Blog

2012 done.

Big shoot scheduled to premiere in january

Its been quite a while since last update. If I tried to make any money of this blog, I would be in deep trouble. November – december has been crazy busy, as the traditional Eurovision/Nobel productions clash together. Ive also done some commercials this year, making the schedule into christmas pretty unhealty. Blogging is therefore not my top priority. I cant imagine how some of the top DoP/Bloggers can keep it up.

Three of the four boys (girls, whatever) I used to shoot Nobel. Norways first c500!

I got my hands on the very first c500 (Thanks to Fotovideo.no) in Norway during the Nobel production. Sadly I didnt have the time to use any external recorders, but I really didnt need any for this job. It was supposed to intercut with three other c300s. I can however confirm that the c500 has somewhat of a fan issue in 4k (if you record with sound). It wasnt a problem in HD, as the fans only started when in 4k mode. A great little test, and together with the Cinema Prime 50mm it shot great twoshots during a very important interview.

Hoping to do some more detailed blogs about several shoots scheduled for this year. Stay tuned!

Showreel 2012


My latest showreel. Consists of some of the documentary and feature work I have done between 2009-2012.

The fact that I haven’t been able to make a showreel for the last three years, is a testament to the amount of work I have had. Ive been incredibly fortunate, been able to travel all over the world and to work with some of the best people in Norway and elsewhere. If someone told me this  in 2008/2009 (I was straight out of school, and the financial crisis was just starting!), I would say that they were a bit too optimistic. But I have entered Norwegian film&tv business during an unprecedented time, were broadcasters are eager to air  Norwegian content. Production companies are hiring and freelancers are getting lots of jobs.

Ive shot on different cameras. Arri ALEXA, Red Epic and MX, Canon 5dmrk2 and 1dMRKIV and actually a time-lapse with Panasonic GH1! My main client is Eyeworks Dinamo, producing content for TV2 and NRK, but other clients like Øyafestivalen and TV2s “DAG2 (produced by Kamerakameratene and Viafilm) are also present. Without directors like Geir Fredriksen, Magnus Rye and DoP Pål Bugge Haagenrud, the last three years would have been a lot less exciting. Thank you for all the good times!


Thunder over Freetown Bay, Sierra Leone 2010

The traditional Øya-shoot v.2012

For 4 years in a row, director Magnus Rye have been let loose on a project with no boundaries. No client telling him what to do, no agency forcing their opinions on us and no broadcaster putting their foot down. The Øya-promos has been a fantastic opportunity to test out ideas, and for me to gain competence technically. This year I wanted to do the Red Epic, and Magnus wanted to really push what we could to with 3d.

This year, my spring schedule was more hectic than usual, so I was not able to take part in the pre-production as I have done in the past. A couple of location scouts was the only thing aside from storyboarding I was able to do. It was clear from the start that we wanted to do long takes, the films shouldn’t be more than 3-4 epic pictures, something which we havnt done too much of before. So, planning these shots carefully and getting everyone to deliver at the same time was crucial.

Director Magnus Rye and lighting chief Jørgen Werner

The Øya-promos are basically pro-bono gigs, the entire crew working for Øya tickets only. And as it turns out, its actually one of the few ways to get an Øyaticket after they are sold out. We now have crew calling up and wanting to work on our shoot, because the Øyafestival is selling tickets like crazy. But most of the crew is our steady gang of talented people we have used before. DoP/Focus puller Espen Gulbrandsen came in with his RED Epic and Ultraprimes glass and crane operator Erling Andresen joined the team with a felixcrane from moviebird.no. 120 fps and that crane really saved our ass on the dog part of the shoot, which turned into an insanely hectic day on set. I guess they’re right. ABC, Animals, Boats and Children, don’t do it..

Fencing in the dogs!

