Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Winter season, Over and out..

R.O.C.K. rider Joni Maununen dropping a cliff (pic. Teppo Vertomaa)

Last week we were in Riksgränsen Sweden, filming Snogear clothes and mountain sleds. Last three years we have been finishing the winter season there and every year we have had at least one day briliant weather and good snow.

This time we were there with R.O.C.K. (Riders of cold kingdom), Sons of Svalbards, Wesslan Rubb och Stubb and Isak Eliasson. We had two 2013 Lynx Boondockers (3700 & 3900) and 2013 Skido Freeride from BRP and two 2013 Arctic Cats from  KGK MOTOR AB/ YNGVESSON MASKIN.

All made for climbing up the mountains.

Start of the week was not promising. With or without snowing there was no contrast. For sure you couldn´t film a thing but sometimes you couldn´t even see with your bare eye.
1st of may when we went up in the mountains Pera just hit the snow wall. It seemed that there was nothing but it apeared to be a steep snow wall. Luckily it was soft one.

Snow wall (iPhone pic: Anders Westlin)

Wednesday we decided to concentrate to weather making. It seemed that the weather is not going to be drivable on thursday so we made the magic and suffered a bit in thusday morning but it was worth it. Friday morning the bluebird was singing and the sun was shining.

Half way of the hill (pic Teppo Vertomaa)
On a fragile snow cornice (pic Teppo Vertomaa)

Friday we visited incredible places and shot some good footage. I was filming video with Juho Puikko, Teppo Vertomaa was filming stills and Pera Hussi was filming video with Go Pros. It felt unreal how "easy" it was to get to the locations with mountain sleds. You are in the bottom of the hill looking a nice mountain and couple minutes later you are on top of it sitting in a steep hill. By foot it would take a day to get close to that mountain and another day to climb it up.

Isak Eliasson (pic. Teppo Vertomaa)

Of course you need the skills to operate these mountain sleds. I think it was me who had the least experience driving those things, but thanks to similar photo shoots earlier I managed to get to the locations. I drove mostly Lynx Boondocker 3700 and if I had more free time in the winter that sled would be definitely my choice.

Freeriders hanging out in the wild (pic Teppo Vertomaa)
Fairytale landscape (pic Teppo Vertomaa)

The Gate of Lapland day before the super moon (pic Juho Puikko)

Saturday we had a fun day for the camera crew. We left all the cameras (except GoPros) at the hotel and went there just to have fun. And sure it was fun. Can´t imagine a better way to end Winter season.

Summer here we come!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Holy trinity of Timelapse

Febuary when we were filming Lynx  in Saxnäs we had one quite long but productive day. We decided to film a sunrise timelapse with new Lynx GLS snowmobile.

Spring was already coming and we had to woke up 5:30am to catch the sunrise. It took about an hour to pack the gear and get to the location. Location was apelsinklyftan, a bonfire place in a hill where you could see nice scenery 180deg to the valley. Valley was pointing southeast so perfect spot to film sunrise.
There was a mountainguide and 3 members of filmcrew up that early to build the shuttlepod before the sunrise. No one had a chance to eat anything because hotel breakfast started 7:00am. Just before 7 we had our shuttlepod & camera rolling and the rest of the crew went for breakfast.
I stayed at the location to guard the camera. I have to say it was one of the best mornigs in this spring. Sitting there in outstanding scenery with loads of warm clothes and just chill and see the sun climbing behind the mountains.

The timelapse itself was quite ok. Not a masterpiece, but nice anyway. I had little problem with the strong wind that started blowing snow and it was visible in 1/5 of frames. Also it shaked the camera a little bit.

After sunrise timelapse we had full filming day with Red Epic. Sun was shining the whole day and we filmed Deep Snow Sport segment of the Lynx 2013 lineup. Nice big jumps in quite difficult places to reach. When the sun started to set we decided to stay up in the mountains and film also the sunset timelapse.

We did the sunset timelapse with three Lynx boondocker snowmobiles. Once again the wind was a problem shaking the camera and I also overexposed the shots. When the timelapse started the sun was behind the clound and after that cloud the whites were quite burn.

