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Another video

Some clouds I shot form an airplane using my iPhone 4. It’s a bit shaky to say the least..music from Trent Reznors soundtrack to “The Social Network”.

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Another geek post

I’ve been playing Halo: Reach for a week now and decided to try out the Bungie Pro service on bungie.net. It’s basically a service that lets you upload more files than usual to bungie.net and in addition you can render your films for viewing online. It’s not a very expensive service (750 stupid xbox live credits), but then again it doesn’t offer anything extraordinary. And if you want to render more than 5 shorter than 1 minute movies, you have to pay extra. And I really miss better integration with facebook/youtube.

We own this game. For real.

As far as I can see this is the only solution for sharing they offer:

http://www.bungie.net/Silverlight/bungiemediaplayer/embed.aspx?fid=3439375

Weightbot

I train a couple of times a week and the only way I am able to do that is by doing it nurd-style. I use a lot of apps to record my training sessions and gather statistics. Not only is it helpful, but more importantly it works as motivation. I basically use three different apps. One to track my weight (more interesting than useful perhaps), one to track my wight training and help it and one to track my cycling and running (actually there are two, but I’ll come back to that later). I use an iPhone and I’m not sure if all the apps are available on other platforms.

The first app is WeightBot which let me track my weight. It doesn’t do it automatically (unless you have this 160$ weight..), I have to manually enter my weight every day. You can set a target weight and how many days to achieve that goal. You get a nice graph and you can view it by week, month or year. It also gives you a BMI or Body Mass Index, but it may or may not be accurate, depending on how fit and how much muscle mass you have.

I have to admit I use it more out of a curiosity than as a tool to actually lose or gain weight. You’ll be surprised how a weekend of partying and drinking affects your body…

GymGoal

Want to know how to train a specific muscle in GymGoal? Just press it and the app shows you how!

GymGoal is your substitute to pen and paper at the gym. You can choose from a mixture of pre planned training programs or make your own custom ones. The app has a library of hundreds of different exercises, using free weights, cables, machines or just your own body. Each exercise is shown by a step by step walkthrough. Keep a record of your training sessions, how long they last, how much you lift, how many sets and so forth. Make notes to your self and time your breaks in between sets. There is even information about nutrition and how to reach your goal, whether it is muscle-building, weight loss, stamina or endurance.

Of all the training apps I’ve come across, GymGoal is the most extensive one, covering almost all aspects related to indoor gym training. You can also back up your information to a server in case you lose or have to restore your phone. It even has a built-in music player, though you can use Spotify, Wimp or the iPod in the background.

Cyclemeter

Cyclemeter is one of many GPS tracking apps in the App Store and I have not tested all of them. It’s similar to MotionX GPS, but without all the annoying sounds and

Cyclemeter maps your track.

all the useless graphics bullshit. Cyclemeter gives you all the obvious functions of course, a map, graphs, average speed, max speed, time, altitude and so forth. You can automatically send updates to Twitter, Facebook and email. Cyclemeter can even read any replies you get out loud if you use earplugs while cycling (which I don’t recommend).I don’t see the use of this, unless you are doing something crazy like cycling from Trondheim to Oslo. Then your friends or anyone else remotely interested could keep track of your progress and encourage you underway. I would say the main purpose is to save your trips and over time improve your time and speed. There is also a nice calendar that shows all your trips and whether they were better or worse than previous trips.

Cyclemeter can of course be used for other things than biking, like running, walking, skating, skiing or swimming(!), but for some reason there is apps for that as well. I guess there is economic gain in having three identical apps, but with different names and icons..

The last app I use is the Nike+ app for running indoors, on a treadmill . Free to download, but requires the Nike+ sensor in, or on, your shoe. It works well, but the results never quite match the ones on the treadmill itself. What makes Nike+ cool is the web-integration. Set goals, look at you running history, compare times, pace and length of your runs. It has turned out to be a nice community and it’s excellent ¬†if you’re a group of people training together, whether your competing or not ūüôā

Get a nice overview with Nike+ online.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I like colors, so I’ve been looking¬†trough my stuff to see if that’s actually true. So here is a couple of stills from some ads I’ve directed, shot by different photographers.

Lydverket 1

The first one (Lydverket) is actually shot by me. It’s a no budget “stand up” done in front of a green screen, shot on a Panasonic HVX200. It took about 30 min to shoot and another 30 to edit. I hade done a previz, so I more or less had the edit ready. I keyed the green screen in FCP which is not very smart if you want a nice smooth key, and I wasn’t planning on using it, but I liked the rough look it gave som I kept it.

