UWOL#5 "King of Dovrefjell" by Per Johan Naesje at DVinfo.net

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Old September 25th, 2007, 12:27 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Akershus, Norway
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UWOL#5 "King of Dovrefjell" by Per Johan Naesje

I thought this round should be an easy one, - how wrong could it be! The theme "Mammals" lead me directly to Dovrefjell National Park. This time of the year is usual the best season for good colors and action among the Muskoxen. The rut season lead males to fight to be the dominated bull in the herd. My good knowledge about the animal and area was important and I was planning beautiful scenes, with lots of action and stunning scenery...

The first two weekends was defered by heavy rain and wind in the mountains. So, - with an optimistic spirit I left home Friday afternoon September 14. for a weekend among the Muskoxen. The weather forecast for the area was not too optimistic, but colder temperature with snow is much better than rain.

Saturday morning I'm waking up to heavy wind and snowshowers. I get my gear ready and walk out in the dark night. My plan is to be in the area where I know the Muskoxen are situated before dawn. The wind is severe, and poor visibility force me to turn around and return. On my way back to basecamp I'm suddenly aware that a male Muskox is standing a few meters in front of me! I think we are both surprised by the meeting. No one of us seems to step aside, so I'm deciding to start getting some footage of him. The male looks very relaxed, I'm thinking he really likes the bad weather and do not care about my presence. You can view the male passing by in heavy snow in the film at 01:51.

Back in base camp I prepare a hot meal and sleep for a couple of hours. 11 a.m. I'm waking up. The weather is much better, - it is still severe wind, but only partly clouded. On my feet again to the Muskoxen!

This time I manage to get footage of my hike up in the mountains and my talking in front of the camcorder. I also get some footage of the Muskoxen feeding on plants. But the great action is missing. I need a bigger herd, - which I know is located a bit higher up in the mountains. But daylight will be gone in a couple of hours, so again I'm returning to my basecamp.

Sunday I'm waking up to really bad weather...snow and wind. My passion for the mountains and my good knowlegde and skill to go out in this weather lead me up in the mountains once again! The wind is moderate and the hike is not as hard-working as I'm expecting. Up there I'm finding a bigger herd of muskoxen, about 10-12 animals. To get near them I have to use some time and approaching slowly. I'm wearing a colorful jacket, because I want to be seen of the animals in a long distance from the herd. This is to let them know my presence and get used to me. I never rush in, - which can put me in a dangerous situation.

The wind is increasing and I'm still not ready for getting the footage... After one hour in severe wind and cold I have found a position which looks good for some footage. The snow is blowing heavily and is almost hiding the Muskoxen. It's very difficult to maintain good focus in the viewfinder. An youngster is feeding in front of the rest of the herd. He is very curious about my presence, and I'm afraid that his mother will be here soon... I have to move out of the area!

Well, this is the story behind my entry. Hopefully I have been able to show you some of the conditions around these fascinating animals, living high up in the mountains of Norway.

Link to my entry:

- Per Johan
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Old September 25th, 2007, 02:36 PM   #2
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Absolutely gorgeous cinematography of beautiful scenery. The colors and changing weather shown within the same 3 minute production present a sense of wild grandeur that excites the senses.

The sequence of the one Muskox in the driving snow had an almost monochrome feel for a moment and in it's own way was a stark kind of beauty natural to both the animal and the land.

Thanks for allowing us to see you in a way that I think added your personal touch to this one. I enjoyed seeing you and how you present yourself as relating to the environment. The hiking sequence was a great lead in to what comes later.

Wow. I really like this one, Per
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Old September 25th, 2007, 03:27 PM   #3
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Per Johan, you keep deliver great work!
Very nice to see the dramatically changes in the weather.
The best shot in my opinion was the first clip of the single musk ox in the blowing snow.

Well done!

ps, how did you find the link to your entry already? I can't find anything but UC4 and older on the uwolchallenge website so far.
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Old September 25th, 2007, 06:15 PM   #4
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Wow.....now they are some interesting filming conditions. In UC3, when filming the seals I had up to 40Kph winds and it’s the condition I like least I think because it just ruins so much footage. We're you well covered in that wind.....it looks very strong indeed?

Your film gives a great intimate look into both your film making and the musk ox and your very unique relationship with them. I like your VO and Norwegian turn of phrase as it places your films so well. I would like to have seen a little more shots of the musk ox in this piece.....hell, I just want the finished feature length ' year in the life of ' ! But what you have in this film is very nice.

Your shooting is up to your usual very high standard. I think your editing in this is much improved particularly shot structure. This piece feels nice and rounded and I know this is something I've mentioned before and we've discussed, so great to see things developing in that way. Now its late and I've only watched your film once so I may well critique some more tomorrow.

Great stuff.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 02:28 AM   #5
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Number 1

A really superb paceÖ good job!
If this one dos not winÖ. Iíll be so disappointed.
You made it one more time. My number one, no question about it.

Markus Nord
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Old September 26th, 2007, 03:06 AM   #6
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Hi Per,

Congratulations on some truly beautiful footage. I can only imagine how difficult this would have been to capture - very difficult conditions.

