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Old December 29th, 2002, 06:16 AM   #1
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Wildlife Robbery

Hi all,

Let me explain where I am coming from;

I am a voracious / intense watcher of wildlife documentaries and have noticed that in many doccies the same clips are being used, for different doccies. I understand the concept of a media library but jeez.....get the context / season correct.

Many of these clips are blatantly out of context i.e. one minute the Lions pictured are in a drought conditions then next rich summer grasslands and back to drought, all this under the pretense that these are the same lions yet a couple of minutes / hours on.

What about Elephant's who are more often than not identified by the ear profile. I have seen many different Elephants supposedly being the same one in a sequence of shots.

To make things even more interesting script writers will even weave a story of human intrigue and emotion and equate this to animals and their instinctive behaviour. It sounds nice and mushy, satisfies the masses but is not, in my opinion, accurate reporting.

I suppose it is not unethical but to me unprofessional. Perhaps my deep interest in wildlife causes me take more note of this kind of detail. These are but a few examples, I wish not to note the clips taken of Lions in differing national parks but projected as the same pride.

Am I out of touch? Is this the way things are? Am I being petty?

Your thoughts guys.

Cheers
Andrew
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Old December 29th, 2002, 06:39 AM   #2
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Its the way it is, because of the voracious appetites of the cable channels. They don't have a budget or staff to research the submissions. It's sad but true.

There are certainly standards by which to judge other wildlife documentaries. Sir David Attenborough http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/programm...ten_biog.shtml certainly comes to mind. He's taken years to acquire the footage to produce his documentaries.

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Old December 29th, 2002, 06:54 AM   #3
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What irritates me is when they make a little drama out of it...assigning names to different animals, adding suspense music, and showing predators stalking in a way that would require a very stealthy full crew to get all the closeups and angles that they weave together as one scene.

I much prefer the true research-based documentaries on wildlife.
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Old December 29th, 2002, 07:14 AM   #4
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Jeff is absolutely right. The cable channels appear to just want something, anything, to run between commercials. The History Channel is one example. Of late they will take one issue and spin around it for a 30-minute or 60-minute program; repeating the same information over and over. I find that I do more renting from Blockbuster now than in the past several years. Sad, very sad.

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Old December 29th, 2002, 07:30 AM   #5
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I've even seen "documentaries" in which trained animal stunt doubles are used for closeups and action shots. (The filmmakers were good enough to reveal their artifice in a "behind the scenes" featurette following the documentary; without divulging the secret, the whole work's authenticity would be left in question since particular shots--a close-up view of a mountain lion from underneath as it leapt across a several-meter chasm, for example--were plainly impossible to achieve under natural circumstances.)
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Old December 29th, 2002, 08:39 AM   #6
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I hear you,

SCAAAAAARY is it not.

Having said which imagine taking that shot....you would need very big ba#$%.

Cheers
Andrew
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Old December 29th, 2002, 12:11 PM   #7
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Don't forget, most viewers don't notice, and those that do probably don't care.
It's sad but true.
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Old December 30th, 2002, 05:13 AM   #8
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Andrew

One to watch out for is "Big Cat Diarys".
Filmed over a long period following the lifes of big cats from birth to adulthood.
Recently aired on BBC,

Peter.
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Old December 31st, 2002, 09:58 AM   #9
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Cheers Peter,

will look out for it on the telly.

Andrew
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Old January 3rd, 2003, 05:07 PM   #10
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Blame it on the Crocodile guy. Now everyone wants to make things seem more dramatic and interestesting than they really are. No offense to our OZ friends.
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Old January 3rd, 2003, 11:37 PM   #11
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Joe,

recently there was a doccie on the crocodile guy you speak of making an episode for his show. They were doing a poisionous snake scene in which he had an additional two pro snake handlers assisting (which is fine and prudent)...out of camera....the problem is that many would get the impression that he was doing it all alone and that is was a breeze, it all is so misleading. Sometimes we give people the impression that wild animals are completely controllable by humans. Every now and then when the "tame" ones turn they are depicted as having savagely attacked...........yeah right what else......they are instinctively based creatures.

Some years ago we had two Korean tourists get out of their vehicle to approach some lions in a wildlife park. One was killed by the lions, they had no fear.....why? Perhaps this is fueled by people views of tamed circus lions etc? It is not the first time and won't be the last.

