Not everything is as real as it seems on Planet Earth
Film and television tastes tend to vary wildly from generation to generation, but nature videos have remained a constant from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom back in 1963 to the beloved Planet Earth film and its upcoming sequel today.
The one thing that every viewer could agree on was that they were privy to an unbiased, untreated look at the realities of nature and the struggles in the wild.
Well, that doesn’t really seem to be the case, according to the frankly titled clip “How Nature Documentaries Are Fake,” narrated by Simon Cadre. The video’s goal is to pull back the curtain on production tricks that have been used as long as nature documentaries have existed.
In just five minutes, the video does an excellent job of delivering on the premise, offering instances and examples of producers getting more involved in the depictions than you’d like to realize. The offenses run from the practical (adding in sound effects in post production) to the more narrative (the creation of “villains” and “victims” in the wild), through the use of backstory and footage, such as prey caring for its young.
Whether or not the latter can really be considered trickery depends on both the extent to which it’s leveraged, as well as the judgment of the audience. But as you’ll see, even when the animals aren’t being manipulated in nature videos, you might be.
These truths might not ruin nature videos for you, but if you subscribe to the whole “ignorance is bliss” approach to entertainment, then maybe you’ll want to forget what you just read and watched.
Maybe this vintage Wild Kingdom clip will take your mind off things. Staged or otherwise, this stuff holds up remarkably well.