Wildlife filmmaker Chris Palmer shows that animals are often set up to succeed

I’ve enjoyed watching nature documentaries since I was a kid. But reading this article has really made me wonder how accurate some of them are.

“If you sit in the wild and watch wildlife, nothing happens for a very long time,” said Maggie Burnette Stogner, an environmental filmmaker who works with Palmer on the American University faculty. “That’s mostly what happens in wildlife.”

Nature footage is hard-earned. A crew might spend six weeks in discomfort and tedium for a few moments of dramatic cinema. Certain shots — animal births, or predators seizing prey — are difficult to capture by chance. So some filmmakers set them up.

It brings to mind the documentary series ‘walking with dinosaurs’ which I never watched on account of the fact that it’s all imagined through (you’d hope) intelligent guesses.

Nobody has ever seen a live dinosaur so how can they broadcast their actions which some viewers might think are ‘fact’ because they’re watching a documentary?

Reading the bit on the lemmings being flung ingloriously over a cliff  just made me feel so sick.


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