Micro Monsters 3D marks ONSIGHT's fifth project with Atlantic Productions & Colossus for Sky

08th July, 2013

Micro Monsters 3D with David Attenborough is the astonishing new 3D series about the complex world of insects, premiering in Europe this month. ONSIGHT provided full production facilities for this revolutionary show. The team at ONSIGHT is proud to have been chosen as a partner by Atlantic Productions and Sky on each of their 3D collaborations with the legendary natural history broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough.

Simon Craddock, CEO of ONSIGHT, says, “To be working on our fifth production with the team behind Colossus Productions is fantastic and a testament to our services. We have invested in camera and post solutions and together, our companies are pushing the boundaries of stereoscopic 3D to amazing effect.”

Previous projects include the BAFTA and multiple award-winning Flying Monsters 3D with David Attenborough, of which ONSIGHT shares the IBC2011 Special Award for innovation, RTS winner The Bachelor King 3D, BAFTA nominated Kingdom of Plants 3D and the critically acclaimed Galapagos 3D.

Micro Monsters is the second 3D project, produced by Colossus Productions. The documentary series, with Series Producer Sias Wilson, explores the lives of arthropods for the first time in 3D. It delves closer than ever to reveal the intricacies surrounding the insects, normally hidden to the human eye. Audiences can expect the likes of scorpions courting, predatory spiders weaving their webs and shocking action from the praying mantis. The series’ Executive Producer and CEO / Creative Director of Atlantic and Colossus Productions, Anthony Geffen, explains, “All our previous 3D projects with David Attenborough for Sky have been ground-breaking, but Micro Monsters goes several steps further using everything we’ve learnt previously about cutting edge storytelling in 3D, but adding the chance to dive into a completely alien world – a place of bizarre creatures and strange behaviour.”

ONSIGHT provided technical supervision for the project. The team designed a 3D and 2D workflow to incorporate the wide number of formats and methods, such as 4K and high frame rates.

The series was shot in Africa and Australia, alongside studio filming in London with recreated environments. Production faced numerous challenges in dealing with the natural behaviour of these exotic bugs. Not only was it essential to film the small subjects at particular magnification, the Series Director Timothy Usborne and Natural History Director Alex Hemingway, had to work with the team to control the conditions. For instance, heat from the required lighting caused the insects to become more active.

ONSIGHT’s camera department supplied RED Epic cameras and 3ality Technica Atom rigs to shoot the sequences in 3D and up to a resolution of 5K. Working with DoP Stereographer Paul Williams and Natural History DoP Robert Hollingworth, ONSIGHT provided a range of lens options, including Angenieux Optimos and other macro lenses. A specialist filming system, known as the Cube rig, was developed by natural history cameraman Jonathan Watts to capture the extreme macro images.

The full picture post was provided by ONSIGHT, from extensive data management through to online and mastering at their Soho facility. For this innovative series, their post team provided Production with a 3D and high resolution 4K pipeline. ONSIGHT Colourist Andy Lee depth graded and colour graded all 6 x 30-minute episodes. Lee remarks, “The finish is bold and textured to reflect the rich elements from the macro photography. With such detail exposed on the insects’ bodies and environments, a wide spectrum of colour was used. I was able to sharpen and highlight the features, such as the varying green of the praying mantis species and markings on the beetles, whilst balancing the natural look. ”

Ruth Sessions, Director of Operations at Colossus Productions adds, “ONSIGHT has proven they can offer trusted production facilities. What really stands out is their culture of going the extra mile. We know the results will be technically and creatively brilliant. Micro Monsters has set the bar again, immersing the viewer into the bugs’ everyday lives like never before. That’s why ONSIGHT has become a key partner in our productions.”

Micro Monsters 3D with David Attenborough broadcasts weekly from Saturday 15 June on Sky 3D and Sky1 HD. Evolutionary design to adaptability today are some of the fascinating areas examined. The episode titles are Conflict, Predator, Courtship, Reproduction, Family and Colony. Sir David Attenborough commented, “You may think you know something about ants or termites, you may think you know something about scorpions or dragonflies, but I guarantee that when you see it in 3D or even just on a small screen, you will see it all in a new way.”

Watch the trailer here.

Read Micro Monsters 3D A Bug's Life Up Close' from page 26 in Broadcast TECH June / July 2013 for a behind the scenes profile, featuring ONSIGHT's 'Micro Management'.

Reviews to date:

“Remarkable new series. Wondrous. Don’t miss ****” - The Observer

“Extraordinary ****” - Sunday Times

“Stunning new series – Best seen in 3D – Prepared to be shocked ****” - Sunday Mail

“The close-up shots of spiders, scorpions and insects in battle make this (…) look like something from a sci-fi

movie. - TV Times

“Stunning in both 3D and 2D. You’ll be bitten by the Micro Monsters bug.” - The Sun

“Stunning series, ground breaking 3D” - The Mirror

“Attenborough’s latest is ‘Life on Earth’ for the ‘Deadliest Warrior’ generation ****” - Time Out

“If you need any proof of how much we should treasure Attenborough this new series is it.

Fascinating stuff” - Daily Telegraph