Take a tour of Canada with 360-film experience Horizon

By Anna Junker and Alanna Smith, Calgary Herald

 

Star gazing. We’ve all done it. 

Now imagine seeing all of Canada that way — filling your field of vision. 

SESQUI, a revolutionary 360-degree cinematic experience touring across Canada debuted Horizon on Thursday evening at the Telus Spark Centre in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.

The 22-minute, non-narrative film shows viewers urban and natural landscapes across the nation’s 10 provinces and three territories. 

“I didn’t want it to be the travelogue of the Canada that everyone knows,” said director Drew Lightfoot. “I wanted to go off the beaten track.”

Many scenes were purely coincidental, said Lightfoot.

“I’d see this beautiful potato field in P.E.I. with this tractor driving and so I’d sprint beside him,” he said. “I met all these characters along the way and those interactions to me were some of the most pure.” 

While some of the scenes were coincidental, other scenes were orchestrated, like shots of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet of Canada performing in the Winnipeg international airport. 

Other scenes include dragon boat racers on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal, ice sailors on Ghost Lake west of Cochrane and Haïda Gwaii performers along the B.C. coast.  

Scene showing Haida Gwaii in new film Horizon. -

Horizon showcases Canadians of all ages, including people like 63-year-old modern dancer Margie Gillis, and a collection of young people skateboarding or doing parkour. 

The film’s producer Jen Scott said including youth was paramount because they represent the country’s future. 

“The film is supposed to be not just about Canada, but projecting into the future. It’s supposed to be hopeful. We’ve got a lot to look forward to, it’s a great country and youth represents that,” said Scott. 

To get the 360-degree effect, the Horizon crew used, at most, 30 GoPro cameras to film all angles of a single scene. 

A still of caribou from the 360-degree film Horizon.

Unlike conventional shooting, during which the crew stands behind the camera, a 360-degree team has to either blend into the landscape or hide.

While filming on Ghost Lake, Lightfoot had to dress up in a white jumpsuit to avoid being seen in the footage. Other scenes the crew had to hide between rocks or under bushes and trees.

“Everyone who sees it brings their own perspective to the film,” said Lightfoot. “I think this film will mean something different to each and every one of us.” 

Horizon will be shown for free at the Telus Spark Centre on Neighbour Day, June 17, and Canada Day, July 1.