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on 22 July 2017
A superb Blu Ray release from the BBC. Colours are natural looking, vibrant but easy on the eye, (in Planet Earth II some of the colours were so bright they were almost glowing.) Detail here is sharp the image is crisp and even the underwater photography and the darker sequences are very impressive in terms of clarity.
The Blu Ray comes with 1080p resolution, Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 and audio DTS-HD HR 5.1. The series was able to take advantage of the latest camera stabilization technology while filming from helicopters and planes, the results are some sublime overhead and establishing shoots. My favourite comes from the insect episode where the camera starts off looking downwards at a waterfall before smoothly panning up to reveal a lake, beyond that a forest and beyond that again a large mountain in the distance with not a sole in sight.
By 2009 HD digital cameras were in full use by the BBC's natural history unit, having previously been used on Planet Earth (2006) and Life in Cold Blood (2008), no longer 480p but now 720 and then 1080.
The plant episode is one of my favourites with it's expert use of time lapse photography, it feels like an updated Private Life of Plants. The beautiful winter photography in this episode is also a stand out feature. The sound is also crisp and clean, whether it's a trickle of water, a rustling leaf, insect noise or an animal call. The narration from David Attenborough is also distinct, intelligible and is never muffled by the score.

On the critical side some of the most recent releases from the BBC natural history unit feature slightly less factual content, the programme seems more interested in trying to wow you with it's imagery and music than trying to educate the viewer. Earlier series tended to be drier, with more detailed narration. Life just about gets away with it's approach, the content is still very informative, there isn't so much attempt to build up drama or humour as later series would do. During the primates episode the narration did border on stating the obvious too, not trusting the audience to grasp finer points but spelling it all out for them. Attenborough tells us 3 times that the Japanese macaques monkeys in the hot spring exclude other monkeys, it slightly labours the point here. Show don't tell please.

The series is pure eye candy in terms of showing off your HD TV. Even when using minature cameras the image still retains it's high quality.

For those interested in the details of the Blu Ray it's Resolution: 1080p, Aspect ratio: 1.78:1, Audio English: DTS-HD HR 5.1.

Another stand out episode is the insects with frogs leaping in slow motion to catch insects to the sound of violin strings and soft drums.The soundtrack is orchestral having moved away from the more symphonic sound often used in the 1980s and 1990s. Some of the cinematography of the butterflies in Mexico is sublime as is the time lapse photography of changing skies. We also learn a great deal too in this episode about insect camouflage, armour and acid. 85,000 species of fly. It's worth reflecting too on how critically threatened much of this is by global warming and overpopulation. Behind the scenes looking at this episode is also well worth a look. commercial drones for photography weren't really around back in 2009, very different to today. For one shot the camera had to glide along a wire in order to travel with the butterflies. 17 takes were done after 3 days of prep for what probably amounted to 5 seconds of footage.These people are trying so hard to get the right result for the viewer, you have to applaud the results. Unofficial sources put the budget of this programme at around £10 million, it's not just the production where the money was spend I'd bet but also the post production, All the footage looks like it's been extensively colour corrected to ensure everything looks smooth and matches up with the previous image.
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on 21 April 2017
I recently watched this on DVD and loved it so as with many other Natural World stories i have ordered the Blu ray.
The stories are compelling and entertaining.
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on 21 May 2017
Excellent collection. Superb!!!
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on 12 July 2016
good for price
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on 3 March 2017
Beautiful. Love it.
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on 9 May 2014
I collect the life on earth DVD's but with this on I fell into the trap of changed packaging .It was bought for me as a Christmas present and that slip cover is different . Look at My DVD's and thought have n't got that one yet and of course ordered it ...............Still enjoyed the DVD .
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on 11 March 2012
This is excellent product. I enjoyed watching programmes and I recommend the product and the seller to anyone. Worth having in the collection.
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on 29 September 2010
There aren't superlative's enough to describe this achievement. But it is not only phenomenal but also intimate, rich in detail, storylines well constructed, and captivating. And for those reasons, to be quite honest, I found it to be even better than "Earth".
To stories told offer an unique insight and often are the first of it's kind - ever.

And then Sir David Attenborough - ahh. What can you say, he is simply the best. He explains what is necessary, he pauses when to take in the scenery, he has a good humour, and most importantly for me, he is "Genuine".

