Thursday, January 31, 2013

Operation: "Porsche Camp Canada" Preparing and Packing

So it went that we were chosen to be the production company in charge of the commercial "Porsche Camp Canada". All my friends and colleagues are asking that why are you going there, isn´t there production companies in Canada. Those are the same questions that I was thinking when I heard the news.

We have been filming Porsche Camp commercials here in Finland and it seems that they are really satisfied about the results. And the fact that we can work with quite small team makes us also affordable even we have to cross the atlantic ocean to get on the set.

Pera went already to check the locations with Canon 60D and action cameras with him. Destination is near Montreal. I should fly there on Thursday and bring the Epic and all the Grip equipment needed.

My luggage didn´t eat all that I wanted to take with me on the set. Now my luggages are bit over weighted with only basics packed. We decided to rent sliders, dollies and everything else needed in Montreal.

Here´s the Porsche Commercial that we have filmed here in Finland.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Arctic Lapland Rally

Once again we were filming in Arctic Lapland Rally. Rest of our team was filming the rally in general and my mission was to follow English rally driver Tony Jardine and his Co.Pilot Des Kelly from the Daily Mail.

Extremely cold conditions as always in Arctic Rally. This year it was not as bad as last year when it was under -30 celsius. This time -26 might have been the coldest numbers that I spotted.

It was a bit of relief to be there only with still camera. Last year we were moving with Red Epic and it was so unflexible. Now I just walked in a deep snow to get good spots.

I´m pretty tired writing this cause the days were quite long in rally, but I wanted to write something before we head to Montreal, Canada to film commercial for Porsche Camp Canada. It will be a blast. We are going to film there with Red Epic, Canon 5dmk2 and GoPro hero 3 + some other action cameras.. Probably the favorite cameras in the world. I´ll post some more from there..

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Arctic Expedition & TV-Commercial

Sunset at Ruka, filmed with Red Epic build 4.0

14.01.2013 it was time to check the forecast. We are living the last days of Polar Night and our cameras were screaming to go out to film the beautiful colors of twilight. Forecast promised good weather and low level for aurora activity. Low level is level 2 at 1-5 grading scale so it´s not the worst forecast and it means there will be something going on at the sky. There was also a short TV-Commercial shoot at Kuusamo (Ruka), filming Rantasipi Rukahovi hotel commercial, so there was a reason to get on the road. Sky was clear, stars were shining and that meant a cold night.

Skyvan eating the road

There was a plan that I´ll be out in the wilderness the first night and then drive to Ruka. I wanted to be somewhere outside the light pollution and normally there´s no hotels on those areas. I asked my camera-assistant Tommi that is it alright to sleep out in the wild, -25 celcius in the caravan car. Like a guerilla Tommi was ready for the adventure. I also offered the expedition to my new friends Dominik and Jakub and they joined the expedition as well. Respect for the guys! At that point they have had been in Finland less than 10 days.

Normaly when we´re filming out in the wild we have a snowmobile and 4P lightweight sleigh. It´s really good for soft snow and difficult terrain and it fits just the right amount of equipment that you need when filming Epic or Red One. This time we didn´t have snowmobile with us so I bought a Rapala sledge that we were meant to pull up the hill. It was quite optimal size for motorized timelapse photography though it was quite heavy to pull.

First stop was Sallatunturi and the northern slopes of it. First we thought about going to Ruuhitunturi (bit more out in the wild)  but the 8km hike without a snowmobile felt bit too much in these circumstances. We pulled the sledge about half way of the hill and constructed the Shuttlepod with Red Epic to film the stars and northernlights. I have to say that it´s way easier to think about pulling the sledge up to hill than actually doing it. We were quite exhausted when we reached the sweet spot of the hill. Have to add more physical training to schedule in the future.

I have updated our Epic firmware to Beta 4.0 which allows timelapse photography (interval recording) with frame summing or frame averaging. Those methods should expand the shutter time up to 16sec by using multiple frames to construct one. I haven´t studied those methods enough to explain them better, but I have to say that I´m bit disappointed to Epic in matter of star photography. The result that I got with f1.8 lens and 8sec exposure was very dark & noisy. But like I said I have to learn it much better, but at this point Canon with Magic Lantern will do the job much better.

After some noisy Epic timelapses we continued filming with Canon and Magic Lantern quite long, if I remember right we had wrap at 5:15am. We did one timelapse where we were starring in front of the camera. We were having a bonfire with sausages and grillcheese.

After the wrap we had a short sleep in Skyvan (my caravan car) and started it to Kuusamo and Ruka around 9:30am. We looked quite tired when we arrived to Ruka, but fortunately there was no need of close ups on that TV-Commercial.

