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'?

claig Wed 09-Oct-13 10:10:33

Do they win awards for some of this stuff?

As the nan used to say in that classic comic sketch

"What a f***ing liberty!"

RevelsRoulette Wed 09-Oct-13 10:12:51

I've always assumed that they did. Many of the shots they get seem impossible to have got in the wild.

Bluegrass Wed 09-Oct-13 10:13:31

If you film an animal doing what an animal does in a controlled environment that gives you better access with less distress to the animal I don't really see that as faking, just making fantastic educational tv.

If however they filmed rabbits dressed in tutus dancing gangnam style and claimed that is what happens in the wild - then I'd have an issue!

Salbertina Wed 09-Oct-13 10:17:52

I don't know why this os suddenly a story, thought everyone knew? Had a student job aeons ago in a wildlife centre and beeb were often there filming the "wild" wildlife, just the tricky bits- births, hibernation etc.

claig Wed 09-Oct-13 10:38:15

'The sequence showed the new-born polar bears mewling and nuzzling their mother in a cave. Eight million viewers were led to believe the footage was captured by BBC cameramen in harsh sub-zero temperatures.

However, it emerged it was actually shot in a Dutch zoo, using fake snow.'

I think it would be better if they said that the next clip was filmed in a zoo with the kind permission of the Dutch zoo rather than giving the impression that it was filmed in the wild.

claig Wed 09-Oct-13 10:40:59

'The footage was defended at the time by the veteran naturalist, who compared nature documentaries to ‘making movies’.

What next? CGI (computer generated imagery)?

tarantula Wed 09-Oct-13 10:45:54

Slow day at the Daily Mail then is it or are you just reading old news. This 'story' is about 2 years old at least and I for one didn't see it as much of a tory at the time. Seems obvious to me that all wildlife documentaries use a mixture of shots from the wild and from zoos/wildlife parks etc. Causes less stress and intrusion to the wild animals that way.

claig Wed 09-Oct-13 10:48:58

It is in today's Daily mail, but Daily Mail readers have said like you that apparently it is old news. Daily Mail readers seem to think it is OK.

I find nothing wrong with it as long as they make clear to people how they have filmed it during the actual film. I think they should be more open about it because there are lots of children and others who may realise what has been done.

claig Wed 09-Oct-13 10:49:44

may not realise what has been done

ixqic Wed 09-Oct-13 10:50:40

It happens all the time in nature documentaries. not just the bbc and hardly earth shaking news. The DM going all up its own arse again.

TheGirlFromIpanema Wed 09-Oct-13 10:53:46

I thought this only became a "story" when Attenborough made a documentary showing how they actually got the footage for his films anyway? It was really interesting to see them set it all up, and wait for whatever it was to happen, sometimes for days.

So clever I thought!

Bluegrass Wed 09-Oct-13 10:55:32

I think if the had to announce that a shot was done in a zoo it would ruin the narrative flow and break the spell of 'being there'. I watch these docs for entertainment as well as to be informed, so story and flow are also important (and part of that the BBC do so brilliantly).

RippingYarns Wed 09-Oct-13 10:56:09

<outraged daily mail face>

CGI you say :-O

And I thought 'Walking with Dinosaurs' was real

claig Wed 09-Oct-13 10:58:05

Could they not put a message at the start of the programme that what you are about to see is not necessarily the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but that portions of it have been filmed with fake snow?

OddBoots Wed 09-Oct-13 11:00:18

Don't they usually have a bit of extra stuff at the end telling people how they did the filming? I'm sure I've seen that on BBC wildlife programmes I've seen.

ixqic Wed 09-Oct-13 11:00:22

I know about this in the late eighties when I met a wildlife documentary maker in the tropics. His studio had a miniature cave (a very tiny thing) and also kept wild animals in a large enclosures for more wild life shots. Any other way and it would have been impossible to document some of the things at the time.

The animals he kept became the start of the Belize Zoo. He unceremoniously wanted to rid of the animals (by euthanasia if necessary) when he was done with filming. The woman he hired as animal manager didn't want to do that and she took them over and started charging people to see them in order for them to be fed.

That I think is a more interesting story. What is the provenance and future of some of the animals that end up in documentaries.

claig Wed 09-Oct-13 11:02:13

'Don't they usually have a bit of extra stuff at the end telling people how they did the filming?'

