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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    Comment number 1.

    Thanks Andy - looking forward to looking at it..... and the Dinosaurs!

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    Comment number 2.

    Mistika, nothing better.

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    Comment number 3.

    Hi Andy, long time no see!
    I hope the BBC is being careful with young people's eyes, my biggest worry for 3D is the stress placed on the vision by the use of un-natural object positioning, un-natural focal points and fast depth changes. We don't want a generation of children with stressed ocular muscles!

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Dear Bob_ Thanks and it has been very busy! Actually the research about 3D and young people is quite interesting as there is some suggestion that discomfort caused through watching reasonably well made stereoscopic 3D could be an indication of undiagnosed eye sight problems. Hope you enjoy the programme anyway


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    Comment number 5.

    That's great Andy. I hope it's well advertised. I really enjoyed the Olympics in 3D but my favourite 3 D would be films and drama such as the 'the stink' you are proposing to transmit. I also have surround sound but don't turn it on for Eastenders or Coronation Street but do for films or great tv drama. I suspect 3D would be used in a similar vein until glassless 3D is available. Bottom line though is 'I love 3D' . Regards and happy Christmas.

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    Comment number 6.

    Looking forward to Mr Stink and the Dinosaur program. I hope the BBC are planning to show more 3D content as, at the moment, it's few and far between.

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    Comment number 7.

    Good to see the BBC is going to simulcast the Sky produced Queen's Christmas message in 3D. Hopefully, the BBC will continue when it's their turn to do it.

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    Comment number 8.

    Hi everyone thanks for your comments so far

    New times have been announced for 3D transmissions over the Christmas period which have been updated in the footnote to this post:

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



  • Comment number 9.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Sorry BBC sat down to watch Mr Stink in 3D and felt it really missed an opportunity. Kids wanted to watch it, in fact we all put the glasses on - but it wasn't very 3D.

    Why was it so lacking in 3D? It had a few moments could have been a lot more 3D! If I'm going to make the family put the glasses on, I want to have 3D off the screen all the time!

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    Comment number 11.

    I watched this program via a Virgin Media HD Tivo box into an LG-HD-3D-670 TV and it wasn't 3D for me. Am I missing something?

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    Comment number 12.

    @10 & 11. Were you watching the 3D version on BBC HD, or the regular version on BBC 1 HD?

    Haven't seen it yet, but Twitter is full of praise of the 3D.

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    Comment number 13.

    Dear JamesE81 & massagorgo - as derek500 says - were you watching BBC HD or BBC One? Assuming you both have a 3D TV, are they connected to the internet? The programme is on iPlayer so you can catch it again. Listed under BBC HD


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    Comment number 14.

    Hi Andy, we watched on the BBC HD channel - it was in side by side and I set my 3D TV to that mode. My point is not that we couldn't watch it I'm 3D - it was that it just wasn't very 3D... It could have been far more 3D.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Dear JamesE81 - something very wrong, either TV or glasses - it had really string 3D


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    Comment number 16.

    My family and I were blown away by the 3d, well done BBC. Please let's have more!

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    Comment number 17.

    #15 - that will teach me not to use auto suggest - for "string" read "strong"

    Many thanks Zortonthedestroyer

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    Comment number 18.

    I downloaded Mr Stink from Iplayer and watched it using on my computer using Nvidia 3D.

    First thing to say is that it was a great improvement on the Strickly broadcast. The Strickly 3D was the most awfull I have ever seen. I can understand the previous comments about the "lack of 3D effect" in Mr Stink. I have been using a Sony TD10 3D camcorder for about 18 months now and that produces a much greater depth by default.

    The big issue here is the lack of a BBC 3D channel. Sky 3D has now been on air for more than 2 years now and there is still no sign of a BBC 3D channel or even regional HD. Of course the BBC will claim a lack of money but this wears very thin in light of the very public way the BBC waists licence payers cash.

    My Christmas list includes the Hitchcock's "Dial M for Murder" 3D blu-ray. It will be interesting to see how things have advanced from 1954 if at all.

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    Comment number 19.

    The overnight ratings are in 12,000. If we believe that, we'll believe anything. I can't believe there would be so much activity on social media, if only 12,000 were watching in 3D.

    Hope the BBC don't look at these figures and drop 3D as a consequence.

    Still think continuity didn't do enough to direct viewers to the correct channel. Many still think that BBC One HD and the BBC HD channel are one and the same.

    Last night the continuity announcer said "now on BBC 1 and in 3D on the BBC HD channel", not "now on BBC1 and BBC1 HD and in 3D on the BBC HD channel.

    Even David Walliams Tweeted that the 3D version was on BBC 1 HD!! And that was subsequently re-Tweeted.

    There was a tweet from someone who had watched the whole programme on BBC1 HD with their 3D glasses on!!

    Very disappointing figures, which will lead to more of the 'fad', 'gimmick' comments.

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    Comment number 20.

    Superb broadcast. I was pleased that the 3d was used intelligently to add depth and reality to to the world of Mr Stink, and the eye popping stuff was used sparingly to add to the effect.

    I also have a Sony TD10 and found the 3D on Mr Stink to be much nicer, and subtle than the TD10 which is a little ott and looks like cardboard cut-outs.

    Personally, I'd like to see something like Luther or Eastenders in 3D.. The real magic of 3D is to bring you in to a scene.

    Keep it up, great stuff!


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