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  • Writer's pictureJohn Christian Rosenlund

..the most scary days are done, shooting Norway´s first disaster movie, “the Wave”

One of the most beautiful valleys in Norway. One night, a big part of the mountain falls in to the fjord and create an enormous wave – a 70 meter high tsunami .

The “wave sequence” in the film “The Wave”, produced by Fantefilm Norway, directed by Roar Uthaug, happens in the hours of  the “Norwegian bluish summer night”. It is dark , but there is enough light to see the enormous wave approaching the Geiranger – fjord below.

I know two ways to shoot this: the first option is with film lights that gives you the possibility to shoot from dark to dawn – or to film/shoot everything at dusk . But it would be almost impossible to use film lights to be able to see a big fjord with its enormous mountains at night  and definitely not with in the budget :-)  The second option would be to match an overcast fjord (VFX plates for the wave) with “film lights” of the action that happen in the foreground  – but no –  that smells visually artificial and it would be difficult to match VFX,  soft overcast light and foreground film light action.

I went for the real thing – we shot all of it at dusk. But as you know – the  Norwegian dusk in May is no more then 1-2 hours.  Some  smaller shots could be done before the real dusk – by pumping up the car lights etc. and reducing the sky light. But most of the 4 days of the shoot had to be done with in the very small time interval of 1-2 hours. The “dusk plan” had the added pressure that we could not afford for anything to go wrong with the  weather, the 80 cars, the extras and the equipment. We spent the daytime testing, and rehearsing with actors, then with actors and camera, then with extras, camera and actors. Then – as a racing car show with its pit stops  –  we shot the 10 hour program with in the 1 1/2 hour of magic hour. Actually not magic at all, but precise and hard work from a very good crew.  I am very happy with the result. We used 2x cameras. The second camera was operated by DP John Erling Holmenes Frediksen, who gave us his talented eye for the complete show. The Wave is actually my debut with RED on feature film and especially, the new RED Dragon. The 6k sensor gave us an extra stop of  light- which we needed for the last part of the night when the camera sensor sees more then the eye.  For the “steadycam shots”, the running shots and dolly shots – we introduced a prototype of  the  SC Newton  Gimbal, from Swedish Chameleon, and a custom  made extended  Easyrig, a motorcycle from Fikser´n and a Segway from Moviebird.

After the wave hits land – the lights changes. The “moon” light -rig was created by my great Gaffer Calin Catalin. It contains a lot of 150W bulbs and a blue green “silk material” we found from Turkey – that we will continue to use, to cover the 2000 m2 studio in Bucharest.

The film takes place in Geiranger and Øye – in my opinion, one of the most beautiful places in

Norway. This is our hotel, the famous Hotel Union Øye. This week – we have moved to Romania and 8000 m.2 studio where we will shoot the “EXT city aftermath”, INT. Hotel and corridors filled with wave and water.

Thanks to Asma Lateef  for helping me with the blog

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