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Wild Canada episode 1 "The Eternal Frontier"

CBC

As any nature filmmaker can attest, it takes a lot of lurking and a certain amount of luck to get that out-of-this-world shot.

The team behind Wild Canada, which has been airing on CBC Television's The Nature of Things, was blessed with both. They also benefited from experience – British Columbia-based creators Jeff and Sue Turner have worked with the BBC's documentary unit on the landmark series Planet Earth and Frozen Planet – and technology: ultra-high-definition cameras wrapped in underwater gear; tiny cameras inserted unobtrusively into beaver lodges, mounted to drone helicopter rigs, or onto poles to get snake-eye-level shots.

The results are stunning, showing animal behaviour never before captured: masses of capelin surfing the waves onto a remote Newfoundland beach to spawn; wolves leaving their salmon catch behind for ravens and eagles and then returning to eat the skin; muskrats helping beavers insulate their lodges.

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Aside from attracting "well above" the usual ratings, according to The Nature of Things executive producer Sue Dando, the series has also sparked a tide of viewer interest in how the footage was shot. So the CBC quickly ordered up a making-of episode, which airs Thursday evening. Prepare to be wowed again.

"What's interesting about natural-history filmmaking is every time a new series comes out, the bar is raised," says Jeff Turner, who has long wanted to tell Canada's story. "You have to keep doing better than what you did before … and with each success you have to go deeper and further and longer."

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About the Author
Western Arts Correspondent

Marsha Lederman is the Western Arts Correspondent for The Globe and Mail, based in Vancouver. She covers the film and television industry, visual art, literature, music, theatre, dance, cultural policy, and other related areas. More

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