Did they use CGI on BBC’s Serengeti? Fans lash out over ‘realism’!

Brand new nature series Serengeti kicks off on Thursday, July 4th on BBC One!

While previous series such as Planet Earth, Blue Planet and Dynasties have been major successes, Serengeti has had a mixed-to-negative response.

Described as “a dramatised story”, the series combines shots of real animals with dramatised plotlines and characters. The Guardian’s Rebecca Nicholson likened the show to “Made in Chelsea or TOWIE”, whereas viewers thought it more closely resembles Eastenders.

But one thing that did not seem real either was the visuals of the show, leading some to speculate they had used CGI.

Here’s everything you need to know about the filming process for Seregeti – from actual footage to CGI use and more.

Picture Shows: Lioness with her 4 cubs Kali – (C) John Downer Productions – Photographer: Richard Jones

Is Serengeti entirely real or do they use CGI?

This six-part series follows the lives of animas in the Serengeti plains in Tanzania, East Africa.

MasterChef 2021 | Trailer - BBC Trailers

Shot over the course of two years on a private reserve, all the footage involving animals is real, despite the storylines being fabricated.

Series director John Downer said:

No animals were created using CGI but occassionally compositing techniques, which combine real footage, have been used to help the narrative and the dramatic flow of the scenes.

So, essentially to help those plotlines move forward!

Where have they used these ‘compositing techniques’?

Compositing is where multiple images or videos are layered on top of one another to create an altered final shot.

For example, the scenes in the series where the weather is pronounced, such as rainfall and fire are enhanced and altered to make it more dramatic. The rainfall has been added to the scene for extra drama.

Compositing techniques are also used to create effects with dramatic wind, fog and dust.

John Downer continued to say that “at times, the specially shot animal behavior has been enhanced by previously shot material” to help with the narrative of the story.

Viewers disappointed with the result

Although the director insists the series is all shot with real animals, the digital efffects added remove the sense of realism that you would find in an Attenborough series.

One viewer took to Twitter to vent: “Not liking the picture quality on #Serengeti. Seems like CGI and ultra enhanced colour.”

And although people are still struggling to believe it’s entirely real and not just “dramatised” entirely – like a BBC version of The Lion King – it does still make some good telly!

MIC-style drama on the Serengeti? Yes please.




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