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Old September 26th, 2012, 01:06 PM   #1
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New season of Key & Peele!

Tonight, the new season of "Key & Peele" premieres on Comedy Central, at 10:30/9:30C for a ten-episode run.

For those who may not be familiar with the show, it's a sketch comedy premise with an accent on high production values and a cinematic feel. Our daunting challenge is to achieve this on a basic-cable budget; my colleagues in the art, makeup, hair and wardrobe departments hit it out of the park every time, along with our talented and tireless director Peter Atencio. A sampling of last year's sketches can be seen here.

For this season we moved from the F3 to the Alexa, which gave us more exposure headroom and streamlined our workflow--the post department was VERY pleased to receive footage already in ProRes422HQ rather than last year's XDCAM which had to then be transcoded. We also debuted my DIT's super-cart, which featured HDLINK Pro's controlled by Livegrade for on-set LUT building. The LUT's were applied for dailies and editing and we are just now doing the final color correction using the LUT's as reference. Each of the 68 sketches we shot this year have a unique look and it has been very beneficial to have these (or an approximation therof) in place from the moment of shooting.

While my G/E crew was sizable by indie standards (full-time 5+5, with additionals as required), it was still slightly undersize compared to network shows that largely shoot on stage--we shoot 100% on location, sometimes with multiple company moves in a day. Our HMI package had two 6K pars and two M18's plus some Jokers, and we brought in 18K's for a week on the Universal backlot. Tungsten up to 5K with a couple of Ruby 7's and the usual assortment of smaller units, plus lots of PAR cans for daylight hits and accents, Source 4's in both tungsten and JoLeko configurations, Kinos and Parabeams and covered wagons.

Camera-wise, the Alexas were fitted with the 18-80 and 45-250 Alura zooms and the 16-42 and 30-80 Optimo DP's. Very little specialty gear this year, although for one sketch that is supposed to be home video footage from the 80's, I used a period video camera originally owned by our very own Lorinda Norton. That was a lot of fun and the look is amazing--it feels very much like found footage! We got the C300 for one sketch as a third body but never had the chance to shoot anything on it, sadly. We shot the stage wraparounds on five F800's recording to XDCAM disc.

Will be happy to hear your thoughts on the show, good bad or indifferent.
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Old September 26th, 2012, 02:07 PM   #2
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Re: New season of Key & Peele!

Thanks for the write up Charles, very interesting. The sketches from last season were great!

Any chance of seeing the show in the UK?
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Old September 26th, 2012, 02:34 PM   #3
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Re: New season of Key & Peele!

Charles,
If someone from another planet just happened to swing by and read your post, they might think you were trying to speak their langugage. What with the LUTs, EXCAM, PRORES HQ, HMI,pars, HDLink, Ruby7s, Parabeams and Covered Wagons they (the aliens) might just pack up and leave our planet ;-)

I love reading your posts about the tech side of something so different from what I do...and even though I've done live TV work I'm simply a camera operator and listening to the director. reading up on your adventures is always a pleasure!
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Old September 26th, 2012, 02:57 PM   #4
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Re: New season of Key & Peele!

Hi Charles, not to dull the party but the shooter sketch is off the mark down here.

Guns are banned in Oz and for the first time here in Sydney, there's idiots shooting up houses now almost every night out in the suburbs.
The news says they're drug related, but soon we all expect an innocent passerby will get killed.

Seeing we know someone on the show :) I'd like to see the series but I don't believe we'll see that sketch on local cable.
Apart from that .. great insights on the current state of the art, thanks.

Cheers.
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Old September 26th, 2012, 03:00 PM   #5
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Re: New season of Key & Peele!

Haha Don, I think every industry that has a technical side is full of jargon--certainly broadcast is no slouch when it comes to that! My occasional times working on a live broadcast crew I had to fake my way through that stuff...

The amazing thing about the internet of course is that anyone can just do a search and instantly learn what any unfamiliar phrases are.

