Planet Earth was inhabited by many wondrous creatures throughout the Permian period. Massive geologic changes finally allowed life to thrive on land and sea, producing voracious saber-toothed carnivores like Gorgonopsid and the terrifying 40-foot shark Helicoprion. But it couldn't last forever...
From the steaming rainforests of Borneo to the freezing fossil beds of China, the arid canyons of Spain and the remote cloud-forests of Ecuador, this series spans the globe and travels through time to explore the thrilling and surprising story of how flying animals came to conquer the skies. The team used ground-breaking 3D cameras, high speed filming and stunning CGI to immerse the viewer in an astounding aerial world. 3D demands that subjects be filmed relatively close to the camera – far from ideal in a wildlife documentary. This represented an extremely tricky task, so the team liaised extensively with UAV designers, macro-rig engineers and directors-of-photography who helped us to develop entirely new systems that took 3D to places it had never been before. The Octocopter is a multi-rotor UAV with customised gimbal capable of carrying 2 Red Epic cameras in order to shoot 3D. The octocopter was developed to help the team film in 3D in places no other 3D rig has ever got to, but it also posed many challenges. Its weight meant that flight-time was severely limited, and in volatile environments like the rainforest, where conditions can change rapidly, every flight was valuable and any failed attempt would have been costly.
In the second episode; India is a subcontinent surrounded by mountains. We explore the little-known Western Ghats at the edge India's south. Here are Monsoon hills covered in lush forests and tea gardens which shelter some of the greatest biodiversity in the world. But far to the north lies the mighty Himalayas - so vast they drive the climate by capturing the monsoon winds and protect India from the northern chill. It's a unique world full of life.
It may take two to make a baby - but not necessarily two to bring it up. So what makes a parent decide to stay or go? Especially if that parent is a dad. From the California mouse mother who has to kickstart her partner's paternal instincts, to Adelie penguin parents who can't leave their eggs alone for five minutes; from cheetah mums practicing promiscuity to keep the dads on side, to flamingo parents both producing milk for their young. We see just how far these incredible parents go in order to protect and nurture as many offspring as possible through to adulthood.
In this final episode Professor Brian Cox travels to Iceland, where the delicate splendour of a moonbow reveals the colours that paint our world, and he visits a volcano to explain why the sun shines. By exploring how sunlight transforms the plains of the Serengeti, drives the annual migration of humpback whales to the Caribbean and paints the moon red during a lunar eclipse, Brian reveals the colour signature of our life-supporting planet. Finally, at an observatory high in the Swiss Alps, he shows how these colours aren't simply beautiful, but that understanding how they're created is allowing us to search for other Earths far out in the cosmos.