After the timelapse we had have already 13h filmingday if you count all the packing, unpacking and transitions. We unpacked everything and put the batteries on chargers. I was going to the dinner when the Hotel manager said that the sky looks like it´s going to have northern lights this night. I thought that maybe after dinner I take some northern lights pictures. I went outside just to check the situation and I realized that the sky was just about to burst in flames.

I quickly recruited the crew and we built the shuttlepod as fast as possible and placed the Lynx GLS in front of the camera. Programming of shuttlepod takes painfully long when you have the sky on fire. Luckily northernlights lasted almost five ours and we managed to capture pretty awesome northernlights timelapse and couple nice stills aswell.

Here´s a little teaser from the northernlights scene:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It didn't suck to film in Saxnäs


I've been working as a 1st Assistant Camera at Lapland Memories since the end of 2011 and the most interesting case so far has been filming new snowmobiles in Saxnäs, Sweden. The days we spent there filming were 13.-17.2.2012. The equipment I spent most of my time working with were RED Epic camera and Kessler Shuttle Pod and Revolution head.

                      There they are: Epic on Shuttle Pod and Revolution head (I'm the one on the left)

The weather there was very diverse and sometimes quite extreme. It wasn't very cold but I've seldom seen it snowing that heavy. Because of that I was a bit worried how our equipment would hold up. We had good weather protection kits for Epic so I new that if we just were careful enough it would be fine but I wasn't so sure about the Shuttle Pod. Or to be precise I was more worried about the Shuttle Pod's controllers. They don't feel exactly waterproof and they couldn't be covered all the time because I had to use them. But to my big surprise they had no trouble working. I love it when things work as they should.

But I didn't always appreciate that Shuttle Pod the way I do now. In the beginning I thought it was one of the most annoying pieces of equipment I had used during my career. I felt that way because there's one major flaw with it in my opinion. It is that you can't turn the Revolution head without electricity. And it has to be positioned precisely so it can be placed in it's carrying case. So every time when there was a wrap up and I forgot to position the revolution head correctly I had to pull the cables again to get it working so I could turn it the way it should be. But after our Director of Photography made me promise to buy everyone a beer if I forgot to turn the Revolution head, then my memory got better. Now I usually remember to do it so there's not much to complain about the Shuttle Pod / Revolution head anymore.

But back to filming in Saxnäs. So there we were filming Lynx's new snowmobiles in the mountains. After I had learned that I didn't need to worry about our equipment I also had to learn to be a bit more careful about my own health. Now I now that it's not very wise to be riding a snowmobile (not driving) when it's going up a steep slope and I'm holding a huge camera tripod on my lap. It was very close that I didn't fall of and probably broken a few bones while rolling down the mountainside with the tripod. Luckily the driver noticed that I was about to fall of and pulled over. After that I started to be a bit more careful.

                                                                         Safety first

But in the end it was one of the best productions I've been working in. Beautiful sceneries, usually good weather and I even got to drive those state-of-the-art snowmobiles myself.

                                                                       That's not me

-Timo Paulin / 1st Assistant Camera

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fast cars on the ice

We´ve been quite busy during last couple weeks. That´s why there hasn´t been any new blog updates. Earlier in Feb we were filming something nice that can´t be published yet, but we´ll make a blog post about that later on this month when the time is right.

Last couple years we´ve been specialized filming motorsports. When you do something year after year, you learn the tricks how to make things look fast, dynamic & powerful. And when you do something well for one customer then most probably one another from the same genre will get interested.

Last two weeks our theme was fast cars on ice. At start we filmed new Porsche 911 in Rovaniemi. Production was made with Red Epic & Canon 5dmkII. It included some rig shots and for those we used the Panther multimount. Multimount is something that I want to recommend to everybody rigging cars with lightweight cameras. It´s really fast to rig and it can hold easily 5DmkII or Epic. Even with a fluidhead. With 911 we rigged Red Epic inside the car, filming reactions of passengers when they were having a hot lap with a race driver. We also rigged 5dmkII outside the car when they were driving fast and drifting on ice. Multimount worked perfectly as it did last year.

