Scene Analysis – Fierce


Steve Backshall is a hero of mine so I was thrilled to see he had a new series out. Fierce, showing the most deadliest creatures on the planet but with a twist, he shows us how they may be the fiercest but we don’t need to be scared of them.

“What I do, which is unique with wildlife, is that I am dealing with animals that are fierce predators but it’s not about them being dangerous to us as human beings. Because the last thing I want to do is demonise animals. It’s about making them intriguing and fascinating. It’s about dealing with how predators interact with their prey.

The last thing I want is for people to be frightened of animals. I want them to be fascinated. It’s more about how the animals interact with each other in nature. “

As Steve  Backshall stood on the edge of a waterfall shouting up to the drone above him, “My name’s Steve Backshall! And this…is fierce.” the drone whisked away over the tumultuous drop of the waterfall and launched into the titles. I was hooked. Within minutes of watching the show I knew this was going to be something special.

Fierce is a giant step away from conventional nature documentaries, it packs a punch, it’s fierce and fast and exploding with colour. The editing is rapid and fast paced and you feel breathless as you shoot along the adventures with him discovering incredible creatures and being whisked away to worlds you couldn’t even imagine. The colours were so vibrant it was like being trapped inside a kaleidoscope, so saturated (but not overly) with new treasures around every corner. The lighting was bright and fierce, the feeling of midday sun comes to mind

The fast paced editing ramped up the action and energy even further, low angle high speed tracking shots of a Komodo dragon racing towards the camera, Steve standing on various precipices and close ups of the deadly (but cute) pufferfish with enough potent venom to kill thirty adult human and the Stonefish, the most deadly fish in the sea, with jagged spines in its back just ready for an unsuspecting foot to inject itself on them.

One of the scenes that stood out was the one in which Steve went into the water to search for the deadly Stonefish but discovered the venomous (but adorable) pufferfish.

The scene started with a drone shot of the island, breathtaking in itself with a slight canted angle to add further interest. TThe drone shots used one of my favourite cinematic techniques. I don’t know the name of it but the shot would start wide and panoramic frozen on a spot then would slowly zoom before speeding across the island so fast it was a psychedelic blur before freezing on another part of the island. It was used quite frequently and was very engaging and powerful.1460986042833


The scene then flicks to the journey on the boat, very little time is spent on each shot which keeps the energy of the show while keeping interest and creating atmosphere.


The contrast between Steve sitting on the boat to diving under the water was extreme, the music was loud and energetic, a strong beat with a slight classical feel. As he tumbled backwards off the boat the sound was frozen replaced by the diegetic splash echoed then by a tinny beat and classical sounds as he explores the underwater paradise. Steve was shot at multiple angles mixed with subjective views to give the feeling of spinning round with so much to see.

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