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Old 05 June 2012, 12:38 AM
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TV Faking it: the widlife programmes and pictures that weren't what they seemed

As it emerges that Sir Ranulph Fiennes faked accidents during a televised expedition to make his adventure look more exciting we look back at the other wildlife fakes:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...ey-seemed.html
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Old 05 June 2012, 02:46 AM
Singing in the Drizzle Singing in the Drizzle is offline
 
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Years ago I actually seen a documentary in to how they were making a wildlife film. Part of it was how they cut and paste shoots from diffent places and times to make what they think will be an entertaining story. You never have the time and buget to wait around for the animals to do the things you would like to see.
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Old 05 June 2012, 07:20 AM
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Yeah, big documentaries like Frozen Planet take years to make, and most of the video they shoot won't be used at all.
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Old 05 June 2012, 09:59 AM
fitz1980 fitz1980 is offline
 
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Even Frozen Planet used careful editing to make the audience think they were seeing something that they weren't. Per the OP's article footage of a polar bear being born in a German animal park is intercut with footage of polar bears in the wild. Even the BBC later admitted that David Attenborough's narration had been "carefully worded" so that he wasn't technically lying but also not going out of his way to mention that we were watching footage of zoo animals intercut with footage of animals in the wild.
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Old 05 June 2012, 10:08 AM
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There's only a couple on here that I would call wildlife documentaries or pictures!

I wouldn't class hunting programmes as wildlife documentaries (this might be wrong of me), one is a deliberate hoax, and one was a nature clip but I think the snore was added for humour, it was just for the charities website.

The lemmings one is the only one that was a problem. Frozen planet did what they had to do, as that scene would have been impossible to do in the wild, and as they were depicting the life of polar bears, it didn't matter that they weren't only following one specific bear or that it wasn't a wild one at that time. It did what it would do in the wild, so it was accurate and informative.

The wolf photo was fine, for me, as well, as it's still doing what a wild wolf might do. The point isn't always to say "I caught this wild wolf, aren't I clever!' but to inform and communicate aspects of wildlife to the audience. I did wildlife illustration for my degree, and we could use anything to create the image, as long as the image was accurate for the animal or scene we were going for. We could use dead animals, zoo animals, tame animals (as long as the species weren't domesticated - it was wildlife art, after all).

Ideally, anybody depicted wildlife in any form would be out to accurately and inspirationally communicate to the audience. It doesn't matter how they get there, as long as what's being said is true. If I painted a hedgehog happily going about during the day time that would be false, or if I gave a particular bird the wrong colour plumage, but if I used a tame hedgehog to depict a wild one, and it was doing what it would be doing, that's okay. It's about the wildlife, not the people documenting it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Singing in the Drizzle View Post
Years ago I actually seen a documentary in to how they were making a wildlife film. Part of it was how they cut and paste shoots from diffent places and times to make what they think will be an entertaining story. You never have the time and buget to wait around for the animals to do the things you would like to see.
Many do wait in hides, sometimes for weeks or months. Being a wildlife documenter is a very tough and patient job and relies on being really keen on what you're doing and being lucky. Which is why splicing scenes is necessary too, especially if the animal is elusive and you wait for months and get maybe 5 seperate pieces of footage that would work for the show.
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Old 05 June 2012, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Twankydillo View Post
The wolf photo was fine, for me, as well, as it's still doing what a wild wolf might do.
In that case, it was entered in a wildlife photography competition with the photographer outright lying about how and where he took it, and one of the reasons people initially thought it was staged is that it isn't how wolves behave in the wild.

In most cases, though, I don't have much time for "editing and reconstruction = lying!" type arguments. It's surely common knowledge and common sense that almost all documentaries and TV programmes are made like that, and people are supposed to be more media-savvy now than they ever were, so I don't get why it's suddenly an issue. I think it's to do partly with certain vested interests trying to get at the BBC, and partly with parts of the print media trying to imply that visual media is just as dodgy and dishonest as they are, to distract attention from some of their own failings...
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Old 05 June 2012, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
In that case, it was entered in a wildlife photography competition with the photographer outright lying about how and where he took it, and one of the reasons people initially thought it was staged is that it isn't how wolves behave in the wild.
Ah okay, then that is passing cheeky. I didn't know about the origins of that photo, and clearly I don't know much about wolves either to pick up anything odd!
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Old 05 June 2012, 07:00 PM
Singing in the Drizzle Singing in the Drizzle is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twankydillo View Post
Many do wait in hides, sometimes for weeks or months. Being a wildlife documenter is a very tough and patient job and relies on being really keen on what you're doing and being lucky. Which is why splicing scenes is necessary too, especially if the animal is elusive and you wait for months and get maybe 5 seperate pieces of footage that would work for the show.
Also they may use footage from other shoots for other films that were or where not used. If nothing they filmed worked or was better.
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Old 05 June 2012, 07:37 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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I seem to recall that nature documentaries used to include a disclaimer to the effect of "the scenes used do not necessarily portray what we are implying, but everything we are implying is documented". (Just not available as film.)

Seems like nature film makers are in a pretty tough bind. The chances of getting any film, let alone interesting film, in the wild is pretty low for many species.
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