Reviews of Tran Scan widescreen DVD 2003 (8 minutes)


"You'd be hard-pressed to learn more about  the lay of this country's land in 480 seconds."
-- The National Post


"A swift, elegant and mysterious time-lapse drive across Canada during which the point of view magically remains constant to the horizon." 
-- Northwest Film/Video Festival, Portland, WA, USA


"Tran Scan is an exhilarating ride across Canada. Using a very unique and time-consuming form of time-lapse photography, Stephen Arthur has creating an eight-minute film solely with a digital still camera. The overall effect is the equivalent of being strapped onto the hood of your car and crossing the North American continent at the speed of sound. The film is visually hypnotic while showing the geographical diversity of the second largest country in the world. If you enjoy films like Baraka and Koyaanisqatsi you'll enjoy this film very much. While the soundscape is well done and aurally interesting, I would have liked it even more with a music bed mixed in."

-- Rene Beland, TimeLapse Digital Inc.


"I first saw Mr. Arthur's work years ago at ResFest. This piece is the culmination of techniques used in those earlier pieces. He has developed a unique method of investigating his surroundings and exploring movement. I have never seen anything like it. It is an exceptional piece of avant-garde film making. 

"I sought out this disc when it was first released and it knocked me out. Stephen Arthur shows the viewer a seldom seen world of moments in time linked together through the motion of an automobile. In this movement the viewer connects to the world outside of the car in a very different fashion from what is typical of experiencing your surroundings through the picture window of the windshield. 

"On occasion film makers achieve, through the frame, a new way of seeing. Mr. Arthur's work rises to that level and is both a technological exploration of film and a beautiful piece of art. Through this ability he provides the viewer a unique and marvelous immersive experience."

-- Robert Creighton,


Customer Reviews from


"Tran Scan uses a new technique of telescopic, traveling time-lapse cinematography (albeit cinematography without a movie camera!) to traverse the entire continent from Pacific to Atlantic on the Trans Canada Highway in eight exhilarating, non-stop minutes. Photographed from the point of view of the traveler and fixed on the landscape ahead, the film takes you on a kaleidoscopic joyride unlike anything you've experienced before. Tran Scan is breathtaking in its originality, a 21st century "Railroader" in cosmic zoom! Fasten your seat belt and treat yourself to the experience. And if you're Canadian, look for familiar landmarks along the way."


"This brief film is uncanny. It creates a kind of  “false memory,” as if you had just returned from driving across the country. I know because I have actually driven from sea to sea all by myself, and this is exactly the impression I was left with – minus the boredom. I’m sure I’ll watch Tran Scan many more times. My mother, who’s 79, said it made her dizzy, but I don’t think younger people have that problem."


"Great idea. Great production. Although the DVD jacket touts the program's educational value, Tran Scan is more of an art short, most notable for its impressive technical achievement."


User Comments from the Internet Movie Database (IMDb):


"I've watched Tran Scan over and over, and I never get tired of it; it's endlessly fascinating. I love the feeling of being swept along by it. I love the perspective of seeing the vast and diverse geography of Canada in one fell swoop. This time-lapse animation is not hard on the eyes; you don't get the feeling of chaos and anxiety from it that you might expect. It evokes a feeling of wonder."


"In my opinion, Tran Scan is better than the helicopter fly-over show Over Canada: An Aerial Adventure because it doesn't rely on music and simply dissolving from one unrelated shot to another. In contrast, Tran Scan seems continuous and has perfectly synchronized sound effects, so it seems like you're right there traveling in real time -- even though it's really animation (using no motion-picture cameras)."


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