NEW YORK (AP) – Forty years ago, PBS programmers were eager to experiment, so they took a chance and launched a new series of articles on animal behavior in the wild called Nature.
The show featured hour-long documentaries on natural landscapes from all over the world and didn’t even have a storytelling at first, so it could be sold on any TV market without any language barriers. It was a hit. This season, Nature is celebrating its anniversary, which includes an expanded look at the Rocky Mountains, American horses, a close look at bees and of course the adorable penguins.
Although the series has evolved over the years, there is one person who has been there from the beginning. Fred Kaufman started out as an assistant producer for three months and has now executive produced the show for the past 30 years.
Kaufman says Nature has become even more attractive to viewers because science, filmmaking and technology have improved. He also takes pride in the series’ narrative and focus on global warming and the environment. In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Kaufman talked about the evolution of the show, the stories that have made the most impact, and how viral videos have helped the genre.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
AP: How has technology changed the show in 40 years?
KAUFMAN: When HD came out, it was like, “Wow!” Suddenly, you saw details that you hadn’t seen before, so it made a big difference. Lenses have become better, more diverse. This is a big difference. Drones! Years ago, if you wanted an antenna, you had to hire a helicopter for $ 400 an hour, pay for fuel and operator, and just pray that you could get whatever you want in an hour … it felt like a big deal … … Now you set up the drone, one person flies the drone: steady shot. It really allows you to see the landscape, gives you a new perspective on animals and places … But I think one of the most important advances is that wildlife films, behavior, little snippets have gone so viral on social media. I mean, they are funny, they are dramatic, they are exciting. Chances are you’ve never seen this before.
AP: As the show gets closer, what places and animals need to be covered?
Kaufman: Everything we do, we do from an animal point of view. This is in terms of wilderness and wilderness. What is the animal’s opinion on this? You show it from the perspective of the photographer, but can we change and do it from the perspective of an animal? So this is … kind of calibrating your thinking and script because it represents the animal’s point of view. What do they want? What are the resources for a healthy environment? How are they affected by agriculture and climate change? So this is where we go when we think about the topic and when we review the film. Are we the voice of the natural world?
AP: How did you observe the effects of global warming?
Kaufman: The most obvious visual effects are the shrinking polar ice caps, especially in the Arctic. We see that polar bears spend more time swimming and not in icy streams because there are fewer of them. So they are more in the open ocean. And this leads to fatigue, and they need more food. And they suffer because of this. And this is the most obvious example that we all see. But climate change affects migrations, and birds, for example, migrate along the paths of flowers and food sources that go outside, because when that day gets longer and the sun shines, it gets warmer, and plants bloom, and so on, birds follow. trails. Now, due to global warming, some of these events are happening earlier than usual. So, birds are late or appear too early, and this interferes with the nutrition and food they need to continue their migration.
AP: What shows have been the most influential?
Kaufman: One thing that I’m very proud of is that many, many years ago, we were the first to draw attention to the mess of colony destruction with bees. So this story turned out to be very big, and it’s still a story.
AP: What in nature still captures people?
Kaufman: The most exciting thing in nature is probably the African safari, which is unlike anything else in the world. I mean, you really feel insignificant when you are there and see these big gorgeous iconic animals up close. It’s amazing how close these animals come, and you see these magnificent landscapes stretching for miles. This is awe-inspiring. It really gets into you and stays with you and you know you get goosebumps. We were driving in the middle of a herd of 60 elephants in Africa, and my heart was pounding. I do not know why. It was just a reaction to the fact that they were among these large wild animals – and elephants themselves are a special class. And of course, you know, you feel like they know about you in a way that other animals don’t. There is consciousness there. And so I think there are moments that everyone experiences, whether in Yellowstone National Park or even Central Park, where it has a calming effect.