This week, I decided to watch an episode of BBC’s The Blue Planet for my documentary reflection. This episode was about the deep sea creatures of the ocean, some of which have never been seen before, and how they evolved to survive in such a dark, cold, high-pressure environment. It was produced by Alastair Fothergrill and narrated by David Attenborough.
I think that one technique that worked really well was the lack of A-roll used in this show. The narrator has nothing to do with the topic, so there is no reason to show him speaking (particularly because he isn’t an expert on deep-sea animals). I also think that the use of soundtrack and sound effects worked really well. The music, which was composed by George Fenton, was very low and mysterious to add to the creepy, dark atmosphere in which these animals live. It actually made me a little more creeped out than I normally would be by these animals. The music also became significantly more dramatic when predators would attack their prey. I especially liked the sound effects used when alien-like animals such as jellyfish and eels appeared; the director chose to use sounds that resembled that of a space-ship or a UFO to make these organisms seem even more otherworldly. I also thought that the choice to frame the shots in a way that made the animals look bigger than they actually are was a very good idea, because it made them look much more intimidating and scary, when in reality, these animals are very tiny.
Though I thought this decision was a smart one, I wish that they would’ve also chosen to show the animals in scale to the submarine that the camera-men were filming in. I think that it would’ve given the viewers a better perspective and let them see how small these animals really are (though I suppose that adds to the mystery). I also would have appreciated if they had given more exact measurements of around how deep each of the animals they showed live. However, I learned a lot in this 49-minute episode. I found that a lot of these deep-sea organisms use bio-luminescent lights for both attack and defense, that some have reflective scales to help them hide in the pitch black, and that others have huge mouths and teeth to engulf whatever they can find because food is so scarce. I think that this episode succeeded in giving off a creepy and mysterious atmosphere and made the deep-sea seem much stranger than I had already thought.