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on April 4, 2013
George Fenton's terrific score anchors this spectacular BBC documentary from the same creative team that would later produce "Planet Earth," including host David Attenborough and producer Alastair Fothergill. BBC's 1080p transfer of their acclaimed 2001 "Blue Planet" mini-series still offers breathtaking footage of life under and just above the surface, from dolphins and killer whales to seal pups and baby turtles - the latter groups fighting to stay away from predators.

However, because the BBC's Blu-Ray presentation has been mastered from a standard-definition source (and is clearly stated as such on the back cover, albeit in tiny print), the upscaled presentation varies greatly from certain sequences that nearly look HD in quality (the film based portions), to others that are clearly derived off video elements and display jaggies and other issues (i.e. much of the underwater footage). Either way, none of the transfer is actually presented in high-def -- so consumers will have to determine for themselves whether this upscale is enough of an upgrade over the prior DVD release to justify the purchase (I don't have the DVD to compare it with). Five bonus programs, interviews with Fothergill and other crew members, 80 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage and DTS MA 5.1 soundtracks round out the release.

ADDITIONAL NOTES - There seems to be a misconception that BLUE PLANET was entirely filmed on 16mm film stock. I refer readers to this 2002 in-depth article on the production of BLUE PLANET and its HD mastering, which includes interviews with the producers and presents evidence to the contrary:

[...]

It clearly states "the source material varied from a wide range of film and video formats," says that "a significant percentage of the original material was shot on video," and goes onto state "having so much video footage interspersed with the film footage was a change that presented a particular challenge in providing a seamless transfer to HD."

So not all of it was shot on film stock. Underwater portions, which I mentioned were derived from a video source, is also confirmed in this article: "however, for many of the underwater sequences it was important to give a sense of speed, so video running at 50i was more appropriate. Shooting video underwater is also easier because the cameras are smaller, and you can spend more time filming before you have to change rolls". There are jaggies and other problems all throughout this transfer IN those moments that are derived not from 16mm but video sources -- clearly upconversion artifacts.

Perhaps it was too daunting a task for them to track down every last bit of footage and remaster it for HD. The author of the article even asks the BBC rep why the whole production "wasn't shot in HD to begin with," which implies that not every scrap of footage was either shot on film or an HD-based video format. Keep in mind this production was filmed in the late '90s when it was not cost-prohibitive for crews to all be carrying HD cameras around (which is also stated in the article).

Either way, the fact is that this transfer -- all of it, including the film based portions -- is a standard-def upconvert, and is confirmed as such on the packaging itself.
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on June 17, 2016
I LOVE This series. My kids love these so much. We watch a lot of documentaries at our house because I am a Biology teacher and this is a favorite. The images and video is amazing and so captivating. The narration is great also. My 8 year old asks to watch these and my teenage daughters also love them. Great family entertainment.
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on April 9, 2018
Planet Earth and Planet Earth II have spoiled me. While the documentary content in is quality, the five-year gap between The Blue Planet and Planet Earth shows how much film technology and quality has evolved. A lot of the content in this series is lower than full-HD resolution.

The core of my rating is that the content is 5-star, but the footage is an average 3-star. Definitely a good documentary series if you can separate the quality that is found in Planet Earth.
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VINE VOICEon December 31, 2013
If you love the Planet Earth series, then you need to add this to your collection as well. Think of this as the underwater version of Planet Earth, amazing visuals, enlightening commentary and more nature than you are likely to ever see in a first world country. I have been scuba diving many times and although I have seen a great many wonders, nothing compares to the beauty of nature seen in these videos.

I highly recommend this series to all nature lovers.
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on September 11, 2017
Good content, but the image quality is not like a Blue Ray, looks more like a VHS old casette.
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on September 25, 2013
Although it claims 5.1, there is no bass from my subwoofer. Except perhaps the first couple of seconds of title video, the bass disappears as soon as the main feature begins.

I think they should make the correction to avoid misleading consumers.

As many have mentioned, the video quality is subpar, definitely way below the golden standard of "planet earth" series.

My favorite scenes are:
The deep sea abyss, I'm out of words to describe those amazing creatures.
The detailed description of coral reefs's life cycles, I have seen plenty of coral reef video, but never at this level of detail.
The Killer whale's skilled strategies in exhausting and rolling the baby humpback whale, and to "drown" it, is fascinating.
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on April 15, 2014
The info/content of the Seas of Life is GREAT! My wife loves it...but the quality of the picture is lacking. Putting a low quality product on a bluray disc does not make it bluray quality. We can really see the difference...when you watch the previews on this bluray, the quality is AWESOME...then the Seas of Life program begins and I would say you lose at 20% of the clarity or more. BUT...if you look (as of 15 April 2014), the Bluray set is CHEAPER than the DVD set by about $9 so I would still opt for the bluray set.
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on September 11, 2006
The Blue Planet - Seas of Life, is an excellent documentary. Although it is narrated by David Attenborough, it is not a part of his "Life of" series. But that doesn't really matter, because this program is just as good.

The series producer is Alastair Fothergill, who also worked with David Attenborough on "Life in the Freezer" (part of the "Life of" series, presented by David Attenborough) and more recently, "Planet Earth". (also narrated by Attenborough but not part of the "Life of" series)

This series has 8 programs and loads of extras. Seeing as no one has listed them yet, I'll do that here...

Disc 1

1. OCEAN WORLD: Experience the power of the Blue Whale - the largest mammal to ever grace our planet. Learn how the sun and moon help control and tame the ocean. Travel far and wide - from the Eastern Pacific to Alaska, from the Bering Sea to the shores of Southern California - and begin to understand the complexity and power of our oceans.