These days I have to work hard to keep up with the latest in camera technology, a little less hard in lighting tech (although the new units are coming out thick and fast these days) but fortunately, grip is a slow-moving target!


Mike: Thanks! I don't know what the plan for the UK (or other countries outside US) broadcast run is at this point. The episodes are available for download though...? So hard to know how this all works these days.
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Old September 26th, 2012, 03:08 PM   #6
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Re: New season of Key & Peele!

Allan: I'm guessing you are referring to "What's the Joke"?

To be honest, the brutality of the opening of that sketch has always surprised me a little, although it does set up the style that we are parodying (cold blooded killers laughing diabolically). It's tame compared to the typical shoot-em-up action movie with double digit body counts, but somewhat unexpected in a comedy show to be sure.

Does Australian TV censor this sort of thing as a rule, or is there a movement to do so?

Left up to me, I'd be fine with less guns and more nudity! Huzzahs!
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Old September 26th, 2012, 09:44 PM   #7
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Re: New season of Key & Peele!

Hi Charles, yes 'What's the Joke' (cracker camera btw). And on a comedy show, it shocked me a little as that's how I imagine our current drug shootings.

Each Aust TV network previews/censors all its own material before transmission (or they're supposed to) and there's a Commonwealth censor for movies and TV. The new age lot on live TV run into trouble but as they're kids it blows over.

When I worked at NBN Newcastle here, we got a red flag for some mildy rude live stuff and if we got 3 flags we were off the air for a time .. I think that's still in effect.

I know some folks at Fox here and imo if they knew WTJ was coming in a package they'd bought, they'd probably assign an upper level crew to preview everything.

And if WTJ did get on air here, I'm afaid the viewer uproar would echo back to your guys with lines like 'what the hells that noise? :)

But Aussies are generally not prudes, I've seen O/S visitors on Bondi Beach aghast at the bikini babes and we have a few nude beaches.

Say hello from down under, I'm semi retired, miss the work and always enjoy your material here.

Cheers.
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Old September 17th, 2013, 04:58 AM   #8
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Season 3 of Key & Peele begins this Wednesday

Well here we are one year later, and 13 new episodes of Key & Peele start this Wednesday on Comedy Central (10:30/9:30c).

This season we pushed the envelope further in all directions. The very first week of shooting we tackled a parody of "Les Mis" (which appears in the first episode) plus a huge night exterior scene at the War of the Worlds plane crash site at Universal Studios, both of which involved lighting setups that were larger in scale than anything we had previously attempted.

I continued to use the Alexas, with a few lens package alterations (swapped the lightweight Optimos for lightweight Aluras, and added four Master Primes). Specialty cameras included two JVC KY1900 tube camera from the early 80s for period look, a hectocopter with Sony NEX7 for aerials, GoPros and the director's well-worn HVX200.

I also incorporated more LED units this year including the Kinoflo Celeb, the Mactech 360 and the latest version of Literibbon.

There will be less sketches posted online than in previous seasons, so those who have access to Comedy Central will be at an advantage! The first released clip is the sequel to the hugely popular "East/West College Bowl"--a sneak preview of this Wednesday's episode can be seen at 3:50 (including a bit of "Les Mis").

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Old September 20th, 2013, 12:35 AM   #9
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Re: New season of Key & Peele!

Here is the Les Mis sketch in its entirety...

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Old September 28th, 2013, 12:22 PM   #10
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Re: New season of Key & Peele!

The first sketch with the old JVC KY-1900 cameras has emerged. I cannot tell you how much fun it was to shoot as "badly" as this requires--lighting/framing/movement all crafted to look as dated as possible! I rated the cameras at a now-astonishing EI 40 (no, there's no zeroes missing from that number). Poured a ton of light into that locker room! The West Bowl section was shot on our Alexas with blue streak filters and all of the J.J. Abrams tricks we could muster (aimed a Xenon flashlight into the lens etc).


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Old October 14th, 2013, 01:30 AM   #11
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Re: New season of Key & Peele!

Fascinating to see the mixing of old-school and new school in that last clip! Love your work man!
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