Back in October 2014, we had the pleasure of capturing aerial video footage in one of our favorite landscapes in Canada: Northern Ontario. We were there for the filming of a feature documentary titled “Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven”. If you live in Canada, you can currently watch the entire film on TVO’s website here. Additionally, if you happen to live in the Toronto city area, Bloor Cinema will be screening the film on March 24th as part of The Ontario Media Development Corporation 10th anniversary celebrations.
During the two weeks of filming we experienced this incredible landscape at the exact peak of the autumn colours. All the trees were vibrant with red, orange and yellow, which created the perfect backdrop for this story. It is no wonder that these locations inspired the famous Group Of Seven painters: Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varley, Frank Johnston, Franklin Carmichael and A.Y. Jackson. We feel so privileged to have been the lucky team chosen for drone aerial cinematography of these beautiful landscapes following the journey of these legendary painters.
“Painted Land” follows author and wilderness photographer Joanie and Gary McGuffin and art historian Michael Burtch, as they set out to find the actual locations in northern Ontario that inspired the legendary Group Of Seven and some of their most iconic works of art. The film weaves the iconic paintings and fascinating stories of these artists with the modern day journey, taking viewers through some of Canada’s most stunning landscapes.TVO
Throughout the filming of this project we had the fortunate position to have the trust of our wonderful director Phyllis Ellis and producer Nancy Lang, to often go on our own as a separate unit and film both the landscapes and the three protagonists within the landscapes. It was a wonderful creative position to be in, and we have gathered some of the most elegant and serene footage we have ever captured. As the show aired back on October 18, 2015 on TVO we have now the pleasure to share a selection of these great aerial video shots.
In today’s fast cut editing world, rarely can a show give more than a few seconds to a single shot. Often long takes need to develop and can only be sustained if they are constantly changing and offering something new. Most of our filming is to capture a brief moment, either to reveal a landscape in a dynamic way or offer a quick perspective of a scene from a different angle. The editor then selects a few seconds of a shot before cutting to a different camera angle to move the story forward as quickly as possible. But when Gabie framed this particular shot, she was ecstatic. The shot was a long take, and she knew there is no way they would use all of it. In our minds it would be chopped up into bits. However, there was something unique and ethereal about this shot. The fog was surreal that morning and it looked like a painting. As the drone kept flying, the shot transformed in a perfect way. Gabie was careful to frame out the edge of the land so that it only revealed the reflection of the trees and gave the impression of canoeing in the sky. It was the perfect shot for a story of landscape. Incredibly, after the director and producers saw the shot and were overcome with the same feelings, the decision was made to use the shot in its entirety at the end of the film. So to share; here is this very long surreal take:
Below are some photos of our trip, and a map of the route we took in order to capture these stunning aerial images with the drone in Northern Ontario, Canada.