Advanced search

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 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

It's about ethics and what we expect from the BBC

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.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now