Doco Guru Goes Wild in HD

If you’re wild about wildlife, and the camera technology used to capture it, don’t miss tonight’s HD premiere of Attenborough – 60 Years in the Wild (TV One, 8.30).

The three-part retrospective focuses focusing on three areas that have transformed most profoundly over David Attenborough’s career: science, the environment and filmmaking.

The premiere revisits key places and events in his filming career.

It includes such memorable wildlife footage as Attenborough catching a komodo dragon and swimming with dolphins while a Borneo bat cave sequence shows how modern technology makes it possible to see in the dark.

As the Herald on Sunday’s Nick Grant observed: “The way the clips have been chosen provides an additional insight into how camera development has regularly reinvented natural history filmmaking, as well as expanded our understanding of animal behaviour.

“It wasn’t so long ago that making a programme about nocturnal creatures involved shining a torch at them and then filming their rapidly retreating backsides.

“Now, thanks to infrared cameras, we can unobtrusively observe them from millimetres away.”

The Blu-ray of Attenborough – 60 Years in the Wild goes on sale on May 1 and next week Earthflight will be released on the format.

Although wasted in SD on Prime, its state-of-the-art technology, sophisticated camera techniques and aerial images will look (bird’s) eye-popping in 1080p.

But now Attenborough’s successors are seizing on 4K technology to get even more up close and personal with their subjects. TV trade site C21 reports the BBC recently unveiled its first 4K series, meerkat-themed Survival, from its Natural History Unit (NHU).

“We are, in fact, already shooting some material in 4K,” BBC NHU series producer for Africa James Honeyborne told C21.

“With wildlife, we want to maximise the use of any rare material we might get. To know that it can be projected on an Imax screen as well as a television is a good thing.”

NHU creative director Mike Gunton, who oversaw Africa and Survival, says 4K affords a “new reality …

“It makes the images more engaging. You feel you can almost touch them and get into the heads of the animals.”

However, not everyone in the industry is as convinced of 4K’s prospects on the small screen.

HBO’s executive vice president and chief technology officer Bob Zitter last month told a conference in London that 4K and Ultra HD wouldn’t be compelling for most consumers.

He pointed out only about 25-30% of homes even in the US had space for a TV large enough for viewers to discern the difference between regular HD and 4K, which he said was not enough of an incentive for broadcasters to migrate from HD to 4K.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

One Response to “Doco Guru Goes Wild in HD”

  1. I predict 4K will join 3D as another lame duck. Broadcasters still haven’t gotten their head around HD, let alone any new format.

Leave a Reply