Fortey travels to Madeira to examine what happens to a volcanic island as it nears the end of its life-cycle and starts sinking back into the sea. Here, in the island's laurisilva forest, he examines the remains of an ancient forest that once carpeted all of Europe, finds island lizards that live to be four times older than their mainland counterparts, and meets a huge wolf spider. With the help of local divers, he also discovers an unexpectedly rich marine habitat populated by whales, dolphins and unusual deep-sea species that have much to tell us about the changing nature of our seas.
Luminous beings, creatures with their own internal light, enchant and astonish us. Anyone who has seen a firefly or a glow-worm cannot help but fall under their spell. The sea at night sparkles as millions of luminous plankton reveal the shapes of dolphins in a truly magical light show. But why do animals produce living light? For centuries we could only marvel at the beauty and the mystery, but now for the first time we can begin to reveal the amazing truth about living lights. It has taken three crucial technological breakthroughs. Firstly, colour cameras have improved dramatically; they are now over 4,000 times more sensitive than a decade ago. The cameras are so sensitive they are revealing startling discoveries that until now we could not see. Secondly, scientists have entered the unknown world of the boundless deep open ocean with the help of a new generation of submersibles and robots. Thirdly, Ammonite Films have invented and built a series of unique cameras that can capture the faintest ephemeral glow of luminous life. By combining these three innovations, this film shows creatures and behaviours never seen before. Sir David Attenborough is our guide as we venture into a new hitherto unseen world. Bioluminescence is everywhere: in the soil, on the land and throughout the oceans. Join Sir David Attenborough and a team of the world's leading scientists and deep sea explorers on a quest to reveal the secrets of living lights.
2016 • Nature
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.
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.
Our planet was once populated by megafauna, big top-of-the-food-chain predators that played their part in balancing our ecosystems. When those megafauna disappear, the result is a "trophic cascade," where every part of the ecosystem reacts to the loss. How can we stay in balance? George Monbiot suggests rewilding: putting wolves, lions and other predators back on top -- with surprising results.