After 911 we went to Ivalo to film Porsche Sales Exelence Awards. It was a fast production that we edited at the same time as we filmed. Video included Porsche driving, Snowmobiles, Husky ride, Reindeer ride, Snowshoes, Ice Fishing, Sampo Icebreaker and the Snowcastle. Everything was filmed and edited in 4 days.

Yesterday I came from another shoot where we filmed super cars on Ice for Finish TV. There was one guy who had won a competition and had a chance to drive Subaru Impreza, Audi R4 & Lamborghini Gallardo on Ice. There was also one Porsche on the set.. It´s a nice job to film these luxury cars because it feels easy to make them look good. Good drivers and beautiful cars in a fairytale scenery.

Maybe someday we´ll have one of these cars in our garage.. You never know ;)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

-32°C, In the wildernes, filming Landscapes & Northern Lights

31th of Jan - 01st of Feb 2012 we had a commercial shoot at Levi. We filmed Huskies and Reindeer and it was pretty cold, around -30°C. The wind was also pretty rough between 5-10m/s. Pretty much the hardest weather I´ve been filming. After the shoot we drove back to Rovaniemi and our producer Pera drove to Saariselkä to pick our snowmobile.

Between Levi and Inari, in the middle of nowhere Pera called me and said that "there´s 100km of moneyshot landscape scenery in here and the freezing weather makes it only better. You just can´t let this be unfilmed" It was already sunset and we were driving to Rovaniemi. We decided that we´ll load the batteries over night in Rovaniemi and then we´ll head back to north to film some moneyshot scenery.

So the Adventure started.

Our writer/director P.J.Piippo was voluntary to join the extreme trip. We would have had accomodation in Saariselkä Tunturihotelli, but I wanted to film some night sky timelapse in the wilderness. So the name of the game was to sleep over night in my caravan car in the middle of the nowhere.

It was pretty cold and of course there´s no electricity out there. We were pretty well prepar
ed though. We had car battery(65Ah), caravan battery(120Ah), Shuttlepod battery(65A/h), 2Kw generator, battery loader, 10l gasoline, two 11kg bottles of liquid gas and just in case 500ml of finish brandy called Jaloviina (if everything goes wrong)

The morning didn´t start like it should have. All the odds were saying that you shouldn´t go on that trip. I tried to start my caravan in the morning and of course it didn´t start. It was in the electricity 2h before the start but still no.. I took the 120Ah reserve battery and broom.. it started. I drove to the office and kept the car running while we packed the equipment. We drove to the gasoline station to fill the diesel. I stopped the car on the wrong stop and when I tried to start it again it didn´t say a thing.. "SHIT" this can´t be happening, I wanted to go so much. I opened the hood and realized that the battery connector has broken in the pieces. Little bit of MacGyverness and I fixed it with almost the correct sparepart that I found in my car. They didn´t had any in the gasoline station. At this point I thought that with this luck we´ll die in the wilderness with these temperatures, no matter how well prepared.

The plan A was to stop at Levi to film some sunrise shots but because our luck we were behind the schedule and we had to drive fast to get the sunset pictures between Kittilä and Inari. And when we arrived there I understood what Pera was saying.

There was fairytale landscape as far as you could see. We stopped on the road and built the camera. There was practically no traffic in the road. We walked 100m from the road and from there where ever you pointed your camera you had just amazing picture. We took maybe 10-15 shots and then we continued the journey. We drove about 50km and stopped every now and then to take the moneyshot pictures. We filmed mostly 4K and 4K HDR video which means that we can use it as a video or we can take good stills from it easily. I would have filmed 5K but our Zeiss mkII cine lenses don´t cover the full 5K frame you´ll get vingeting in the corners.

I´m really waiting for the Ti-Canon mount so I can use Canon L-Primes at least in scenery filming.

