Source: China State Council Information Office 3
Producers of “Aerial China Season 3: Join Us to Fly” said that the hit documentary series will be translated into multiple languages and exported to countries around the world to show how beautiful China is.
“On the one hand, the beauty of mountains and rivers, homes, and cultures are vividly displayed. On the other hand, the dramatic changes of mountains and rivers and the transformation of old appearances are particularly evident in the large-scale documentary series,” said Xue Jijun, a member of the editorial board of China Media Group. At a seminar to discuss the phenomenal documentary on June 12, Xue pointed out that the third season has generated nostalgia and homesickness among audiences.
He added, “‘Aerial China’ has made it a mission to tell China’s story well and show the Chinese spirits, images, faces, and expressions. In the future, China Media Group will translate it into various languages, make multiple editions, and promote it to the world.”
Since May 21, the third season of “Aerial China” has aired on China Media Group’s CCTV-1 and CCTV-9 channels, as well as on the group’s new media platforms.
The third season consists of 10 episodes that cover the full geographical span of China — from Yunnan, Anhui, Guizhou, Shandong, Tianjin, and Shanxi to Jilin, Hunan, Hebei, and Ningxia. Liang Hong, deputy head of the Film and Television Documentary Center of China Media Group, revealed at the seminar that “Aerial China 3” has been watched by 357 million people, with young viewers aged 15 – 24 rising by 36% compared to last season.
The online statistics are also impressive. As of May 31, the new season had 19 million views on Tencent Video, Bilibili, and other video streaming websites, drawing around 980,000 regular viewers. It received a high score of 9.5/10 on Douban.com, a website providing user reviews and recommendations for movies, TV series, books, and music. It triggered an emotional response and received positive feedback from audience members after they experienced hard times during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Liang said that since airing the three seasons of “Aerial China,” the series has become a highly anticipated cultural program; it is also aimed at international communication and is a cultural product to present China in a vivid, three-dimensional manner.
“We worked hard on humanistic aspects. While presenting China’s wonders and beautiful scenery, we paid more attention to summarizing, refining, and presenting the profound cultural connotations of different places and the unique features of local environments, which always lend special characteristics to its inhabitants. While presenting a beautiful China, we also showed a civilized China and an ecological China,” she said.
Through advanced technologies, refined production, and aesthetic expression, the documentary series not only maintains the characteristics and style of aerial photography from the previous seasons but also expands upon the current creative documentary vision.
Yu Le, chief director of “Aerial China 3”, shared that the third season mobilized 18 helicopters, flying nearly 400 times. They also used 118 drones, and the total flight range of drones was more than 250,000 kilometers. As many as 300 people participated in the shooting of the third season.
“This season broke records in terms of the number of crew, the number of facilities, the distance traveled, and the number of raw video clips. As a popular documentary show, the third season attracted the audience to revive the habit of watching TV. The show effectively extended the audience’s vision and willingness to travel by lowering the threshold of knowledge and focusing on the travel experience.”
While telling Chinese stories and showing the beauty of China, the third season organically integrates the achievements of social construction, the connotations of Chinese civilization, the new scenes from the new era, and other important contents. The series focuses a large number of shots on the new landscape, new changes, and economic construction in China, revealing the main driving force of China’s development and demonstrating China’s power.
“What is a good aerial shot? In addition to the exquisite imagery composition and quality, the depths of thought and human emotion are essential, which is what the spirit of a documentary should be about,” said Tang Jun, a researcher at Fudan University. Tang said that the display and exploration of regional cultures in the beauty of nature is a highlight of the third season. “Aerial China 3” uniquely combines literature with landmarks, spiritual connotation, and material vehicles to radiate cultural power across time and space.
At the seminar, Professor Liu Jie from the Communication University of China said that what really touches people are the figures and events that are full of cultural significance, rather than just the aerial photography. “The third season is a success due to the cultural observation and life involvement; it avoids the isolated display of the bird’s eye view of any creation. It takes it to another level, and the industry should learn from it.”
Since its broadcast in 2017, “Aerial China” has aired 23 episodes, featuring 23 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities. It will turn the lens to 10 other provincial-level administrative regions in the fourth season, including Henan province, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, and Beijing.
According to Liang Hong, preparation for the fourth season has begun. “In the fourth season, we will continue to strengthen planning and research and form a chain of the entire production process.”