We had the dogs below a highway in Oslo for half a day. We needed to fence of a really large area before the owner could release them. And when he did, we understood why. These racing bred dogs react purely on instinct, regardless of what the owner tries to instruct them to do. They ran around, constantly searching for exits, and constantly not being in frame. But with the help of a female dog (!) and lots of lifting, we finally got our shots. The 4 shots this film is built up from, is the 4 takes that were good. In 25fps, this film would have been a brief affair.

The horse was another story entirely. The team met up just north of Oslo on a bright sunny spring morning. I hadn’t had a chance to check up on the horse before the shot, but they said it had worked in films before. And this horse was a true worker. If it had its owner close by with some hay, even 20 kids screaming of camera couldn’t scare it out of frame. It stood still when it needed to, and looked around when we wanted it to. And thank god it was white. In that weather, a black horse would have been difficult to light. With a reflector 🙂

Professional horse on set!

The visual effects guys over at Øyedrops were given the clean edit, and they went into a tracking/matchmoving frenzy with our r3d files. They were really bold in advance, not wanting any tracking markers. We weren’t really sure what kind of gfx we wanted when we shot this, so It was difficult to plan for everything in camera.  But they managed to track everything down, and the end result speaks for itself. Grading and online was done by colorist Dr. Dylan Hopkin in collaboration with myself and Magnus, and I think we really went for something outside of the box. Hot-armageddon look on the Wolves.

Looking into the monitor of the Epic

Theres is a third film coming out hopefully within 2 weeks, which will feature these two films together with some other epic setups we have from the days of shooting in May. Stay tuned!

Prologue – Norwegian Eurovision






Last October, me and Magnus Rye was once again approached by Eyeworks Dinamo to do openings and intros to Norways biggest TV-show, “Melodi Grand Prix”, better known as Eurovision Song Contest. The show was up for a major revamp, and they were about to make it bigger then ever, with inspiration drawn from the Olympics and World Championship. “Larger than life” was the new motto.

CLIENT: NRK
PRODUCER: Eyeworks Dinamo
DIRECTOR: Magnus Rye
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Håvar Karlsen
FOCUS PULLER: Anders Leegaard
GRIP: moviebird.no with Terje Røkke, Morten Magnusson&Pål Bugge Haagenrud.
STAGE/LIGHTS: AVAB-CAC w/Tobias Blåmoli&Hans Petter Jenssen
PYROTECHNICS: Pyro.se w/Per
SOUND DESIGN: Universal sound w/Marius Ytterdal
GRADE: Shortcut Norge w/Dylan Hopkin

We set about pitching ideas, but we and Dinamo immediately fell for the grand opening of several NFL games some years ago. Stuff like this It became clear the stage was set for a major production. Eyeworks Dinamo with Pia, Mari and Magnus, started to make all the preparations necessary, amongst them gathering an orchestra. It wasn’t easy, the shoot scheduled for the last week before christmas. A busy week for most orchestras. We found a willing bunch of musicians at Romerike Symfoniorkester

Pre-production was quite intense, with several other shoots in between. After a while, NRK Promo (NRKs unit for producing marketingspots for shows)came onboard, enabling a unified look for both promotion spots and opening. it also became clear that we needed to shoot with the actual films in the background beeing projected (not greenscreen). This made for a mad dash to gather shots of all the artist that we needed. This was another huge undertaking worth a blogpost in itself. The background plates were shot on Canon 5dmrk2

Technically, it was a decision between Arri Alexa and RED Epic. We needed an high end look and the show is broadcasted (for the first time this year) in HD. We also needed 120 fps for a pyrosequence. I was not aware of the fact that Alexa recently released a new firmware, enabling just that. 120fps! So, it came down to a post-workflow decision. The down-conversion of 5k->1080p would have killed us (working in FCP), so it was in the end an easy decision. I was also eager to try Alexa for the first time. I picked the Angenieux Optimo DP Zoom 16-42 2.8 for the shoot, a great wide angle zoom making the perfect combo with the Technocrane. Onset, I used several TVlogics and the onboard false color to adjust my exposure. I viewed mostly in Rec709 (seeing the blacks properly), and switched to log c mode to check up on my exposure some times.

