First European HD DVD released… and it’s Elephants Dream

  / by Matt

The next generation of DVD formats are on their way, and one of them is HD DVD, supporting HD 1920×1080 video, high quality surround sound, and many advanced interactive features. Today, Michael Becker from Skywalk Mastering GmbH / Imagion AG in Germany sent us an email telling us that his company had produced the first ever European HD DVD title: Elephants Dream.

Michael tells us:

I am very happy to let you know that we worked very hard over the last weeks to produce an “Elephants Dream” HD DVD. This is the first(!) ever European HD DVD title and it will introduce the start of the next generation format in Europe. As the whole European PC and movie magazines are waiting for a first HD DVD title in Europe this will be a hugh success for your movie and I am sure this will go through the press worldwide.

Today there are worldwide (USA / Japan) only approx. 40 titles available. The HD DVD format was released in April this year in Japan and might be the new HD disc Format for the future. A European start of the format is planned for approx. October 2006. The process to programm and author an HD DVD is very complex this is why no title has been produced in Europe so far (tools are not ready right now).

Not only that Elephants Dream is the first European HD DVD release it is also (as far as I know) the most complex HD DVD title ever release worldwide and the picture quality is really great. The disc includes most of the new HD DVD functionalities such as “on the fly menus”, Picture in Picture features and some HD / SD comparison functions. We expect that the disc will have cult status very soon and promote the Elephants Dream movie.

HD DVD menus HD DVD menus

The full press release is available here at their Elephants Dream HD DVD microsite. The story has already been covered by German technology news websites and

This is a fantastic surprise, none of our team knew that this was in production, and judging by the making of videos on their website, it looks like they’ve put an enormous amount of work into the project too. Also possible download music of the game with site

The HD DVD is for sale for € 14.90 which covers their production costs. It’s wonderful that people are taking advantage of the Creative Commons license like this, it’s exactly what’s encouraged. This is very positive and benefits all parties, increasing Orange and Blender recognition throughout the industry and providing a great showcase for the talents of the Imagion staff.

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23 Responses to “First European HD DVD released… and it’s Elephants Dream”

  1. Rui Campos said on 14 Aug, 2006:

    Congrats, will buy one copy once I get an HD-DVD reader !
    It looks really good.

  2. Schmithausen said on 15 Aug, 2006:

    Where can I buy the HD DVD?

  3. steve said on 16 Aug, 2006:

    Will it be region encoded??? Or a region 0?


  4. Evil Ed said on 16 Aug, 2006:

    Of course it will be regionally coded-we want to destroy the joy of all movie collectors!

  5. Michael said on 17 Aug, 2006:

    Hi Steve,

    the disc is regional code free and has no copy protection so the movie itself could be copied. It can be ordered at Imagion’s special microsite:



  6. buergi said on 20 Aug, 2006:

    Wow cool this will be my first HDDVD test disc when i’ll buy a reader for this discs, so perhaps in 2 or 3 years :D i have no DVD writer right now, so i’m always one step behind :D i love my old 400 mhz computer ;D ok perhaps i’m many many steps behind :D lets see what the future brings.

  7. Silencedkill said on 20 Aug, 2006:

    Hi all,

    I find this project incredible.
    Though there are a few downsides on it:
    1. the movie is too short to really make it really penetrate in our world
    2. the story is weak for me and most ppl I know

    Well getting that of my chest, the graphics are incredible. I was surprised all of this was made on opensource programs. This way of working should be promoted more! the crew who worked (is still working?) on this must be really talented to make this kind of movie. if it would be a full movie (min 1h) I would order it immediately! in DVD format because I will probably have a blue-ray player instad of HD DVD :p.

    may I ask how you made this in HD DVD? Was it a matter of recoding, or really rewrite the whole (or partially) the thing.

    keep up the good work, you have a real future in this!

  8. Wan said on 22 Aug, 2006:

    Has anyone already got the HD DVD shipped?
    Or has anyone any more info about its availability?

    I can’t wait! I must have it! :)

  9. tonyl said on 22 Aug, 2006:

    I order one Elephants Dream DVD, but nobody answer me about my order,Merchant’s cart ID: 1337,Authorisation Date/Time:
    15/Aug/2006 08:32:08,Transaction ID: 189587033. Can you tell me when I can get it,thanks!

  10. Vincent said on 22 Aug, 2006:

    Awesome! Hehe, I might even buy this even if I do not have a HD DVD reader :D

  11. Matt said on 22 Aug, 2006:

    tonyl, if you’re talking about the HD DVD mentioned in this post, then you should contact the imagion staff directly. If you’re talking about the Blender e-shop, you should be able to email shop(at) and mention your order number, and hopefully they can help you.

  12. Alex said on 22 Aug, 2006:

    Has this HD DVD been authored and encoded with open source tools also ?

  13. DEEDS said on 23 Aug, 2006:

    Has anybody already got the HD DVD?

    I send an email,but imagion staff not to reply.

  14. Joeri said on 24 Aug, 2006:

    Alex: You should take a look at the making-of they made. It’s on their site.
    I guess they used the png’s so it’s not truely encoded from the 10bits/channel, but it must be truly amazing to see this at home and getting blown away by the graphics and audio.

  15. tonyl said on 24 Aug, 2006:

    DEEDS and Matt:I have the same question with you ,I send email but no one to reply.Has anybody already got the HD DVD?
    Michael:Can you help me ?

  16. Michael Becker said on 25 Aug, 2006:

    All Elephants Dream HD DVD orders have been shipped now.

    Please appologise the delay that did affect some orders. We received a small quantity of “Elephants Dream” HD DVDs from the replicator when the press release was published (check discs). These discs were used for the first shipments. Due to many press releases these discs were sold out faster than we ever thought.

    We did received new stock yeterday and all orders have been shipped today.

    Please apologise any problems this caused.

  17. dailer said on 2 Sep, 2006:

    On the Toshiba Booth at the IFA 2006 in Berlin you can watch Elephants Dream in full hd on a big LCD screen. It looks really great and you can see all the little details in the movie. There is no sound but thats not so bad Rolling Eyes .

  18. Richard said on 7 Sep, 2006:

    Moving to High Def is great but you should have thought of BLU RAY which is superior to HD-DVD …

  19. VPTready said on 11 Sep, 2006:

    One more thing, I really love the website.

  20. Yang said on 18 Sep, 2006:

    Off topic but I really don’t know where to post this
    In the movie Proog dumped his walking stick before he dances and a couple minutes later Proog grabed his walking stick from the ground after both Emo and Proog fell from the fast falling platform…I guess this probably has been noticed but what’s the explanation?

  21. Yang said on 18 Sep, 2006:

    nvm, just saw it

  22. claudio castelli said on 20 Sep, 2006:

    I’m sorry about posting here… I guess it might be a bit “offtopic”…
    It would be great, for me, if you could release a sort of “linux” distro for indipendent cg filmmakers-video artists…uncapable of using linux themselfs.
    with “the set” of software you used to release this great short film…(and maybe also “jashaka”.. that doesen’t wanna run on my xp installation…and looks great to me)
    I know there is already “dynebolic”, but well, it doesen’t run on my primary machine (an hp xw8000 workstation)..
    Thank you so much for sharing all this knolewdge… exploring the .blend files you used helps so much learning blender!!