BBC 'fakes wildlife shots all the time'

(123 Posts)
claig Wed 09-Oct-13 10:07:00

When I read this, af first I couldn't Adam and Eve it.

If they do that, what else are they doing?

And of course, what about 'climate catastrophe'?

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2450381/BBC-fakes-wildlife-shots-time-Veteran-cameraman-claims-species-smaller-rabbits-filmed-custom-built-sets.html

claig Fri 11-Oct-13 16:27:42

And the cynic in me says that the reason they don't tell us that scenes were filmed at the zoo is in case they lose viewers.

claig Fri 11-Oct-13 16:26:00

'Are you old enough to remember when Ch 4 first started and did a flashing red light to alert viewers to alarming content in films and plays?'

No, I don't remember that. Although the cynic in me says that that may be a way to attract more viewers. smile

claig Fri 11-Oct-13 16:22:00

Yes, I am in the minority. I was not aware of it and am probably not the only one.

But there are much bigger problems in the world, and as long as the Ethical Committees maintain standards in news reporting, I am happy.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 11-Oct-13 16:14:42

claig - its very far-fetched to think that just because wildlife documentaries use staged footage - which everyone apart from you seems perfectly well aware of - that this would have any bearing whatsoever on news reporting.

"On the question of informing viewers how the scene was filmed, audience feedback indicated that for natural history programmes on-screen explanations spoilt the viewing experience for the majority. Information was therefore placed on the BBC website."

They've thought about it, you're in the minority in wanting intrusive information, its on the website - really there is no problem.

limitedperiodonly Fri 11-Oct-13 16:13:02

I can see exactly why the makers and viewers of this kind of documentary don't want clunky explanations in the narrative.

So long as the warning that people aren't actually wrangling polar bears or mud skippers is somewhere in the proceedings I don't think we need to worry about journalistic standards on that score.

Are you old enough to remember when Ch 4 first started and did a flashing red light to alert viewers to alarming content in films and plays? It was hilarious. I think that was intended as an ironic joke referencing a more innocent era.

When I talk about more innocent eras that's an ironic joke of mine btw.

Always a pleasure talking to you claig. Honestly.

claig Fri 11-Oct-13 15:43:28

What I meant is that we have to "keep it real" and do not want a slippery slope where it may one day become possible that reporting from war zones may be filmed on a set in a studio in the Home Counties instead of on location, because that would be a distortion of reality.

I think that is why Ethical Standards Committees for broadcasting are so important because they act as guardians of the truth and prevent deceptions.

I have no problem where things are filmed as long as it is made clear where they are filmed.

limitedperiodonly Fri 11-Oct-13 15:38:53

It would be safer not to be in a war zone, is it possible that we may see staged shots from war zones one day?

Just noticed this shock. It can't be that you're more concerned about staged footage of bears than of war, surely Claig? I think it must be your sense of humour coming into play.

I regard war reporters with shock and awe at the bravery and sometimes naivete they seem to display. But I wouldn't be without them.

The most dangerous thing I've ever faced is a pissed EastEnder disappointed with the contents of her goody bag.

<I might still take my chances with a mama grizzly or Syrian nerve gas>

claig Fri 11-Oct-13 15:34:18

I think it is about ethics due to the possibility of misleading some members of the public.

Have googled and apparently someone did write in to complain about the scene to the BBC Editorial Standards Committee, but the appeal did not qualify to proceed for consideration by the Committee.

"The narration was carefully worded so it did not mislead viewers, talking about polar bears in the wild in general rather than the specific cubs shown."

"On the question of informing viewers how the scene was filmed, audience feedback indicated that for natural history programmes on-screen explanations spoilt the viewing experience for the majority. Information was therefore placed on the BBC website."

downloads.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/appeals/esc_bulletins/2012/jun.pdf

I personally think that it would be better for the narrator to mention that the next scene was filmed at the zoo and explain why. That would be better than having an on-screen caption and it would remove any possibility that any of the audience had mistaken the scene as having been filmed on location in the wild.

comingalongnicely Fri 11-Oct-13 14:36:44

What's "ethical" about any of it? You do know they film the closeups of birds flying by using tame birds?

That most of the underground shots of creatures are in an artificial environment right? How did you think they got a high quality camera in a burrow without causing the mother to panic & abandon the nest?

