Observations: The real sound of Planet Earth
Charlotte Philby is a writer at The Independent with a weekly column on motherhood in The Independent Magazine. She was shortlisted for the 2013 Cudlipp award for excellence in popular journalism for her undercover investigative work, and writes for various cultural magazines.
Saturday 01 September 2012
If Planet Earth, the acclaimed BBC documentary series that first came to our screens in 2006, taught us one thing, it is that the natural world is endlessly fascinating. It also taught us that a humpback whale calf consumes around 500 litres of milk a day, and that snow leopard cubs aren’t as cute as they look. But as astonishing as the high-definition footage itself was George Fenton’s score, which is now to be heard live.
“The show used, for the first time in natural-history programming, a heligimbal camera, capable of zooming in to give minute detail and then pulling back to give us these long revealing shots. This gave a huge amount of space for the music to fill,” explains Fenton, whose previous credits include Gandhi, The History Boys and Groundhog Day.
“The score had to carry the moment in a way that is unusual in film, because at some points nothing else was happening.
“It also made it a natural progression to bring the music to a concert hall.”
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