Just received the press release on Fearless Planet, the series I've been working on for the last two plus months. The series was insane to work on, definitely one of the biggest challenges of my life. Thanks to every single person who worked on it with me, without so many good people working so hard the experience could have been a disaster but was instead something magical. I have never done so many "stunts" in such a short period of time in so many places around the world. I can't wait to watch the final cuts!
Here's the press release.
"On November 11 at 10 PM (ET/PT), following PLANET EARTH, viewers can catch the debut of Discovery Channel’s new adrenaline-filled six-part series FEARLESS PLANET, a thrill ride through the earth’s most awesome natural wonders, taking extreme filmmaking to a whole new level. Viewers join world paragliding record holder and renowned extreme sportsman Will Gadd as he journeys to some of the most amazing locations in the world – Alaska, the Sahara, Hawaii, the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon – to understand how these stunning formations were created. The series uses cutting-edge photo-real computer graphics to bring to life the geological processes that created these natural wonders.
“PLANET EARTH and FEARLESS PLANET are natural history for the 21st century,” says Discovery Channel Executive Vice President and General Manager Jane Root. “Viewers journey to the far reaches of the earth, where they discover new animals, new landscapes and all new worlds. And with revolutionary film techniques, these spectacular places are closer than ever before.”
FEARLESS PLANET – Episode Guide:
Episode One – Hawaii
Sunday, November 11, 10 PM (ET/PT)
How does a mountain shape the perfect surfing wave? What creates a paradise—yet also destroys it? And how could an island wipe out a metropolis an ocean away?
To get at the truth behind these questions, Will Gadd takes to the air in his paraglider for a unique perspective on paradise. But climbing a 40-foot waterfall, diving in a mysterious undersea tunnel and mountain biking through 10 of the world’s 13 climate zones on one mountain isn’t enough. With the help of geologist Lloyd French, Gadd is able to discover with the astonishing natural forces at work just below the surface. Using the skills of super surfer Kaleo Amadeo, Gadd finds what processes turned the tiny patch of real estate into the greatest surfing paradise on earth. Diving beneath the waters of the Pacific, Gadd discovers how the islands are formed.
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PLANET EARTH/FEARLESS PLANET – PAGE 3
FOR THE FIRST TIME: In an epic sea kayaking adventure, Gadd uncovers new evidence showing the processes that created one of the islands. This leads to a compelling insight into the death of the islands and the very real dangers this could hold for cities as far away as Los Angeles.
Episode Two – Alaska
Sunday, November 18, 10 PM (ET/PT)
What makes Alaska the last great wilderness on earth? Why is it the best place to see the northern lights, and why are the mountains full of sea creatures?
Skiing from the peak of Mt. Muir, paragliding to the top of a glacier, ice climbing into a moving ice crevasse, kayaking down a dangerous melt stream and climbing an iceberg, extreme adventurer Will Gadd takes all Alaska can throw at him. He discovers where the iconic Alaskan mountain ranges come from and why they look the way they do. With help from experts Professor Peter Haussler and Dr. Tom Douglas and extreme skier Lel Tome, Gadd goes back hundreds of millions of years to uncover how the massive mountains – and the state itself – were formed. Deep inside a glacier he comes to grips with how these massive giants carved the landscape and looks into the future of this epic landscape illuminated by the awe-inspiring northern lights.
FOR THE FIRST TIME: Follow an extreme skier as she takes on Alaska’s most active volcano. And for the first time, photo-real CGI shows you the hidden processes that shaped this awesome landscape.
Episode Three – Sahara
Sunday, November 25, 10 PM (ET/PT)
Where would you find the biggest dinosaur ever? The oldest glass in the world? A cave so precious it changed history? In the same place where you can fly forever, ski at 58 degrees centigrade and drink million-year-old water.
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PLANET EARTH/FEARLESS PLANET – PAGE 4
The Sahara Desert provides unique challenges. Rock climbing in the extreme heat with geologist Matt Genge, Will Gadd discovers the ancient history of a lost superdesert. While Matt Genge and palaeontologist Matt Lamanna explore the eastern side of the Sahara, Gadd’s journey takes him south, deep into the western side. Between them, they discover a world of deserts, savannahs and oceans, and Gadd uses the extreme heat to try and reach the Holy Grail of paragliding—never-ending lift. He finds a new way to cross the oceans of sand and discovers what happened to the lost waters that once made this ultradry world a lush, beautiful land.
