Planet Earth II

Mike Gunton lecture at RTS East

Mike Gunton with the RTS East region committee

The creative director of the BBC’s Natural History Unit spoke about the challenges of making the series to an audience of 120 RTS East members, creative professionals and students at the event hosted by Norwich University of the Arts.

Working on Planet Earth II, alongside David Attenborough, was the pinnacle of Gunton’s 30-year, 250-film career in wildlife film-making. He discussed the continual challenge of coming up with something “bigger, more ambitious, riskier” each time.

Why storytelling is the key to good camerawork

Christopher Titus King, Helen Scott and Sophie Darlington (Credit: RTS/Paul Hampartsoumian)

Wildlife cinematographer Sophie Darlington (the BBC’s Planet Earth II and documentary feature African Cats) and director of photography Christopher Titus King, who straddles the documentary (BBC One’s Seven Ages of Britain) and drama (the History mini-series, The Bible) genres, discussed camerawork at the RTS Craft Skills Masterclasses.

Midlands given Baird natural history lesson

The Baird Lecture traditionally focuses on how technology influences TV production and BBC One’s Planet Earth II is the perfect example of recent innovation.

Gunton, who is creative director of factual at the BBC’s Natural History Unit, explained how the latest technology has shaped the content of programmes.

The production team used infra-red cameras to shoot the amorous rhinos and the baby iguana who outran the snakes hot on its tail.

Planet Earth II tops iPlayer as most-watched

This year has been BBC iPlayer's best year so far according to stats from the BBC, recording the amounts of requests shows have had on the online platform. 

October and November saw the highest average number of daily requests BBC iPlayer has ever had, at 11.7 million in each month.

BBC Three had a good year on BBC iPlayer, with drama Thirteen’s first episode requested more than 3.2 million times, the second most popular episode of any series across the year so far. These are promising figures, considering BBC Three made the transition to online in February.

BBC iPlayer set to stream Planet Earth II footage in Ultra HD and HLG

The four minutes of Planet Earth II footage will be available in Ultra HD and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) on compatible connected TVs from today until early next year.

Planet Earth II's footage follows a jaguar emerging from the shadows to stalk prey and the effects of rain dropping on tiny animals and their habitats, including a range of greens and a frog in a shade of red never before seen on a TV.

The experimental footage is an early but important step towards streaming high-quality Ultra HD programmes on BBC iPlayer in the future. 

Are we ready for Ultra-HD?

The Digital TV Group, the cross-industry organisation that defines how technology delivers digital TV in the UK, hosted the event at the end of September.

It boasted a panel chaired by DTG Chief Executive Richard Lindsay-Davies; and featuring Nigel Walley, MD of consultancy Decipher; Andy Quested, head of technology, BBC HD and Ultra-HD; and Tom Griffiths, director of broadcast and distribution technology at ITV.

David Attenborough to present Planet Earth II

David Attenborough will present Planet Earth II

The six-part series comes ten years after Planet Earth redefined history filmmaking.

It will use state-of-the-art technology to help tell the story of our natural world, visiting jungles, deserts, grasslands and cities, and look at how animals survive within them.

Speaking about the new series, Attenborough, who this year celebrates his ninetieth birthday, said: “I am very excited to once again be working with the Natural History Unit on its latest landmark series and am especially looking forward to getting out on location in the next month or so.”