But by that time, people are putting the kettle on.
I think it would just be a little more ethical to say it upfront as people are settling down to watch it.

OddBoots Wed 09-Oct-13 11:16:10

The people ho are interested in how it's made wouldn't go before that bit, only the people who aren't fussed. I'm far more likely to miss the very start of a programme than the end, am I odd?

OddBoots Wed 09-Oct-13 11:16:24


RevelsRoulette Wed 09-Oct-13 17:26:56

Genuine question, because it is very possible that I am missing the point, but if the behaviour of the animal is the same and the look of the habitat is the same and they are using it to show you what actually does happen in the wild, does it matter if it is in a zoo or one of those micro habitats they create? If what you are seeing is what would happen in the wild, does it matter that in the actual programme, it is not happening in the wild?

Hulababy Wed 09-Oct-13 17:38:47

The often do it at the end, with all the camera set ups, etc. It's a really interesting part of the BBC documentaries, and a proper part of the actual programme. Not BBC's fault if people can't be bothered to watch the whole programme though is it?

claig Wed 09-Oct-13 18:13:33

I just belive in "keeping it real".
I think they should have a caption up saying this bit was filmed at the zoo.

It's a bit like having a travel programme where they film the Taj Mahal, but it later turns out that it was actually a mock-up of the Taj Mahal built on a set at Elstree Studios.

Tanith Wed 09-Oct-13 18:19:11

I'm watching Waybuloo at the moment with my DD. Do you mean to tell me those pipkin things that float around in the sky aren't real ? shock

Well, they never said anywhere!

You'll be telling me there's no such thing as a spaghetti tree next!

RevelsRoulette Wed 09-Oct-13 18:19:40

See, I wouldn't care about that either.

I'd care if I paid for a holiday to india and they flew me to a mock up at Elstree studios, but if I'm in my living room either way, it wouldn't bother me. grin

I wonder if they do put it in the credits - thanks to X zoo, etc etc

claig Wed 09-Oct-13 18:24:32

I'm sure they do put it in the credits, but most people don't read them, just like they don't read the small print on contracts.

Imagine if you paid good money to go to a cinema programme of Jacques Cousteau's work or someone similar, only to find out that it had actually been filmed in a swimming pool rather than in the Pacific Ocean. You might feel a bit cheated and want your money back. As long as they tell you upfront then it is fine because you know what you are getting.

claig Wed 09-Oct-13 18:32:22

The thing about TV is that we are not there (e.g. in the Amazon rainforest), we are in our living rooms, but we do expect that the narrator is there rather than down at our local zoo, third left off the roundabout on the A123.

claig Wed 09-Oct-13 18:49:34

'The footage was defended at the time by the veteran naturalist, who compared nature documentaries to ‘making movies’.

Movies are fantasy and documentaries are usually fact-based. We tend to believe that nature documentaries are real but making a movie of them blurs the line between fact and fiction in some way. Making it clear which bit is in the Amazon and which bit is in the zoo would mean that it woukld remain factual rather than possibly becoming similar to a movie.

claig Wed 09-Oct-13 19:05:59

Just googled to see if anyone thinks this is an ethical problem and I found the shocking case of a 1958 oscar winning nature documentary where they actually threw lemmings off a cliff and pretended that they were jumping.

"The 1958 Oscar winner "White Wilderness" tugged at heartstrings, with a now-famous scene of suicide by lemmings. It was outed as a fake several years ago. Those lemmings didn't jump to their watery death. They were hurled off those cliffs by the filmmakers. Lemming suicide is a myth."

It is about ethical film making

"Disney, however, is in the entertainment business. When wildlife documentaries announce themselves as real, they should be real, and if the producers staged sequences, rented animals, or used M&M’s, they have an ethical obligation to tell the audience. This goes for sounds as well. After all, there are people who think big snakes make the roaring sound the CGI villain makes in “Anaconda”; the fake sounds in nature films mislead many more. Real life footage is supposed to teach us something, not stuff our heads full of more misinformation."

