The Filmmaking Magic Behind the Making of Netflix’s Life on Our Planet

Life on Our Planet features a wealth of CGI magic, but it is supported by a background of ambitious and even groundbreaking real-life cinematography.

Netflix's Life On Our Planet
Photo: Netflix

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“Such a weird habit that I’ve got into today,” says Dan Tapster, the showrunner for Life on Our Planet. “I’ll say, ‘Yeah, we were there to film mammoths. Yeah, people, we’re here to film a T-Rex.’”

And yet, there isn’t really a better way to describe what the team of Life on Our Planet had to do for years to create the footage that makes up the documentary series. Of course, being CGI VFX, the prehistoric stars of the series are a good deal more compliant than the stars of your average nature documentary. But it also required much more planning.

“More so than with our normal series, there was a lot more pre-production,” says Sophie Lanfear, the producer-director and writer of episodes three and eight. “This had an extended phase of research and development before we even went into the field and shot stuff. There was so much to get our heads around. Where do you even start with essentially 500 million years of complex life?”


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