Behind Planet Earth 2
Unless you don’t have any social media, you probably vibrated, freaked out, and felt a rush of adrenaline watching an iguana running for his life within the last few months. If not, stop everything and watch that:
BBC Planet Earth 2 has managed to wake us up with astonishing images, supported by a storytelling that is equally powerful. Many noticed that the Iguana vs. Snakes sequence was actually better than many $200 million franchise trip. But how?
And the Iguana is not an isolated case. In each episode, comes a moment where your mouth drops, your muscles tense, and you can’t help but wondering: HOW ?!
It takes a village to make stories at this scale and of this quality. Of course, better technologies are helping (drones are massively used) but it takes more than 4K images to make a 21st-century sapiens feel.
Finding the angle that will take an iguana and transform it into an action star is the key. Here is what producer Elizabeth White said about it:
I really wanted to do a story about the iguanas but they’ve been filmed a lot before, so I was trying to find a new angle on them. I was chatting to a cameraman in the Galapagos who films a lot out there and we came up with this idea of concentrating on all the animals that can survive because of the iguanas’ success. Iguanas are little pioneers and all these other animals benefit from that.
The cameraman mentioned he’d filmed single snakes and hawks catching iguanas and that sounded interesting, so that’s what we went out to film.
Digging around, I was surprised to find out that almost no articles offered insights about the process behind Planet Eart 2. The best one I found as on Elle UK. (Kudos to Katie O’Mailey for the great interview). Here are some of my personal highlights in terms of logistic.
- 117 Shoots
- 2,089 shooting days
- 40 countries
- Production from A to Z lasted 4 years
- The team is mostly composed of women (I had to stress that point)
- Each team is composed of four people, that includes one producer, one director, and two cameraman
- The time on location to shoot is usually two weeks
Fortunately, VOX shared my obsession and did an excellent video explaining how the BBC and Technology evolved to make Planet Earth 2 look so cinematic:
And before leaving, check how the Iguana scene was filmed: