Saturday picture show

The BBC and David Attenborough have done it again. Four years in the making, Frozen Planet looks absolutely stunning. Check out this trailer:

Whew!

Just to whet our appetites, the Beeb has been releasing snippets of the footage. This video of a thieving penguin has been making the rounds:

Beautifully done. But the most breathtaking footage I’ve yet seen has not been available anywhere but in the UK. (I watched it using a VPN proxy.) It shows a pod of orcas, or killer whales, working in concert to create and send a wave of water sloshing over an ice floe, in order to knock off the Weddell seal resting on it. Once in the water, the seal has little chance of escape.

As with many things that Attenborough’s team accomplish, this behavior had never been filmed before. Heck, almost nobody had even seen it before. His justifiable delight shows in an interview with The Guardian:

“The filming of killer whales tipping ice floes and knocking seals off was an unbelievable achievement, unbelievable,” he tells me with enormous pride. “Vanessa [Berlowitz, the series producer] devised this system in which you had a small inflatable boat and mounted it on a tripod with this extraordinary giro-controlled stabiliser that was originally used for helicopters. And this thing that Scott had put down as a rumour, that killer whales were threatening sailors, and that a lot of people had discounted, she for the first time worked out how it was done, and as a consequence she filmed it not just once but 22 times, and so you’ve got this sequence which is just amazing!”

I agree with him, it really is amazing. If you have access to a VPN proxy, go here and watch it (but only if you don’t mind seeing predation). I’ll keep my eye on it, and as soon as the BBC makes it available to other countries, I’ll post it here.

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About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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19 Responses to Saturday picture show

  1. Inge says:

    Great movies. I hope the documentary is soon shown in Belgium.

    I can’t see the last one, but here is a counter based on what i saw of the start-photo: http://youtu.be/gBnvGS4u3F0

  2. JR says:

    Coolio. Although I have to say–between the music and the narration, the penguin clip reminds me an awful lot of a Winnie the Pooh special.

    • oregon expat says:

      That gave me a chuckle. I assure you that the “orcas hunting seal” clip would not inspire that comparison, though — not unless Winnie suddenly developed his carnivorous side and slaughtered Piglet.

      • JR says:

        Yeah…no. That’s one triumph of cinematography I won’t be witnessing–you can trust me to fast-forward through it. A friend once showed me a video from his weekend at the coast (maybe Depoe Bay? can’t remember) featuring an orca strike on a harbor seal. Don’t need to see–or hear–that again.

        • oregon expat says:

          Orcas on the Oregon coast — almost certainly Yaquina Bay. A pod of orcas generally enters the bay once a year, around the same time each year. All the folks at HMSC go running down to the water.

          Depoe Bay is much too small. But if a pod did come in there, whew, what a sight that would be!

          • JR says:

            I think it was a single, not an entire pod. I’ll have to ask him where he was next time I talk to him. It’d be a good lead-in line for the holiday card this year: “Hey, Kev, you remember that blood-all-over-the-place killer whale video you showed me…?”

  3. Ana_ñ says:

    Grrr. You have made my teeth grow long! (Literal translation of the Spanish idiom to say that I’m green with envy)
    What a wonderful series. I want to watch it now!!! Grrr.

    Can you tell that I don’t have access to a VPN proxy? 🙂

    • oregon expat says:

      I love the idiom! What is it in Spanish? And where does it originate?

      • Ana_ñ says:

        I said, “me has puesto los dientes largos”

        “Poner los dientes largos a alguien” means, in addition to make someone green with envy, to make someone jealous and to make someone’s mouth water.
        I don’t know its origin, but this idiom is different from “enseñar a alguien los dientes“, equivalent to the English “show or bare one’s teeth” and surely related with animal behavior.

        I felt that the post called for this particular expression. 😉

  4. Alma says:

    That last bit is amazing! But it had too been filmed before. See here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxDZW4k8tCY where the adults seem to be training their young, because they put the seal back up and start again. And here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwbNRNCxhFg where the seal is skilled at jumping back up on the ice floe. These videos are very amateuresque, though, so I guess it had never been professionally filmed before. I suspect the commentary on Attenborough’s video might be a bit more intelligent…

    • oregon expat says:

      Interesting. Guess the BBC isn’t aware of these…but I am extremely skeptical that the orcas put the seal back on the ice in the first video. That’s what the guy doing the filming is speculating, but he didn’t see it happen and it’s not on the video. It’s far more likely that the seal dashed back up there as soon as it possibly could.

      • Alma says:

        Yeah, but it was under with the orcas for a really long time, they had ample chance to tear it to bits…

        • oregon expat says:

          Not if it was backed up against the underside of the ice, protecting its rear while snapping and biting at any orca that came near. Remember seeing the seal do just that in the Frozen Planet clip? And Attenborough’s narration said the orcas wait until they can attack from the rear.

          • Alma says:

            Cool! Go seal! I couldn’t see the Attenborough clip, sadly, so I hadn’t heard that. Hopefully someone will post that one to YouTube too. And even more hopefully, SVT will air Frozen Planet soonish!

  5. Ana_ñ says:

    I’ve seen it! I’ve seen it! 😀
    … About time!

    Thank you very much for sharing this. As your post certainly whetted my appetites, I have now watched the whole series!!!
    It is really exceptional, stunning indeed.

  6. Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems
    with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked
    and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no data backup.

    Do you have any solutions to prevent hackers?

    • oregon expat says:

      Only a very strong password, such as 20 characters with at least 2 characters each of symbols, numbers, and capital letters. Hackers go for the easy passwords before they’ll tackle something exponentially harder. And make it a password you use nowhere else.

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