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Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): The making of 'Frozen Planet'

In March, Discovery debuted Frozen Planet, a breathtaking polar exploration series from the makers of Planet Earth and Life. During four years of production, the temperatures went as low as -58°F and the winds as high as 148 miles per hour. In total, the crew spent 2,356 days in the field, 840 hours trapped in blizzards, and 134 hours filming under the ice to capture jaw-dropping footage like the killer whale “wave wash” behavior in which orcas swim in a line to make waves that knock a seal off an ice floe, and a pack of 25 patient wolves working together to separate a bison from its herd. Below is our interview with series producer Vanessa Berlowitz and director Chadden Hunter, originally published in two parts. For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage. READ FULL STORY

'Frozen Planet' preview: Cliffside egg collecting in the Arctic -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

On this Sunday’s installment of Discovery’s Frozen Planet, “Life in the Freezer,” the focus turns to the humans who call the Arctic home and the extreme lengths that they must go to survive when frozen ground makes growing crops impossible. In this clip, a man trusts his life to the strength of his friends and an old nylon rope as he scales a 300-foot cliff to collect guillemot eggs. Watch below. READ FULL STORY

'Frozen Planet' makers on near-death experiences, passing time at the poles, and being driven mad by penguins -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

This Sunday, Discovery premieres what could be the most fascinating hour of its seven-part polar exploration series Frozen Planet — the making-of. We already talked with series producer Vanessa Berlowitz and director Chadden Hunter about how this installment is for them — especially in the case of revisiting the solo bison-wolf battle captured in last week’s “Winter” episode – a therapy session. (“We wanted to basically take the viewer’s hand and say, ‘Okay, this was emotional to watch, but we go through the same emotions when we film it,’” Hunter said.) Now, we probe deeper into what life was like for the crew during the four-year production. Here’s what we learned:

• Though penguins can drive a man mad — watch our exclusive clip below from “The Making of Frozen Planet” — they are still awesome

CHADDEN HUNTER: The sun doesn’t set, but you’re trying to sleep on the sea ice. You put your head down, and you can hear the seal voices through the ice. The Weddell seals have this beautiful alien-like song. So you have them going off beneath your pillow while outside around your tent, all the Emperor penguins are coming up to be curious. You can see the shadows on your tent getting closer and closer. [Makes penguin noises.] And of course, they’ll trip over your tent wires. [Makes flustered penguin noises.] They’ll get all grumpy, and then they’ll circle the tent again and trip over the tent wires again.

VANESSA BERLOWITZ: I got harassed by Adélie penguins. We had David Attenborough there, trying to do a piece with him and record sound. I was trying to take some still photographs of David with the penguins, and I put my lens down next to me, and I hear this kind of rolling sound. I look, and a penguin is pushing my lens down the hill toward his nest. He was thinking, This is a really big rock. Clearly showing off for the females. Classic male behavior. The longer the lens. [Laughs] Then I smell this smell next to me, and a penguin has pooed in my still case. That happens all the time. Your gear is covered in poo. We put up a stand with a microphone on it, and in order to stop the wind’s effect, you put something fluffy over it. So I was listening, and I heard this scratching sound. There was a penguin on the microphone, seemingly trying to mate.  READ FULL STORY

'Frozen Planet' preview: Emperor penguins launch like rockets -- EXCLUSIVE CLIP

If you enjoyed the slo-mo footage of gentoo penguins riding Southern Ocean waves in the first installment of Discovery’s Frozen Planet, then you will definitely want to watch our preview of this Sunday’s hour, “Winter,” below. Full-bellied female emperor penguins return to their colony — where the males have been caring for the eggs solo for three months — and launch themselves out of the water and up onto the ice like rockets. As narrator Alec Baldwin says, “The females have put on a lot of weight, and some have become, perhaps, a little ungainly.” Slo-mo makes one penguin’s miscalculation hilariously epic. READ FULL STORY

'Frozen Planet' preview: A seal pup reunites with its mother, Alec Baldwin narrates crazy caribou foreplay -- EXCLUSIVE CLIPS

Have you recovered from the Orca “wave wash” scene in the Frozen Planet premiere? We hope so, because nature’s emotional roller-coaster ride continues in the next installment of the seven-part series from the makers of Planet Earth. In “Summer” (premiering Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on Discovery), you’ll watch an adorable fur seal pup get caught between two 400 lb. bulls fighting for females. Warning: The battle is brutal, but the reunion between the lost pup and its mother is joyous. Watch it below. In our second exclusive clip, you just have to trust that the music and narrator Alec Baldwin wouldn’t sound so upbeat if the scene of a female caribou being chased by a herd of “amorous males” ended the way you’re worried it might… READ FULL STORY

'Frozen Planet' Q&A: Why you'll be happy you have HD this weekend

This Sunday, Discovery debuts the new seven-part series Frozen Planet, from the makers of Planet Earth and Life. During four years of production, the temperatures went as low as -58°F and the winds as high as 148 miles per hour. In total, the crew spent 2,356 days in the field, 840 hours trapped in blizzards, and 134 hours filming under the ice. Among the jaw-dropping footage seen in the first two programs premiering Sunday: the killer whale “wave wash” behavior in which orcas swim in a line to make waves that knock a seal off an ice floe, and a pack of 25 patient wolves working together to separate a bison from its herd. We sat down with series producer Vanessa Berlowitz and director Chadden Hunter. READ FULL STORY

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