It also makes you wonder whether there is a similar blurring of fact and fiction in other areas of reporting such as possibly ice caps melting etc. and the whole area of 'climate catstrophe'.

claig Wed 09-Oct-13 19:24:07

Woe, it is a lot worse than I thought, certainly in the past. I hope stuff like this does not go on today.

"As an 11-year old in 1958, I watched the Disney film White Wilderness. We see a cute little bear cub lose its footing on a steep, snow-covered mountainside and fall faster and faster until it's tumbling down totally out of control. It eventually stops falling after banging hard into rocks. The audience laughs because we assume it is totally natural and authentic and it's funny in a slapstick kind of way--at least at first. In fact, it is totally staged top to bottom, including the use of a man-made artificial mountain and captive bear cubs.

When I was a teenager growing up in England, Life Magazine carried a prize-winning sequence of photographs showing a leopard hunting a baboon. It was dramatic and thrilling. The final picture showed the leopard crushing the baboon's skull in its jaws. Later it was shown to be all staged with a captive leopard and a captive and terrified baboon."

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 10-Oct-13 10:10:10

I've no problem with a cameraman safely photographing a polar bear cub in a zoo rather than risking getting his face chewed off in the name of authenticity. But what's that got to do with 'climate catastrophe'?

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 10:47:11

If they use fake snow to film polar bears, I just wonder if they use fake ice for melting ice caps.

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 10:48:21

It's about ethics and audience manipulation. If they tell a small fib once, do they tell a larger fib too?

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 10:51:09
BangOn Thu 10-Oct-13 10:54:59

huh, claig, yes that's right the BBC is faking climate change its entirety... and people queueing at food banks... and the dismantling of welfare state by those sociopaths in blue suits.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 10-Oct-13 10:55:41

There's a big difference between a glossy wildlife documentary and a serious news item about a scientific consensus.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Thu 10-Oct-13 10:58:53

I always thought they did. I thought it was obvious.

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 10:59:33
fancyanother Thu 10-Oct-13 11:01:41

There are some things you can't see if you only film in the wild like, for example, the polar bear thing. The DM are going into overdrive in their campaign against the BBC because of the press control stuff nearing. They are, however, making themselves looks nasty and vindictive.

The Polar ice caps melting isn't down to BBC CGI, it has a scientific basis.

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 11:06:29

If unethical practices are swept under the carpet, then it is a slippery slope to audience manipulation. I think the BBC should make transparent any filming that is staged rather than real.

"BBC journalism was plunged into one of its deepest crises since the Hutton report of 2004 yesterday, when the governing BBC Trust questioned the authenticity of footage broadcast by its flagship programme Panorama in an investigation into the ethical standards of the fashion giant Primark."

"The show said that tests on wireless internet at the 1140-pupil secondary school for 12-18-year-olds found radiation from a laptop was three times higher than from regular phone masts.

But the BBC itself has upheld complaints from viewers that the programme makers exaggerated the evidence for concerns about wireless technology.

Another complainant said the documentary, which was screened last May, was unbalanced.

The BBC~s Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) was called in and said the programme "gave a misleading impression of the state of scientific opinion on the issue".

"Revelation that key scenes from Frozen Planet were filmed in a zoo has threatened one of the corporation's prized products, says Ian Burrell"

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 11:08:48

I am not saying that the BBC shouldn't use staged footage of polar bear cubs in fake snow, all I am saying is that they should put a caption in the programme when those scenes are displayed so that the audience is under no illusion that it is staged.

Salbertina Thu 10-Oct-13 11:13:03

I agree, its a vindictive anti- beeb campaign on that part of DM angry. In my eyes, it's no more misleading than filming a costume drama partly in a stately home, partly in the studio for reasons of convenience. Do you know how very many hours/days it takes to find and then film a sleeping dormouse?! And how v costly that is?(want to pay more in licence fee??) And then wait for the exact moment it wakes up/does anything interesting?
From what i saw, the bbc unit only filmed such bits of animals in captivity and only sometimes. The rest of the time WAS spent slogging it out in the countryside.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 10-Oct-13 11:16:29

Its been common knowledge for years that wildlife documentaries often require some degree of staging. Totally not a secret so there is nothing unethical about it. They even have extra bits of 'how we did this' documentary which are really interesting - certainly not the kettle interval. There is no 'fibbing' going on.

