*If you haven't seen The Walking Dead yet, beware of reading on*
This past Sunday was a huge day for me. I won both of my fantasy football games, I caught up with an old friend, I washed my car, and I wrapped it all up with The Walking Dead. At this point, it's a true toss-up as to which of those things was the best. Just kidding, it was TWD, obviously.
Executive producer and director Greg Nicotero recently sat down with EW about the massive season premiere of the show that featured 300 zombie extras nestled between big rig trucks and aerial drone shots that made the episode even more artistic/awesome than it would have been with regular cameras.
What could have been...
Nicotero spoke at length with EW, but this bit about how the original format was supposed to go is probably the most interesting part.
We always knew there was gonna be a visual cue. When we shot it, I think Scott and I had talked about the idea that it was probably gonna be desaturated flashbacks, and then oversaturated present. Every sequence that takes place in present-day is very action-packed. The camera’s always moving, very fast-paced, people are running, people are screaming, people are firing guns. So in the first version of the episode, we had oversaturated the present day and desaturated the past. The trick was when we did it, we looked at it, and it looked like The Wizard of Oz. Our world is not oversaturated, our show is not oversaturated. So when you saw the really vibrant greens of the forest, it made the world look too alive. First thing we noticed when we looked at it was, “Wow, the zombies, they don’t look dead anymore,” because now that pale color has been accentuated.
EW then asked Nicotero if it was a bit too "cartoonish."
It just was vibrant and alive, and the whole point is our show has that little blue cast to it to make it feel like the world is desaturated. So as soon as we looked at it we knew there was gonna be a visual cue. This was actually Scott’s idea. It was kind of like back on like Hunt for Red October when Sean Connery is speaking Russian and then the camera just zooms in and he starts speaking English, and the camera zooms back out again. It was a nice transition, so in the opening shot when Rick pulls the gun and shoots Pete, and the color drains out, it was kind of like that idea. It works perfectly.
I’m interested and hopeful that when we do the DVD there will be an all-color version because I think our audience is savvy enough to put those pieces together, and put those clues together, and that was always what I was hoping for. The visual effects in color are breathtaking. The zombie stuff in color is really breathtaking. When you take the color away, the quarry looks very monochromatic, but when the color is there, you really see the differentiation between the walkers and the truck and the quarry walls. So I’ve been pushing Scott to put a color version of the episode on the DVD because it has a different flavor.
He wrapped up speaking about it saying...
The black and white also does harken back to the graphic novel, and I think that’s why those black and white flashbacks work. It’s funny, because a lot of the actors that just saw the episode hadn’t seen it yet because we literally just finished it. So some of them it took them a minute – because this is something we’ve never done before – so it was a very bold move.
I thought that the black-and-white worked successfully to depict the different time periods. It may have been confusing and difficult to discern between past and present since the two separate periods may have looked like they were happening simultaneously.
Here's a sneak peak of the next episode, in case you truly can't wait: