The Roundhouse Podcast

021: Rocky Mountain Express – Director Stephen Low


Steam locomotive in IMAX!  Starring CP 2816, Rocky Mountain Express tells the tale of constructing the Canadian Transcontinental Railroad.  Director Stephen Low joins us to discuss his career in documentary filmmaking, what led to the creation of this film, and provides us with insight behind some of the amazing scenes!

Rocky Mountain Express – Director Stephen Low

Stephen was interested in trains from an early age, volunteering at the Canadian Railway Museum in Montreal.  Following his father into the filmmaking business, he eventually begin production on Rocky Mountain Express.  Filmed using high-definition IMAX film (not digital) over the course of years, he balanced the historical storytelling with impressive scenes featuring Canadian Pacific #2816.  Mounting big IMAX cameras on the locomotive was not easy, and he tells us about how different angles were achieved.  He also explains how the award-winning sound was captured and edited into the film.

One of the strongest elements of the film are its impressive aerial shots.  Stephen describes how a helicopter with a camera attached on the front was used for these scenes.  Impressively, the train was not staged in advance – these were “run and gun” shots filmed during regular excursions!

Find this film near you at the official website.

This interview was recorded in January of 2014 for another show, so some elements discussed may be outdated.

Question of the Day (1:28:47)

What aspect of Canadian railroad history fascinates you the most?  Let me know and I will respond to your comments in our next episode.

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