BBC HD Channel To Simulcast Queen’s Christmas Speech & New Drama Mr Stink In 3D

Mike Wheatley

The BBC is preparing to lay on a feast of extra-dimensional visual entertainment over the holiday season, revealing its plans to screen both the Queen’s Christmas message and a new drama production called Mr. Stink in 3D for the first time.

BBC HD channel
BBC HD channel to simulcast Queen’s Christmas speech & new drama Mr Stink in 3D

We first reported on the Beeb’s plans to add a new dimension to the Queen’s traditional annual speech earlier this month, following filming at Buckingham Palace. Now, the broadcaster has announced its full lineup of 3D programming for the festive period, which is to be aired on the BBC HD channel.

The Queen’s Speech, which is always one of the most watched programmes on Christmas Day, is undoubtedly the highlight of the BBC’s 3D schedule, with the monarch expected to address key events of 2012 like her Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic games. Her Majesty is reported to have already viewed her speech in all its tri-dimensional glory – apparently she fully endorses the technology, describing the experience as “absolutely lovely”.

Equally exciting for fans of drama shows will be the screening of the UK public service broadcaster’s latest production Mr. Stink, which becomes the first BBC drama to be filmed in full 3D. The BBC’s 3D chief Andy Quested revealed on the BBC blog that Mr. Stink is its first-ever television show to be filmed in both 2D and 3D formats simultaneously, with the 2D format being pulled from footage shot by its 3D cameras.

Shooting Mr. Stink represented quite a technical challenge for the production team, as the entire show was shot in a wider aspect ratio than the 16:9 that is normally used. Instead, filming was done in a 2:35:1 aspect ratio, producing black bars at the top and bottom of the screen that allowed the team to add some interesting new special effects.

Philipp Blaubach, Director of Photography, explained what’s in store:

“We filmed Mr. Stink in a wider aspect ratio than normal, the 2.35 aspect ratio. This meant there were several instances when we were able to move the on-screen action into the ‘negative space’, so that it overlaps with the letterbox. We find that this makes the 3D effect even more dramatic, as the objects on screen quite literally appear to be coming out of the TV, into your living room”.

Viewers will have to wait until Sunday evening to appreciate exactly what this means, when Mr. Stink is broadcast in the third dimension for the first time.

To enjoy the BBC’s 3-D programmes, viewers will need access to an HDTV capable of displaying side-by-side 3D content. In addition, they’ll need a set-top box or satellite dish that can receive the BBC HD channel on the following platforms: Freeview Channel 102; Freesat Channel 109; Sky Channel 169; YouView Channel 102; and Virgin Channel 187.

The first show to be screened in 3D will be Mr. Stink, when it’s broadcast on Sunday, 23rd December at 6.30pm. Then on Christmas Day, viewers will be able to enjoy the documentary Killer Dinosaurs, which starts at 2.05pm, followed by the Queen’s Speech, which begins at exactly 3.00pm.

Source: BBC internet blog