Meet the People that Brought You Planet Earth

Capercaillie_medium_2 USAToday says, “Planet Earth beautifully fulfills its promise: to show you the world in a way you’ve never seen it before.”  The Washington Post states, "Planet Earth sets a new standard in nature documentaries.  Heck, even Oprah has this to say, "I’ve been in television all of my life, and I have never seen anything this good on television—ever."

Redwoods_0904_010_mediumNow that you’ve viewed the earth as its never been seen before, meet the people that brought you this groundbreaking series.  That’s right, on April 24 at 1 PM EST; the DEN will be hosting a webinar with Dr. Penny Allen (pictured to the left), one of the BBC producers in the field during the filming of Planet Earth.  Dr. Allen joined the BBC Natural History Unit in 1996 as a researcher on The Blue Planet, a landmark series on the natural history of the world’s oceans. After completing the Blue Planet series, Dr. Allen worked as an Assistant Producer on ‘The Abyss – Live’, which allowed millions of people in Europe and England to watch a live broadcast of an ROV dive in Monterey Bay.  Now she shares her experience in her latest adventure, the making of Planet Earth.

This webinar is intended to be shared with your students, so find a projection unit, a set of speakers, click here to register and prepare (and post to this blog as a comment) questions you would like to ask this record setting filmmaker.

UPDATE: Want your own copy of the Pole to Pole episode from Planet Earth?  Visit the Science Connection in Action blog to learn how you can win the DVD!


Related posts


  1. Debbie Bohanan said:

    This is a great opportunity and I highly recommend you participate with your class. We spoke to Penny on March 26 and it was amazing! The students were so excited and now have a vested interest in the show and can’t wait to see the next episode. We may have just created the next generation of environmentalists and biologists!

    Special thanks to Matt Monjan and Dr. Allen for this once in a lifetime experience.

  2. Michele Futch said:

    Can’t wait to share this with the students! I think they will enjoy this.

    I signed up to participate with my class!

  3. Teryl Magee said:

    Wow! Thanks for this great opportunity for the kids. I think they are going to really enjoy the experience.

  4. Christine Southard said:

    What grade levels is the webinar appropriate for?

  5. Michele Futch said:

    I am not sure, Cheryl. But, I signed my middle school students up for it. I hope that is appropriate?

  6. Maryann Molishus said:

    I participate in WebEx webinars from home. I dial in with my telephone and put it on speaker. I’m sure this has been asked before, but is there a way to have audio without a phone? I don’t think I could set up a speaker phone at school to use with my class.

  7. Steve Dembo said:

    Elementary and Middle school students will feel right at home.

    As to sound, it is definitely a teleconference. The only alternative is to use Skype. Unfortunately, to dial WebEx’s number with Skype, you will need to use SkypeOut. The general rate for SkypeOut is 2.1 cents per minute, meaning that the 1 hour webinar would cost $1.20 through Skype. It may not be ideal, but it is a viable alternative. We have had attendees from as far away as Spain on webinars using Skype!

  8. Elaine Plybon - Texas LC said:

    I had the following question come up during a showing of “Pole to Pole” This student was watching the part about the elephants and she said, “How come they (the film crew) don’t save that elephant?” (the one that gets disoriented and is walking away from water). I tried to explain to her, but thought it might be a question that a lot of students might have. I’ll be posting a list of other questions from students hopefully later this week.

  9. donna baeten said:

    I have United Streaming on my computer and a smartboard with speakers. Will I be able to log into this webinar through the computer? How is this done?

  10. Scott Kinney said:

    I wanted to comment on what grade level the webinar is appropriate. We will not be showing any clips from Planet Earth during the webinar, instead it is a chance to ask questions of Dr. Allen. Having said that, many of the questions submitted deal with “chase scenes” and why animals were not saved from other animal attacks, so please use your own judgment as to if very young children should participate.

  11. Pat Ruffing said:

    Will this webinar run a full hour or will it wind down in about 45 minutes or so? The reason I am asking is that I will have only one half of the class at a time and will have to switch groups at 1:30 and I am wondering if the second group will get as much information, or should I try to switch them a little earlier. Not ideal, but not much I can do about it.
    Thanks for this great opportunity.

  12. Barb Brever said:

    I, too, am wondering if we will be able to connect via computer through the United Streaming site.


  13. JUDITH VALLE said:

    What kind of cameras were used to film such extraoridary slow motion clips. How were the low lights clips filmed? Did you used lights and weren’t animals disturbed? I’m very interested in the lighting and camera usage because I try to teach these techniques to my students.

  14. Jennifer Dorman said:

    Here are some questions from my class:

    1.) How were you able to capture such unique birds?
    2.) Did you keep a camera in one place to capture the difference season?
    3.) How dangerous was some of the filming you did? ie. great white shark
    4.) How did you choose the particular wildlife and different environments to film?

  15. Jessica Elam said:

    Did anyone find out if we can access the webinar without a phone or skype?

    If someone knows how to access via United Streaming, please e-mail me the instructions.


  16. Pat Ruffing said:

    Questions for the presentation:
    1)(similar to one above) With all the species in the world, how did you determine which would be filmed?
    2)Regarding the crew on Antarctica for a year…were all supplies brought at once, or did they receive provisions periodically? What kind of telecommunications were set up? Were they able to have any contact with families during that time?
    3)Related to Antarctica or other extreme temperature situations: How was equipment protected in the extreme cold or heat, or was it specially made for those conditions?
    4)Were there scenes that crews worked to film that never made it into the final production? Or special shots they were hoping to get that just never worked out no matter how long they tried?

  17. Elaine Plybon - Texas LC said:

    There isn’t a way to access the audio part of the webinar if you don’t have a speakerphone or Skype. We managed to get a conference room speakerphone from our district office – you might ask your IT if something like that is available for you.

  18. Elaine Plybon said:

    Here are the questions my students have:
    1) How do you videotape without the animals seeing ou?
    2) Are dolphins actually nice like they look?
    3) How did you get the video of the whale (I think they meant shark) in slow motion?
    4) How long do the baby penquins stay on their father’s feet after they are born?
    5) How many people were involved in this project?
    6) How did you capture the hyenas on camera?
    7) How many different techniques and technologies were used?
    8) What is the most popular species on the ground and in the water? (not sure if he meant numbers or crew favorites)
    9) Why do herds migrate?
    10) How long is it dark in the poles?
    11) What makes up a sand storm?

  19. South Paris 5th Grade Collaborative said:

    1. What inspired you to make the show Planet Earth?
    2. Can you tell us how you do research for the show?
    3. Where did you discover all the information about the rare animals?
    4. How did you get to all of these different places?
    5. During the episode, Oceans, how did the camera people get so close to the animals without the animals swimming away?
    6. Did you ever have problems shooting video of the animals?
    7. How did you get the camera angles (for all the shows) in the right spots?
    8. How did you get the pictures of the Himalayan Mountains from space?
    9. How did the photographers tape such dangerous animals without getting hurt?
    10. What made the photographers willing to tape everything?
    11. How did you photographers keep the camera so still when they were up close filming such dangerous animals?
    12. How long did it take for the photographers to get the perfect shot?
    13. Why did you pick to film some creatures and not others?
    14. Was it hard to find certain animals?
    15. How did you decide to set up/organize the show?
    16. We like that the narrator talks about the camera crew. What make you decide to include these comments in the narration?

Comments are closed.