Making of Planet Earth II

When the BBC debuted the documentary series Planet Earth in 2006, it was a groundbreaking achievement in nature filmmaking the likes of which we hadn’t seen before. Part of the reason it was so stunning to watch was because high-definition televisions were just becoming more mainstream, and people were really starting to see what rich images new televisions were capable of delivering. But more importantly, the footage itself and how it was captured was totally mind-blowing.

Now here we are, 11 years later, and Planet Earth II has been airing on the BBC with hours of new footage that makes the original Planet Earth looks like an amateur student film. All right, the comparison isn’t quite that stark, but if you’ve been watching Planet Earth II, then you know that the filmmakers have pulled off some mind-blowing footage. Now a batch of extensive featurettes explains how they pulled it all off.

Learn about the making of Planet Earth II after the jump.

First, there’s this piece that explains how they made everything look cinematic:

Then this one explains how they used slow-motion and timelapse to reveal typically unseen moments in nature:

And finally, this video explains how filmmakers used special technology to be able to see outside in the dark:

It’s amazing what we can do with cameras and technology nowadays, especially when you compare footage like this to nature documentaries from just 10 or 20 years ago. We’re able to more easily see creatures in their natural habitat and capture exciting moments like a baby iguana escaping a swarm of snakes. If you want to learn more about how that sequence, which went viral, was filmed, check out Vox’s deep dive into the shooting of that scene right here.

Planet Earth II is still airing a new episode every Saturday at 9/8c

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