Making Wild Canadian Weather

Filming Canada’s most extreme weather: crews went to great lengths to bring the weather to us.
Available on CBC Gem

Making Wild Canadian Weather

Nature of Things

From the filmmakers who brought you WILD CANADA and THE WILD CANADIAN YEAR comes WILD CANADIAN WEATHER, an exciting new series that continues the exploration of Canada’s fascinating wildlife, amazing landscapes and extraordinary people — this time, through the lens of Canada’s intense and dramatic weather.

All the challenges, surprises and fun the filmmakers had making a series about Canada’s extreme weather are revealed in Making Wild Canadian Weather. A behind-the-scenes look at the tough conditions, technical obstacles and surprising partnerships that all went into making the iconic series.

The series’ most challenging wild weather shoot took place inside a remote ice cave the Booming Ice Chasm high in the alpine of the Rocky Mountains. The crew spent days inside the cave, sheltered from the weather outside while rigging lights and an elaborate cable-cam, only to have the lights fail when “Action!” was called. But after getting the shots that revealed the cave in a way that’s never been seen before, their entire effort was jeopardized by the weather outside the cave. 80 km/h winds tore through their camp on the mountainside, ripping tents out of the ground and sending camera equipment tumbling down the mountain.

For the COLD episode, underwater cameraman Adam Ravetch travelled to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, hoping to catch the magical moment of a harp seal pup’s first swim. He had to dive in near-freezing water, in the middle of the winter underneath pack ice that’s in constant motion. In a race against time and the advancing slush ice Ravetch was able to capture a tender exchange between a mother and her fluffy white seal pup as it slipped into the frigid water for the very first time.

To get a birds-eye-view of Nicole McLearn, Canada’s top female paraglider, cameraman Matt Hood took to the skies himself while harnessed to a tandem paragliding pilot. Their plan to film 1,000 metres above the ground sounds perfect in theory. During a trial run, they have difficulty staying airborne, and Hood is thrown off balance by the heavy camera gear, flying like an awkward superman instead of an ace cameraman. But some quick thinking allows them to shed weight from the camera rig and keep up with Nicole, getting some breathtaking shots 3,000 metres up.

Wildlife filmmaking nearly always requires collaboration with biologists, but those partnerships are rarely in the spotlight. Father-daughter filmmaking team, Jeff and Chelsea Turner joined forces with Jeff Bowman and other biologists in southern Ontario. They braved cold winter nights to document never-before-filmed flying squirrel behaviour, as their belly fur shines a bright fluorescent pink as they glide between trees.

In order to film the largest animal that’s ever lived on Earth the blue whale the crew collaborated with leading researchers in the field while bearing witness to the threats the giants face living in an area of heavy ship traffic.

In Making Wild Canadian Weather, we put the spotlight on the scientists who are studying the amazing species we profile throughout the series.