Paul Olding













Winner 2008

Best Cinematography



Nominated 2008

Specialist Factual



Goethe Institut

Science Film Festival



Visual Effects Award







Shot in Hi Definition, from the most extreme locations on the planet,

telling the greatest story on Earth and presented by Dr Iain Stewart.


The series takes us from the Heat within that drives the planet, to the power

of the Oceans, Ice, the Atmosphere and the rarity of Earth.


The first episode is called Volcano and is all about the power within the planet, driven by the primordial force of Earth’s inner Heat. We see this heat as volcanoes, but we also witness its power in the movement of the continents, in the rising of the mountains, and the extraordinary ability to keep our planet at just the right temperature for billions of years.


We travelled to the Afar region of Ethiopia to see the unique lava lake of Erte Ale. To Iceland to enjoy the thermal springs, to walk along the edge of North American continent, to dive in the Silfra Crack, the gap between America and Europe. To New Zealand to see the southern Alps created by the collision of tectonic plates, and to the North island to Rotarua, to get some idea of what our planet might have been like when life first began. To Namibia to see the effect of volcanic action which saved the planet from an eternity as an ice planet nicknamed Snowball Earth. To Australia to see the Ediacara, the first multicelled animals, which only came about after Snowball Earth. And to Mt Etna in Sicily and Stromboli, two of the most active volcanoes in the world.






What People Said


“…by far the best programme about volcanoes that’s ever been made…”


“…an inspirational series…”


“…utterly beautiful to look at, full of amazing information and totally compelling…”


“…at first I thought ‘here we go again’, but we didn’t. We went on a clear, exciting, brilliantly filmed and edited journey…”


“…Thought the programme was fantastic…I learned so much from it…”


“…I thought I knew everything there was to know about our planet but this programme proved me wrong…”


“…This was an absolute feast…”





Watch Some Clips


Abseil into the Lava Lake


Volcanoes and the Birth of Life





Photo Album


Erte Ale Volcano, Afar Region, Ethiopia





Iain with the lava lake





The giant ex-Russian Chopper




Paul and Iain trying not to suffocate








We prepare to abseil into the live volcano





Soundman Adam getting ready





John sorting out Safety








Shin protection with shin pads





Surviving on the Volcano





Flying in









Setting up the Jib










Classic Sunset




Iain getting ready for filming











At the Blue Lagoon





Getting the aerial footage




Iain and Paul on the glacier









Preparing to dive the Silfa Crack





Preparing the Jib to film a Geysir erupting





Filming a timelapse on the Ice








Setting up camp





Fixing a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere





Filming aerials across the desert




New Zealand





Filming aerials

(we are in a chopper about 2m above the river)





Our chopper, flown by the guy that

dropped off Gandalf






Filming at Hell’s Gate in Rotarua



Mt Etna, Sicily





Iain with a destroyed house





Filming Etna





Iain’s favourite place (apparently)





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All Images copyright Paul Olding 2006 or BBC