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Dale Paquette
Planet Earth
on May 3, 2009 at 11:59:15 am

The Discovery Channel's "Planet Earth" is the most impressive example of nature cinematography I have ever seen. Does anyone know of a book or other material that details the cinematographic details of how it was produced? One specific question, how is perfectly stabilized high telephoto footage of birds and fast running animals captured?


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Nick Griffin
Re: Planet Earth
on May 3, 2009 at 4:59:55 pm

There's a "making of" DVD also sold by the Discovery store. The unfortunate thing is that it's standard definition versus the series itself which is available on BluRay. And WOW!!! Planet Earth is THE REASON to get a BluRay player.

Did I hear correctly that Disney's current theatrical release "Earth" is re-used and re-edited "Planet Earth" footage? Seems odd, but if any footage was worthy of being re-purposed, this is it.


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Dale Paquette
Re: Planet Earth
on May 4, 2009 at 9:32:48 am

Nick, thanks. I believe you are right. When I was a kid, many years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed Disney's "nature" movies. If Planet Earth was awesome in HD, then I can't even begin to imagine it on the big screen. I'll be at the head of the line! Dale


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Mike Cohen
Re: Planet Earth
on May 14, 2009 at 3:04:58 am

Apparently the deal from the start was that Disney would do a feature version of Planet Earth.

Mike Cohen


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mike holding
Re: Planet Earth
on Jun 9, 2009 at 2:32:26 pm

Hi Dale,

Planet Earth was mostly shot using the Panasonic Varicam, F and H models in 720p and using Filmrec Gamma curves developed by the BBC and Digital Praxis. Many of the cameramen used the HJ40 or HJ42 lenses, the HJ18 and HJ11 as well. The series and feature release version were conceived and shot together, so some of the sequences were shot on 35mm for the "Earth" feature film, while the remainder were brought in from 720 HD through a digital intermediate process. The feature film version was originally a BBC/Greenlight Media project, released later in the US by Disney Nature.

The spectacular long lens aerials which were a hallmark of the series were shot using the Cineflex aerial camera system, which gyro-stabilises lenses like the HJ40, allowing absolutely steady shots on a +- 1000 mm lens.

Hope this helps

Director/DOP/ - Natural History


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Dale Paquette
Re: Planet Earth
on Jun 10, 2009 at 9:58:37 am

Thanks Mike. I'm particularly interested in the ground-based extreme telephoto shots of wildlife where much action needed to be captured. Were the cams mounted on a tripod? Seems like they'd have to be substantial and thus very difficult to haul around. Or, were they hand held with optical stabilization (or with a stabilization rig of some kind)? Perhaps the resolution was high enough to enable stabilization in post and then some zoom to fill the edges? Thanks again. dale


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