A new "interactive coffee table book" from CBC immerses you in Canada's wildest landscapes and offers up-close encounters with the animals that live there. It can be downloaded for free until Thursday.
The Wild Canada app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch features HD video and photography, shot in some of Canada's most remote wilderness during the filming of the four-part Wild Canada documentary series, which premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. on CBC-TV's The Nature of Things.
The app, available on Apple's App Store, offers different experiences from those in the series, including a fly-through of a remote canyon, 360-degree panoramas of stunning mountain landscapes, and close-up HD video of ice-covered grizzly bears fishing near the Arctic Circle.
But it is also very much a book focused on telling stories, written by J.B. McKinnon, co-author of the bestselling book The 100 Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating. The book shares stories of Canada's natural history, its animals, and how humans have interacted with and influenced Canada's landscape and wildlife for thousands of years, in surprising ways.
The TV series was directed by Canadian nature documentary filmmaker Jeff Turner, who had previously worked on projects such as BBC's Planet Earth series. Planet Earth was acclaimed for its high-definition footage of beautiful and rarely seen wild places and wildlife around the world.
Turner wanted to showcase Canada's wilderness and wild animals in a similar way, while also telling the story of how humans have influenced our wild places for thousands of years in surprising ways.
With the app, he said, "we didn't want to just mirror the program" as many books written to accompany documentary series do.
When Annette Bradford, online producer for CBC's Documentary Unit, proposed the idea of a book app, Turner was sold.
"That seemed to be a very exciting and new way to explore this type of content," he said. He also saw it as an opportunity to tell Canadians different stories and present them in different ways than in the TV series.
"We wanted to give them more," he added. "We could look at some of the stories in a little more depth."
The app will be free until Thursday. On Friday, after the premiere episode of the TV series, it will continue to be available on the App Store, but will cost $3.99.