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NHNZ completes multi-million dollar documentary

NHNZ completes multi-million dollar documentary

NHNZ wraps up one of the most expensive documentary series ever produced in New Zealand at the end of May.

Animal Face Off, airing on the Discovery Channel in the United States, had an eight million New Zealand dollar price tag.

Using biomechanical models and groundbreaking 3-D animation, each episode of Animal Face Off pits two iconic animals against each other in a bid to discover which has the speed, power, agility and weapons to defeat the other.

The production shot 600 hours of footage to create the 13 hour series. It took a team of 21 television professionals including series producer, series director and four production teams 9 and a half months to complete the series. While a separate studio production unit in Auckland employed 25 on-set crew.

The production engaged internationally recognised experts in biomechanics and animatronics (Glasshammer who did the whales for Whalerider) to build functioning replicas of each wild animal to undergo a series of scientific tests in a specially constructed “lab”. Animal behaviour experts were flown in from around the world to consult on each episode. Meanwhile a team of 12 animation designers created a virtual bout as the climax to each show.

NHNZ executive producer for Animal Face Off, Andrew Waterworth says the visually stunning, highly original series is set to change the face, pace and style of natural history television. The Discovery Channel brief was to re-engage the natural history genre’s disappearing audiences.

“The audience has changed. They have seen how animals behave in their natural environment and now they want to understand how they function and interact from the inside out – that’s what biomechanics and computer graphics can deliver.”

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