Blender User needed for UK TV Documentary


I’m a producer/director and I’m making a history documentary for the BBC. I’m also a Blender user and have been teaching myself to use it over the past 6 months. I’m really excited about the possibilities of using Blender for broadcast graphics and this seems like the perfect opportunity. The sort of budget we have rules out using a big CG house hence I’m thinking of doing as much as I can with Blender.

There’s going to be more graphics work than I can handle on my own, so we are looking for a reasonably experience Blender user, (UK, preferably London based), who would be interested in working on the project. It will probably be 4-6 weeks full time in Oct / Nov - rates negotiable.

The style of graphics we’re planning will involve combining elements into live action, so experience of camera tracking and compositing would be useful.

Has anyone else used blender in a factual television project? I’d be really interested in any experiences.

The documentary is being made by Ballista Media


Nathan Williams (

Interesting project you seem to have there. Blender has very nice compositing nodes, but I think the worst bottleneck will be rotoscoping. It is possible to do roto work in Blender but the workflow is not the fastest one. Also there is no tracking system at all. But otherwise, I love the comp nodes in blender and I think it is not that crazy idea even to use Blender’s vse to edit the shots.

This is very interesting. :slight_smile: Nathan, can you give us some more information as to what would be required in the project? For instance, will you be needing CG characters (CG birds, aliens,) explosions, barrel flares, sparks, blood splatter, day-to-night conversion…?

You can do camera tracking with Voodoo. You can then export that information to Blender. Voodoo works best with simple shots (pans, static.)

I do not have experience with compositing with live action footage, but perhaps you would be interested in my work, here: I am USA based, if that is an issue.

Best regards on your documentary!
Benjamin Bailey

P.S. It’s great that you are learning Blender :slight_smile:

Just checked out your website, so you worked on fight for life and homepathy doccies, I remember watching those on BBC World and enjoyed them the most, the fight for life ones espiecally. I have noticed more and more that the are producers, directors, game designer who are coming to this site to seek free lancers etc perharps its time to add a jobs section to the site.

very neat. Working with Blender for BBC, how awesome. I would not be able to assist in the rotoscoping aspect, but I would more than happy to contribute free work/models (since I would not be available for regular intervals)…it would be a great learning experience for myself to advance my Blender experience. Send me a message via BA if you require any external assistance.

Thanks for the replies - and glad you enjoyed some of my programmes!

Exactly what graphics we do will slightly depend on the skillset of whoever we find. The great thing about being the producer and director and doing the graphics is that I’ve got a huge amount of freedom to use graphics however I want. I think low budget graphics is all about the art of the possible.

The documentary is about an 18th century battle with a presenter on the location, so my current plan is to place graphic elements onto shots of the landscape. This might be information (perhaps a sort of modern Head Up Display type overlay) to explain strategic points. Or they might be some kind of representation of the battle itself.

My instinct at the moment is to steer clear of trying to be photoreal, and keep everything stylised. If it’s possible to do some fire/smoke/fluid effects that would be great, alternatively we could use stock footage.

Since manpower is limited I’d hope there would be very little rotoscoping.

I’ve done some tests with voodoo and blender and got great results with 2d tracking, but not much success with 3d tracking. I’m thinking of buying PF Hoe. Anyone had any experience with that?

Ideally someone London, UK based would be great - as collaborating face to face is always easier and we’ll be handling some pretty big video files. But remote working might be possible.

Here are a few of my very modest blender efforts!

I just sent you a personal message.

I find the subject matter interesting. I’ve also got some experience compositing, tracking, etc. but I’m in the US. A couple of years ago I used Blender (in part) on a dome show about Mars:

I think this is great.

I’d also like to suggest Cinellera for use on your project as an NLE.
I’ve had a lot of success with 2d tracking with this program as well.
Someone also mentioned Voodoo for 3d tracking, which I’ve also had great success with.
I haven’t tried this yet but it occurred to me to use Cinellera to create masks and
then track that video in Voodoo - this could allow for more advanced motion tracking
if you had shots with talent in the frame or something like that.

I have used the Blender sequence editor as well and it’s very useful but I find
it difficult to work with long clips and keep large editing projects organized.

I find that between Blender and Cinellera I have a pretty solid workflow
for all kinds of effects/titles/etc.

The downside is that Cinellera is Linux only, but there are several live-distro’s that you can try it out with if your on Win/Mac

Good luck with your project!!!

[email protected] - I’ve pm’ed you.

secundar - Great work with the mars dome. I think ideally I’m looking for someone UK based. I’ve always found it easiest to be able to meet face to face plus transferring HD footage could be tough transatlantic (even with broadband). But thanks for the interest.

teldredge - Interesting suggestion about Cinelerra. I didn’t know it had tracking built in. We’ll be primarily cutting with FCP (not open source I know but the production company has it already and its industry standard). But good idea about using Cinelerra for masking.

Nice work, nathankw :wink: You’ve got good stuff going (bullet physics, fluids, particles, camera tracking.) Keep up the good work. I hope your production goes marvelously. :slight_smile: I am US based and fear my skills are not up-to-snuff with what is needed most. There will be other opportunities for me.

nathankw, did you think of SynthEyes, for tracking?