Parker: META Productions flying high in Arizona, opens Edmonton location

Today META is a full-service production and post-production house executing high-level content and award-winning production work

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Many would just dream of a chance to fly in a fighter jet plane. John Cameron did a couple of times recently while shooting a promotional video for a U.S. company that trains aviators in fighter jets.

The producer/director and owner of Calgary-based META Productions was contracted to produce, edit and provide visual effects and colour finishing for the film that was shot in Phoenix, AZ. Air-to-air footage of a T-33 film jet filming two L-39 fighter jets through different maneuvers, while Cameron was inside one as cameraman shooting the pilot. The film will be used to persuade clients from Kuwait, Indonesia and other foreign nationals to train at the Arizona Fox 3 school.

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Not the first time Cameron has filmed jets, he also completed air-to-air production shoots involving fighter jets in loop and barrel rolls flying out of Springbank Airport over the Rockies.

After graduating from the University of Western Ontario with his undergrad in biochemistry and psychology and a further degree in new media from Sheridan College, he returned to Calgary and worked on a number of exciting projects, including several for ESPN, before starting his own company in 2013.

His business partner Christopher Petry has over 20 years of experience in the film and television industry that includes serving as producer in a creative role over 40 episodes of television, and a rotating director on the Warner Brothers series “Smallville”.

Today META is a full-service production and post-production house executing high-level content and award-winning production work. It has been nominated for three years in a row for Sports Emmy Awards for work done with ESPN. Last year’s was for the Monday Night Football show opening featuring Chris Stapleton, Snoop Dogg and Cindy Blackman Santana.

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TV shows have meant lots of work for the META studio, including Big Little Lies and The Last of Us for HBO, The Morning Show for Apple TV+, and Black Summer for Netflix.

A lot of META’s work is through agencies and in partnerships with studios in Montreal and Los Angeles. Through Redphone, a Calgary boutique branding and design agency, Cameron and crew were in Cancun, Mexico, recently where he was responsible for the full production of commercials for a Casa Azul Tequila Soda campaign, a ready-to-drink product for an American company that will be aired throughout the U.S. And, working with ATB Financial’s internal creative team, META produced, directed, edited and provided visual effects for a series of new commercials that used 13 separate sets for a week-long shoot at the Rocky Mountain Studios.

Every year, West Jet produces an April Fools video. META had fun with the 2023 version for agency Oliver, that promoted WestJet-X, a one-way space flight to Mars.

They suffered a drastic fire over both floors of his office/studio during the pandemic that destroyed everything including cameras, computers and irreplaceable footage. But with still a glass half full of optimism, once insurance claims were settled, he was able to replace all that was lost with better, higher quality equipment. Fortunately, he was able to find good space along 10th Avenue S.W. and now has grown to open a satellite office in Edmonton to handle the growing amount of work there.

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Creative people are always looking for a new venture, and Cameron and Petry are involved in producing episodic TV here to help build up the local filming industry. Currently they are in talks with distributors to trigger production of six different series including In the Pines and Day Dream Believer.

Unbeknownst to many, Canada is a pioneer to a ground-breaking undercover police operation around the world, unofficially called “Mr. Big”. In the Pines follows one suspect and the corresponding undercover operation that brings them to justice. Day Dream Believer demonstrates how children with ADHD can have an exhausting and constant curiosity in everything, which explains why they see the world and time differently.

META is thriving in strong, story-driven production work with beautiful cinematography supported by an in-house start-to-finish production pipeline.

Notes:

A Colliers team has the highest profile site in Canmore for sale. The Drake site on the corner of Main Street and Railway Avenue currently operates a 26-room boutique hotel, restaurant/bar and stand-alone commercial/retail building. It has been listed as an exceptional redevelopment site.

David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622.

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