Subtitles saying 'staged footage' would be obtrusive and annoy most viewers.

Meh. Poor attempt. Raking up 1958 Disney films? hmm

You're in a hole, stop digging.

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 11:16:45

The story of staged footage made worldwide headlines. It could have been avoided if they had labelled the footage as staged. It is not a non-issue and the BBC had to address it.

"The allegations are potentially hugely damaging for the BBC, which licensed the most recent series of Frozen Planet to 30 networks around the world. Natural history brands have become crucial to the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide. The popularity of Frozen Planet has also been linked to a surge in interest in adventure holidays in the Arctic."

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 10-Oct-13 11:16:48

But the whole thing's an illusion, surely? If you want your wild-life documentaries to be sheer 'reportage' then you go for the Spring Watch approach with hidden cameras and a few fuzzy hedgehogs. The Attenborough-type creations with sweeping orchestrations and fabulous photography are the TV equivalent of glossy coffee-table books. Designed to amaze and entertain rather than strictly educate. The idea of a caption popping up on screen saying 'reconstruction' is less Spring Watch and more Crime Watch

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 10-Oct-13 11:19:57

I think it would be much more unethical to disturb wild animals in their natural habitat, possibly putting them at risk, just so we can get good shots on our tellyboxes.

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 11:20:50

If it was so obvious, then the world's press would not have reported it. There is an ethical issue about audience manipulation involved as some Professors have stated.

No one objects to staged footage as long as it is labelled as such.

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 11:21:47

"I think it would be much more unethical to disturb wild animals in their natural habitat, possibly putting them at risk, just so we can get good shots on our tellyboxes."

Agree 100%, so don't pretend that that is what was done, but tell the truth about how it was staged.

Salbertina Thu 10-Oct-13 11:26:18

Claig- i live far, far from the UK and NO mention of story anywhere in the national media, zero interest - and we get BBC worldwide here. I only heard about it on MN!

ErrolTheDragon Thu 10-Oct-13 11:27:22

Its been obvious to anyone who has been interested in these programs for years.

The press needs stories, and ones which are negative about an organisation which is a competitor is predictable enough.

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 11:27:43

Salbertina the original story about the 'Frozen Planet' was in December 2011, I think.

MavisGrind Thu 10-Oct-13 11:29:01

but we do expect that the narrator is there rather than down at our local zoo, third left off the roundabout on the A123

I don't expect the narrator to be there. I don't suppose for a minute Joseph Fiennes was in a helicopter sweeping over English waterways looking for may flies in the programme I saw last night.

It happens in 'people' documentaries too you know! I was in one, ages ago

Golddigger Thu 10-Oct-13 11:32:02

There are millions of people who dont care if they are hoodwinked. It doesnt bother them in the slightest.

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 10-Oct-13 11:34:54

I haven't read about it anywhere except here. Is it really of interest to world media? I don't mean to bust your bubble, but most of the narration on these shows is actually done in a studio by someone reading a script.shock

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 11:35:43

"I don't expect the narrator to be there"

When I see a presenter on his hands and knees talking in a hushed voice and crawling through dense vegetation, I assume he was in the rainforest rather than at the Ecopark off the M1. I now see that I have been too trusting.

PetiteRaleuse Thu 10-Oct-13 11:36:43

I watch animal shows to learn about nature in its natural habitat. If they have to recreate some of it, as long as it is essentially true to nature, then i don't see an issue with it. If they showed polar bears juggling baby monkeys and tried to pass it off as natural behaviour that would be different.

claig the Daily Mail has an anti-BBC agenda as I think i have mentioned to you before. You will find that all wildlife programme makers, even National Geographic shows, will have similar practices.

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 11:36:54

'There are millions of people who dont care if they are hoodwinked. It doesnt bother them in the slightest.'

Do you mean New Labour voters?

fancyanother Thu 10-Oct-13 11:36:59

And it was addressed in 2011, at length, by newspapers, who made a massive song and dance about it The BBC went into self flagellation mode, as usual. The original reporter found out about the staged footage and made a massive hoo ha about it after he watched the 'how we filmed it' extra footage released on the DVD. Hardly secretly hoodwinking people. The information was released by the BBC and was then made into a load of old nonsense story by DM journalists who can't be bothered to do any journalism and are pandering to their powerful editors anti BBC agenda

PetiteRaleuse Thu 10-Oct-13 11:37:44

I don't think presenters are faking their presence like that.

