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Two shows within 3 months..

Ive just finished a very busy period of shooting two comedy-dramas back to back. One political comedy, and one viking comedy. They could not have been more different in look and feel, both great challenges on a limited budget and time. “Folkevalgt” was shot on Arri Amira using Super Speed lenses, and “Vikingane” was shot on sometimes 4 (!) Red Dragon, using Ultra Primes. Lots of talented crew joining me to make all of this possible, will post in greater detail when the time comes.

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A marathon

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A graded still, a part of a ongoing looktest from Dylan Hopkin

Its been almost a year since last update, and for good reasons. I have just completed shooting the second season of TV2 Norways “Det Tredje Øyet”. An episodic crime-drama about a policeman who has lost his daughter (last season) and is now trying to continue his life as a detective. Lots of great action this season, and also a great new set of characters. Ive been fortunate enough to do 7 episodes, 1-5 and 9 and 10 with Gunnar Vikene as director. We have continued our handheld/documentary-style approache, whith a few additions. Documentary in camera style and approach, but not necessarily with regards to lighting. We are trying to mix color temperatures, putting warm against cold backgrounds, or vice versa, inspired by the great series “Gomorrah”.

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117 days of shooting…!

I decided to shoot on the C500 this season, for a few reasons. Firstly. we wanted to continue the look from first season, which was shot on c300. Secondly, we had some good experiences from shooting “Dag” season 4 on the system, and with a few changes, we buildt a quite comprehensive handheld package. We needed to be built for handheld, since the show was going to be almost 100% handheld. But I didnt want to be on an easyrig all the time, since I feel that it limits and degrades my options in a lot of scenarios. For instance, long walk/talk scenes, where the easyrig will add movement from my hips. So, a well balanced rig for handheld work was necessary. We got an EVF from B&H which isn’t a great brand, but had the specs we were looking for at an OK price. It actually held up every shooting day, whithout errors. Amazing. The Zacuto VCT Baseplate was the one that made the camera as low as possible from my shoulder and up. I am a quite tall operator, so the RedRock ultra cage added additional cm to the setup. Also, the VCT baseplate had onboard shoulder cushions, and is very quick from handheld mode to tripod.

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A typical two camera setup. Myself on a twoshot, and Sindre (my b-camera operator) on a closeup

We changed the external recorder from PIX240 to Odyssey 7q+ for a couple of reasons. Firstly. we thought we had more recording options on the q7+. It was also abit lighter than the q7+, and could double as a directors monitor on small setups. Our boom operator was also quite happy with having a nice monitor to check our frame lines. We did have more slow-motion recording option on the q7+, but with regards to being able to record 4444 out of the camera in a format that was actually possible to do on such a long shoot (NOT DNX) we were disappointed at first. But we did our camera tests, and we could not actually justify the increased storage space with what we saw on screen. 4444 is technically better, but ProRes HQ 422 is quite good enough. In the end, this season has a final storage requirement at almost 50TB. We have shot so much material and that a 4444 season would easily double or triple that number.

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Car-scenes with three projectors

I was finally able to do car-scenes in the way that Hollywood does them this year. Together with Bright, the biggest stage-equipemt rental company in Norway, we shot car-scenes in studio, with three projectors as the (almost) only light source. This took a lot of planning and preparations, which should get its own blog post I guess, but we manages to shoot 10+ pages a day in this setup. Imagine what that would have cost on a low-loader setup, where you can get much less done pr. day.

The season is currenly in editing, and I am being invited to see almost locked picture-edits weekly. Its looking great, really intense, and our visions for the season seems to hold true. Looking forward to be able to post more stuff soon, and hopefully a trailer

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Official Canon Norway Photographer

Official Canon Håvar Karlsen

Today it was announced that I am one of 7 official photographers for Canon Norway in 2014. I have been collaborating with Canon Norway for several years, starting with the now famous 5d mrk II in 2009. Its such a special honour being recognized by the actual people who manufacture the equipment I use. A thanks goes out to Kjell Arntzen, Ole Bjørn Johnsen, Anders Leersbryggen and Trond Sliper and all the others whom have been helping me out during the years. I am looking forward to continue our work together, and also to be able to give speeches and lectures at different venues throughout the year.

2013 done

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I just realized my last blogpost was titled “2012 done”, so I guess its time for 2013. I have actually been doing some reviews on my reviewpage, but not really talking about what I have been doing. 2012 have for the most part been about one show. “Det Tredje Øyet” (The Third Eye) is a episodic crime-drama about a cop who has lost his daughter 5 years ago, and continues his search in his daily work as an investigator. I did 6 episodes (!), and my fellow DoP and friend Pål Bugge Haagenrud did 4. I acted as his B-operator on his episodes as well, giving me a soft start on the DoP duties. This had me working from february well into september, 105 principal photography days. Its airing on TV2 (Norways biggest commercial channel) in march, 10 one hour episodes. It was shot on 2x C300s using Canon Primes and Zooms.

The show was set look-and-feel wise by director Trygve (Trig) Allister Diesen and DoP Pål Bugge Haagenrud. Their palette of colors and hot/amber daylight exteriors is quite unique in our day of “Nordic Noir”, something truly different. When my time as DoP came, I was very lucky to be able to work with another incredible director. Gunnar Vikene has done features such as “Himmelfall” and “Vegas”, as well as hundreds of commercials world wide. Beeing able to cooperate with him and watch how he works with the script, his actors and blocking was better than any film school out there. We shot between 5-8 pages a day (mostly somewhere in between) so time was always an issue. Thats where experience kicks in, separating whats important from the rest. We were also very much in sync with our reference series and films, beeing influenced by great shows like “Boss” and “House of Cards”.

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Our episodes came at a point where the characters and story was established. The path was laid, and we could evolve the look and feel of things as the main character struggles with his investigation. We became a bit more handheld and up-close, and in the grade we are giving some scenes a dirtier/greener punch. We were again able to get colorist Dylan Hopkin at Shortcut Studios, which me and Pål have been working with for the last 4 years. Its such an advantage having someone you trust in the grading room, as time is short here as well.

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Ive also done several NGO films this year as well. I have been fortunate enough to travel with Plan, Sos-Children Villages and Red Cross, through my cooperation with Sherpafilm. The Plan films from Equador can be seen here. They were shot in 4k with Canon 1dc and mastered in HD. The Sos Children Villages film was shot in Zimbabwe with c300 and 5dmrk3. The Red Cross film was shot in Madegascar on c300. Lots of travelling and lots of very different sights to see.

The year ended as it has done the last couple of years, with an intense couple of days shooting for the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. Its truly an honour beeing able to do this high profile shoot for Eyeworks Dinamo, and its lots of fun putting together a high paced schedule in the weeks ahead. I was able to bring in a great crew, and together we pulled of fast company moves and same-day-edits. Shot on 3x c300 and graded by Jonas Nærstad at boombay.no.

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