Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution
A few years ago, a farmer in Argentina was hunting for one of his sheep when he stumbled upon one of quite the surprising find. What the farmer found was the tip of a giant fossil bone sticking out of the ground. It was just the first of what became a massive excavation that unearthed some 200 other bones. The bones in question belonged to a group of plant-eating dinosaurs, or herbivores, that had previously been unknown. Now thanks to PBS and PBS Distribution audiences will get to learn about the find and the dinosaurs, which have yet to be named in a special new episode of its hit wildlife series Nature titled Raising The Giant Dinosaur. The program is presented in partnership with BBC Earth. It will be available Tuesday, April 26th. This latest episode of Nature is a wonderful watch for audiences of all ages and interests, in both the living room and the classroom. The central reason for this is the story at the center of the episode. It presents the story of the dinosaur’s discovery and the process undertaken to remove its bones and reconstruct its skeleton so as to better visualize just how enormous it was. The special effects that are used to help resurrect the creature so to speak are just as notable in the program’s overall presentation. Audiences actually get to see the titanosaur come to life one element after another before their eyes as well as see how the dinosaur’s bones (and possibly those of other titanosurs) got to their final resting place. Simply put, the CG is used in the utmost moderation here. Because of this it actually adds to the program’s positives. It is not the program’s last notable element either. Its collective editing and pacing rounds out its presentation. Together with the program’s central story and its minimalist use of computer graphics all three elements come together to make Nature: Raising The Dinosaur Giant another impressive episode of PBS’ hit wildlife series. They also combine to once more show why PBS remains today the very last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.
Nature: Raising The Dinosaur Giant is yet another impressive episode of PBS’ hit wildlife series. Yes, one would think that being about a dinosaur discovery this episode would be better suited as an episode of NOVA. But it technically is about an animal, thus making it a fit albeit an intriguing one, for this series. That is evident in part due to its story. The story follows researchers’ efforts to uncover the skeleton of what is now known to be the biggest dinosaur species ever discovered to date. Along the way host and narrator Sir David Attenborough reveals that the remains found were not just of one of the species but of at least seven separate dinosaurs, all of that same species. He also takes viewers to a massive breeding ground for the dinosaurs, even showing respect for the creatures as he replaces a piece of egg shell that he discusses with one of the researchers studying the new species of titanosaur. There is even a discussion during the course of the story’s presentation on how the bones ended up where they did. It is presented in fully scientific fashion eventually coming to one final conclusion that will leave viewers just as surprised as the very revelation of the dinosaur’s size. There is much more that could be discussed in terms of what makes the program’s story so interesting. Viewers will be left to discover all of that remaining material for themselves when they order the DVD from PBS’ online store. Of course it is just one part of the program that makes it well worth the watch. The program’s use of CG is just as important to note as its central story.
The story at the center of Nature: Raising The Dinosaur Giant is an important part of the program’s whole. However it isn’t the only important part of the program’s presentation. The elements used to tell the story are just as important as the story itself. In the case of this episode the CG elements that are used are the most notable. The CG is used very minimally throughout the course of the episode’s roughly hour-long run time. It is used to illustrate the theories of how the dinosaurs’ bones reached their final resting place and the sheer immensity of their nesting grounds, and most importantly to bring the dinosaur to life beyond just its skeleton. As Attenborough discusses each aspect of the dinosaur’s makeup, a different part of it is revealed. It starts with the dinosaur’s skeleton. From there, Attenborough discusses the connection between the its size and its ability to pump enough blood throughout its body. So its circulatory system is then added to the dinosaur’s skeleton. Eventually audiences get to see the dinosaur in its full glory even to the point of seeing it with its skin, completely in tact. Simply put those behind this episode of Nature kept its CG limited to only the important parts of the program whereas it would have been so easy to go full-on CG. So it is nice to see that they didn’t. That extreme moderation, when set alongside the episode’s central story, double the reason for educators and audiences in general to see this episode of Nature. Even with the importance displayed by each element they still are not the episode’s only important elements. The program’s collective pacing and editing combine to present the last of the program’s most important elements.
The story at the heart of Nature: Raising The Dinosaur Giant and its minimalist use of CG are both key elements in the program’s overall presentation. While both elements are undeniably important to its presentation they are not its only important elements. Its collective pacing and editing are just as important to the program as its story and special effects. The program’s pacing is so important to note because the program covers so much ground (or uncovers in this case. And, yes that bad pun as fully intended). From figuring out how the dinosaur and its fellow titanosaurs ended up at their final resting place, to figuring out how the bones go together to figuring out the dinosaur’s diet and more there is a lot that is presented over the course of the program’s near hour-long presentation. Thankfully the program offers just enough time to each element of the story; so much so that viewers will never feel lost. In regards to the program’s editing, it is obvious that Attenborough covered a number of topics in each area of the program’s presentation both figuratively and literally. Over the course of the program, it is clear in his attire that he didn’t just visit the place and record one little part. He did a lot in terms of narration and more. The end result, thanks to those that assembled the final product, is a presentation that moves seamlessly and fluidly from beginning to end even as each different topic is tackled. The fashion in which the shots of Attenborough next to the dinosaur’s skeleton were edited together is just as impressive. They fully capture the creature’s size versus that of humans. Although, in comparison to the likes of say the diplodocus, which lived in the end of the Jurassic era, there might be some discussion there. The largest ever found Diplodocus, which is a sauropod, just like the unnamed titanosaur was found to be roughly 171 feet long (longer than a football field) and a little more than 26 feet high. The titanosaur found in 2014 however, was about 130 feet long and 66 feet tall. Though, it did weigh quite a bit more—77 metric tons—than the noted biggest diplodocus ever found. Even with this in mind, it could be argued that this titanosaur was the biggest dinosaur on earth at the time of its existence (the Cretaceous Period) but not of all time. But that is a discussion for another time. Getting back on the subject, just seeing its size, thanks to the work of those that edited the final project, serves to drive home just how massive the unnamed dinosaur was. It’s just one of so many in ways in which the editing behind this episode of Nature proves to be such an enjoyable watch. Together with the program’s pacing, its story, and its minimal use of special effects (which far too few shows across the board do) it rounds out the program’s noted positives and shows one last time just what makes it a program that is sure to impress dinosaur lovers of all ages and types.
Nature: Raising The Dinosaur Giant is a program that will impress dinosaur lovers of all ages and types. The central story presented in this episode is one that uncovers an introduces one of the biggest dinosaurs to ever walk the earth. And it does so in a fashion that is accessible to a wide range of viewers thanks to its topic and the approach to said topic. The program’s minimal use of CGin comparison to the over-the-top amount used by certain other networks (which will remain unnamed here)—is just as important to the presentation. That is because it shows the ability of those behind the program to tell an enthralling story without having to overdo it so to speak. The collective pacing and editing incorporated into the program rounds out its positives. Even with so much material to discuss, the pacing never leaves viewers feeling lost. The editing does much the same. It seamlessly ties everything together and solidifies the program’s place as one of this year’s top new documentaries. That is the case even with the discussions that may well be raised in comparing the newly found titanosaur to other sauropods. Nature: Raising The Dinosaur Giant will be available Tuesday, April 26th and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=88167686&cp=&kw=nature+raising+the+dinosaur+giant&origkw=nature+raising+the+dinosaur+giant&sr=1. More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online now at:
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