Mr Stink in 3D

Wednesday 19 December 2012, 10:30

Andy Quested Andy Quested Chief Technologist HD&3D

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Just for any new readers, I am head of technology for BBC HD & 3D and this is an update on the next phase of the BBC 3D trial. We have now moved from sport, music and animation to drama!

Mr Stink is a TV adaptation of the book by David Walliams. I won't give anything away in the post for those who love the book and for those who have never heard of it - just watch!

In this post I want to give you an overview of some the technology and processes used during the making of Mr Stink with comments from a few of the people involved.

Mr Stink transmits in 2D on BBC One & BBC One HD on Sunday 23 December at 6.30 and is repeated on Boxing Day at 12.40. The 3D transmission is on BBC HD on Sunday 23 December at 6.30 and shortly after on BBC iPlayer for seven days

Mr Stink (Hugh Bonneville) and Chloe (Nell Toger-Free) in Mr Stink

Mr Stink is the first programme we've done during the trial where the 2D and 3D versions were shot at the same time with the 2D being taken from one of the 3D cameras. The cameras were mounted on mirror rigs and for those interested in the details, these were a 3ality Technica Atom and a P+S TECHNIK Freestyle rig, each fitted with two RED Epic cameras and Angenieux Optimo matched lenses.

This is what Philipp Blaubach, the director of photography (DoP) working on Mr Stink, thought of idea to shoot in 3D:

It was a great opportunity for me to shoot a film that has been specifically designed for 3D. As a cinematographer it is a very different approach both logistically and creatively, and it was important in preproduction to work out the do's and don'ts. Having a close collaboration with the stereographer and the director meant we really embraced the strengths of 3D and found a visual style that works especially for this comedy genre. We liked slightly cartoonish and quirky compositions, like in the films of Wes Anderson or the Coen Brothers, and the fact that 3D works particularly well with wide angles even for close ups suited the style we were after perfectly.

One of the camera rigs with DoP Philipp Blaubach!

Chris Parks from Vision3 was the stereo supervisor on the programme and also commented;

The choice of rigs and cameras was determined by a number of factors. We wanted to be able to change setups quickly so we chose to use zooms as variable primes. We also wanted a reasonably small and light rig so we could be more mobile and wasn't too off-putting to actors. We also wanted it to be cost effective so that on certain days we could afford to bring in a second unit. The Atom allowed us to put on a larger mirror box so the DoP could use a 16mm lens with the Epic at five thousand. For monitoring we used a 46in JVC as we felt it was important for the director and DoP to be able to see the playback in as near to a real world situation as possible.

Mr Stink was framed for a wider aspect ratio than the normal 16:9. Philipp shot in the cinema aspect ratio that's sometimes referred to as 21:9 but more accurately it was actually 2.35:1. This gives black bars at the top and bottom that effectively become a new screen boundary. However as it's only an electronic boundary that allowed us to try some interesting effects.

Philipp said;

We composed the film for a 2.35 aspect ratio and during the depth grade there were a couple of instances where we could move the action into negative space and virtually make it overlap the letterbox. The 3D is especially effective in those moments as you feel the objects literally coming into your living room.

Framing for 2.35:1 (3D is displayed using anaglyph if anyone wants a quick preview but, the programme will not be transmitted in anaglyph).

As I said earlier the programme was shot using a single camera rig with an occasional second rig. This is different to the multi-camera set-ups we've used for the studio and live programmes that have been in the trail so far. This meant that instead of the stereographer adjusting each camera to match the 3D depth during the shoot, a 'depth grade' process was added to the final post-production stage.

Just like a colour matching or grading session that adjusts the colour and exposure of each shot to make them match, the depth grade matches the amount of 3D in each shot so there are no sudden jumps on shot changes.

Again for interest, the programme used the company ONSIGHT's 'Mistika' equipment to carry out the colour and depth grade with colourist David Gonzalez Lozano and Philipp Blaubach (the DoP) along with Matthew Smith who was the stereographer on the project working under Chris.

Matthew was responsible for the on-set Stereo 3D decisions working closely with the director and DoP and followed this through to the depth grading session during the final post-production.

The two TX lines

Mistika screen shot (3D is displayed as anaglyph if anyone wants a quick preview but remember the programme will not be transmitted in anaglyph).

The last time I saw the programme was just before the final colour and depth grading sessions, so I won't see the final results until it's transmitted.

As usual I am really keen to get your reactions to the programme and what you thought of the 3D but I will be away over Christmas and for a week in the New Year so replies to comments may not be prompt until I'm back around 8 or 9 January. In the mean time I wish you all a very, very merry Christmas and a happy new year - in advance!

Andy Quested is chief technologist HD & 3D, BBC Technology.

3D transmissions over the Christmas period:

Mr Stink 23 December 6.30pm
Killer Dinosaurs 25 December 2.05pm
The Queen 25th December 3.00pm

Remember to set your TV to Side by Side mode on the BBC HD Channel:

Freeview Channel 102
Freesat Channel 109
Sky Channel 169
YouView Channel 102
Virgin Channel 187

Read more about the making of Mr Stink in 3D on the About the BBC blog.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    15. It appears we actually watched BBC 1 HD and turned on Auto3D... why... oh... why... do TV makers think its needed... Have now downloaded from iplayer and much better! Keep up the good work BBC...

    19. Shame so few viewers though, think it should be advertised better - made no mention of being in 3D in our Christmas TV guide.

    Not sure we will bother with Queen 3D, but whats next for us from BBC? We don't have Sky.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    I agree with JamesE81 about the poor advertising. The impression is that the HD channel is showing something completely different.