The weather was not the best for the commercial shoot. It was very foggy and the snow was really hard. It was difficult to get the snow up in the air (like the commercial storyboard said). Jakub happened to be a licensed ski teacher in Czech so he volunteered to be in front of the camera. Dominik also starred the commercial with skis though he is a snowboarder. Two hours before the sunset the fog faded away and we got the pictures needed for the commercial. The weather actually turned really nice for twilight.

After the commercial I wanted to give Epic an another change in timelapse photography. There was really nice sunset coming and I had Epic in the half way of hill Ruka. I set the Epic 5K HDRx filming one frame every 10 seconds. I overexposed the a-track 3 stops and made the x-track 6stops under. It filmed the sunset for 1 hour and the result was quite spectacular. Epic proved once again to be maybe the best camera available in the industry.

And by the way.. If there´s anything you would like to ask about the equipment, weather, locations or anything, feel free to leave a comment on the blog.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Patience to film timelapse

Last saturday I went out to film some timelapse photography. I was about to test the Canon 60D with Magic Lantern v2.3. First to test was the bulb ramping option to get smooth transition from day to night. Sun was shining and it promised a good sunset to film.

I took Canon 60D with Magic Lantern 2.3 installed and went to Ounasvaara. It´s a small hill next to Rovaniemi and there´s a view tower where you can see the city and the sunset (in winter). I was walking down the path when I met a group of young people who were finding a place to make a fire. I said that there´s a bonfireplace at the view tower where I´m going so we can join as a group. It seemed out that it was a group of exchange mediastudents from all over Europe. I said that if they want to join me later on the night for timelapse trip little bit more north they are wellcome.

View from the Ounasvaara view tower

I climbed up the tower and set the camera to film the scenery with bulb ramping. Sunset mode and +0,5EV maximum change in exposure. Bulb ramping is a method how to film timelapse shots where you have so big dynamic change in the light that camera sensor can´t handle with static exposure values. For examle if you are filming sunset and starting when the sun is still shining your images will be darker every second the sun is setting down. In one point the sensor can´t handle it anymore and the images are only black. In bulb ramping you take couple shots from that scene and tell the camera that I want the exposure to be like this. The camera analyses the scene and when the timelapse it´s on it will change the shutterspeed to maintain the correct exposure for the ambient light. It can go for example from 1/200 sec to 20 seconds. This method works much better than auto exposure, which will result a flickering timelapse video. In Magin Lantern there is a setup for sunset and sunrise modes. In those modes the exposure can go only up or down and the shift between night and day should be smooth. Anyway there´s alwayes some littele fixing that you have to do in postproduction.

Here´s the result that I got from the view tower. This is still pretty raw with no processing so there´s little bit flickering and the colors are not as good as I´ll get them later on. Unluckily I ran out of card and I didn´t get the stars so well. I should have had been filming there at least for one more our.

Later on I called the students and asked if they still want to go for an adventure. Three brave ones, Dominik, Jakub and Tommaso had the guts to step into my caravan car "Skyvan" and travel into the wilderness 40km north from Rovaniemi. The mission was to find some auroras or shootingstars.

It was -20 celsius and pretty foggy everywhere. You couldn´t see the sky in Rovaniemi. First we drove to Olkkajärvi where you have good parking place near a lake with good view to sky. It was foggy but you could see the stars. We decided to find a better view a bit north from there. We drove to Misi and stopped in one of the bus stops in the middle of nowhere. It was hard to understand for the students why you need a bus stop in the middle of nowhere. Maybe they are for the reindeer :)

We built the shuttlepod pointing the northern sky and started the timelapse. This time we were not lucky to get any big auroras. Only a slight green shining on the horizon. The view was still amazing. We were there for a little bit more than 2 hours and the extra clothes that I brought seemed to be a good idea. Dominik, Jakub and Tommaso volunteered to join the aurora expeditions later on this winter. And we hear more about those trips later on. Here´s the star view timelapse that we got.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Winter has taken over. This is what we did in Summer 2012

It´s already January and last blog post was in May.

No, we are not dead. Still hanging on this side :)

We just had a little time off after the winter season though we had couple quite interesting projects.

Early summer we were filming a indie feature film called Priest and his Master (Herramme Lampaat) directed and starred by our screenwriter P.J.Piippo and Editor Kim Saarinen. Coffin full of black humor on this one. Film will be released later on this year.

In June we made a filmshoot for Finnish Defence Forces. Our task was to film pyroshots with Red Epic. Loads of gasoline and dynamite for 2 days of filming. Footage reminds me the music video Rooster from the Alice in Chains.

We also did couple videos for WRC driver Mikko Hirvonen. Pera filmed videos for him in Sweden, Mexico, Portugal, Germany and in Finland we did a bit bigger production including a Red Epic on a Skydivers helmet.

We´ll try to keep on updating this blog now when winter season has started again.

Here´s something from the summer: