David Attenborough's Life on Earth and Trials of Life

BBC Worldwide   |   UK

The ground-breaking 'Life on Earth' in 1979 followed by 'The Living Planet' and 'The Trials of Life' cemented David Attenborough's compelling ability for presenting the wonders of the natural world. These series focused on the pitfalls and hazards faced by many species in the effort to survive. Memorable for many classic scenes featuring new filming techniques and fantastic photography ranging from being in the heart of an ants nest to swimming for your life to escape killer whales. Creating new High-Definition masters with stunning colour and clarity for Blu-ray release and future HD transmissions. Pictures derived from the camera original negative and handled at 2K resolution using the latest scanning and restoration tools to produce the ultimate version of this ground breaking classic and in a quality never see before, even when first produced. Further Information 1. Describe the element/s used for restoration, stating gauge and nature and specific problems associated with them (up to 100 words): Standard 16mm camera original A/B negative Variable quality and sources of stock, physical wear such as fine scratches, emulsion digs. Wide range of grain and exposure. This restoration presented a number of challenges including variable elements with differing characteristics requiring meticulous matching to create a consistent final result. Due to the original production workflow for Trials of Life, A/B negatives did not contain the entire programme having both video archive inserts and electronically generated graphics and captions. Some inserts were up-converted using the latest software and carefully rematched to the film. Graphics were recreated in HD using Smoke and Avid. 2. State the original aspect ratio and format (up to 100 words): Original Life on Earth transmission 4:3 ratio originated in Standard Definition PAL direct from Rank Cintel MKII using graded 16mm showprint. Trials of Life and subsequent transmissions and DVD releases taken from later models of Telecine (Cintel MKIII and Spirit) transferred to digital videotape formats (D3 or Digibeta) but still from best available 16mm graded showprint. 3. Outline the restored aspect ratio and format (up to 100 words): Original 4:3 aspect ratio retained on all versions of restored masters however scanned area of frame maximised shot by shot providing greater image and higher resolution compared with underscanned existing masters. Delivered for Blu-ray and future High Definition transmission on HDCAM SR masters. 4. Explain where the work was carried out for each title (including labs and facility houses) and broken down where there are multiple titles in an entry (up to 100 words): BBC Studios and Post Production, BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, W12 7RJ 5. What methodology was used? (up to 100 words): * Physical inspection and ultrasonic film clean. * 2k scan of 16mm negatives using DFT Scanity with IR dirt suppression. * Conformed and residual picture movement on joins removed using Nucoda Film Master. * Grading and processing of image as necessary (grain, scratch, steady etc) also on Film Master. * Manual digital clean-up via Diamante Dustbuster for large markings, damage and other defects. * D3 elements passed through BBC PAL Transform Decoder and up-sampled in Dark Energy. * HD titles generated in Avid. * HD graphics re-created in Smoke. * Final assembly in Film Master, shot matched against earliest available BBC tape copy. 6. What preservation elements have been generated and where will they be stored? (up to 100 words): Restored High Definition 4:3 pillar-box masters on HDCAMSR videotape. One copy now with BBC Information and Archive as BBC archive copy and one copy with BBC Worldwide for use as production master. Both stored in separate temperature and humidity controlled vaults at BBC I&A Perivale. Original film reels also held at Perivale in their Film Vault.