THUNDER BAY -- Cinematographer Damien Gilbert said he had no idea a video he produced on the wonders of the region he calls home would go viral.
Hours after publishing it Monday on Facebook, more than 74,000 people had viewed the video, which showcases Thunder Bay and the surrounding area in a series of fast-paced, awe-inspiring shots.
“Never did I imagine it blow up like this,” he said. “I’ve done videos before and they’ve gotten some traction, but nothing like 10,000 views per hour; nothing crazy like that.”
The inspiration for the two-minute film came from a trip to Iceland he took earlier this year. He produced a similar style of video, which garnered a lot of online attention.
“I wanted to showcase our beauty. We have so much richness around here, so I figured why not try to work out something here, do it on my own time over a couple of months,” he said.
“Keeping it high-paced, with quick cuts (is part of the appeal). But not only that, having rich content, footage that people can relate to – obviously with Thunder Bay people can relate to all the stuff being shown. And there are a lot of things people might not have seen before.”
From the vista at Mount McKay, to Wolf River Falls to the skateboard park at Marina Park to a hockey rink, Gilbert said he tried to capture everything Northwestern Ontario he could imagine.
The one shot that seems to have garnered the most attention is a heart-stopping view of rock climbers atop a tall spire located near Dorion, the filmmaker utilizing drones to capture shots from above.
“That’s just before Ouimet Canyon and we had to hike a kilometre-and-a-half from a road to get into this valley. We were up on the canyon as well with cameras, but then my buddy Vic brought his drone out. They climbed to the top and we got those epic shots,” he said.
Gilbert even tried something he’d never done before while on the shoot.
“They encouraged me to get up, so I climbed it. I’ve never rock climbed before,” he said.
Gilbert said his many travels have made him appreciate even more his Thunder Bay home.
“A lot of people take it for granted. We have numerous lakes and epic hiking spots literally 20 minutes outside our door. You can’t get anything like that in Toronto,” Gilbert said. “I really appreciate that.”
See the video here: (https://vimeo.com/183300025)