Out of interest the average male lion stats;

weight 150 - 225kg (330 - 495 lbs)
length 2,6m (8'6")
shoulder height 1,2m (4")

Just think of kitty at home and when it gets mad, now scale that up to the African Lion. How can people get out of their cars?????

Could irresponsible documentary makers be responsible for some of the the misinformation that causes bad judgement?? Spare a thought for those Korean tourists, they probably would have had only Zoo, Circus or TV exposure to Lions. Their opinion about the nature of lions had to have been inaccurate to say the least.


Cheers
Andrew

My 5 cents worth....inflation takes it toll.
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Old January 4th, 2003, 12:45 AM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Andrew Leigh : Joe,

Could irresponsible documentary makers be responsible for some of the the misinformation that causes bad judgement?? Spare a thought for those Korean tourists, they probably would have had only Zoo, Circus or TV exposure to Lions. Their opinion about the nature of lions had to have been inaccurate to say the least.

-->>>

NO! TEN THOUSAND TIMES NO!!!!
There is no misinformation in that scenario, there is only stupidity.
Stupid stupid stupid.


Besides, everyone's seen Lion King. Who could forget Scar? That was one baaad lion.
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Old January 4th, 2003, 01:09 AM   #13
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I remember watching a "behind the scenes" look a while ago on discovery about the wildlife docs. the crew said that about half of what you actually see would be impossible (risking life of crew and/or equipment) to get in a natural environment. they were showing the making of one about mountain lions that was "supposedly" to take place in canada. they showed the lion they had caged in the back of a truck and would cart her around to different locations, setup the shot and shoot. It was sort of a let down after watching this.

Though, I forgot the guy's name, I'll have to look it up. This past summer I caught an excellent doc about the mountain lion in south america on PBS. The guy spent I think 4 years at least (if I recall correctly) researching and working his way into one lion's life. I think he had 1 other person come out time to time.

The Croc Hunter used to be good before he got his own show. Well I think there might have been a couple good episodes at first, but after that you could tell it was just a marketing machine. When he had the 1 hour spots here and there on the discovery channel they were packed with interesting animals and encounters.

It's sad but in the end, it's all about who's face we can poster to make an all-mighty buck. I remember how awesome it was watching the eco-challenge and only wishing I could try that. The last one I saw, I felt sick and dirty. They turned it into a big soap opera. It used to be a week long show (1-2 hours each day) covering a lot of the teams on there. Now it's cut down to I think 2 nights and they focus on 3 maybe 4 teams and their "feelings". I did have respect for Mr. Burnett, but after seeing what eco-challenge has become and the invent of survivor I feel sad.

matt

edit: 4 years makes more sense then 4 at least :) it was tired and i was late.
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Old January 4th, 2003, 06:35 AM   #14
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Being a wildlife documentary producer this is something that concerns me a lot. There are a lot of producers out there who care nothing but the money and have no knowledge of the subject they are filming. In their world, its all about producing for as little money as possible and they don't care a bit if the subject they are filming is harmed or not.

The industry is aware of this and while we cannot really stop those producers we can however point out the difference between proper coduct and wrong conduct.

There are an initiative called "WildCare" (read about it at http://www.scandinature.se/company/wildcare.html) which started at BBC and Scandinature formalized it. My own company DocuWild has done two productions (both in post-prod, media will be coming soon). One about Whalesharks where we only used one freediving photographer and absolutely no closeups. We furthermore filmed it in Australia where approaching closer than 3 m to the whaleshark is forbidden. You are also not allowed to use SCUBA gear when diving with whalesharks as the noise of the bubbles are very irritating to them. The other production we are currently working on is a little piece about our marine life on the Swedish westcoast called "Diving the green seas". More oriented towards scuba divers and freedivers.

IF the consumers is taught about the fact that their interest in the wildlife can actually be contributing to harming the same wildlife and that there are ways to ensure this does not happen, then the aforementioned producers might stand without a market. (If the viewers start to protest, the networks will change fast. And when that happens, the "bad" producers will change their ways even faster.)

Regards,
Henrik Bengtsson
DocuWild
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Old January 4th, 2003, 07:48 AM   #15
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Hi,

I'm with you Henrik. Looks like there are a few of us that are if the same opinions. I have read the document and find it a great ethical tool.

Yeah Dylan you are right, also about the fact thaty everyone's seen the Lion King and in my case at least 10 times.

Cheers
Andrew
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