TORONTO — FUBAR is a new spy-adventure/action-comedy that’s streaming on Netflix. Created by Nick Santora, the series stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Monica Barbaro as Luke and Emma, a father and daughter who are both CIA operatives. Having lied to each other for years and recently learned the truth, they realize they know nothing about each other.
Company 3’s Tony Dustin is responsible for the series’ color, while Alan deGraaf led the mix team.
According to Dustin, one of the first things he helped to establish was the overall look of the show, which is reminiscent of an ’80s/‘90s action movie throwback.
“We designed a look to emulate a ‘90s Kodak film stock,” Dustin explains. “There are two story elements or timelines where we have that action movie look for the secret spy stuff, and then a softer look for the normal life stuff.”
A similar technique was used with sound, adds deGraaf.
“As the series has two very different worlds, you have to differentiate between them using contrasting soundscapes, sometimes as subtle as chirping birds vs. high-tech command centers.”
With the sound work involved, there were various approaches to suit certain scenes in the series. Sometimes, music is used to drive a sequence, while other times, it uses sound effects, such as gunshots or hand-to-hand combat.
“Sound and music can drastically change how the viewer interprets a scene or a show in general,” deGraaf notes. “If you remove these sounds from a scene, you can immediately see their effect.”
The departments at Company 3 often collaborate to ensure each element complements the other.
“With all of my projects, I try to keep my sound files up to date in the color suite,” says Dustin. “I like to do a color pass as close to the final mix as possible, as the color always looks better with sound. So many intricacies and moods emerge in the final mix, and I try to shape the image to compliment these.”
The opening sequence in Episode 1 is one that deGraaf is particularly proud of, as it prepares the audience for the ride this series will take them on.
“We follow the lead, Luke, as he drives while the Rolling Stones song ‘Sympathy For the Devil’ scores the scene,” deGraaf explains. “The mix for this was challenging in that we wanted to keep the song as much in the forefront as possible, but also hear the sports car and, most importantly, make sure the witty dialogue was heard clearly. It was an important sequence to get right and I think it was a finely-crafted weave of dialogue, music and sound effects that will hopefully compel the audience to stay tuned.”
Degraaf feels FUBAR is unique in that it is presented as two different shows in one.
“Sometimes it’s a comedy, while other times it’s a riveting action series,” says the mixer. “We enjoyed the best of both worlds while working on this project.”
“I could reference my childhood memories of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies visually,” adds Dustin of the look. “There were times when after I completed a grade of a scene, I would be able to link that to a film from that era directly.”