Trans Canada Trail Launches Two Slow TV Videos
In the age of streaming, we’re putting on television shows, YouTube videos and movies as a background for gatherings, chores, or even while we’re working. Slow TV is the ultimate distraction-free background content, and it’s poised to take off. Your exposure to slow TV may have been in the form of the fireplace channel, now a perennial over the holidays in many fireplace-deficient homes. Since its wide debut with the fascinating Yule log, slow TV has evolved to feature long journeys across lakes, train rides across Australia and Norway, and other scenic trips.
Trans Canada Trail (TCT) has seized on slow TV as a way to bring The Great Trail to the screens of Canadians and people all over the world. Its first two videos, which were launched very recently, feature a serene kayak outing at sunrise through the Gulf Islands in British Columbia and a mesmerizing snowmobile ride on Quebec’s Parc Linéaire des Bois-Francs trail.
“I can’t think of a better fit for slow TV than The Great Trail. Many trails span hundreds of kilometres, providing the ideal conditions for filming compelling slow TV. On the other hand, as an organization that promotes being outdoors, we see these immersive, slow-paced videos as opportunities for viewers to visualize and contemplate what being on the Trail looks and feels like.”
“I am a huge slow TV fan myself because it is content that gives viewers a break from the plethora of visual and mental distractions that often accompany video content. Slow TV fans enjoy being introduced to places and activities they may have never thought of experiencing before,” said Jérémie Gabourg, marketing and communications manager, Trans Canada Trail. “We think people are going to love it.”
Tough technical challenges paid off for Quebec snowmobile slow TV team
Joël Quesnel and Dominique Dagenais of Camp de Base 360, a video production company, knew they were signing up for a huge technical challenge when they agreed to shoot a three-hour slow TV snowmobiling video on The Great Trail. The shoot involved filming continuously on a 200-kilometre stretch of the Trail in harsh conditions, including wind gusts up to 70 kilometres an hour. The month-long rehearsal and preparation allowed the team to fix a number of technical challenges caused by the cold conditions and motion of the vehicles. Batteries, especially, were tough to keep charged throughout the entire journey.
The snowmobile run began at the former train station in Richmond, Quebec, and continued along the Parc Linéaire des Bois-Francs section of The Great Trail to Lévis, just outside of Québec City. With filming gear affixed to a pair of Yamaha SideWinder LTX DX 2019 snowmobiles, the team felt the stress melting away with each kilometre they travelled.
“We discovered our province from a brand new perspective. The Trail gave us a succession of beautiful towns and villages, bucolic fields, scenic roadways and countless landscapes that were simply mind-blowing,” said Quesnel. They also saw a white-tailed deer and a group of wild turkeys who moved off the Trail to let them pass, all of which you can see in the video. This video shows off the beauty of the Canadian winter, which Trail lovers can enjoy on snowshoes, snowmobiles, and cross-country skis.
See one of Canada’s most iconic waterways in British Columbia from a sea kayak
Blaise Sack of Moves Media loves slow TV, and was thrilled when TCT asked his video company to film a part of the Salish Sea Marine Trail from a sea kayak. The paddling route they filmed is a calm waterway hugs the eastern coastline of Vancouver Island, which was easier for the film crew to manage than the more open waters of other areas of the Trail.
Blaise set out with Petr Basel from his team and Bobby Sherlock from Wild Pacific Expeditions to solve the technical challenges of shooting for over five hours from the water. They had to compensate for weather conditions and technical challenges such as water splashing the lenses of the cameras. Like Joël’s team in Quebec, they also faced the problem of having to power gear for a continuous shot. His advice to producers of other slow TV videos is to “give yourself an extra day or two before and after the shoot to make adjustments or to fix unexpected problems that arise from long, continuous takes.”
He shot the video from a point-of-view perspective that puts the viewer in the kayak. This allows the shot to be as simple and unobstructed as possible. With most of the kayak out of the frame, the viewer can truly appreciate the beauty of the Gulf Islands. The videographers were even greeted with a surprise finale – a group of seals hanging out on some rocks.
“It’s a gorgeous route,” said Sack. “You need more time than the five hours we filmed to see and experience it all. As nice as it is to have it in your living room, TCT wants people to experience it in person.”