Our Flag Means Death – Season 2

TRF services
Country of production
New Zealand

Loosely based on the true story of 18th-century gentleman-turned-pirate Stede Bonnet, Max series Our Flag Means Death has been described as everything from an offbeat comedy to an unexpected love story.

The production features a stellar international cast, including Rhys Darby as Bonnet and Taika Waititi as Edward Teach (Blackbeard).
After a first season produced in the United States, the second series moved production to New Zealand, with a comprehensive range of services provided by The Rebel Fleet in Auckland.

The Challenge

Set in the Golden Age of Piracy—and at its epicentre in the Caribbean—producing Our Flag Means Death is a complex and demanding task. Capturing an authentic feel of this time and place becomes the essential underpinning of quirky plot lines, witty one-liners, and the comedic moments that make the series stand out.

While New Zealand proved extraordinarily good as a location, with scenery and a quality of light remarkably suggestive of the Caribbean, the overall production demanded considerable VFX and digital imaging work. As a result, this presented unique challenges in terms of data capture and processing in order to achieve the show’s creative vision, while maintaining the high level of consistency that The Rebel Fleet is known for.

In addition, due to the geographic separation between creative teams in the United States and New Zealand, being able to collaborate effectively and efficiently was crucial.

For The Rebel Fleet, this meant setting up and liaising between departments during pre-production to build a bulletproof technical plan and robust workflow. This also mandated the creation of detailed documentation for imaging specifications and metadata capture to ensure all valuable data would easily travel from on-set into post-production.

Our Flag Means Death

The Solution

The Rebel Fleet put together a comprehensive solution for Our Flag Means Death


  • Configuration and enhancement for colour, metadata, and technical pipelines

  • Documentation and testing to ensure a smooth end-to-end workflow

  • Optimisation of metadata creation processes


  • Video assist using QTAKE

  • On-set DIT services

  • Industry-leading Dailies services

  • Complete metadata collection using our proprietary software solution Navigatr


  • Bespoke VFX pulls

  • Comprehensive color services

  • Remote review sessions

  • Picture finishing, mastering, and archival

Previously, the Our Flag Means Death creative team was accustomed to spreading different facets of production across a variety of separate suppliers in the US.

In transferring to New Zealand and partnering with The Rebel Fleet, the creative team was granted the ability to holistically redesign their process, with a focus on inter-departmental synergy.

This would optimise everything from pre-production planning, all the way through production, and right into post-production.

Our Flag Means Death

“The point of difference for us is that we really take the time to work with our clients to build a comprehensive pipeline for their production. We figure out what their needs are around the technical aspects of their production, right from camera and lens choices through to video assist, DIT, Dailies, VFX, & post-production, and then build a robust and dependable pipeline that promotes collaboration and consistency between departments and vendors. This ranges from colour and workflow through to metadata and collaboration, including remote connectivity.”

Mike Urban, CEO of The Rebel Fleet

During post-production, remote connectivity would be crucial, involving DOPs and showrunners in the US to give immediate and reliable feedback on the show's look, and enabling efficient live colour-grading sessions.

Achieving all of this effectively - and being able to delight clients with the results - hinged on two broad strengths.

The first was technological, involving The Rebel Fleet’s own software solution, Navigatr - an industry leading product, designed to ensure consistency in all aspects of production.

The second is more cultural - the incredibly positive attitude, motivation and working methods of Kiwi film professionals - especially those at The Rebel Fleet.