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 11:39:34

I see that on this one I am totally outnumbered, and most people believe there is no ethical issue at stake.

MavisGrind Thu 10-Oct-13 11:40:13

I didn't say I don't expect the presenter to be there <splits hairs> grin but I would say that you have been too trusting if it's never occurred to you that any element of these programmes are staged.

Which is commendable in many respects! grin

<considers name change to MavisMassivelyCynicalGrind>

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 11:42:51

'Which is commendable in many respects!'

I trust the BBC on most things (apart from on climate catastrophe) and am a bit surprised about some of this. I was not aware of it, but then I don't watch many nature documentaries and no BBC climate catastrophe programmes.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 10-Oct-13 11:45:00

Claig, from what you've written, you won't believe there's a climate catastrophe until you're ankle deep in melted ice.

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 11:46:50

I was ankle deep in melted ice last Christmas, but it didn't make me believe that we are facing a cataclysmic extinction event, I just thought it had been snowing as usual.

Golddigger Thu 10-Oct-13 11:47:33

I mean about 1/3 of the population at a guess. No idea what party they support!

I should imagine many tv programmes hoodwink which ever the station, though that is partly a guess and partly not see X Factor!!

Truth is going out of fashion and lots of the general public dont mind in the slightest. They dont even expect it.

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 11:52:41

Golddigger, I think you are right and it is a worrying trend, because in the end it will lead the public to lose faith in what is actually true. It will be a case of the boy who cried wolf come true.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 10-Oct-13 11:53:59

>I see that on this one I am totally outnumbered, and most people believe there is no ethical issue at stake.

Yes. 'DM exposes something that was never a secret'.

Well, there might be an ethical issue about whether newspapers reporting on competing media can be entirely trusted.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 10-Oct-13 11:55:56

>in the end it will lead the public to lose faith in what is actually true

especially when the truth is inconvenient.

Golddigger Thu 10-Oct-13 12:01:28

You keep digging and exposing the truth, whatever that may be. I salute you.

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 12:02:51

Thank you Golddigger, I certainly shall!

Golddigger Thu 10-Oct-13 12:06:57

I find it strange. People seem to want selective truth. I presume they want their doctor for example to be truthful? Or their dentist? Or their partner. Actually not sure about their partner. They dont always mind if their patrner is not truthful. Personally I want it across the board and everywhere. Some hope.

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 12:08:12

Agree, Golddigger, well said.

Salbertina Thu 10-Oct-13 12:09:21

Huh? I look to the BBC to entertain me, primarily, with the odd nugget of interesting info thrown in. I look to my doctor/dentist to treat me when needed!

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 12:12:21

Salbertina, we all want to be entertained, but it must be done ethically too.

"The hosts of BBC children's programme Blue Peter have apologised to viewers after the results of a competition were faked last November."

Golddigger Thu 10-Oct-13 12:23:27

So the doctor/dentist you want the truth from? BBC not. Partner?

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 10-Oct-13 12:26:59

If they were dressing people up as polar bears, I'd think you had a point. But the fact that their shooting them giving birth in a zoo rather than in the wild doesn't bother me in the least.((shrug))

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 12:30:14

Dione, it doesn't bother me as long as they make it explicit. There are some people who are being misled into believeing it is real. It is a matter of ethics and a line needs to be drawn in case it may possibly lead to things such as faked competitions etc.

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 12:34:21

'Latest TV fake scenes: 'Grizzly attack' on survival show was man in fancy-dress bear costume'

I think we could use a bit of regulation in order to ensure that ethical standards are maintained.

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 10-Oct-13 12:35:43

Well it's a real polar bear, really giving birth to real baby polar bears. It's not white kittens in bear suits lying beside a tranquilized bear for effect.hmm

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 12:39:13

Of course it is, but put a caption up saying that it is staged in order not to dupe the public.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 10-Oct-13 12:47:40

Perhaps the DM and other tabloids should do something similar with some of their output...

BS detection tips grin

Pot-kettle with a vengeance!

