Remember when ‘The Life of Birds…’ BBC TV series broke through in 1998? Introducing millions of households across Britain to birds, their behaviours and why they do what they do.
The accompanying book, ‘The Life of Birds’, as well as follow ups ‘The Life of Mammals’, ‘Life in the Undergrowth’ and autobiography, ‘Life on Air’, contained hundreds of photographs taken over many years, which played as important a part in their impact as the incredible insights they shared. And we played a major role in making sure those images were as crisp and true to life as Sir David Attenborough wanted.
In 1995, when we first started working on this project, high resolution image digitisation was a major part of Digitronix’s life. Running state of the art drum scanners, we worked with some of the world’s biggest image libraries, digitising images from the transparencies which were the photographer’s stock in trade. These were the days before digital cameras and this intensive process included retouching any dust or blemishes to provide a colour correct, clean digital file ready for the designers.
Entrusted with hundreds of transparencies and tasked with scanning and cleaning up every digital file our work on these books was credited in each.
With creative direction from Sir David himself, we faithfully digitised amazing wildlife image after amazing wildlife image. This direction was all provided in a series of handwritten letters, explaining how specific elements of the images needed treating. This included instructions on how to tackle images of a fungus gnat, which had prevented use of flash photography.
“…The problem for the photographer, of course, is that if he is to use enough light to illuminate the larva’s body, he will largely drown the light coming from the tail…I think our solution is to blue just that section I have marked on the rough proof.” David Attenborough.
In a Nov 18 YouGov poll, Sir David was voted the UK’s most popular person, and he has been named the country’s most trustworthy celebrity multiple times. We were privileged to be entrusted with this priceless archive of images and receive personal letters from such a class act. It’s a great reminder that when you work hard at delivering the best results for people, you get to work on some amazing projects.