BBC Documentary DVD: “Planet Earth”

This the BBC Series 5-disc DVD set “Planet Earth” explores the marvels of our planet and its wildlife.
Watch the trailer »

I have watched all eleven episodes which includes some spectacular footage. Below are just some of the amazing scenes that I saw.

But don’t just take my word for it. Wikipedia also has a good description of the DVD set

Episode 1: “Pole to Pole”

  • Emperor penguins protecting their eggs in Antarctica’s winter darkness
  • Polar bear and its two cubs which are amazingly cute to watch
  • Slow motion footage of shark jumping out of water to catch a seal
  • Elephants with a mother and its baby caught in a sandstorm
  • Birds in the tropics dancing it mating dance
  • Rare footage of wild pack dogs on thier hunt
  • Wolf catching a deer

“Planet Earth Diaries”, which are behind-the-scene look at the filming, explains how the film crew consists of both a land crew and an helicopter crew with a gyro-camera called the Heligimbal mounted at on the helicopter.

Episode 2: “Mountains”

  • Ethiopia’s volcano
  • Avalanche in progress
  • Time elapse photography of mountain monkeys
  • ibex, puma, bear and its cute two cubs, giant panda and it week-old newborn
  • the rarely seen snow leopard and red panda
  • eagle catching its prey in mid-flight
  • cranes who have to migrate over the Himalayas

An amazing treat in this episode is footage of snow leopard chasing its prey. “Planet Earth Diaries” explains its quest to film the snow leopard and how rare it is to spot one.

Episode 3: “Fresh Water”

  • See some strange aquatic creatures
  • Giant salamander
  • Crocodiles dragging off a Wilderbeast
  • piranha’s feeding frenzy that can strip a fish to its bone in minutes
  • spectacular waterfalls

Planet Earth Diaries in this episode shows the crews quest to film the piranha’s feeding.

Episode 4: Caves

  • Watch base jumpers jumps into pit caves
  • Watch snake snatch up a bat
  • Watch the aerial acrobatics of falcons as they catch bats in mid-air
  • See immense caves with its strange inhabitants
  • Cueva de Villa Luz cave with flowing sulfuric acid
  • New Mexico’s famous Lechuguilla Cave with gypsum crystal formations

Planet Earth Diaries shows the film crew filming a giant mound of bat dung covered with cockroaches.

Episode 5: Deserts

  • duelling ibexes
  • multi-colored lizards jumping up to catch black flies
  • giant swarms of locusts which eats everything in its path
  • important role of cactus in the deserts

Planet Earth Diaries shows the difficulty of tracking camels.

Episode 6: Ice Worlds

We see again the mother bear with its two cubs. But what is more distressing is watching the male polar bear swimming for miles looking for food as its ice world dis-integrates with global warming. In an act of desperation, he tries to attack a group of walruses that are larger then he is. Unfortunately he got speared by the walruses meter-long tusk and is not longer able to hunt.

We also see the cooperation of the Emperor penguins as they brave the arctic blizzards.

Planet Earth diaries details the year-long expedition to film the penguins.

Episode 7: Great Plains

Here we see a …

  • importance of grass and water to life
  • group of lions hunt down an elephant
  • fox snatching eggs and catching chicks
  • wolf catching a caribou calf

Planet Earth Diaries explains how infrared cameras are used to film the lion hunt at night.

Episode 8: Jungles

  • Diverse and unusual species of monkeys, birds, and insects are found in the jungle.
  • The time-lapse photography of the growth of the rain forest plants are amazing.
  • See the inventiveness of a spider and its silk thread in capturing prey out of a pitcher plant
  • Raiding monkeys expand their territory and cannibalizes another monkey
  • Watch three species of birds of paradise display their mating rituals

Planet Earth Dairies shows the immense patience of sitting over a total of 100 hours in a hide trying to wait for the display of the mating dances of the birds of paradizes.

Episode 9: Shallow Seas
The episode starts with a mother whale and its few-weeks-old baby calf in the breeding grounds in topics and ends with the two in the feeding grounds in the poles. You’ll see dolphins hydroplane in near the beaches to catch fish and great white sharks breaching out of the waters to catch seals in mid air. BBC catches one of these breaches in slow motion. And Planet Earth Dairies documents the filming of this with its slow motion camera.

Episode 10: Seasonal Forest

  • You see the tallest trees and the oldest trees in these forest
  • Watch owl chicks take their first flight
  • Mass emergence of cicadas that comes in 17 year cycles

Planet Earth Dairies shows how filming was done via hot air balloons. It is not easy as you can see from a small crash of the balloon into the trees.

Episode 11: Ocean Deep

  • whale shark
  • dolphines
  • spider crab
  • whitetip sharks
  • sail fish
  • and more

Planet Earth Dairies shows the filming of whitetip sharks.

Three more episodes

  • Saving Species: Episode show scientists and conservationists talk about the importance of saving species.
  • Into the Wilderness: This episode focuses on the human effect on the environment
  • Living Together: This episode documents conservation efforts.