ed Wild, BSC on episodes 1 and 2, DoP Bjorn Charpentier for episodes 3 and 4 and DoP Callan Green for episodes 5 to 8. The colour for the series was completed on Baselight by colourists at Company 3Jean-Clément Soret on the first three episodes and Matthieu Toullet for episodes 4 to 8.

“At the time, The Gentlemen was the second project I had worked on with Guy,” said Ed Wild. “The Covenant was the first. So, we shared a kind of common language by the time we started The Gentlemen.”

He had also worked with colourist Jean-Clément Soret before, on the series Black Mirror. “When Jean-Clément became available, I was very excited as he understands the subtleties I was looking for,” Ed said. “Jean-Clément is an artist whose work is subtle and unique and above all sensitive to the context and content. He is also a machine – tirelessly focused all day. Not an easy thing to be as a colourist, but essential on these fast TV grades.”

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Jean-Clément led the way as the primary colourist, collaborating closely with Ed and Guy to establish the visual aesthetic for the first three episodes. Colourist Matthieu Toullet, his colleague from Company 3 who took over the grade from episode 4, noted that he and Jean- Clément had been working together for over a decade. “This makes our collaboration feel effortless, similar to playing a piano with four hands,” Matthieu said.

Strong Vision

Although the series followed the 2019 film, it had quite a different focus and the team wanted to develop a rich, luxurious look for the series.

“It’s quite a heightened view of society, in a fun way,” said Ed. “We wanted to push the frames and lighting in the same way Guy pushed the characters and plot. Guy is very bold and committed in all his choices on The Gentlemen series and he wanted the cinematography to be the same.”

Steering away from heavy look grades, Ed prefers to shoot what’s in front of him and light the scene how it is intended to be seen. “For me, the collaboration with the production designer Martyn John and LouLou Bontemps, the costume designer, is key to achieving the look in camera with honesty,” he said. “Early on we each share our mood boards and discuss freely what we think while remaining respectful to each other’s crafts.

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“I think great images can only come from a strong single vision that’s driven by the director and followed through and enhanced by the department heads. The joy of a Guy Richie project is that every single department is on point, making the same film. They all feel informed enough to be bold in their choices, within that environment, and push their craft.”

Defining a Colour Space

Jean-Clément was delighted when Ed invited him to work on the series with him. He said, “Ed contacted me way before the shoot with some strong visual references and we used some test images and material to build a LUT. It was good to be involved in the early stages of the collaboration and to talk a little during the shoot as well.” He used Baselight to create the LUT, defining a colour space that worked with the look they were aiming for.

“It’s a fairly simple process,” he commented. “It’s largely trial and error, adding a bit of this and a bit of that – like adding salt and pepper – until you have something that works for every possible situation. It can’t be as refined as a proper grade, but it’s a base which avoids some colours and increases others.”

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“I always try to create a single LUT with the colourist in prep,” said Ed. “It needs to be simple, keep consistency and be as close to intent as possible. I think it’s important for the edit to have the look and feel as close to finished as possible so the production can react as instinctively as possible to the content rather than guessing what it will look like when it’s graded and bedded in.


“Jean-Clément and Company 3 did a brilliant job with this, getting the show 90 percent there with the LUT. That is a hard thing to achieve, but Jean-Clément has such technical skill. He can place the black in such a subtle way where there is a black, but it falls softly to it. He loves skin as I do, which is not a given, and he understands balance of colour within a frame without creating a look.”

Managing Weather

Jean-Clément continued to work directly with Guy and Ed on episodes 1 and 2, aiming to create a bold look with heavy contrast, a strong saturation and copper skin tones. He said, “We wanted one consistent look for the series, to give it a strong identity. Guy really trusts his DoP, so I worked closely with Ed in order to get the grade to a comfortable place by the time Guy came in to give feedback.”

He utilised tools in Baselight to create the look, including the film grain. “I like the grain in Baselight. It’s a very good digital emulation, and as it’s in the timeline, you can do it on a shot-by-shot basis. By adding to the highlights or the lowlights, you can create an over-exposed or under-exposed effect.”

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One of Jean-Clément’s main challenges in the grade was dealing with weather conditions and balancing exterior light.

“It’s the usual thing, where the weather goes up and down and a scene or sequence is shot a bit too early or a bit too late,” he said. “Ed works very precisely so all the interior scenes were an absolute joy to work on. The exterior brings the constraints of production, meaning they must shoot even if the light is too high or too low. Then it’s up to the colourist to repair the variations.”

A Rich Tapestry

Jean-Clément also worked on episode 3, to create a bridge between the two pilots and to ensure some consistency on the following episode, which had a new director and DoP. They wanted to make sure Matthieu, who took over the grade from that point, had a good base to continue with.

“The aristocratic world conjures images of ancient manors, centuries-old paintings, and a rich tapestry of dynastic heritage,” said Matthieu. “Translated into colour, it should be characterised by deep, rich tones embedded with a pinch of darkness and dustiness.”

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Aware that every DoP, director and colourist brings their own creativity, he worked hard to ensure consistency. He said, “On one hand, the diverse creative styles of each individual can lead to a varied, engaging visual experience for viewers. But maintaining a level of continuity across the episodes, to keep the focus on the story, can be a challenge. Communication and collaboration become paramount to aligning creative visions.”

Initially they would start with a first pass, exchanging ideas on the direction and exploring different options. After reviewing the episode, they would incorporate feedback to refine specific shots or scenes. Finally, they would thoroughly review the episode again, to address any remaining notes. Matthieu said, “I like to think of this process as sanding with different grades of sandpaper, gradually refining the final product.”

Going Underground

He found one of the most challenging scenes took place in the underground carpark. “When DoP Callan Green and I arrived at this scene, we were somewhat perplexed,” he said. “Applying the show LUT to it gave a very cold, monochromatic result, which didn't quite complement the pre- and post-scenes. We tried several tints and contrasts, but the scene still lacked richness.

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“Out of curiosity, we decided to treat it completely opposite to its initial direction by warming it up radically. All the colours took on an extra dimension, creating colours that hadn't existed originally. The highlights revealed a beautifully radiant sun-kissed effect, while all the shadows absorbed a nice colour palette ranging from green to blue and turquoise. These happy experiments remain truly memorable moments.

“I'm incredibly proud to have been a part of The Gentlemen,” Matthieu remarked. “But, if I had to choose, I'd say that episode 6, a pivotal moment in the series, is my personal favourite. The boxing scene is simply incredible. Callan Green, the DoP, and Eran Creevy, the director, turned it into an epic moment, and grading it was an absolute pleasure. When I applied the grade to each shot, it was surreal how everything aligned perfectly.”