Actor David Oyelowo followed up his acclaimed performance of a world-famous historical figure in Selma with an equally intense and critically praised portrait of a completely anonymous man. Unlike Martin Luther King, whose life unfolded on the public stage, the troubled character Peter Snowden in Nightingale suffers a breakdown alone and in complete anonymity. Colorist Dave Hussey of Company 3, working with frequent collaborators director Elliott Lester, cinematographer Pieter Vermeer and editor Nicholas Wayman-Harris, worked on subtle grading effects designed to help put the viewer in Snowden’s deteriorating state of mind.
“The filmmakers envisioned a progressively more oppressive look to the environment inside the house where almost the entire film takes place,” Hussey explains. “Pieter created beautiful lighting and we felt we could enhance the effect subtly by using Power Windows [within Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 11] to help direct the viewer’s eyes to specific parts of the frame we wanted them to focus on. Peter and I were fairly aggressive in some portions but always making sure everything looked organic.”
Hussey is pleased with his work on Nightingale, but he’s quick to credit Oyelowo’s riveting performance as the element seared the drama in his mind. “He grabs the audience in the first few moments and never lets go.”