To get close ups and details of the orchestra, we hired Magnus Owe to shoot with a 5d alongside our crane. Those shots have been really handy in the edit.


Technocrane technician, operator and magician, Terje Røkke. 

The fact that we needed to shoot everything in one day, made our setup-schedule critical. Enter moviebird.no Even though they were in the middle of a hectic tv-season, we managed to secure their 44ft Technocrane, enabling us to shoot all of the pieces (3×2 min) from only 3 positions. Amazing tool, we couldn’t have done this without it. Thanks to Terje Røkke, Morten Magnussen and Pål Bugge Haagenrud.

Lighting and projector.
A big part of this piece was two huge screens showing pictures of artists and beauty-shots of the local area of the venue. It needed to be crisp, and saturated, and match the light output of the “light wall” we were planning. We went into talks with AVAB-CAC early on , and they suggested their brand new Bronco 14k projector would be ideal.

On the lighting fixtures themself, we originally wanted Maxi or Dedobrutes. AVAB, beeing a huge stage light company, didn’t carry that. We ended up with a massive array of 8&4lites, generating a total output of 180.000w. That beeing said, we ended up never powering up much above 24%, giving us a crisp fstop around f4-5.6

Floorplan, ended up not using the 5k chimeras, 180kw backlight made the trick..

Shoot.
The shoot was a massive effort, both logistically and psychologically. We were to organize a 20+ crew to work in one of Norways biggest indoor halls (Norwegian Trade Expo), assemble a huge stage and light setup, and to rehearse and shoot a 40+ orchestra. And for the director and myself, it was important to keep the energy at full speed, even though we repeated so many of the setups. Every shot, every pan, had to be done 3 times, for each of the three backdrop-films. And the third time was just as important as the first. This was a potential energykiller for the orchestra and ourself. That’s one of the reasons we spread the pyro sequences throughout the day, to have something that “refreshed” the shoot. Pyro.se with Per at the buttons delivered beautifully.

Pyrosequence, captured at 120fps

Editing.
We thought early on that the edit would be straight forward, because of the backdrop films “locking” us in with regards to sync. Not so much. It was of course possible to slip and slide backdrop sync, go to fullscreen, or use shots from another “city backdrop”. In short, everything was possible, and mad cred is deserved for Magnus, the director and editor, for exploring all options. The end result is in my opinion extremely tight and thought through.

 

 

Grade
I knew right away that I wanted to use Dylan Hopkin on this grade. His immense technical know-how and post-production wizardry guided me alot when it came down to camera choices and settings for the Alexa. The cameras Log-c 4444 ProRes was perfect for the job, gathering our black details beautifully (which we have alot of). Although, I needed some time to adjust my eyes to see the blacks truly black in the grading suite, and not milky as in the raw ProRes. Alot of work was put into getting the blacks unified, with not to much red in them. Our lights was constantly dimming up and down, creating dynamic light cues. But also creating trouble for our look, because every shoot needed new color balance and black adjustment. We have alot of shots… Also, the projectors were daylight and our 8lites have extremely low kelvin values (dimmed below 24%), creating a huge color shift going from projector to fullscreen (some of this quite complicated to explain without having seen the film). This was something that I should have thought of on beforehand. Because we worked into late evening getting the saturation and feel of the backdrops just right. Dylan did an amazing job!. If your interested in his opinions on the matter, check out his blog.

Ungraded vs graded look, a little insight into Alexa Log-c

All in all, this has certainly been the biggest solo-project for Magnus and myself to date. Solo, in regards that we are ultimately responsible for a huge budget, but not solo with regards to production. So many deserve thanks, but most of all Eyeworks Dinamo, for believing and having the guts to go for it. And to keep pushing when we experienced setbacks. There’s a lot of aspects I didn’t cover in this post, so feel free to send me a tweet or an email if you have any questions, creatively or technically.