BBC Films Hummingbird Life Story in 4K Ultra HD

Mike Wheatley

David Attenborough fans will watch it regardless, but 4K TV aficionados might also have a reason to check out a new BBC nature documentary called Life Story that promises to enthral more than just animal lovers.

BBC 4K Hummingbird

Back in the day, the BBC’s animal and nature documentaries were essential viewing for anyone wanting to enjoy their home theatre’s Full HD capabilities, but times have changed and Planet Earth no longer looks as fantastic as it once did. But with its new Life Story series the BBC has upped its game, showing off video footage captured in 4K ultra high-definition (UHD) for the first time.

The first episode of the six-part series has already been aired, but episode two on Thursday night promises to be something of a spectacle. Described by the Beeb as “fight club for hummingbirds”, the entire episode is filmed in slow-motion 4K ultra HD, and features a sequence of booted racket-tail hummingbirds outmanoeuvring larger hummingbirds as they fight to feast on the same flowers.

The episode also contains ‘combat scenes’, with young male hummingbirds squaring off against their older counterparts in an aerial duel to see who gets the girl.

4K video is said to be more immersive and detailed than regular 1080p HDTV, because it has four times the pixel resolution. As such, the images are far more vivid and intense, as if you’re looking out of a window, perhaps.

“The detail is not just for fun,” said Hannah Hugh-Jones, Producer & Project Manager of Digital Strategy at the BBC. “It actually brings you closer to, and more in to, the animal’s world, because a lot of this is about seeing the lives of these animals on their faces and in their eyes.”

“We have also tried to make the camera less static than is traditional. Often the camera is observing stuff happening: we’ve tried to get the camera with the animal so when they’re moving we’re moving with them,” Hugh-Jones explained.

While the UK public service broadcaster has carried out 4K trials before, Life Story contains the first 4K footage the BBC has actually filmed – although somewhat ironically it will only be broadcast in full HD (at least for now).

Episode two of Life Story will air on BBC One Thursday the 30th of October at 9pm.