View Full Version : Anyone familiar with Discovery Production Guidlines

Paul Folger
01-25-2009, 09:00 PM

I am helping to produce a show we hope to sell to Animal Planet. Iíve done my best to search for production guidelines and deliverable guidelines. Iíve looked at the Discovery Producers Portal, http://producers.discovery.com/ , but unless you currently have a relationship with Discovery you canít access the Production Guide distributed by the Production Management Department. We could, of course, submit our idea to Discovery but since part of the agreement is to agree that Discovery may have already thought of the show and or been previously approached with the same show - I am weary of pursuing this. It is true that many people come up with similar ideas but the idea isnít the whole of show. A good show not only includes a great idea but it also includes the way the show is produced. So weíve decided to go ahead a produce the pilot.

To date the only production guidelines that Iíve been able to find is at this link. http://www.animalplanet.ca/reports/Article.aspx?aid=237 This is Animal Planet Canada and the HD Specs were last updated in 2006.

I know certain shows get away with using far more than just the 15% of HDV per show. I know shows like ďDeadliest Catch,Ē and ďWreckreation Nation,Ē do this Ė probably because they lose a lot of cameras.

Anyhow, besides the first objective of producing a great story, I donít want to go to far astray from the Discovery guidelines and not be able to sell the show. Iíve been mostly a Panasonic user but recently Iíve been leaning towards the XDCAM mainly because of the work flow and affordability of the media. I also want to stay in the 1920X1080 resolution. I love the P2 format, no moving parts, but itís not cheap and the workflow has a certain risk factor of losing data during data dump.

If you have recent experience with Discovery or specifically Animal Planet I could sure use some ideas on what cameras they prefer or can I get away with HDV? My past experience includes using the Varicam, HVX200, and DVX100. This week I will being using the PDW350 XD HD Cam for an ENG shoot. Also, any ideas on POV cameras or B-roll cameras would be helpful.

If I was going to shoot a feature or short film I would go with Panasonic but with ENG Iím willing to consider Sony.


01-25-2009, 09:48 PM
I have no experience or affiliation with Discovery or Animal Planet (though I have had friends shoot and deliver material for htem).

Howver, in every spec I've ever seen DVCProHD is treated the same as HDV. So that would not be my first choice. I've been hearing that XDCamEX is treated as good enough for 100% aquisition but that seems a bit risky to me.

If it were my shoot, I'd be looking to do 1080/59.97i 4;2:2 at a minimum of 50 Mbps. anything else might run the risk of getting limited. I would not shoot 720 (Varicam) because I have seen the specs from DiscoveryHD put limits on it. HDCam seems to be the minimum spec listed for 100% use so I'd at least go that route. XDCam might be pushing it.