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Birds with cameras take flight in 'Winged Planet,' tonight on the Discovery Channel

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discovery bbc winged planet
discovery bbc winged planet

The latest entry in the critically-acclaimed Planet series from the Discovery Channel and the BBC airs tonight at 8:00PM ET. "Winged Planet" — like "Blue Planet" and "Planet Earth" before it — is a nature documentary that utilizes state-of-the-art technology to capture absolutely amazing footage. What makes "Winged Planet" exceptionally special is the use of custom cameras that have been attached to birds, as well as remote-controlled avian replicas that could travel among the high-flying animals.

In explaining the film team's approach to achieving such a goal, director John Downer told Pop Photo in an interview that "what we had to do was strip down the highest-quality, but smallest HD camera available. We had to engineer it so it was basically a circuit board, a chip, a lens, and batteries." He says "we had to make sure it was as light as possible, but we also needed it to record slow-motion. So, we had to make the cameras and the mounts so the bird could fly naturally and feel comfortable." As you can see from the video below, it's clear that Downer's method of filming worked out for the best.