    Is there a web page or email notification service where the BBC shows advance information about 3D programming? If not, should there be?

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Beautifully done BBC and the 3d was excellent!

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Think a lot of people dont understand 3d it is more about the depth than objects flying out of the screen. BBC done a great job with this film it was brilliant but here is BBC downside it did not advertise this enough only heard it mentioned twice when advertising christmas programs. I missed killer dinasaurse as didnt know it was on until reading this blog today hope they repeat it as i think it will be good. But they have missed their biggest opertunity as HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is one of the best 3d films

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Again another poorly advertised 3D prog from the BBC. I did however watch the Queen's Christmas message in 3D. Come on Beeb, put some more 3D content out and please replay the Olympic ceremonies in 3D without the commentaries. I'd buy the Bluray of them but they're only in 2D. At the moment you're showing 11 hours of HD preview content on the BBC HD channel, surely playing the Olympic ceremonies in 3D would be preferable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Just watched Mr Stink 3D on iplayer. I found the 3D experience very good indeed and the overall pictures quality excellent to the point I forgot I was viewing via iplayer. The choice of 2:35:1 aspect ratio seemed to somehow enhance the visual depth. First rate, it would be nice to have some more programming though.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    I wish if BBC website was redesigned in 3D what do you think?

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Hi Andy, I wanted to ask you a couple of questions re 4k, is there a way to get in touch with you?


  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Finally watched last night. Not my sort of thing, but technically excellent stuff. Watched via Sky and excellent quality.

    The only 'dodgy' part was the long shot of the 'panel' in the TV studio, which appeared quite blurred. The rest was clear and crisp.

    Also had a look at the iPlayer version via Sky and the quality was also very good, but the streamed iPlayer version on my LG smart TV was pretty poor.

    Interestingly, this time the iPlayer versions were side-by-side, am i right thinking that last year's Strictly was top and bottom?

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Having purchased a Samsung 3d tv on the 27th and picked up the 3d glasses today I was very excited to try and watch mr Stink in 3d whilst its still available. Imagine my disappointment when I could only watch the side by side pictures and couldn't access the menu button to convert to one picture. Having spent some time on two calls to Samsung support I was told the I couldn't convert the side by side picture as it wasn't "pure" 3d and that I would only be able to watch 3d via the 3d blueray or at the time of original transmission.

    Surely that can't be the case? Surely I can watch iplayer 3d programmes on my samsung? How do others manage? Are there any workarounds?

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    I watched it last night - thought the 3D was excellent! It worked really well with that aspect ratio and was certainly of a Hollywood standard - great to see the BBC are not only 'experimenting' with the technology, but doing it properly! Hope to see more 3D content in future.

    Must agree with the lack of advertising though - I only found out about it on this blog, as with the Dino-documentary... I'm sure many more potential viewers are left unaware and sadly miss out completely!

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    @Charlie1882 I doubt there'll be much more 3D programming from the BBC. For the amount of time that it's been possible to transmit 3D progs, the BBC have given us literally a handful of shows and nothing, other than the Olympic ceremonies, that have been well publicised enough. I get the feeling that The BBC is doing the very least it can to promote 3DTV so it can say "we tried but nobody wanted it". They haven't even released the Olympic ceremonies in 3D on Blu Ray! Only in 2D. Unbelievable. Glastonbury in 3D would pull in the viewers as would a Christmas Dr Who. I'm not holding my breath for either.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    @Andy Quested. On a technical note, Last night I went to a friend's house where he'd just bought a shiny new Smart TV with Iplayer and 3D. So I suggested we try out the Mr Stinky on Iplayer. He has superfast internet speeds, so no problem there, but we weren't able to either get the TV to manually or automatically register the 3D image. I'm quite well versed in the Panasonic interface and still could not get the two side by side images to merge. All other 3D sources work fine. His Panasonic TV is tx-l42dt50b. Do you think this is a problem with the Iplayer or the TV? My TV, Panasonic Viera TX-P46GT30, worked well with both live and Iplayer viewings in 3d.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Another technical question. If I watch the Sky 3D channel and press the info button I get the full banner. If I do the same when Mr Stink 3D is playing on BBC HD, I get it L&R superimposed and I have to close my right eye to read the left hand side and vice-versa.

    Why is this?

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    I myself was at a difficult period in my life. An therefore missed both the queens speech and Mr Stink. But would love it if they could be repeated. Please bbc create more and more 3d shows. 3d is the way forward!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Can't believe I missed it, now I've missed it on iplayer too.... :-(
    Will it be shown again?

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    I watched the Queen's speech in 3D as it was advertised but I missed Mr. stink and killer Dinosaurs broadcast. Will these be repeated?
    I live in a rural area where the broadband is not up to speed for iplayer streaming or large file downloads so repeating the broadcasts will be much appreciated.
    Are there anymore planned 3D broadcasts or tests?

    I did suffer with sound drop out on the HD channel lasting only a couple of seconds at a time but very annoying. The TV sound is set to "auto" for external speakers. Is there a better setting for BBC HD.?

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Where do the BBC intent to show their 3D content when the BBC HD channel shuts down ?.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Judging by social media I would say that more people watched David Attenborough's Africa in 2D > 3D than watched Mr Stink 3D in true 3D!!

    Here's a few typical Tweets.

    Watching Africa in 3D so cool.

    Africa 3D HD was magic. Didn't expect anything less tbh

    Watching #Africa on BBC in 3D. Them crickets weren't so pretty in 3D I tell you that!

    Just watched Africa on BBC1 HD in 3d, amazing!! #Africa


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