What does an octopus crawling on land, the blink of a bear&s eye, mushrooms shooting out of the ground (via time-lapse) or a school of fish sound like? At first glance, it&s surprising that most of the scenes in nature documentaries such as the BBC&s spectacular "Planet Earth" series are not accompanied by the original sounds of the animals, but are created by a sound designer - along with all the artistic freedom as to how something might sound.
The reason why often the real sounds of the video footage are not used is simple: often they don&t exist - be it because the sounds of the recording camera drone would drown out the natural sounds, because the real sounds could not be recorded in good enough quality or there are none (for example in telephoto, slow motion or macro shots), but it would be nice to have some for dramatic effect.
In the following clip, Foley artist Richard Hinton, who has worked on series such as "Planet Earth II," "Frozen Planet," Netflix&s "Our Planet" and Disney&s "Bears," shows how he creates sounds for nature documentaries. Since spiders are too small to produce sounds audible to humans, for example, he underscored close-ups of a spider web weaving with the elastic sound of a slinky stretching.
Richard also added his own sound effects to events without actual sound, such as the growth of a plant recorded in extreme time-lapse, the flow of lava, or the northern lights. After the actual recording of the effect, the sound is still adjusted to the respective atmosphere of the scene in post-production.
It is probably a question of one&s own understanding of what a documentary is allowed to do, whether one perceives this kind of "fake" nature sounds as manipulation or accepts how they support the storytelling - nature documentaries are not quite "natural" anyway, since they are usually trimmed to tell stories that are carefully picked out of the diverse interactions of nature, condensed and dramatized to be able to present spectacular hunting scenes, for example.