an inside look into the life of filming bbc’s planet earth ii

Lovers of nature and wildlife are rejoicing every Sunday evening thanks to the new television series on BBC One, Sir David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II.

A screenshot of BBC’s Planet Earth II TV Series

The series, a follow on from the original, which was aired back in 2006, has taken until now to be filmed, edited and put together to produce these visual wonders giving viewers an often unseen insight into some of the world’s rarest animals in their natural habitat.

So far, we are half way through the series, with episodes 1-3 covering the life and goings on of everything from the frozen roof of the world to the tropical jungles, some of world’s rarest species of animals, and a detailed and insightful look into what really happens in the wild.

From the baby iguanas escaping certain death from the grasp of racing snakes in the first episode, to the grizzly bears displaying their comical dancing against trees as they removed their itchy fur, there have already been a superb collection of highlights to marvel in.

Over 10 million viewers tune in every week – Planet Earth II is shooting to the top of the opinions when it comes to choosing the best nature documentaries ever to be made!

The series has been made with the help of a film company based in Norfolk, and they’ve recently been discussing life on location.

Ember Films, situated in the village of Hackford, not a million miles from our Norfolk-based UK cabin holidays, was part of a team of 12 principal photographers employed to work on the series.

Ember Films’ co-owner, Jonathan Jones, shed some light on how being part of the series had changed his outlook on the way he looked at nature, saying: “It’s shown the amazing diversity of life on Earth.”

Jones added: “There are no rehearsals – it’s all completely wild.”

Delving further into his work, it was revealed that Jones often had to work with just one other person, when shooting on location in the Seychelles, Himalayas, Africa’s Namib desert and the urban jungle of Hong Kong.

He said: “You want to keep the team away as long as possible, so for budgetary reasons you keep it small.

“It also means you have a minimal impact and the animals often aren’t aware that you are there.

“But that’s where natural world cinematography is really unique – you have to be able to do everything and if anything breaks you have to fix it.”

In terms of locations, Jones said he felt the Seychelles were the most demanding, but all came with their own taxing elements.

“I thought it was going to be great, but it was so physically demanding – lugging equipment up and down big cliff faces, getting on and off boats, cuts and bruises. I was even bitten by a large centipede,” Jones said.

“In the Himalayas, we were at 6,000m for three weeks. And there’s lots you have to be careful about in the desert – just coping with the heat is enough,” Jones went on to add.

Following on from opening the door on the insights of the locations, Jones spoke about other demands of his work and the need for patience: “You might be filming for a month just for a few minutes’ footage.

“You have to realise that not every shot is going to pay off. But who knows, you might get three snow leopards in one shot fighting each other.

“That’s unheard of and something that’s never been seen before,” he said.

You can watch the extended trailer of Planet Earth II, in the video below:


Image and video courtesy of BBC Earth.

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