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The Making Of.

  • 31 July 2014

Himmel is a film that I started working on back in 2012/2013 while I was in film-school. The idea was to get in a van and travel through my native Norway to discover and time lapse the magical and mysterious places we found. By the end of film school I managed to get some money together to achieve this. The 20 day project involved 5 trusty DSLRs and 3 assistants (Aaron Cook , Duncan Kemp and Nathan Summerfield).

Me and Aaron picked up the van in Fetsund and drove northwards to Rondane, Geiranger, Stryn, Sognefjord, Hardanger and finally to Haugesund covering about 1200km. In Haugesund Aaron flew back to the UK and Duncan and Nathan flew in. We then covered Odda, Flaam, Ulvik, Jotunheimen, Hallingdal and Buskerud, clocking up another 1000km.

Himmel

It was the most intense and amazing project I’ve done – there was little time for sleep because there was always scenery to be shot. We scouted sights as we drove, so we had to have our eyes open, looking for locations at all times. When time lapsing, at least one person had to stay with the cameras as the Norwegian weather could rapidly change leading to rain or even storms.

Himmel
Temperature change in 30 Minutes.

What really was astonishing was the changes in terrain and climate. It could go from sunny +22°C to wind and rain and 2°C in 30 minutes. An example of this was driving from Stryn, over the mountains, to Geirangerfjord.

We all lived in an old Mitsubishi van, it was our office, living room and bedroom – we loaded it with sleeping bags, blankets and cushions and made it cozy (at least that’s what I told the crew). Everyday we travelled somewhere new and woke up in a different place each morning, which was an incredibly freeing feeling, especially because we were surrounded by beautiful nature and seeing any sign of civilisation was a rarity.

Himmel
Our van, bedroom, living room, store room and office.
Himmel Himmel

One day we drove over the Jotunheimen mountains and noticed a flock of reindeer, there must have been over 1000 of them! We followed them through the mountains, filming. After, we decided to leave the car and climb up a mountain to shoot the sunset.

Himmel
Our route.

An hour later, reaching the top of the mountain, the wind was harsh and the temperature was low – for some reason we didn’t feel too safe. Nevertheless, we set up 3 cameras and started time lapsing. Nathan and Duncan hid behind a stone to avoid the unforgiving wind but I was lingering around because I had a gut-feeling that we weren’t alone. I crouched down to check the battery life and settings of one of the cameras and suddenly I saw something moving in my peripheral vision. I quickly stood up and looked but whatever it was, it was gone. I looked around again but the place was deserted and empty. Then I heard something running behind me. I turned but nothing. It was like being in one of those scary films where some sort of monster attacks you in the wild. Then I thought about the reindeer flock, and why they were all migrating north in a hurry…then I realised that we were on a southern mountain; the reindeer were running away from wolves. And I knew they were present. I grabbed the camera and approached the guys and told them it was too cold, we need to pack up immediately as it’ll be dark soon. I was shivering, but not because of the cold.

Himmel Himmel

We packed up and started to quickly descend the mountain. We were all feeling a bit on edge, even Duncan and Nathan who did not directly know that we were basically surrounded by wolves. While walking back I heard them, I was hoping that Nathan and Duncan didn’t because it would freak them out and they would probably start running back in fear; which would not be a good idea. We got back to the van in safety; locking that door was a great relief. Then we sat there in silence.

‘Did you guys hear something up there?’ Duncan asked. Nathan nodded with a scared face. They both looked at me.

‘Wolves.’ I said.

We all sighed with relief (and swore a lot).

We then drove to find a place we could camp and sleep; we’d all been awake for about 30-35 hours. After an hour we were driving through a forest and I was almost falling asleep at the wheel. We needed to stop anywhere just to take a nap – but with this tiredness your body doesn’t nap; you pass out for 10 hours or so. Suddenly a great red sky opened up, and so did the terrain. We were in Jotunheimen National Park, and we saw the most amazing sunrise. It came at the worst time and we were considering just going to sleep, but decided that we needed to give ourselves one last push to capture this. We set up 4 cameras and realised that this was going to look epic. And so it did, all 4 time lapses made it to the cut (00:09, 00:43, 01:20 and the final time lapse of the film); we knew they would.

Himmel Himmel
Himmel Himmel

We then celebrated with a beer and some dry bread at 8AM, not having had a blink of sleep for about 40 hours.

People:

Produced/Directed/Edited by: Greg Tomaszewicz
Assistants: Aaron Cook, Duncan Kemp, Nathan Summerfield
Music by: Deadstar/Nihal Anand
Special Thanks to: Tomasz Tomaszewicz/Teresa Marcinek, Michal Tomaszewicz, Jorgen Schive, Jan Gunnar Ness, Alexis Steele, Steve Hubbard and everyone else that contributed to the project!

Gear:

Canon 5Dmkiii x 3
Canon 60D
Canon 7D
Lots of lenses
Manfrotto and Hama tripods.
5 intervalometers
Magic Lantern.
Adobe CS6

Himmel Himmel
Greg time lapsing at Geirangerfjorden. One wide and one long lens to achieve the ‘zoom’ in 01:44
Himmel
Himmel Himmel
Sometimes we had to hoist tripods and equipment up the mountains, Duncan is not very impressed!
Himmel Himmel
The water in most places was extremely cold (glacial water!), to the extent that Greg couldn’t feel his feet, here he makes a scene cause he’s cold the poor fellow.
Himmel Himmel
June in Norway.
Himmel Himmel
By this point we haven’t seen a human being (except each other) for 2 days.
Himmel

You can find the 4K version on YouTube.

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