After the sunset we started to seek a good place where we could stop our car and build our camp for sleeping and timelapse. It was a narrow road so it was difficult. When we got closer to Inari we lost the snow from the trees. It was bit of a disapointment but there was no place to camp in the moneyshot landscape. We found a wider part of the road little bit closer the Inari and we made our camp there. There was no NorthernLights in the sky but the sky was clear and it was almost fullmoon (really bright). We checked the compass and built the shuttlepod pointing to the northern sky. First time I had really problems with the temperature. It was -32°C. I had very good and many layers of clothes, but my fingers and the electrical equipment were suffering. Oracle controllers were slow as hell. When you pressed a button it took 5sec. to get to next page of the menu & so on. So it took about 2hours to build the shuttlepod and get the camera (60D with magic lantern) to take the timelapse. I almost gave up because it was so cold and the equipment didn´t do what I wanted them to do. Finaly I thought that the timelapse and motorized dolly started working. I knew that it wasn´t exactly what I wanted but I couldn´t do any better. I set it 30s exposure and 1min interval. It was too slow for northern lights but good for star timelapse
(there was no northern lights and I didn´t had any fast lens with me).

I took a swig (a couple) from our rescue bottle and went inside the caravan. It was +4°C inside and the heater was almost full power. I said P.J. that I rest a while and asked him to wake me up in midnight so we could do another timelapse. I had my winter clothes and couple felts over me, My dog Jedi also came under the felt to warm himself. I totaly passed out and didn´t woke up when P.J. tried to woke me up. Whole day & evening in -30°C made the job and I didn´t have to wait for sleep.

In the morning it was already +10°C inside. Luxury you could say. I went out and took the camera from the shuttlepod. Scrolled the pictures and found out that the whole northern sky was full of northern lights in the night.. Nice!

I pulled the generator on and started to heat the car. I wonder why I don´t have to heat the generator to make it start in -30°C. Maybe the engine is not as big as in the car.. We wraped the shuttlepod and packed it in the car and waited another 30min for car to get heated.

With second try it started without a problem. And I have to say that my car is from 1989.

We filmed the sunrise at Inari & Saariselkä and the weather was hardcore. -30°C and the wind was up in the hills 10-15m/s. You just couldn´t show any bare skin on that wind. But the scenery was awesome!

I am really waiting for more these kind of trips. Lapland is full of these fairytale landscapes if you just go little bit further from the normal spots.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Arctic Lapland Rally with Red Epic

26.-28.01.2012 Was the 47th Arctic Lapland Rally in Rovaniemi. Our crew was hired to film a micro documentary videoblog about the rally and the things what happens behind the scenes. We had 3 lightweight&mobile camera groups, incar gopros and our team with Red Epic filming the material. Our goal was to film stylish slomo shots from the drifts & jumps and the mobile teams were more capable to shoot more material at distant locations and pitstop areas.

The weather was maybe most challenging that you could imagine for Red Epic. As we know Epic is like a computer that has lens on it. Temperature was under -20 almost the whole week and the air was full of flying ice particles from the track. The event was in Rovaniemi where we still have open river making the air humid despite the arctic temperature. Every time when car drifted near the camera the spiketires lifted up a storm of ice.

Red wasn´t the only one suffering the conditions. Here´s one example of our production cars that had all possible warning lights on

Red had no problems what so ever. The touchscreen monitor was the thing we were worried about before we got the camera, but it didn´t had any problems. The drawing of the monitor and the touchability functioned well. Only problem was that you couldn´t use the touchscreen with a touchscreen pen and you had to do it with your bare fingers. In -25 operating your camera settings with bare fingers isn´t nice. We´re still waiting the RedMote to arrive that allows us to controll the camera without touchscreen.

Last day we were filming slomo jumps in the rally arena and got some really nice ones captured 2k 300fps and 4k 100fps. You can check the results from our daily videos, or the final compilation that will be published soon.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snowmobiling weekend in Pyhätunturi


I am Laura, the girl of the crew. I am spanish and I am working in Lapland Memories since 10th of January. I will like to show you my point of view about the last filming days.

