HDR Thriller

DIT Alix Milan gives the low-down on how he created the perfect HDR workflow for Netflix’s most anticipated film of the year, I Came By.

Alix Milan is a DIT with a post-production and colour background. He graduated from the Arts University Bournemouth with a degree in film production – and has since worked on-set with many well-respected DOPs such as Kit Fraser.

After several years in the field, Milan founded We Love Hue, a London- based colour & workflow solutions company, working in the UK feature film, TV drama and commercials industry, providing services that include: on-set colour, video playback, data management, colour finishing and workflow support from pre- through to post-production. For on-set solutions, the company custom-builds rigs that operate close to camera, allowing DOPs the highest level of control.

This, in part, comes from the excellent kit that We Love Hue invests from CVP. Milan explains: “CVP has been a supplier of ours for years and I try to get as much from it as I can, because it’s always low on price, but high on quality. This includes things like AJA Kumo SDI routers and wireless video solutions, which were used on my most recent DIT project for Netflix’s I Came By.”

AJA Kumo


The neo-noir thriller, which follows a young London graffiti artist who targets the homes of wealthy elites and uncovers a shocking secret, was directed by Babak Anvari, aka the Bafta-winning director of Under the Shadow. Lucan Toh produced the project, while Kit Fraser – who worked with Anvari on both Under the Shadow and Wounds – served as cinematographer. The DOP’s long-standing relationship with Milan made him the natural choice for DIT, but
it was also strong expertise in managing complex digital pipelines that truly won him over. Milan says, “I met Kit doing short films way back when. Then we did our first feature in 2018 called Farming. Since then, I’ve been the DIT on all his digital projects. For I Came By, Netflix wanted to finish it in HDR. They asked us how it would work, and we spent a few months discussing the logistics. Kit was keen not to shoot in SDR if we were to finish with an HDR grade; he also wanted to monitor in both, so that he could light to HDR and have the data utilised properly in the grade.”

It was incredibly important that Milan had a suitable monitor for Kit to light to. But finding one wasn’t without complications. “I wanted a Flanders Scientific XM311K 4K HDR reference monitor. It’s 31 inches, 1000 nits, and qualifies as a Dolby Vision mastering monitor that makes it the perfect monitor for Netflix projects. Getting hold of one wasn’t easy, though. The only available monitor in the whole world was in the US, and I had to purchase it outright, which I did six weeks before the shoot was due to start. That’s when we got sign-off for finishing in HDR. It arrived in the UK three days before the prep began, so it was a bit frantic getting that element set up in the end. That’s just the nature of our work, and I didn’t want to invest in something that wasn’t going to be suitable for Netflix.”


To monitor in HDR, you need a 10-bit signal. Milan tested a couple of transmitters before landing on the Teradek Bolt 4K 1500 LT. There were some connection issues to begin with, but these were resolved with firmware updates. Milan was able to work around it at the time by hardwiring. He explains the workflow as it happened: “The camera log was sent to the Teradek, which would then broadcast that signal to me. I’d receive it in log and then split the signal using the Kumo. One version of the signal would be sent to a Flanders Scientific BoxIO, set up to apply an SDR look. Another version was sent to a secondary BoxIO, which was geared towards applying the HDR look. The graded signal was routed back into the Kumo and came out to a Flanders Scientific DM240, which was used as our SDR monitor – then the HDR signal was transmitted to our XM311K. The whole project pipeline was done in ACES via Pomfort Livegrade, which made everything very manageable.”


The team shot with this workflow for eight weeks in South London, with the film intended for release later this year. Netflix uses Dolby Vision framework to make sure the creative intent is always well respected as much as possible on any display. If you have an HDR-capable TV with an HDR-capable account (4s), you will be able to appreciate the outcome of Milan’s hard work. Starring Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville and Line of Duty’s Kelly Macdonald, Netflix pulled out all the stops to get top British talent, as it continues to position itself firmly within the UK production landscape.

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