David Attenborough: 3D will always be event TV

Flying monsters 3d

Forget James Cameron, 3D has a new spokesperson and he goes by the name of veteran UK broadcaster David Attenborough.

Attenborough is heading up Flying Monsters 3D, the latest documentary from Sky that shows off the epic potential of 3D, mixing Avatar style imagery with superb wildlife photography.

Written and narrated by Attenborough, it is the first of a range of shows that have been specially commissioned by Sky for its Sky 3D channel.

3DRadar were lucky enough to attend the premiere of the first episode in London this week, where Attenborough talked about his 3D adventure.

Here he speaks about how he thinks 3D is a game changer for TV, just like colour broadcasting in the Sixties.

Why was prehistoric flying monsters the subject of the documentary?

David Attenborough: It was an obvious subject for 3D as dinosaurs are stuck on the ground, but the Pterosaurs we brought to life fly around it is this sort of imagery that's great for the format.

What did 3D bring to the documentary?

DA: I hope that 3D really made a difference, that we haven't been too obvious with the technology and that we let 3D do what it does without forcing it.

3D brings a reality to television that 2D just can't bring.

What was it like 'acting' with CGI creatures?

DA: It was important for the narrator and the CGI to interact. They should be seen together on the screen, so that you believe some of the later CGI without the narrator.

The actual filming with 3D cameras was the biggest change. I am used to small teams, but in a 3D production you have 12 people alone just to control the camera.

How significant is 3D to television?

DA: It's pushing the boundaries - it's like the early days of television. When TV began in the Sixties, people had television sets and thought it was a miracle.

10 years later and colour came about and this was an event but then it became wallpaper.

3D won't become wallpaper, because of the way it is viewed through glasses. It is an experience, it will always be event TV.

Is 3D good for all TV?

DA: 3D won't be good for trivia; it should be used for programmes that really mean something.

Can we expect more 3D programmes from you?

DA: We are working on a 3D show about penguins. They are good for 3D shooting as they don't do too much, just sit there. But we will be shooting underwater, which will look mind blowing.

It's interesting you are with Sky and not the BBC for Flying Monsters…

DA: I'm a BBC man through and through. The BBC has been doing a great deal of technological advances.

But the iPlayer and other things cost a lot of money, a lot of taxpayers' money. So the BBC has decided to put its resources in other things and not 3D. This is not to say it isn't filming wonderful things, but it hasn't invested in a channel like Sky.

When it comes to Sky, I was glad to be asked. Having been there for colour, I am grateful I am here for 3D too.

Flying Monsters 3D makes its debut on Sky 3D on Christmas Day. For more details, go to www.sky.com/3d.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.