Lydverket 2

The background¬†stills are taken by various photographers at various festivals and concerts. My orignal plan was to have the stills in color and the talking head in black and white, but it turned out strange and awkward¬†to look at when I cut from “face with background” to just “face without background”. It sort of¬†became like jumping back and forth between color and B/W which was just annoying. So I experimented with different¬†sepia/color wash solutions and ended up with this blue look with fake lens flare..

Olympics 2008

The next one is an ad for the Summer Olympics 2008 shot by Thomas L√łkkeberg. This was the first ad I ever directed and we did it old school and shot on 16mm. I would choose 16mm over any digital format any day, I like the ¬†dust, scratches and burns. It just feels more real. Of course, my big dream is to shoot an ad using 70mm, wich is ridiculous, but I don’t think it’s been done before. If it has, please tell me!

We were going to shoot five kids playing football (no gun involved) on a playing field during a

Mud football.

sunny day, but the weather forecast looked grim so we decided to use it instead of working against it. To make sure it rained all day we hired some FX people with rain machines to cover us in big, cold rain drops, 12 hours at end. It looks awesome, but in reality it’s a pain in the butt. The fake rain is not “warm” like regular rain. It’s icy cold. And there is a lot more of it than during a regular rain shower.

Being my first shoot, I ended up shooting way more than I needed. I had never made anything

I like rain.

as short as an ad before. This one ended up being 40 seconds long and I only used half of the shots we did. You usually never have more than a day or two when shooting an ad, so planning is important. It could very well be the most important thing you do in preproduction. That being said and if time permits it, I would rather come back with more shots than I need. Or end up using.

Continues after break.

We love rain.

The next one has a Blade Runner/C.S.I inspired look and is an ad divided into 6 parts. I co-directed with my colleague Leon and it’s shot by Tor Eigil Scheide. The “story” stretches over 3 different locations, the 2 first ones are the most interesting; “the crime scene” with the film noir, Blade Runner-inspired look and the “crime lab” with the CSI-look. This was an ad for the Norwegian

Big lights pan through the windows creating columns of light in the smokey interior.

finals of Eurovision Song Contest, or Melodi Grand Prix as we call it. Lot’s of colors, lot’s of glam and lot’s of really bad taste. But we had fun making the ads none the less. I’m a huge fan of Ridley Scotts Blade Runner and to get to play with big lights and smoke all day hardly counts as work.

Picking up evidence.

We found a great location in Oslo with a fantastic red and white checkered floor and some big great looking windows. Outside we put up a pair of lights and some guys swinging them back and forth, the effect was pretty amazing in the smoked filled room. It’s pretty dark, but still a lot of colors. Mostly dark, pink, purple, blue, red and silver and gold. The set looked quite different in regular light. Below are some more stills, I may even post the videos later on.

Look out!

Cliché.. P3 Sommer.

Lydverket (DoP Håvard Byrkjeland)

P3 Sommer, another cliché.

Hot water on cold ground makes damp. Nice.

I’ve always liked “Behind the Scenes” documentaries on DVDs, Blue Rays and even VHS back in the days. It was inspirational, and I guess in some ways, they helped me decide what I wanted to work with or towards. Some of the better ones that I like a lot is “Under Pressure” (The Abyss), “Hearts of Darkness” (Apocalypse Now) and “Dangerous Days” (Blade Runner, 4 hours of pure film making joy!). Also shorter featurettes¬†on Unforgiven, Terminator 2, Total Recall, Star Wars and the latest Star Trek movie are good (J.J Abrams uses some easy and excellent old school techniques that show that simplicity still works like a blast!) . If you’re hardcore you may want to check out all 12 hours of LOTRs extended edition extra material. But only if you’re hardcore. Anyway, now I wanna try to go behind my own stuff. It’s “just” ads and promos, but the process is still the same in many ways, only shorter!¬†¬†

The set four days before shooting

My biggest production so far, in terms of set size, number of people, budget and equipment, is the ad we did ahead of the winter olympics 2010. I had never actually shot in a “built from scratch” studio set before this. All my previous shoots had been on location, and I was looking forward to work in a controlled enviroment for change. Control is perhaps not the right word, “rigid” is more appropriate. Because in studio, nothing happens without you or someone else doing¬†it. No wind, no weather, no natural lighting, no natural moist or density in the air,

Two days before shoot. Halfway there!

no nothing.  NRKbeta wrote a behind the scenes article back when we made the ad, if you read norwegian, have a look.

