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Old October 25th, 2009, 02:17 PM   #1
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Komodo Dragons attacking and eating Water Buffalo

Did anyone watch the wonderful "LIFE" programme today on BBC? There were some incredible sequences filmed worldwide of differing wildlife, but the last section that concentrated on Komodo Dragons was amazing. Narrated again by David Attenborough, the footage really cut at the concience of the film-makers and of life itself.

The last section of the program showed just how they filmed the sequence, including the cameras used. Well worth watching again if you missed it first time round.

A short sequence of the full program can viewed seen here:

BBC - BBC One Programmes - Life, Reptiles and Amphibians, Dragon's teeth
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Old October 26th, 2009, 03:55 AM   #2
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Tony,

I recorded that on Monday when it was first on, and watched it - open-mouthed and wide-eyed - last night. Wasn't it amazing!

The cameraman on the Komodo segment had serious guts, so close to those beasts, and only protected by rangers with sticks. "I feel between 5% and 10% safe here," he confided at one point.

Fantastic series, it's worth the licence fee on its own.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 04:55 AM   #3
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That 'How the film was shot' sequence is only shown on advert-free TV. Normally that time slot is given over to the 'words from the sponsors'.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 07:20 AM   #4
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Amazing, yes. An incredibile situation for the camera crew. But I'm sure I've seen the sequence before (or at least the story) before.

What I found rather disconcerting was that the buffalo had different legs swollen, apparently from the bites and venom, at different parts of the story. OK, so the dragons bit different legs at various times over the three weeks, but if you're shortening the time in telling the story, some things can look amateurish. But perhaps it's only because I'm used to looking at cattle for lameness that I'd notice it anyway!
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Old October 26th, 2009, 08:17 AM   #5
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There were over 20 Komodos biting and following the buffalo for several weeks, biting all the legs, so I don't see your point. Each leg would swell and subside, depending on when they were bitten and how much venom, if any, entered the blood stream during subsequent attacks before it eventually died.
There were also more than one Buffalo in the sequence, and I'm sure many more that we didn't get to see. Even if some of the footage shown of Komodo dragons chasing the buffalo were actually of a different buffalo than the one they were mainly concentrating on, I don't see how it could have been construed as 'amateurish'.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 08:33 AM   #6
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I find the efforts these guys went to are just amazing (yes, I know Auntie Beeb has lots of cash). But anyway.

In the desert, the sequences with the Ghecko (?) were incredible - tracking shots in the desert etc., all beautifully shot. Also, the same with that underwater cavern that the sea snakes laid their eggs in, they had gear in there to do crane shots. Now, either they cheated and there's really another way in, or they shipped it all in underwater.

Either way, it's all bloody amazing footage. Mind blowing.

How come the behind the scenes bit never shows the one I want!
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Old October 26th, 2009, 08:44 AM   #7
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Tony

The point I was trying (obviously unsuccessfully) to make, was that to someone who has been heavily involved in a relevant industry (dairy farming in this case) small points can spoil a story. The impression given by the narrative (and I have watched the clip you linked to) was that the dragons had picked on one animal and were waiting around for three weeks for it to die. The other buffalo were apparently being ignored. The trade-off between keeping the story simple and utilising what appeared to be the most appropriate footage, just didn't work for me in this case.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 09:20 AM   #8
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If you go through most of the major BBC wildlife series such as Nature Watch, Life on Earth, Blue Planet, Life, etc., you'll find a lot of sequences where footage from different events, even years apart, are spliced/edited together during final editing stages to fit a story format. This is especially true with rare animals or during rare events, but also for most other common wildlife filmed worldwide. It is often just not possible for the film team to actually film all the events needed for the full storyline, so they will return later...and that 'later' could be the following week, month or even year.
Even so, I still don't agree think that the Komodo program showed different buffalo being eaten, just that the same animal was being bitten at differing times during the 3-weeks of filming.

I understand exactly what you mean, Annie, by a story needing to flow with continuity, but even myself who has worked extensively with cattle as well (and worked for years in Veterinary) do not see that showing either legs swollen during the program showed any degree of amateurish filming or editing.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 02:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Haycock View Post
Amazing, yes. An incredibile situation for the camera crew. But I'm sure I've seen the sequence before (or at least the story) before.

What I found rather disconcerting was that the buffalo had different legs swollen, apparently from the bites and venom, at different parts of the story. OK, so the dragons bit different legs at various times over the three weeks, but if you're shortening the time in telling the story, some things can look amateurish. But perhaps it's only because I'm used to looking at cattle for lameness that I'd notice it anyway!
Are you sure the shots were'nt just flipped, so that the injury appeard to swap legs? They would do this if the sequence required the animal to face left rather than right for example, it's standard practice.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 05:19 PM   #10
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Steve - it had occurred to me that could have happened, but the result was still the same.

Tony - I know shots from different times, and different places, are often mixed as appropriate - I've done it myself. You just happened to mention a sequence where I had noticed some apparent anomolies - I think I'll try to remember to keep my mouth shut in future.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 10:52 AM   #11
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Don't do that, Annie. :)

We can all agree or disagree on certain subjects (without friction) and this helps us combine our own experience together to form opinions - whether fact or subjective.

Discussion is always a good thing and we can all learn from each other. Your input is valuable to this board and you made myself, and probably many others, notice something that we didn't pick up on when viewing the program.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 09:33 PM   #12
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Is this LIFE program available on DVD?
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Old October 28th, 2009, 12:08 AM   #13
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It will be, and there is also a book showing making of techniques I believe.
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