BBC Planet Earth natural history series will be made in HD

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Joined: Mar 7 1999

Recreated thanks to's cache
Originally posted 27-04-2005, 12:03 #1


18 April 2005: BBC Post Production Bristol is investing in a new High Definition tape-less post production solution, which will be used on the BBC’s landmark natural history HD series – Planet Earth.

The new grading and finishing technology, including substantial data storage to eliminate video tapes, will enable BBC Post Production Bristol to deliver high quality uncompressed HD programmes, without compromising the quality of the content, whilst maintaining a smooth sustainable workflow.

The ingest, storage, editing, effects, grading and archive system is based around a 9TB Sledgehammer HD!O NAS from Maximum Throughput and includes Lustre and Smoke from Autodesk Media and Entertainment. Archive and storage management is from US manufacturer Breece Hill.

BBC Post Production Bristol worked closely with XTFX, who designed the system based on the BBC specification that required a data workflow from Ingest to Publishing.

Phil Mead, Facilities Manager of Post Production Bristol comments: “The footage we receive from our clients is of the highest quality and is often, in the case of the Natural History Unit, unique. We wanted to be able to preserve the quality of the content and provide our clients with an efficient and cost effective workflow for post production.”

Planet Earth, which delivers in 2006, is a major production with Discovery and NHK, and is the first major factual programme delivered in HD by the BBC.

BBC Post Production Bristol is renowned for its Natural History Unit, Documentaries and Contemporary Factual programmes and drama, including the award winning Blue Planet, Antiques Roadshow and Casualty.

In addition, BBC Post Production London is investing in a new Avid HD Adrenaline system, to compliment existing HD editing, grading and restoration equipment.

The new Adrenaline is format-flexible and allows HD work-flow compatibility with offline systems. This reduces costs for HD programme makers, who can create HD programmes on conventional systems.

Clive Hodge, Head of Operations at BBC Post Production comments: “These investments are in response to the growth in HD demand and reaffirm our commitment to offering HD services across the spectrum for our BBC and independent customers.”

About BBC Post Production
BBC Post Production, a division of BBC Resources Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BBC, offers award-winning creative solutions using the latest technology. BBC Post Production facilities are the largest of their kind in the UK.

BBC Post Production is located in London, Bristol and Birmingham. Its extensive range of services include editing, audio and telecine. Using the most up-to-date technology in comfortable and inspiring surroundings, the team bring talent and experience to a range of productions, trails and promos.

Further information can be found at:

About XTFX
XTFX supplies applications and hardware solutions within a framework of sales consultancy/support services to the Broadcast/Film & Video Post-Production industry.

For more information: 0207 636 7855

Release has been slightly tweaked for easier reading - Bob C

27-04-2005, 12:20 #2
Alan Roberts
Senior Member

You should see some of the pictures they've got for Planet Earth. I have All the HD is shot on Sony 750 or Panasonic Varicam, with some specialist other kit (like deep water and high speed). I was involved in getting it all up and running. There's a maximum of 25% non-HDTV content, meaning upconverted SD or super 16. The HD original material is stunning, obtained using my camera setups of course
Alan Roberts, happily retired from the BBC

27-04-2005, 12:23 #3
Mac user

Well, just about 6 doors down the road from BBC Bristol, there is another major-name broadcaster with as big or bigger an HD tapeless edit and post facility - 30+TB rather than 9TB

Not a mention of that 'a' word (Avid) though (apart from Digidesign), but rather the other more affordable alternatives, Apple and Adobe.

Mostly they seemed to be doing HD (especially Varicam) post-production for US HD natural history programming:
BTW 30+60TB of Apple Xserve RAID drives is pretty impressive in their machine room, SAN-networked to any of the 12 Final Cut Pro edit or colour-correction suites.

27-04-2005, 14:04 #4
Alan Roberts
Senior Member

Yep, I know the other firm, have seen their setup and used bits of it.


27-04-2005, 15:53 #5
Senior Member

And the next series of Doctor Who? Can we expect HD for that?


27-04-2005, 16:05 #6
Senior Member

Originally Posted by infocus
And the next series of Doctor Who? Can we expect HD for that?

Unlikely from what I hear, if only because they'd have to take a lot more care with the monster costumes for it to look good in HD. Though I'd hope they'd at least move to using HD cameras to originate the pictures.

Although the film effect they are using on the current series is very good -- hardware, not software too so realtime.