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 12:50:23

Yes, if the DM is guilty of any misleading of the public, then it should be held to the same high standards.

PetiteRaleuse Thu 10-Oct-13 12:55:17

claig that is completely different - they are apparently wilfully misleading the viewers to believe in something which is just not true. That is not the case with the serious nature documentaries of the beeb and others. You have to look at the intent not just the methods.

PetiteRaleuse Thu 10-Oct-13 12:56:52

But newspapers are less regulated than the broadcasters at the moment. Yes they should be held to the same high standards, but they aren't. The daily Mail frequently misleads the public, as do all the papers to a certin extent, to fit in with their agenda.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 10-Oct-13 12:56:58

Thing is, the BBC is held to high standards. There have been problems (genuine ones like the Blue Peter fake, not this fake outrage thing about the wildlife which was no secret if you're even half awake) - and they've been exposed and dealt with. The BBC is held accountable - heads roll quite regularly.

The newspapers on the other hand are still trying to evade proper standards. There seems to be no sanction at all when they publish incredibly misleading or downright false stories.

fancyanother Thu 10-Oct-13 12:57:44

They won't be though, will they (until hopefully they get their asses unceremoniously kicked by a proper press Complaints commission... one can only hope...) rather than the one run by Dacre and his cronies.

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 13:00:04

I agree that it is a difference of degree, but that they are all examples of unethical filming to varying degrees, because they are not a full represntation of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Once truth is compromised, it is a slippery slope and can lead to greater misleading of the audience.

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 13:01:30

'The BBC is held accountable - heads roll quite regularly.'

How regularly are these things going on?

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 13:04:27

I agree that the BBC is held to a higher standard than newspapers, because the BBC is meant to be unbiased and impartial and is meant to present a fair representation of the truth, whereas newspapers are known to be partisan.

That is why it is more important to maintain the BBC's ethical standards than those of newspapers.

fancyanother Thu 10-Oct-13 13:05:15

How much quality journalism do British newspapers even do now? maybe some of the broadsheets may once in a decade come up with a good investigative piece, but most of the time it's full of nonsense and rabble rousing 'editorial' or 'opinion ' pieces. No truth being told there at all, so they can't be accused of misleading the public because it's all just people whipping up a frenzy about a non story they have come across while browsing Twitter.

fancyanother Thu 10-Oct-13 13:07:51

Surely a polar bear giving birth is a polar bear giving birth? And IT WASN'T HIDDEN! The BBC themselves said it was how it was done. I don't see how it is a slippery slope to dentists taking all your teeth out unnecessarily!

claig Thu 10-Oct-13 13:20:05

'How much quality journalism do British newspapers even do now?'

I think you are being harsh on the Guardian.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 10-Oct-13 14:49:47

" the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

Eh? I think you're confusing serious news topics with 'light' documentary subjects and I think the viewing public is more intelligent than you seem to give them credit for. If it's a hard-hitting Panorama documentary about ivory poaching we'd expect the reporting standards and accuracy to be high. A fluffy documentary about elephants frisking about at water-holes holds neither the same expectation or requirement.

limitedperiodonly Fri 11-Oct-13 08:47:28

Sharing a room in a Dutch Novotel to film polar bears in a zoo shows a better regard for licence-payers' money than a two-week expedition to the North Pole, don't you think OP?

claig Fri 11-Oct-13 10:27:48

I agree, I just think the staged shots should be labelled as such

limitedperiodonly Fri 11-Oct-13 10:39:01

The National Union of Journalists says the same thing over altered still photos and footage.

claig Fri 11-Oct-13 10:43:21

Yes, that makes sense.
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.

TheGirlFromIpanema Fri 11-Oct-13 10:45:44

I agree, I just think the staged shots should be labelled as such

they are at the end of the show usuallyconfused

Do you think everything on telly should be real?

I've read that a couple of times on MN this week and its an odd stance imho. Aside from the usual current affairs/news programmes I trust the BBC and other companies to use as much artistic license as they choose in order to entertain me grin

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 11:20:54

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 11:22:08

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

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 11:29:44

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 11:34:50

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.


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 11:39:58

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 11:43:46

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.

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

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!

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.

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 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."

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.

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 15:43:28

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 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.

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.

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.

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 16:27:42

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.

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