FOR THE FIRST TIME: An exclusive view of 12,000-year-old cave paintings previously seen by only handful of people in the world. We uncover previously unseen evidence of a massive meteorite strike. It is now estimated that the rock that slammed into the Sahara was half a mile wide.
Episode Four – The Great Barrier Reef
Sunday, December 2, 10 PM (ET/PT)
How can the biggest living thing on the planet survive almost anything? How did it get to be so big? And who really is the biggest killer on the reef?
Diving with angry sharks, riding Australia’s biggest ocean current, flying over the volcanoes that helped create the reef and witnessing how the reef makes an island. Working with geologists and marine biologists, extreme adventurer Will Gadd gets up close and personal with the largest living thing on the planet (the only one you can see from space) – the Great Barrier Reef. The story of what makes this place the perfect location for the largest reef in the world takes Gadd far inland in search of clues to Australia’s mysterious past. This is the hidden story of a world that has died and been resurrected many times, and it takes Gadd on an incredible voyage above and beneath the waves of Australia’s eastern seaboard.
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PLANET EARTH/FEARLESS PLANET – PAGE 5
FOR THE FIRST TIME: It has long been known that the remains of a much older reef are buried beneath today’s Great Barrier. But just how old is it? The mission: to get a piece. Scuba diving to depths of 190 feet, the team retrieved a rare piece of that ancient reef. This was a first – scientists can now date that forgotten ancestor—12,000 years old.
Episode Five – The Grand Canyon
Sunday, December 9, 10 PM (ET/PT)
How did the Grand Canyon get so deep? What are the secrets revealed in its mile-high walls, and what makes a world-class white-water rapid?
Will Gadd climbs a sheer 400-foot pinnacle to see what the birth of the Grand Canyon looked like 70 million years ago. He reveals the hidden worlds buried in the layers of rock in the canyon’s walls. From deserts to oceans to tropical forests, it’s all there as you go down. When he reaches the bottom, one mile down, he goes white-water kayaking down the canyon’s interior to see exactly how those famous rapids are made. And just beneath the water line he reaches the bottom of the Grand Canyon. He discovers America’s basement, a layer of dense black rock the United States is built on. This is the story of lost mountains, epic adventurers and gigantic volcanoes that have shaped one of the most iconic natural wonders in the world.
FOR THE FIRST TIME: In the biggest, most dangerous stunt of the series, Gadd flies across the Grand Canyon using just the power of the massive thermal lift generated by the intense temperatures formed deep within the canyon.
Episode Six – Earth Story
Sunday, December 16, 10 PM (ET/PT)
What forces created our Earth? What do the Grand Canyon, the world’s tallest waterfall and the Sahara have in common? What is a hot spot, and how did it make Hawaii and the Great Barrier Reef? And what does it really take to move a mountain?
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PLANET EARTH/FEARLESS PLANET – PAGE 6
The world’s great natural wonders are works in progress. Getting up close and personal with them gives adventurer Will Gadd and scientists from around the world unique insights into the colossal forces that created the whole planet. This is big geology, and Gadd’s unique skills make him best suited to reach the rocks science needs in order to tell this epic story. Written in folds of the northern lights above Alaska a clue to the formation of the planet is uncovered. On the island of Hawaii Gadd sees the processes that created the continents, and in the Grand Canyon he experiences the power of water. In Australia’s Great Barrier Reef he discovers how continents move and how erosion created the perfect stage for the world’s tallest waterfall.
FOR THE FIRST TIME: A unique all-action view of how the world was created, told through its most iconic natural wonders and the eyes of its most extreme athlete.
The Making of FEARLESS PLANET
A high-definition format was needed with incredible contrast and color rendition comparable to film but with the ability to adapt to the extreme conditions and stunts. For this reason the series was primarily shot with Panasonic AJ-HDC27 VariCam® HD Cinema cameras. As well as its incredible resolution, the camera has astounding rendition at higher ISO speeds and its 640 sensitivity helped create a gritty, visual canvas for the stunt sequences. To achieve this, Discovery Channel filmed the action with an average of six cameras from the air, under water and in specially designed mounts that were attached to Will Gadd. To enhance this immersive concept, the shooting style mixed shutter speeds and slow motion. The 45-degree shutter was used to further augment the speed of the action.
A special thanks to Will Aslett, series producer, who got me the job, and David Warren, the only person to do all five shows. We survived it mang!