TODAY   |  October 01, 2012

Get bird’s eye view of the world in new documentary

A new documentary called “Winged Planet” features breathtaking views from the perspective of our feathered friends. Series producer and director John Downer talks about capturing the stunning images.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> 7:43. you ever wonder what it would be like to fly like a bird ? a new documentary is giving viewers the chance to see the world from a bird's-eye view. john, good morning. good to see you. why birds?

>> they're the most amazing creatures. they're emotional creatures, far more intelligent than we imagine, and the most amazing thing is they are able to traverse a continent. they see the world as we would like to see it, from the air.

>> and so less exotic, less dangerous, certainly. but what an incredible view.

>> it's an incredible view. and they're obviously difficult to film so i wanted to be sure we had the technology and way of filming them that could show how amazing these creatures are.

>> let's talk about that. talk about the time and the effort and the creativity it took to capture some of these images.

>> well, we were four years making this. and all of the time, the technology was catching up with our ambition. so we have many, many ways that we tried to fly or did fly with birds. we've had birds trained to fly alongside micro leitz. that in itself takes a year to achieve to get birds used to flying alongside micro lites.

>> a micro lite being?

>> an ultra lite you call it here. it's a machine that they are imprinted on -- or imprinted on the person who flies it. they believe the person who flies it is their mother, that means they're bonded to that person and will go wherever that person goes. the micro lite goes with him. and so he can film from the air, so he can get incredible shots that you couldn't get in any other way. what it does is take you into their world. and this is what "wing planet" is all about, going into the bird's world.

>> and what do we see inside their world? one of the things you're actually able to see, and you can do this by putting a camera on the birds themselves.

>> absolutely, yeah.

>> you can see interaction with other animals, dangerous animals, you wouldn't necessarily get close to, right?

>> that's the whole point of "wing planet," the fact that these birds as they go across continents take you --

>> here is a vulture coming up on a lion going after its prey. unbelievable.

>> this is it. and what you're getting from this perspective is how the animals relate to those big creatures. because they're so clever. a vulture has to steal food from a lion, not easy. but when they do it together, they apiece the lion, and eventually he has to leave the prey behind.

>> interesting. what else is the bottom line you want people to take away from this, about how they interrelate and how they socialize?

>> well, i think what you learn as you -- you view this experience, and it really is an experience, is the whole of their world is interconnected. so you go across the continent and at times across several continents, taking on an amazing journey and shows how all of these incredible spectacles that you see are intertwined. they're all interlinked. and the birds are our guide through it.

>> this is unbelievable. the bird at the helm --

>> this is one of our favorite camera operators. a vulture. and to say they're getting high -- we take them up in a plane and he would fly and glide and give us this incredible view. a view we have never seen before across africa.

>> you've got to see it to believe it. john dowder thank you so much. "wing planet" appears on the discovery channel .