Capturing the natural world on film has allowed people around the planet to enjoy and learn about the wonders of nature.

The process of filming wildlife has evolved a lot over the years and now we are treated to footage that rivals some blockbuster movies. How do they capture these perspectives, these details, and bring them into our homes?

I can’t imagine my childhood without curling up to watch Nature on PBS every Wednesday night. It was the way I learned about the planet and developed an appreciation for the natural world.

Beautiful series like BBC’s Planet Earth, The Blue Planet, and now Planet Earth II, have become a worldwide success and have pushed the boundaries of wildlife film making.

But how do you make nature into cinema? That is an excellent question, and one that has some truly fascinating answers!

One of our favorite YouTube Channels, Vox, teamed up with the BBC create a three-part series that explores how the extraordinary Planet Earth II series was made and how techniques for filming wildlife have evolved over time.

Check out part one:

Via: Vox 1
We’ve paired this video with thought-provoking discussion questions perfect for the classroom in this touchstone on our education platform, EWCed!

The time warp…

Sweeping landscapes will always be extraordinary to watch, but how do you capture things that are nearly impossible to see with the naked eye?

How do you catch the movement of a hummingbird in flight, the growth of a vine making it’s way up toward the sky? Here’s another great video from Vox!

Via: Vox 2

Under cover of darkness…

When filming wildlife, it certainly helps when the animals you are trying to capture on film are awake or active during the day. Unfortunately, not all species spend their waking hours in the sunlight.

Luckily, technology and techniques have evolved rapidly to capture the nocturnal behaviors of animals without disturbing them. Here’s another Vox video about how BBC films at night!

Via: Vox 3

Why this all matters…

Capturing the natural world on film is a vital part of raising awareness about our planet’s breathtaking diversity.

It’s hard to care deeply about a place and the species that call it home if you have no frame of reference. Describing an elephant, a tiger, or a bird-of-paradise can only go so far. Seeing these animals in action, in their natural habitat gives us a sense of closeness. In some cases a sense of empathy.

When we talk about the need to protect and conserve wildlife, series like Planet Earth are our greatest marketing tool. They make the rare and unique species of the world visible to everyone, shining a spotlight on places that would otherwise go unnoticed.

If we ever need a reminder of how amazing our world is, we need to look no further than nature, and life in all of its many extraordinary forms!

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!


Explore more corners of the natural world!

There is a lot to celebrate in the natural world! To see all the amazing corners of our planet we have featured here at Ever Widening Circles, check out our Nature Category!

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  1. “How the BBC Makes Planet Earth Look like a Hollywood Movie.” YouTube. Vox, 20 Feb. 2017. Web. 07 Mar. 2017. <>.
  2. “How Wildlife Films Warp Time.” YouTube. Vox, 27 Feb. 2017. Web. 07 Mar. 2017. <>.
  3. “How BBC Films the Night Side of Planet Earth.” YouTube. Vox, 06 Mar. 2017. Web. 07 Mar. 2017. <>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

CEO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Since 2015, Liesl has been a writer, editor, and is now the CEO at Ever Widening Circles. She is a life-long camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often root-tripping—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV