It’s hard to imagine a series more all-at-once timely and timeless than BBC’s achingly gorgeous and transformative Planet Earth series. When it arrived in 2006 it took everything generations had loved about BBC’s historical Earth division (Sir David Attenborough included) and brought it together in a visual experience unlike anything anyone had ever seen, and have ever seen since. But it’s back. The BBC has released trailers for the successor, Planet Earth 2, and it’s clear that they’ve taken the last decade to pool together the best documentarians, photographers and videographers, to create something magical, at a time when the planet couldn’t need it more. They’ve taken the original and all of its best, and made it…more.
The Planet Earth original was as much a social/environmental commentary and geopolitical masterclass (if you paid attention) as it was a visual revelation, but what a visual revelation it was. They balanced out the penance of watching our innocent planet struggle, with an almost hedonistic level of visual gratification. So much so, in fact, the series was largely credited for the expedited adoption of Blu-Ray and the proliferation of high definition television sets. Planet Earth 2 could prove to be the same kind of tipping point for the next level up: 4K.
While 4K-ready televisions aren’t quite unusual these days they’re still not the standard, and 4K content is comparatively diminutive in comparison to regular 1080p. But such was the case before the original Planet Earth series but for ‘HD’, and then after, every electronics shop you could walk into was using the Planet Earth series as the material of choice to showcase their best televisions, and for good reason. Best guess is, this will once again be the case, and as a broader adoption of 4K takes hold it may sway the speed of the tide of 4K in the camera market, where 4K will be less a high-selling point as much as an expected standard.
[REWIND: Wildlife Photography With A Wide-Angle Lens For Impact| Getting Your Subject & The Surroundings]
There is no available release date for it yet, but you can get a sense of the unrivaled level of intimacy with nature we can expect from the trailers below. Made up of snippets of a series 4 years in the making, and filming that spanned 64 countries, with some of the best timelapses around from the company that made them famous, Planet Earth 2 looks like it will be nothing short of a marvel, and at such a tumultuous time, perhaps it couldn’t be any more relevant.
PS – the trailers are not in 4K, a bit disappointing, but you’ll wish they were and that you had a 4K monitor.