Climate change is a big subject these days and who better to set the record straight than MacGillivray Freeman Films, one of the most well-known big form production companies? Together, the MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundation, Campion Foundation, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and Oceana, champions of ocean conservation, document the changes occurring in the Arctic. To the Arctic is the seventh project in the MacGillivray Freeman Films ocean-and-water-themed films that promote conservation of the natural world.
Shot entirely in 15/70mm in Canada, Alaska, Greenland and the Arctic Ocean, To The Arctic uses the immersive power of 3D IMAX cinematography to document the abundance of life and diversity found in the Arctic as well as the dramatic transformations taking place in the region from climate change. “Our IMAX gear is very heavy, so we have to use the biggest and best equipment possible,” says Producer/Director Greg MacGillivray. “That is why we use the OConnor head. The camera itself weighs 125 lbs, fully loaded.
“MacGillivray Freeman Films has used OConnor equipment for many years,” he adds. “We still use an OConnor 100 and 150 with our IMAX MARK-II camera. We used the 100 while shooting from the North Face of the Eiger in our film The Alps. With our type of documentary filmmaking and the size of the equipment we use, we are very hard on the gear. So, we need gear that can handle the punishment we provide.
“This is where OConnor comes in,” he says, strongly. “In the IMAX format, any little hiccup or glitch is exaggerated 10 times, so you need a head that is smooth with no jerkiness and is extremely dependable. We used the 2575 head as our work horse head, until OConnor came out with the new 120EX head.”
MacGillivray and assistant Rob Walker first used the 120 EX as a demo at a screening of one of their films. “I fell in love with it,” MacGillivray says. “When the camera is balanced, you can tilt from straight up to straight down and stop anywhere in between and the camera will stay and then continue the move without any glitch or jerkiness to the move. The older OConnor head had spring tension and counter spring tension, so you had to use a little muscle strength to make a smooth move.
“For To The Arctic, the 120EX was invaluable,” he continues. “The counter shaft technology is wonderful. You barely have to use any strength to make a smooth move. We put the head through the punishment of our type of film making on this project. In my 40 years of film making, I’ve always relied on OConnor – and this is the best head I’ve ever used.”
To The Arctic, produced by two-time Academy Award-nominee Greg MacGillivray and shot by MacGillivray, cinematographer Brad Uhlund and assistant Rob Walker is slated for release to 3D and 2D theatres in the Spring of 2011.