Hailing from production studio Vox Observatory, Planet Earth II has got to be one of the most cinematic wildlife shows ever filmed. The three-part series, focussed on the evolution of BBC’s wildlife films, is a must-watch visual masterpiece for all wildlife doco fans. It’s been a huge transition from when the BBC launched its Natural History Unit (NHU in industry-speak) in 1957, where wind-up film cameras were running for 20 second intervals.
In the contemporary world, cameras are smaller than ever, where they can shoot at higher frames in lower light and the storage of data is literally unlimited. As technology grows, the lengths the NHU go to showcase the finer details of the wildlife grows. It’s not enough to get some footage of snow leopards (one of the hardest animals to track down), the NHU want to be able to spy on them from a few metres away with motion-detecting cameras. This is what you’ll see in Planet Earth II.
The executive producer, Mike Gunton states that, “To make it feel truly cinematic, I think you have to tell the stories from a dramatic perspective, and that means putting yourselves in the eyes, in the mind, in the world of the animals, and seeing what’s at stake for them.”
These advancements make the term ‘documentary’, seem a little redundant. Gone are the days where these films are reserved for stuffy classrooms – the sound design and storytelling makes Planet Earth II a dramatic and emotional journey for viewers, where the producers are bringing wildlife to another genre.
With the score produced by the legendary Hans Zimmer, Planet Earth II will make you feel like you’re watching a Hollywood Blockbuster.