Last weekend we were in Pyhätunturi, up in finnish Lapland, filming some snowmobiling. with Red Epic. It was the first time that I’ve lived this kind of filming experience. You see always the final product but “behind the scenes” sometimes is really hard, at least for me this time. In such a wild scenary everybody has to be really careful with the material and you have to be ready to stay in a windy and frozen place for hours.

Filming in the mountains

First day was hard for me. Friday 13 was not so bad in temperatures. I think the lowest we had was something like -10 degrees but when you are from Spain is really shocking at first. As everyday that weekend, we had to take all the stuff to the top of the mountain with the snowmobiles, so the driver has to be really careful and sometimes is quite possible to get stuck in the snow. My idea and Pera’s was to do some kind of making of… with Canon 60D, but the first time I took my gloves off to handle the camera my hands got frozen and I could not do it.  I felt really disappointed and I though I should gave up  but while the day was passing I started to feel better and I learnt some things to do for getting warm. For example, you have to keep on moving all the time even if it is hard in the snow... So in the last hours of the day I could take some pictures with the camera and I could even handle and help building the dolly and the Revolution Head. Anyway it was really hard because it started to snow and when your skin touch metal it hurts so much… But now I think I got used to that. No problem. 

Great light in the sky

About the filming that day: after the whole light hours filming snowmobiling, we tried to mix it with some fire. The experiment was great and now we have great images about that in slowmotion. Red Epic + ShuttlePod + Revolution Head is a really good mix. I’ve never seen this camera before and is really easy to handle and the quality is the best. I am really happy that I can be part of the team and be part of the filming experience with Red Epic.

Fire in the snow

About days 2 and 3, we were filming in the mountains again some snowmobiling and landscapes of Lapland from the top of the mountains. The weather was a bit worse and I think we felt sometimes more than -20, above all the last day when everything got frozen all the time. Anyway, the sky was beautiful these two days. The bad thing was that every stuff we had: clothes, backpacks, cameras, rails… Were full of ice all the time. By the way, these days, the places we choose for the filming were not so difficult to reach. About the weather, second day was ok and we finished quite soon, but last day was a very foggy day and we had to wait to get some good views. We used again Red Epic and the dolly + Revolution Head, and  here is what proofs that everything was completely frozen this day. Just look at my hair…
Part of the crew, frozen.
While we were filming the landscapes I felt a bit  scared because we were in a kind of dangerous place… But the views were completely impressive.
I think this weekend was a great experience for me in every possible way: I got used to the weather, I’ve seen the most beautiful landscapes ever (Lapland is just awesome), I’ve learnt a lot of things about filming and how our stuff works, I’ve learnt a lot of new things about Finland; and I knew a bit better my team.  I had the possibility of staying at home but, even with the bad things, I am happy that I took this chance. I hope that alter this I can be more useful for Lapland Memories, I just needed some time to get used to the new city, the new company, the new people and the new whole life. Is not easy to be spanish in Lapland but I will find the way!


Friday, January 6, 2012

New toy: Kessler ShuttlePod & RevolutionHead

It seems we´ve been really good last year because we got so many good presents this Christmas. First we had the Red Epic, but we also got a package from Kessler Cranes. We didn´t have time to open it untill now.
Package included Shuttlepod (small dolly), rails, RevolutionHead (tilt&pan head), pocketdolly, 3 different speed motors and two Orcle remote controllers.

ShuttlePod can be used to do normal dolly movements with medium size cameras, but Kessler products are more famous to be used in timelapse photography. Oracle controller has easy to use smartlapse feature to program VERY slow camera movements to be used in timelapse photography.

Maybe the best example "what you can do with Kessler" is Tom Lowe, Timescapes:

or Norwegian Terje Sorgjerd with Arctic Light:

We just opened the package so we don´t have our mindblowing nature timelapse on air yet. We did couple tests though.

First one was just a simple dolly movement with camera tilt while cleaning the office:

And as the second test we made the shuttlepod to climb our stairs to second floor while we cleaned the studio.

I can´t wait to get out in the wilderness to make some nice timelapse photography. It has promised better weather day after tomorrow, maybe then..