When shooting on location I almost always come back to the editing room appreciating the small mistakes, chances of luck and unforeseen events that happens through a day. Picture 1, 2 and 3 shows the building of the set over three or four days. It’s not a big set, the hallway is 10 meters long, 2,5 meters wide and there is path that leads to the right for another 2 meters. As inspiration I had the Ice hotel from Dr. Zhivago, and as it turned out, so had my set designer as well, before we even started talking about how

Set. Done.

I wanted it.  

We actually discussed the possibilities of building the set in a giant fridge at one point, because I wanted the realism of warm breath in cold air which is really hard to do well in CG. In the end we decided not to do it. It was to expensive and would not allow much maneuvering space,in addition to the uncomfortable conditions of shooting in a subzero environment. We tried a CG solution later on, but it never felt right to me, so in the end we decided to leave it out.  

A lot of stuff got left out due to time and budget restrictions. I initially wanted drifting snowflakes in the air and 50 cm of powder snow covering the floor, just like in Ridley Scotts, “Legend“! (Legend is perhaps not the best movie in the world, but it is a visual masterpiece when it comes to set design. The whole thing is more or less shot in a studio, which in the end burned down before the shoot was finished. Early Scott-movies are visually stunning, check out The Duelists, Alien, Legend and Blade Runner!)¬†¬†

We shot the ad using Arri D21 on a MovieBird crane most of the time. Some shots on a dolly. It later turned out that there was a software bug in the Arri or in the workflow between the camera and editing software that messed up the blue channel of the image, which again caused problems when we started keying the green screen footage. It turned out okay in the end, but we spent a lot of time messing around, trying to find a solution to the problem.  

The Arri D21 on a MovieBird.

Where did the other wall go..?

¬†In addition to being my first studio shoot, it was also my first time working with 3D-elements which requires some extra planning. I’ll continue with that in Part 2 of this “behind the scenes” post, and let us not forget about the snow.. I’ll write something about that as well.

Another Painting

Actually my first. My art collection have thus far consisted of a Kurosawa print, an Italian western movie poster (Fistfull of Dollars More), a Pink Floyd poster (The Division Bell) and a small 3-piece painting done by a very, very good friend of mine.

The 3-piece

I think this is half of a 2 piece. So it's half.

I started talking about this last year. I had a wall in my apartment that was empty and it needed something¬†. I¬†wanted something that no one else had. So it had to be some sort of art… which I didn’t know much about and still don’t. It became a subject of discussion whenever I met “artsy” people, but the thing with talk is that that’s all it is. No actions come of it. At least not when you’re drinking beer while taking. It’s called beertalk.

Anyway, I like things with color in them, and movies and comicbooks. I’m not an excessive comicbook fan or anything; I read The Phantom and Spawn for a couple of years and I occasionally ¬†find some cool independant sci-fi stuff in magazines like “Heavy Metal” and such. But when it comes to comics the drawings and the colors are the most important thing. If I dont like the drawings I might as well read the book (as in the case with “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep“, I love the covers and the colors, but the¬†comic itself¬†is¬†just to simple).

Cropped version of the one I actually bought.

So my very good friend has this friend,¬†who I’ve met a couple of times, but never really talked to except for in short sentences like “Hi.” and “Goodbye.” and she is really good at drawing with a ball-point pen. The first time I saw her drawings I imediately wanted to hire her as a storyboard artist, but offcourse it’s hard to hire anyone at all when all you¬†can utter¬†is “Hi” and “Goodbye”. Her style reminds me very much of comics, but there is no action. Just thoughts and¬†images, things she sees at the time put down on paper, intertwined in a dreamy way. Nothing is finished, everything is started. It’s the mind put on paper and I like it!

Anyway, time goes by and this friend decides she wants to paint. And so she does. 20 or so paintings that become an exhibition, and that is where I got to buy my first painting. Her name is Taylor White and the exhibition is called “Shortly Before the End”. So if in Oslo, Norway drop by Galleri Pastillen and have a look. The exhibition closes 9th of July 2010, so hurry, hurry.

If I could ever hold a single thought for more than a minute this blog would blossom and grow into something spectacular. But since I can’t, it probably won’t. I’m still going to try though, 4th time lucky.. I’m hoping that the limitations of my previous tools were the source of my failures. At first glance WordPress seems better at least. Not to difficult and not to easy. It’s important to have a balance. This applies to all matters in life.

To start it all, some words of wisdom from Béla Lugosi