Frozen Planet: Filming in the polar wilderness

Tuesday 25 October 2011, 13:17

Elizabeth White Elizabeth White Director and Producer

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The polar regions are truly other-worldly places - aside from their alien beauty, they are extreme and unforgiving, and some of the most challenging places on earth for a film crew to operate.

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A minke whale is hunted by a team of killer whales.

For the summer episode, our mission was to capture a hunt on camera, when pods working as teams chase down much larger whales such as minkes.

This meant staying just close enough to the pod to follow it, but not so close to spook them.

On Valentine's Day we found the perfect pod: 30 massive killer whales who were comfortable around us, and almost on cue, began to hunt.

Watching nature in the raw is not always easy, and as we followed the chase - for two and a half hours over 45 nautical miles of water - my emotions were mixed.

Yet the knowledge of seeing wild animal behaviour unfolding before your eyes snaps you back to reality - you are there to film and witness a moment that few humans would ordinarily get to see and you have to capture everything you can.

Seeing something so dramatic unfold, in a place that feels wild, remote, untouched, so far from civilisation, is a humbling experience.

It reminds you that we are just one species on this planet.

Every day, in remote corners of the globe, these animals live their lives - dramatic struggles for survival.

It's something I try and remember when I get home from the field, and wander the supermarket, pondering what to have for dinner.

Elizabeth White is one of the directors of Frozen Planet.

Frozen Planet starts on BBC One on Wednesday, 26 October at 9pm.

For further programme times, please visit the upcoming episodes page.

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