The only thing that disappointed me a little, is that I don't believe the description of the blu-ray to be true. It states to be 1080p, I found it to be 1080i. Nothing to worry about, the picture quality is spectecular. Still one might wonder if it is a typo or a deliberate mistake. An otherwise such brilliant monument in documentary deserves better than that.

It has 10 different episodes of about 50min:
1. "Challenges of Life"
2. "Reptiles and Amphibians"
3. "Mammals"
4. "Fish"
5. "Birds"
6. "Insects"
7. "Hunters and Hunted"
8. "Creatures of the Deep"
9. "Plants"
10. "Primates"
And each episode is tailed by a short "Making of". This is not some information on the side but something which adds tremendous value. (By the way, "Earth" blu-ray hasn't got the "Making of" - only the DVD version.) For example the additional images given in the production of the Komodo Dragons was just breathtaking. The attacking Komodo Dragon scene couldn't be presented in the Episode because it was chasing by a cameraman. The hazzle and emotion of the team gave a better understanding of the whole story.

So here it is:
One of THE BEST DOCUMENTARY there is.
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on 29 December 2013
David Attenborough - enough said! Stunning photography...and it's great to see the cameramen being give some credit at the end of each episode, as they show the lengths they have gone through to film one scene.
Just be aware that amidst the music, slow motion and incredible story telling, there are the inevitable, occasional, distressing scenes of animals attacking and eating each other!
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COMPARISON:

Here is the breakdown in the differences between the UK and US versions of LIFE:

1) Narrator: UK version, by David Attenborough, while US version, by Oprah Winfrey. I personally prefer David Attenborough's skilled narration. He is perfect at describing various scenes without his voice becoming the primary focus. This round goes to UK version.
2) Video: UK version, completely 1080p except "Plants", while US version, completely 1080i. This round goes to UK version, hands down.
3) Functionality: US version is far superior in selecting episodes than UK version
4) Packaging: Covers for US version are more busy, but in the end, it depends on your own personal taste.

For me, 1080p and the very comforting voice of David Attenborough made my purchase of the UK version a very easy decision. Since I watch each episode completely each time around, I do not mind the less superior functionality of the UK version. The front cover is no issue to me.

CONTENTS:

From the BBC Earth series, Planet Earth in 2006 brought us the world as we've never seen before. Now we get closer with Life. As stated on the package, four years in the making, filmed over 3000 days, across every continent and in every habitat, with breathtaking new high definition filming techniques developed since Planet Earth, Life presents 130 incredible stories from the frontiers of the natural world, housed in 4 BD-50 discs. The topics included (1) Challenges of Life, (2) Reptiles and Amphibians, (3) Mammals, (4) Fish, (5) Birds, (6) Insects, (7) Hunters and Hunted, (8) Creatures of the Deep, (9) Plants, and (10) Primates. It was truly a totally enjoyable and learning experience. Like a good book, one can watch it continuously to the end. The new feature in this set is the Life on location at the end of each episode. It gave me a deeper appreciation of how these remarkable videos were taken.

VIDEO:

It was filmed in 1080p and 1.78:1. If you think Planet Earth was outstanding, wait until you watch Life. The video was truly spectacular with razor-sharp images. The blacks were inky black. The colour was vibrant and natural. I particularly enjoyed the slow-motion camera shots, where details of every hair on the animal or drops from splashes of the ocean waves could be seen. Avatar may give us crisp images and vibrant colour (CGI images), but Life here presents us with the perfectly natural images: real animals in their natural habitat. Some frames were so wonderful that they looked like a piece of art. (5++/5).

AUDIO:

The DTS HD audio here is also equally awesome. The natural sound of the animals was very well recorded and produced, very realistic indeed. The sound of buzzing of flies was so realistic that I put my hand up trying to brush them off. The background music by George Fenton was also very well done, appropriate to the scenes. The background music never intrudes into the video. (5/5)

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This Life set is a truly remarkable experience. One will lose the impact if you watch this on standard DVD or on the Discovery Channel. This blu ray set is the only way to appreciate how fantastic video and audio will give one a truly ultimate rewarding experience. In my home theatre with a 12 foot wide screen and anamorphic lens, one can see every minute detail in the pictures, and the sound was very enveloping from my 9 speakers. I will give this Life set (blu ray) my highest recommendation. You won't regret it.
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