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Something Awesome This Way Comes, Part 2

Back on November 3, when the LBD episodes we’re now seeing were filmed, there was a really interesting series of tweets from various people associated with the show. I wrote about it at Something Awesome This Way Comes.

Rachel Kiley wrote about how she was “beyond psyched” about some events that were coming up. In responding to an ask from thegreyladies, she wrote:

My favorites for LBD so far are a 4-way tie. Couldn’t ever choose. Ep 37 (Lydia vs Mr Collins), Ep 48 (Snickerdoodles), and two we just shot that you guys haven’t seen yet. They will be eps 73 & 74 and I am fucking psyched about them.

Yesterday’s episode (ep. 67, Back Home Again) was the first to air from that November 3 shooting session, and it sounds like that session extended all the way to at least ep. 74, which should air on Thursday, December 20. That’s 8 episodes (at least) shot on that one day, which was Margaret Dunlap’s first-ever day as a director.

It was really interesting to me to notice some relatively minor stylistic differences in yesterday’s episode. I assume those differences are related to Margaret’s being at the helm rather than Bernie Su, since he directed every previous episode.

Here’s the first frame of yesterday’s episode:

I’m not sure how obvious it is from this screen cap, but watching it at 1080p I was immediately struck by two things:

  • the shot is lighter and less-saturated-looking than previous episodes
  • Lizzie’s hair is not-quite-perfectly brushed

Again, those are tiny things, but after 66 episodes of not looking that way, those differences really jumped out. Here are a few more shots from yesterday’s episode:

For comparison, here’s the first frame of the previous (Bernie-directed) episode (ep. 66, Giving Thanks):

And here’s the last time we saw Lizzie’s bedroom (ep. 50, Moving On):

To me, the Bernie-directed episodes look more saturated and darker. I don’t know anything about shooting video, but in my ancient film-camera days I would have said the Margaret episode looked like it was shot on a faster film, say 400 ASA, while the Bernie-directed episodes look more like 64 or 100 ASA. Maybe it’s an effect of the lighting and video settings?

And the hair: It’s not like I’m fixated on it, but after 66 episodes in which it always looked (at least with the benefit of hindsight) like it had been brushed perfectly into place 10 seconds before the shot began, those little stray escapees around Lizzie’s head were really noticeable.

I hope I don’t sound like I’m complaining. I loved yesterday’s episode, and think Margaret Dunlap did a fantastic job of making it happen. And I’m really looking forward to the next 7 episodes to get us to Rachel-Kiley-fucking-psyched-ness. It’s just an interesting lesson to me in the vast multitude of details for which a director is responsible, and how things that seem so small can be really noticeable when they suddenly change.