How to make a Great Bear Rainforest film

Last fall I had the pleasure of guiding the filmmaking team of Francois-Xavier (Fix) De RuydtsFix and Damien Briguet at Great Bear Lodge.

We mounted Go Pro cameras on poles to film salmon, set up zip lines for gimbal-mounted cameras in the forest, and even took some time-lapse footage of slugs. After some bushwhacking we also got some great footage of grizzly bears chasing salmon and feasting on the spoils. The words dream and job come to mind.

Damien Briguet experimenting with a gimbal-mounteed SLR on a zip line.
Damien Briguet experimenting with a gimbal-mounteed SLR on a zip line.

But, my favourite moment came after Fix had spent some quiet moments filming a spawned-out salmon.

The fish was stranded on her side in a few inches of water with one big glassy eye staring up at the sky. Her gills worked slowly – opening, closing – drawing the last bits of life from this stream where everything began for her, and where everything would now end.

Upstream a mother grizzly and two cubs were busy fishing; downstream two sub-adult bears patrolled a gravel bar. Finally, her gills stopped pumping, and, for the first time since she hatched in this very river, her body lay still. Fix turned off his camera, stood and looked around. Then he exhaled. Powerful, he said – out loud but to nobody in particular.

Francois-Xavier (Fix) De Ruydts
Francois-Xavier (Fix) De Ruydts filming grizzlies

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