Our Flag Means Death

”Working in New Zealand has been one of the greatest experiences of my career. The crews here are just phenomenal…it felt like anything was possible here. And the crew, they're always willing to go the extra mile and have this can-do attitude. It’s just the ingenuity of everybody–there’s this spirit that anything can be done. The work ethic is so strong here.“

Mike Berlucchi, one of three DOPs from Our Flag Means Death Season 2

Berlucchi was also impressed by the access to infrastructure for filming and post production:

”The film infrastructure, it's just all here. And if it's not, it'll be here in a day. Most things are already here, though. The infrastructure is really strong, the stages are all fantastic and they’re built so smartly. And any water work: there’s always a tank available.“

As DOP, Mike Berlucchi also appreciated The Rebel Fleet’s effective colour pipeline management:

”It was perfect, from start to finish, and just endless support. It’s something I’ve since been requesting elsewhere.“

Underpinning the entire workflow was The Rebel Fleet’s proprietary metadata solution, Navigatr. This bespoke software collates metadata from a variety of production sources:

  • Digital camera sheets

  • Script supervisor notes

  • VFX wrangling data

  • Sound reports

  • Dailies, DIT & video split metadata

  • Custom, show specific metadata inputs

The final piece of the workflow jigsaw was found in post: The Rebel Fleet’s newly built post-production facility. Developed uniquely for Our Flag Means Death Season 2, The Rebel Fleet created a custom post-production offering, working in close collaboration with Pinnacle Post, a leading sound finishing firm.

The Rebel Fleet also provided metadata-rich VFX pulls for Fathom VFX & Cause and FX, ensuring the vast array of captured metadata was available at all stages of the post-production process.

The Rebel Fleet purpose-built its new HDR & 4K-capable Auckland post-production facilities and grading suites to deliver lightning-fast turnarounds and a seamless iterative workflow. Working remotely with key creatives in the US, this made the most of New Zealand’s rebate scheme to deliver cost-effective post-production to a very high standard.

”One of the great experiences I had very early on working with The Rebel Fleet was initial dailies set up: running through all the technical specifications, all of the departments, everyone who's going to be involved. I like to get pretty detailed with the technical aspects of it - and I felt like everybody else was on that same page. I've never had a call that was simultaneously so detailed in the technical minutia, yet went so quickly. I felt like everyone understood what we were trying to do and was there to help us with it.

One thing that was fantastic about working with The Rebel Fleet was that they have these great relationships with the camera department and the production teams…the communication was really great. In contrast to a lot of large production facilities - like a giant factory - where you can sometimes feel you get lost, it’s more like a boutique experience. People take ownership, and you know they have an understanding of what you’re trying to do.

At the end of the day, we had great looking colour, the editorial was great, and we got it across the finish line with a delivery process that was very smooth.“

Allen Marshall Palmer, Our Flag Means Death Season 2 Post-Producer

The Impact

The addition of post-production may be new, but The Rebel Fleet is sure of the advantages it gives its clients, particularly as it fits into a holistic approach.

“Knowing all the information from production enables us to build an efficient pipeline for post. It’s been really exciting to add post to our production offerings, and we’re even more excited at the prospect of doing more.”

Mike Urban, CEO of The Rebel Fleet

Navigatr smooths the production process in many ways. Combining all metadata, colour, and framing information enabled a comprehensive VFX pull service with industry-leading consistency and accuracy.

Ben Winter, Head of Post at Kevin & Co adds another positive.

“The ability to give different departments their own unique reporting meant that the key people in each department had a better lens on the data that would be important to them. The Rebel Fleet team was able to answer questions - as soon as they arose - about any data points across the board. It was simple and easy, without any time lost searching for information across multiple reports.

In addition, The Rebel Fleet's customisable ALE generation played a big part in creating a more streamlined production pipeline. The VFX editorial department in particular worked with us to create an optimised data set, allowing them to view required data at a glance.”

Pete Harrow, Chief Technology Officer at The Rebel Fleet

While Navigatr’s benefits to production are undeniable, it wasn’t the only part of The Rebel Fleet’s services that made a big impact.

DOP on Our Flag Means Death Season 2

”Having The Rebel Fleet from start to finish - from pre-production all the way through post - compared to the system I'm used to, meant what I’m seeing in the grade is exactly what I was seeing on set. The pipeline is just so solid that you never question that what you're shooting isn't going to make it into the grade. It gives people so, so much confidence in you as a cinematographer.“

Let’s work together

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