European producers of nature films prefer format

CANNES — Despite Euros’ slow acceptance of high-definition TV, German pubcaster ZDF, French distributor Teleimage and Japan’s NHK have pacted to produce their third docu skein, “Space Millennium,” in the nascent format.

Olivier-Rene Veillon of Teleimage said Tuesday at Mipcom that he believes HD is important for the DVD edition, “for which we are expecting big sales.”

Kagari Tajima of NHK’s marketing arm, Mico, said that production costs were well over $1 million per episode, because HD requires about six times more computer capacity than standard TV formats. He told Daily Variety that PBS and its Seattle station KCTS were talking to Mico about licensing rights to the series.

He noted that even European producers of nature films increasingly preferred to use HD, and were eyeing America and Japan as markets for their footage.

“With wildlife, the big advantage (of HD over 35 mm film) is that you can keep the camera running longer to make sure you capture the critical moment,” he explained.

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