I think you're being deliberately naive TBH. I'd rather have high quality footage than "camera on a stick" footage any day.
The "evidence" is in the credits and, in this case, the "How It's Made" section of the DVD and that's where it should stay. If you can't be arsed to read it then tough!!

I personally don't want bloody great pop-ups saying "Alert! Staged Footage" all over something I'm trying to watch & neither do most people given the lack of outrage outside of the press...

claig Fri 11-Oct-13 12:52:35

I agree, make it as factual and accurate as possible , and tell the public what they are not sure about and what they are certain of.

KatoPotato Fri 11-Oct-13 12:49:57

I was talking to DH this morning about the smugness of paleontology and dinosaurs.

DS was watching Elmo's world and a dinosaur (puppet!) said 'I was around 150 million years ago - give or take!'

I said, 'yes finally! I wouldn't mind so much if they threw the odd "give or take" or "we reckon that" now and again!'

I know it's a huge field of study and some amazing discoveries have been made, but its still all supposition by humans!

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 11-Oct-13 12:40:21

I love the foley in wildlife documentaries. I find it hilarious and fascinating. Similarly the colouring in of dinosaurs and artistic representations of other planets.

Everytime I "hear" an insect munching on tv, I smile and think of the foley artists.grin

claig Fri 11-Oct-13 11:43:46

I didn't know that they did that. Obviously lots of technicians and camera people etc are in the know, but huge chunks of the public aren't. I just think they should make it explicit so that people do not believe that the staged sound effects are in fact real.

KatoPotato Fri 11-Oct-13 11:39:58

I do remember hearing on the radio (BBC) from a man who worked in wildlife 'foley' making the sound effects of scuffling mice etc. He explained that the camera zoom was so extreme they'd never have the sound equipment to match it!

claig Fri 11-Oct-13 11:36:02

No problem at all, I was only joking about saying "that type of language". I have occasionally and unjustly been called worse. smile

KatoPotato Fri 11-Oct-13 11:34:50

Sorry claig that was very rude. I just clicked the link and looked at that one picture. I didn't watch the whole show and was thinking of the outraged comments on the DM rather than you personally.

Apologies.

claig Fri 11-Oct-13 11:29:44

There's no need for that sort of language.

I'm sure I can't be the only one who didn't look too closely at the dimensions of the door.

KatoPotato Fri 11-Oct-13 11:25:28

If you didn't realise that polar bear cave was a set, with the square door, obvious gaps between the snow bed and the walls, I put it to you that you are an idiot.

claig Fri 11-Oct-13 11:22:08

Are there managers in charge of ethics and standards relating to the presentation of programmes?

claig Fri 11-Oct-13 11:20:54

Are there guidleines and standards for what can be used in documentaries and how shots and information should be presented?

claig Fri 11-Oct-13 11:19:16

I'm not saying that film crews should risk life and limb to get real shots, just that they should state that some shots have been made in zoos or with tame and sometimes trained animals instead of being shot in the wild, so that the public is left in no doubt.

claig Fri 11-Oct-13 11:14:41

I think it is about respect for the viewer and nothing should be done to confuse or in any way deceive a viewer in a documentary.

theterramarproject.org/thedailycatch/scientist-slams-discoverys-shark-week-fake-documentary/

limitedperiodonly Fri 11-Oct-13 11:12:54

Besides, can you imagine the fuss over the cameraman who crawled into the bear’s lair only to have his head literally bitten off when she had a very painful contraction?

The BBC's decision seems eminently sensible, if only to spare us another tedious Littlejohn column on compo culture.

limitedperiodonly Fri 11-Oct-13 11:09:42

Sometimes in the Mail there are stories with a photo attached and underneath the photo it says something like photo modelled by or courtesy of or something like that which avoids any confusion that the people depicted in the photo are the ones referred to in the article.

That's not what I meant claig and I think you know it. If you don't, the line you describe is used principally by a publication to give them legal protection, not to avoid misleading readers.

I don't have a problem with staged shots in something like Life On Earth when the Mail, like all other publications, manipulate images and copy for their own purposes.

claig Fri 11-Oct-13 10:59:25

I think that documentaries should be as real as possible since they are purporting to be factual rather than just fantasy entertainment.

I think there is a danger of blurring fact and fiction in documentaries which, if allowed to, can spread to other aspects of factual reporting. It would be safer not to be in a war zone, is it possible that we may see staged shots from war zones one day?

It is a question of audience manipulation and a question of ethics, and if taken to the extreme it can easily veer into the realm of propaganda.

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