A couple of technical issues I know you would already be aware of - some unwanted wind noise and some camera shake. Perhaps the wind noise could be eliminated/managed better with some wireless mics taped inside your jacket - rather than the shotgun approach? Having said this, these couple of technical gitches were minimal. I only raise them because I know you are always looking for some technical feedback.

Loved the establishing shots, the colours and the music selection. Perhaps some real close ups of the ox could have been added using your 35mm lens however, I am now starting to be ultra critical.

Overall, I thought your footage was absolutely wonderful and certainly the best entry I feel you have submitted to date.

I think you should be highly commended for actually being in a position to capture this sort of footage. I feel I am pretty dedicated when I drag myself out of bed before the golden hour starts - but you leave me in your wake with your efforts. I hope your enthusiasm will continue, and we get to see some of these wonderful moments for years to come.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 09:24 AM   #7
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Congratulations on continued spectacular filming. I always have the sense that I am sitting in a big movie theater watching a nature film of the highest order. Your narration adds so much to the film, not only in information but the sound of your voice and your accent lends to a very pleasant experience listening to what is being said.

Stunning cinematography and always, your daring and skill comes through loud and clear in all that you film.

I personally enjoyed the young, curious one ... but oh how that would make the situation a bit anxious. How wise to remove yourself from potential serious danger!

The seasons are changing in Norway!

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Old September 26th, 2007, 11:45 AM   #8
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Hi Per Johan
A most amazing part of the world you live in,and you capture the pure beauty of it so well.It is amazing how much the weather can change in such a short time.A good thing as you said that like the Muskoxen you were also dressed for the weather.
Keep the good work comming.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 12:02 PM   #9
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The footage is so vivid, you can almost feel the cold. I especially like the muskox in the snow, since it created such a dramatic portrait of the hardship of their lives, especially now as the seasons change.

Since you ask for technical comments, the only thing I didn't like was the way the background music from Grieg kept changing in volume so dramatically, which I found distracting. But that is only a minor suggestion.

The video was really incredible, and your hard efforts to obtain the footage really paid off.

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Old September 27th, 2007, 12:19 AM   #10
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Thanks all for your comments!

Mat: I was well covered with several layers of clothing and a cover on the camcorder as well. I also use a carpet called "Fjellduken" wich isolate well against wind and snow which i can wrap myself into when I sit down in the mountains. I can't give you any answer about the windspeed but it was very variable.

David: I much agree about the sound. Those shotguns was the only mic a took with me so... ...in fact I have some wireless lavmics but the receiver need 240V. I also missed some close-up of them in this entry but I will not break any rules to use old footage from my great archieve where I have some real nice close-ups!

Ruth: Very good that you mention this as I wasn't aware of that this could be distracting.

Ok, back to downloading some more films to view. As Meryem say in another thread: "this round was the lowest turn-out number wise, but the quality of the films was amazing." I totally agree on this!
- Per Johan
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Old September 27th, 2007, 12:47 AM   #11
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Nothing more to be said that it's another great production ! Thanks for taking us there !
Chris J. Barcellos
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Old September 27th, 2007, 11:49 AM   #12
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This is on par with any of the great nature documentaries seen on BBC or PBS. One thing I never really noticed, until now, is how having the presenter on camera really brings the viewer in. It helps create an active viewer. It reminds me of a David Attenborough film; or Marlin Perkins' Wild Kingdom. (Back in the 1970's and 80's it was a prime-time series in the US.)

The wind noise wasn't too distracting to me, but maybe where there is no VO, I would remove the audio from the soundtrack. I only noticed this when you first showed the oxen during the storm.

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Old September 27th, 2007, 02:11 PM   #13
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Hi Per Johan.
I’ve told you so many times, not only in this forum how much I admire your work, so I’ll skip that part, ooops now I did it again (the Britney way).
I’m not sure though if I think this is your best uwol film, my favorite is still uwol#1, “from sea2peak”. It doesn’t mean I think your "King" is a bad movie either – just that I like the other a bit more :)
It was nice to see you in front of the camera, it suited you well and you should do it more.
It makes me feel I’m participating in your little adventure, way up there at Dovre :)
Also admire you for making this film in such weather.
“Morning”, this music makes my heart melt; it’s the Norwegian soul, man :)
Though I agreed with some that maybe you should have tuned it down a bit at some parts between your narrating?
My favorite scene?
The one where you tilt your camera from the creek to the mountain, it starts at 00.42 and is beautiful done. I never get to do these kind of stuf how hard I try. Guess I must practice a bit more :)

All the best.
Geir Inge
Geir Inge B. Brekke
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Old September 27th, 2007, 04:59 PM   #14
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Per Johan,
I've just watched "The King" again in sheer amazement. Not only for the beauty of your location, but for the technical skill you have in shooting. Please share with us how you kept your shots so steady in that hurricane. Nothing short of a concrete building could block that wind, and I don't think image stabilization software would be up to the job either.
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Old September 28th, 2007, 07:12 AM   #15
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Per Johan I was glad I had my longjohns on when I watched this one. I know what itís like shooting in the wind and when you have to pack your gear in you have to keep things manageable. I enjoyed the beauty and the harshness of the area. Excellent.
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