‘Planet Earth II’: An Exclusive Look at This Season’s Filming Firsts

Planet Earth II
Courtesy of David Willis/BBC

Hailed by Variety‘s Sonia Saraiya as “the most important program of our generation,” “Planet Earth II” took over three years to make, 40 countries to film in and 2,089 days to shoot. The final product features epic shots and never-before-seen animal behavior.

In advance of the March 28 release of its DVD and Blu-ray, the first natural history history TV series to do so in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, BBC Worldwide North America has shared an exclusive clip with Variety of some of the series’ “Filming Firsts.”

For instance, beetles make their way towards glowing mushrooms on screen thanks to new low light cameras. Railroad worms are revealed to be bioluminescent beetles with red and green lights on their bodies to help either hunt at night or deter predators.

In addition, the team visited the extraordinarily remote and uninhabited volcanic Zavodovski Island in the southern Atlantic Ocean, debuting footage of one of the largest penguin populations in the world struggle for survival. Watch as over a million pairs of chinstrap penguins fight for their chance to breed and feed.

Thought almost impossible to capture, cameramen filmed four snow leopards together for the first time using camera traps hidden in the rock of the Himalayas. This most complete film of snow leopard behavior features the big cats mating, hunting and fighting. Also captured were shots of Rocky Mountain bob cats hunting local ducks and squirrels.

Though often captured from the ground or a tree, the Wilson’s bird of paradise has a secret beauty not imagined possible . To see how a female searching for her mate might see him, the team filmed the bird’s display from above.

A trailer for the show featuring dozens of racer snakes pursuing newly hatched marine iguanas in their race for safety went viral earlier this year, a fitting fate considering this was the first time a series has done so.

The 360 minutes of footage on the DVD and Blu-ray include bonus content of looks behind the scenes of production, explaining the challenges the producers faced during shoots.

Watch the exclusive ‘Planet Earth II’ clip below: