Cityvisitor blog

Planet Earth II mimics natural sound – but is it a hit?

BBC Planet Earth is back, complete with dulcet Attenborough narration and a more dynamic cinematography.  Capturing some of life’s most precious natural wonders,…

…Planet Earth II scours the globe to uncover corners of the world that are largely unseen through six, one-hour Sunday night episodes.

But the broadcaster has admitted to using sound effects in place of the real deal in certain shots – much to the annoyance of some keyboard warriors taking to social media.

“I love Planet Earth II, but I wish they’d be more sparing with the sound effects. This harvest mouse’s tail sounds like Indiana Jones’s whip”, said one person venting on Twitter.

“Just found out they use fake sound effects in Planet Earth to add drama and emotion. I feel snaked”, said another.

There were, however, some social media users who were sticking up for the programme.

“It’s obvious that the sound effects in Planet Earth 2 are fake but why are people annoyed by it? It’s still epic.”

“Planet Earth II is stunning and the sound effects, particularly with the Draco lizards, are perfect.”

Planet Earth II producers have said that the use of sound effects is in place of some of the finer audio detail which is nigh on impossible to capture, regardless of technology.

The programme follows the success of the 2006-commissioned Planet Earth, which so far has featured just-hatched marine iguanas running for their lives from racer snakes on the Galapagos Islands, dancing grizzly bears in Europe’s remote snow-capped mountains, the jungles and deserts of Madagascar and the wonders of grasslands across different continents.

Understandably, producers want to match the new-age quality of the picture with a comparable standard of audio excellence and it is accompanied by a stellar soundtrack compiled by the piano magic of Hans Zimmer (think The Lion King, Gladiator and Pearl Harbor).

Despite the behind-the-scenes footage at the end of each episode, it still baffles me as to how the production team go about finding the obscure, rare and wonderful scenes that they manage to bring to our screens so effortlessly.

And it’s clear that this isn’t always the easiest of tasks. In fact, the team behind Planet Earth II are often risking themselves in unpredictable weathers and terrains for the end product which is, (I think you’ll agree with me here), really quite wondrous.

So to be damned for making considerable efforts to mimic real-life audio and executing this to a very high standard is surely unfair to the efforts that have been put into the programme.

I’d quite like to see these passive aggressive people have a go at trying to capture natural sound themselves and report back on their findings – perhaps that may just calm the bees in their bonnets!


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