Welsh-language broadcaster S4C is a step closer to its goal of making all programming in HD by 2012 after completing filming on its first high-definition children's programme.

The second series of Baaas, a co-production between S4C, Cynhyrchiadau Ceidiog Creations and the al-Jazeera Children's Channel, wrapped last week in Llanelli, Wales.

The 52 x 15-minute live action, pre-school series tells the stories of an extended family of singing and dancing sheep. It is being produced in both Welsh and Arabic.

S4C director of broadcast and distribution Arshad Rasul said that high definition had been in the pipeline for S4C since 2006, but that he was not rushing to adopt it, unlike some public service broadcasters that had made bold statements about the speed at which they would go totally HD.

“We could see the interest in HD back then,” he explained. “So we looked at the costs of acquisition and production and looked at how they might fall over a five-year period. We have started off [producing] high-value programmes with a very long shelf life, particularly co-productions, and we will transmit them first in downconverted SD.”

“It takes many years to build up a good number of hours of library,” he continued. “We were a bit more cautious and we felt that it was something we could achieve but we thought that it would be nearer 2012.”

The production facilities for Baaas, including a small OB vehicle and four Sony HDC-1500 HDCam cameras, were provided by Arqiva. The shoot took seven weeks in total. Editing will be completed by Barcud Derwen and sound post-production by Cranc.

Baaas will air from October on S4C's extended pre-school service Cyw, which launched this week on the digital channel Digidol.

S4C is currently accepting downconverted SD content for current transmission and HD on tape for its library, with a view to it being broadcast in HD in the future.

Once digital switchover is complete in Wales in 2010, the analogue transmission area at S4C's broadcast centre will be re-engineered and replaced with a new digital transmission set-up that will be both SD and HD capable.