Create a 8 page essay paper that discusses Winged migration: the making of the documentary.
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The team moved from the Himalayas, Saharan dunes, Greenland glaciers, paddies in China, Desert Oasis, polluted industrial districts of Eastern Europe and Antarctica, to follow the birds in flight. The flapping birds can be seen near the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, River Seine etc. Perrin along with his crew records the flight of dozens of different birds as they follow their navigational instincts and make the taxing journey to more temperate climates in the fall, all chronicled without the use of narration. It is a wonder how Perrin and company managed to photograph these animals in mid-flight without affecting their behaviour. The images would have been ranked as the most impressive special effect of the year, except that all the images are real (Rodriguez, 2003).The film was made to explore the mystery of birds at flight. The director wanted the documentary to be a learning experience for the viewers. He felt that very few films are made about nature and his humble attempt was geared towards making a small contribution in the field of nature documentary. Environment being the most important issue that we encounter today, be it the problem of global warming or habitat destruction, making a nature film will help motivate individuals to preserve it. The director through his visuals wanted to stir people’s emotions which may help initiate concerted efforts towards preserving our environment. Perrin felt that the best way to contribute towards our society during our lifetime is to dedicate our life to the cause of preservation of our natural surroundings.
He was inspired to do the film when he saw a short documentary about migratory birds entitled “Ultrageese”. The documentary was made by two Canadian, named Bill Lishman and Joseph Duff in 1994, who led 18 trained Canadian geese from Ontario to Virginia in an untralight aircraft. Perrin had developed a strong urge to make a film with a similar theme but with a bigger dimension. Considering the fact that birds are not confined by boundaries, Perrin welcomed the idea of filming migratory birds, which was much more challenging than filming narrowly confined subjects.
“Winged Migration” traces the life of migrating birds over the course of a year, as they travel around the world looking for more hospitable climates. The shooting of the film was spread over 3 years and innovative techniques and ideas had been employed to film the flight of birds, which included the minute details of their movements and travelling speed. For this, the crew had to move from one continent to the other, braving all kinds of weather and climatic conditions.
Traditional gliders which could travel for miles unaided had been used to follow some birds in ascending currents. A remote controlled aircraft attached with a compact camera was used to film flocks of bird during take-off and in the midst of formation flight. Aircrafts or gliders were operated from the operational control centres. Two video drives were installed either on the ground or on accompanying helicopter, which reproduced on the one hand the spectrum of vision needed to pilot the motor glider and on the other hand, the management of the camera’s panoramic movement.
The film begins in the spring, reaching a midpoint at the Arctic Circle, where many birds begin raising their young ones during its brief summer. On the onset of fall, the birds follow the same patterns in reverse, as birds travel southward to escape cold.