Wildly fresh fo­cus on Africa

Hi-tech equip­ment helps de­liver a stun­ning se­ries, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

ADEADLY fight be­tween two gi­raffes, who wield their heads like a spiked ball on a chain, is among the high­lights of David At­ten­bor­ough’s lat­est doc­u­men­tary se­ries Africa.

At­ten­bor­ough’s of­fer­ing took four years to make and pro­ducer James Honey­borne says view­ers will be amazed with its qual­ity and con­tent. The fiveparter be­gins in the Kala­hari Desert.

Honey­borne says the chal­lenge of mak­ing an­other doc­u­men­tary about Africa was know­ing how to keep it fresh and ex­cit­ing for the view­ers.

He says they re­frained from cliched lion eats ze­bra/wilde­beest sce­nar­ios.

The fight be­tween the two gi­raffes un­til one crashes to the ground was a rare moment, says Honey­borne.

‘‘We don’t have lions eat­ing wilde­beests but we are look­ing deeper,’’ he says.

‘‘We have got lizards hunt­ing for flies on the back of lions and that’s dif­fer­ent.

‘‘No one has seen that be­fore. We waited for 30 days film­ing the gi­raffes and in that time there was one fight which lasted over a minute.

‘‘Some­times you get really lucky and that gi­raffe fight . . . we didn’t know it would be so dra­matic with an ex­tra­or­di­nary out­come.’’

In­fra-red cam­eras have been re­placed by high-def­i­ni­tion night-time cam­eras which are able to cap­ture sharp, crisp footage un­der moon­lit skies.

Honey­borne says it al­lowed for some ex­tra­or­di­nary footage around wa­ter­ing holes where rhi­nos gather at night to form friend­ships.

‘‘We were quite sim­ply able to film things we hadn’t been able to see be­fore and we haven’t seen that level of de­tail be­fore,’’ Honey­borne says.

‘‘We’ve tried in­fra-red be­fore, but it is so much bet­ter to use it un­der nat­u­ral starlight and we are see­ing things that have not been so record­able be­fore.’’

Be­sides tak­ing four years to make, in­clud­ing 12 months of re­search and plan­ning, more than 2000 hours of raw cam­era footage was taken.

Eight cam­eras were ei­ther dam­aged or de­stroyed dur­ing the mak­ing of Africa, in­clud­ing one that was eaten by a lion and an­other eaten by an elephant.

Honey­borne said that cam­era­men were able get within 30 me­tres of lions and tigers.

Sta­bil­is­ing cam­eras were used to gain in­cred­i­bly sharp im­ages of a num­ber of the an­i­mals in mo­tion.

‘‘How close you get to an an­i­mal, de­pends on the an­i­mal,’’ he says.

‘‘You want the an­i­mal to feel com­fort­able when you’re around and it might be at 100 me­tres or it might be 30 me­tres.

‘‘But all the time you are ob­serv­ing the an­i­mal’s re­ac­tion to you and ide­ally there will be no re­ac­tion.’’

Satur­days, 6.30pm, Ten, Ten SC.

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