And now, for something completely different..

Planet Earth was the most expensive documentary ever commissioned by the BBC and now there’s an even pricier follow up.

Life the new documentary by the BBC picks up where Planet Earth left off, and will be airing on the Discovery Channel at 8 p.m. on Sunday March 21, 2010. The documentary is 10 hours long and will air in two-hour episodes. It was not cheap to film.

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This may have something to do with the super fancy high-definition cameras used to capture the various life forms of our little planet. For instance, capturing the smallest creepy crawlies required an Ionix camera the size of a tube of lipstick. Gyroscopic stabilization allowed the crew to keep cameras steady in vehicles, even on bumpiest terrain, to keep up with traveling herds of animals.

It also took extreme perseverance on the crew’s behalf, after living in snake and rat infested huts in Madagascar. Not to mention the hours of tracking animals.

The effect of this toil? Letting the viewer get up close and personal as a frog the size of a thumbnail takes care of her young, or a glimpse of Komodo dragons (a terrifying bunch) take down and devour a buffalo.

After Life, Human Planet and Frozen Planet will be released in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Human Planet is about indigenous cultures and their relationship to the environment, while Frozen Planet focuses on the north and south poles. It’s still unclear whether Discover Channel will pick these up.

The BBC already started airing Life late last year; it was in their agreement that they would air the documentary first. The Discovery Channels airing will be the North American premiere. The only difference between two channels is the narration; David Attenborough on the BBC and Oprah Winfrey on Discovery.

After the influx of otherworldly CGI content, it’s refreshing to see something a little more, well, lifelike.


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Filed under Documentary, Films, Technology

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