The second season of Planet Earth, BBC’s award winning documentary, was released on Nov 11. BBC
Ten years ago, the BBC’s Emmy Award-winning wildlife documentary, Planet Earth, took us on a journey described as “the ultimate *portrait of life on Earth”. From the deepest caves, to the most-*luscious rainforests, from the bottom of the ocean, to the North Pole, it was a window into previously unseen parts of our world.
But a decade later, the BBC can boast of something even more impressive. The series sequel, Planet Earth II, has been met with *rapturous applause. Released to British audiences in November, it’s the first BBC show produced in 4K resolution, as well as the broadcaster’s most high-tech endeavour ever. The opening episode was the most watched natural history program in the UK for more than 15 years, drawing in 9.2 million viewers.
Filmed over three years, it’s expected to “uncover stories about the natural world we have simply never been able to witness before”, said Charlotte Moore, BBC One controller. The 4K cameras allowed the capture of more detailed images than previously seen, while *drones were able to catalogue previously hard-to-get moments that have *mesmerized audiences.
Drones are more flexible and stealthy than helicopters, which were used in the filming of the 2006 Planet Earth, and can take cameras to places where helicopters cannot fly, like thick jungles or narrow *slits between rock. And they do so in such a manner that the animals are not disturbed or distracted. Something called “camera traps”–cameras that switch on only when animals trigger their sensors–also helped get close-up shots of *elusive creatures such as snow leopards.
“Visually, Planet Earth took an almost God-like perspective and said ‘Let’s look down on the Earth and see the scale of the planet’. What Planet Earth II is doing is saying ‘Let’s get ourselves into the lives of the animals, and see it from their perspective,”’ the series producer Mike Gunton told BBC.
The visual signature of the series is that you feel like the camera is with the animals. “It’s very *fluid, very active. For example, you might see this wonderful lemur leaping through the forest,” Gunton said.
“Normally when we’d film that, we’d be standing back observing it, but here the *lemur almost jumps over your shoulder and as it’s jumping over your shoulder, you’re with it – the camera is running with it.”
“通常来说，当我们摄像时，我们会站在拍摄物身后观察它，但在这部影片中，这只狐猴就像是要真的飞越你的肩膀一般，你就和它在一起 —— 摄像机就在它身旁运作着。
In fact, some of the scenes leaked in the show’s promotional period were so breathtaking that they drew *accusations of being fake.
An incredible sequence showing hundreds of snakes on the Galapagos Islands in pursuit of an *iguana that amazingly avoids their *clutches was uploaded to social media to promote the show. The short clip instantly went viral and soon became referred to as “the best scene in documentary history”.
“A few viewers think such detail must be computer-generated, but the reality is that Mother Nature is much better at making animals than any CGI artist–we just haven’t had the ability to show this level of detail until now,” a BBC spokesperson told Gizmodo.
“一部分观众认为这样的细节一定是电脑合成的，但事实上，大自然比任何一位电脑合成图像设计师都更擅长塑造动物 —— 目前为止，我们还没有这样的技术能够展现出这种程度的细节，”一位BBC发言人在接受科技博客Gizmodo采访时表示。
But it’s not just the filming technology that has advanced–our understanding of nature has too. This is why the new installment is not only about natural *habitats but also takes us into the cities too, to show how human behavior has impacted nature and how animals have adapted to survive it. The crews made 117 filming trips in 40 different countries, filming for a total of 2,089 days.