2. FROZEN SEAS: An environment where only the toughest survive, the Arctic and Antarctic are unrelenting habitats. Only in the spring does life begin again. Plankton blooms and feeds vast hordes of migrating fish, walruses rake the seabed for clams, and minke and humpback whales gorge themselves on gigantic swarms of krill. But it is a brief spring feast - the ice soon returns and pushes life back into the ocean.

Extras:

- Behind-the-scenes featurettes

- Interview with cameraman Doug Allan

- Blue Planet music video

- Photo gallery

- Fact files

Disc 2

3. OPEN OCEAN: In the immense space of the open ocean the sea bed is a staggering five miles below the surface and the nearest island is over 300 miles away. Yet here live many of the most spectacular predators in the ocean. Marvel as you experience ruthless and beautiful battles between hunter and prey.

4. THE DEEP: A place of mountain ranges, perpetual night, pressure extremes and cold... and the weirdest life forms on our planet. Dive to the depths of the ocean, an eerie world where predators with teeth so large they can't even close their mouths, chase bioluminescent creatures of the deep. Discover the spectacular smoking chimneys of the hydrothermal vents. Go deeper down than you have ever been...

Extras:

- Behind-the-scenes featurettes

- Interview with "The Deep" researcher Penny Allen

- Photo Gallery

- Fact Files

Disc 3

5. SEASONAL SEAS: As the days grow longer, billions of microscopic plankton bloom under the blazing sun. Here in the temperate seas, three-ton basking sharks graze among forests of giant kelp - the fastest growing plant in the world. The forests harbor thousands of other animals, including sea otters, brilliantly colored anemones, squid, and exquisite leafy dragons. But as the year wears on, storms rage in the icy sea... a desperate challenge for the animals that remain.

6. CORAL SEAS: Bathed in bright sunlight and warm, clear water, the coral reef is a rich oasis of life - the rainforest of the sea. Bizarrely adorned harlequin shrimp carry off a starfish several times their size, while haunting songs reverberate around the reef, heralding the arrival of humpback whales. Shimmering schools of brightly colored fish battle for territory in this competitive world where you have to stand out to survive.

Extras:

- Behind-the-scenes featurettes

- Interview with producer Alastair Fothergill

- Photo Gallery

- Fact Files

- Trailers

Disc 4

7. TIDAL SEAS: The sun and moon move billions of tons of water with every turn of the tide. The strongest tides empty entire bays, smash trees on riverbanks, and strand sea creatures on suddenly dry land. Weaker tides control the movements of huge numbers of fish, coaxing schools of giant stingrays through astounding underwater arches. And as the water recedes, the tide can create unbelievable landscapes - like a sparkling world of salt crystals inhabited only by tiny shrimp and bright pink flamingos.

8. COASTS: From rocky cliffs to gentle dunes, the coasts are always changing. Day in and day out, they are battered by crashing waves. Seabirds come here by the thousands to nest, while baby turtles hatch and race to the sea, pursued by hungry predators. Young sea lion pups are born and play on the sand - until a killer whale attacks, crashing in on the surf. But when breeding season is over, life returns to the sea and the shores are empty once again.

Extras:

- Behind-the-scenes featurettes

- Deep Trouble: a compelling exploration of man's impact on the Earth's Oceans.

- Photo Gallery

- Fact Files

- Trailers

This DVD is great, perfect picture quality, and sound. The bonus features are also very good (and quite lengthy) a lot of in-depth information on the making of the series and it is very interesting and amazing. (how they filmed this series was incredible) The footage is really, really spectacular. A lot of it does have to be seen to be believed.

This DVD is of the highest quality, and is more than worth the price, highly recommended!
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on July 28, 2014
This amazing BBC production is a must have for any ocean, nature, Hi-Definition or BBC fan. The production values are the best I have ever seen in many years of watching stunning nature productions, and the HD element makes the images mesmerizing. I have friends and neighbors who want to come over just to watch this (sometimes for the 3rd time!) on a large projected home theater screen. The field production, editing and post-production are just the best out there. Kudos to the BBC for putting this series out on DVD. You will not regret getting this for your collection, it will blow away everything else!
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on January 7, 2004
the camera work is phenomenal and is generally edited very well -- in the behind the scenes extra you see how much inactivity the crew had to sit through to get the final footage.
David Attenborough is his usual self, soft spoken and easy to understand while being informative.
the series as noted deals with different segments of the ocean from the beginning Ocean World (a general overview) to the Coasts (as he saids, the most dynamic) and i suspect if you have even a remote interest in marine life there is something in this series for you.
my favorite is disk two with Open Ocean and The Deep; not coincidently, i find these two to be have the best cinematography. the images of marlins and tunas exploding through a huge tightly packed school is remarkable until hear Attenborough announces 'they have attracted a giant' and a whale materializes out of the blue depths.
this entire series is shot in enhanced resolution so most of the footage is very sharp -- but none more so than in The Deep (with the black background and the lack of suspended particles); it seems unreal in clarity. deep water footage is harder to get due to the specialized equiptment necessary to withstand the immense pressure so i shouldn't have been surprised to see something completely new... Attenborough takes you to what looks to be underwater lake -- it's water of the highest salinity and is denser than surrounding waters so it kind of collects like a lake -- this is described in greater detail in one of the behind the scenes features. just astonishing.
i've watched this series several times and really enjoyed each time; with the exception of Ken Burn's Civil War, i have never been so impressed a documentary series.
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