The cast of Mr Stink (credit BBC/Gary Moyes)
Midway through the BBC’s 3D trial, our thoughts began to turn to trying out a comedy or drama in 3D. Having experimented with factual, CG (computer generated) and entertainment, not to mention collaborating with OBS (Olympic Broadcasting Services) on the Olympics, it felt like the right time to explore the creative and technical challenges with scripted.
We began talking with Mark Freeland’s comedy department who were incredibly positive about working together, and suggested a range of projects they were planning in 2D. One leapt out immediately: an adaptation of David Walliams’ Mr Stink. As conceived by David and Mark, the quirky, cartoonish quality of the script seemed to lend itself intriguingly to 3D. The chance to enhance the imaginative world of the lonely young Chloe Crumb, whose life is turned upside down by a very smelly tramp (with a secret, of course!), just seemed too good to miss. And the fact that it would star Hugh Bonneville and David Walliams too, was simply a bonus.
One of the interesting things from the 3D Trial’s point of view is that Mr Stink is the first programme we have done where the 2D and 3D versions were shot at the same time and by the same cameras, with the 2D then taken from one of the 3D cameras. It was significantly less cumbersome therefore than many 3D shoots, but still had its challenges for a very experienced team, most of whom had never worked in 3D before.
The final results can be seen on the BBC’s HD Channel on Sunday 23 December at 6.30pm, simultaneous with the 2D version on BBC One. The 3D show will also be available shortly after on iPlayer also, for 7 days. In my opinion the production team have done a lovely job. Scenes to look out for obviously include the great ‘stink’ and ‘burp’ effects, but there are other marvellous moments which really enhance in 3D too. Look out for the Party Political Broadcast recording by the wanna-be-MP Mum Mrs Crumb, where the strongly geometric 3D increases the sense that she sees her world as a set to perform on, boxed in and apart from her own family as a result of her political ambitions. It’s a lovely sequence, and just one of many examples of an intelligent and creative use of 3D.
We’ve learnt a great deal of value for the Trial, but in the end as ever it’s most important to hear what the audience think, so please feel free to post any comments here after you’ve seen it. And a reminder that this Christmas there’s also an outing for the dramatic Planet Dinosaur CG-fest, made by BBC Science, on 25 December 2.10pm, and The Queen's Speech will be broadcast in 3D for the first time, at 3pm on Christmas Day, both will be available on the BBC HD Channel. Don’t forget to set your TV to "Side by Side" mode!
Kim Shillinglaw, Commissioning Editor, Science and Natural History and Head of 3D