If you were one of the hundreds of people who visited the new suspension bridge Sept. 4 and you looked skyward, you may have seen either a flying saucer or a drone in the skies above the new suspension bridge and the canyon.
Because we all know that commercial drone use is heavily regulated, Transport Canada-approved operators were used and a cooperating agreement was established with BC Parks prior to filming. This allowed for some very impressive images of this new breathtaking park feature to be captured. The drones did capture more than just a little attention from park visitors as well as some great footage, just as the suspension bridge itself has over the past four months.
The result of this filming event, which will be released widely over the internet in a few weeks, was spearheaded by Catherine Temple of GoCampbellRiver.com in partnership with Colin Filiter from SuavAir, Dan Franklin and Jordan Groves of Stagecoach Media and BC Parks. The goal: to produce a high-quality short video on the newly-built suspension bridge for use in the promotion of Campbell River’s newest attraction. The process took a few weeks to set up and a team to manage. On the day of filming the weather was perfect, and park visitors were cooperative and especially interested in the use of the drone. While Colin and his assistant were expertly piloting the drone above the canyon walls over complex terrain, Dan and Jordan were employing hand-held cameras mounted on sophisticated gimbals to facilitate filming from the ground while coordinating with Colin via radio. While all this was going on, Catherine and Brent Blackmun from BC Parks were providing information and fielding questions from park visitors to ensure safety and consistency for each shot.
An exceptional number of visitors came to the park to experience the bridge on that day. When Lorrie Bewza, the project manager of the building of the bridge from the Rotary Club of Campbell River, reported that it was expected to attract 200,000 people a year, the team thought he was being overly optimistic. However, BC Parks reports that since the grand opening of the bridge on May 9th of this year, visitor numbers are in excess of 50,000 people already.
In three hours during the filming a couple of hundred people from all over the world – Spain, South Africa, China, Russia, the US – visited the bridge. Some spoke English and some didn’t, but all loved the spectacle. An older lady from the United Kingdom who had difficulty walking and required assistance from her granddaughter was adamant that she was not only going to descend and later climb the stairs to the bridge, but also that she was going to make it all the way across the bridge. And she did, although she took plenty of rest stops along the way. She said, “I’m on holidays. I have nothing but time.”
The film of the canyon is in the edit stage. This will be a video production that Campbell River can be proud of.