Hyundai Country Calendar Passes HD Muster

A visually spectacular cattle muster in abominable weather opens Hyundai Country Calendar’s second season in HD on Saturday (TV One, 7.00).

“It was mainly shot in snow in the Catlins region, south of Dunedin,” producer Julian O’Brien says of the premiere.

“Conditions were so appalling that most farmers would have stayed indoors – but the Burgess family had sold their farm and had to get the stock to auction, so they were forced to press ahead.”

As were the show’s cameramen. “The pictures are proof that we don’t mollycoddle our camera gear,” O’Brien says.

“By taking his chances in the bad weather, cameraman Jeff Aldridge [left] captured some great images.

“Aside from his footage of the snowy muster, Jeff later had the pleasure of filming on a gloriously sunny South Otago winter’s day as a team of horseman droved the cattle to the Owaka saleyards – and the overall result is, we think, quite a visual treat, as well as an interesting story about a couple coming to grips with the need to leave their land.”

O’Brien was delighted with the response to Hyundai Country Calendar’s first season in HD and recognises the importance of filming in the medium.

“We’re very pleased about the look of the show and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback.

“The majority of our viewers probably still don’t notice the difference, but many do – and because we aim to be a top-rating show with broad appeal, we absolutely have to stay in front of the curve in terms of technology.

“If the big-rating American shows are in HD, we have to match them, or our audience will slowly slip away.

“We’re not doing anything very different in the field because of the move to HD – we’ve always sought to make the show strongly visual, so nothing has really changed.”

While he can’t yet justify the cost of postproducing the show with 5.1 audio, “we’ve invested money on adding extra sound effects to match the quality of what people can see.”

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