Utah: The Ultimate IMAX Experience in Nature’s Backyard
By Kate Donnelly
The wide, breathtaking red rock expanse of Utah serves as a backdrop to the highly visual Greg MacGillivray, whose company MacGillivray Freeman Films specialises in action and aerial cinematography. His filmmaking canvas fits the largest cinematic format in the world, the wildly popular IMAX experience, sharper and clearer than any other format available. This technology is perfect for places in Utah like Bryce Canyon, Arches National Park and Canyon Lands. As MacGillivray puts it, “The joy of the national parks is engagement with nature, and with IMAX, you feel like you’re there.”
MacGillivray has long been captivated by natural landscapes and awe-inspiring scenery. As a young adult driving from California to New York, he stopped at the Grand Canyon and hung his toes over the edge, admiring the layers of geology. “When you see it, particularly in IMAX, it’s like being there, and you’ll be moved in the same way that I was when I was 18.”
In the early 1970s, Greg worked in Hollywood for iconic filmmakers like Stanley Kubrick (he shot the renowned opening sequence of The Shining) and has directed over 200 helicopter sequences. Greg’s son and business partner, Shaun, a filmmaker since the age of 12, also subscribes to engaging, good storytelling and like him, “allowing kids to pick up a camera and make a career with creative inspiration.”
MacGillivray Freeman Films’ most recent project, National Parks Adventure, pays homage to the majesty of the U.S. National Parks, which Greg explains are “places belonging to everyone in the world.” When Greg turned his camera on Utah’s famed Slickrock Bike Trail, he noted four-coloured trees, “turning a blazing yellow, especially against the black background of that shadowed mountainside.” Conveying these beautiful moments of wind shifts, clouds, light and colour is what engages an audience.
Greg appreciates the variety of the USA’s parks and the National Parks Service’s conservation efforts and protected places. He notes, “We’re paying tribute to something bigger than all of us.”
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