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Old March 29th, 2017, 07:28 AM   #1
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Lament of the Milky Way

Due to crummy weather day after day here in Iowa I only have a couple shots done for my film but I'd at least give you and idea of what it's about and get some feedback.

Ever since I had to upgrade my cameras to 4k for a project for the state of South Dakota, I've been hooked on filming at night. I just can't get enough of it!

So when this theme came out, I didn't think about it much at all before I decided on doing a film about light pollution ruining the dark sky and turning night into day in some places.

Recently I saw the Conservation International films again where celebrities like Kevin Space, Harrison Ford and Julia Roberts played the role of things in our environment, the sea, the land, the air, Mother Nature, etc. I really liked the tone of it. Nature kind of telling humans, you destroy me, you destroy yourself.

So I started working on an idea from the Milky Way's point of view. At first it was pretty much negative in tone from the Milky Way's perspective.

Eventually I got hung up on where I wanted to go, so I enlisted the help of a writer. She suggested to take a softer tone and so we worked on dual scripts. One negative, one more positive yet sad.

I think I'll be going for the softer one and I'll post the script below to see what you think.

I'm headed to Utah in a couple weeks and I wanted to incorporate some of the Ansazi into the film. So I have some ideas to film at some of the ruins around Moab to show how it used to be.

Basically the film comes down to two types of shots. Shots with light pollution and shots without.

The night shots will be hard to get enough of because a typical exposure of one frame might be up to 30 seconds and I'll need 24 of those just to make one second of video. So to get a five or six second shot is going to take time and with the weather not cooperating, I don't know if I'll be able to get enough sky shots.

No clear skies here for another week or so and that will mean the moon will interfere with getting shots of the Milky Way. So it's a big gamble that I'll be able to get the shots I need.
Since the darkest skies in Iowa are about two hours from me and the Milky Way doesn't rise until closer to dawn, there's no way I can get those shots here in Iowa on time. So I'm counting on my trip to Moab to get the Milky Way shots. It's do or die because I won't be able to get them back home because I have to be at work by 7am every morning.

I really like this idea for a film so even if I don't finish by the end of next month, I'll keep plugging away at it until I get all the shots that I need to finish it

Forgotten. It’s a lonely thing to be. But it was not always so. There was once a day when people in every corner looked upon me in the quiet of night with the greatest awe and reverence. My billions of stars lit up the darkness like a glowing ribbon of white smoke and cinders stretched across the night sky! Men, women, and children everywhere contemplated in the stillness my beauty, my enormity, and the meaning of it all.
Always above you, I watched as you harnessed fire to protect yourselves from wild animals and to tame the land for your own purposes. In time I witnessed the advent of electricity and your ability to read and work well into the night. I watched as your numbers grew and you created more and more light to protect yourselves from one another. You became greedy for light, just as you became greedy for everything else you believed would make your lives easier.

But now with your great lights: along your highways, surrounding your workplaces, spotlighting your marketplaces, flashing throughout your cities, you have obscured me from your sight. You are turning the distinct beauty of the starlit sky into a veil of electric haze. You are turning the night into day. With you, there is no quiet; there is no rest; there is no night.

Discounted, neglected, I am still with you -- still sparkling, still glowing, always ready to show the way. Waiting. But only from the remotest of places can you now see me. Only from the highest mountains and most sheltered, secluded wildernesses can you look upon me to reverence me and to drink in the pure beauty of my light, to experience your own smallness in the face of a universe beyond your very imaginations. Under those few remaining remnants of night sky you may sit; there you may contemplate in your finite minds my infinite, unfathomable depths.

If you listen carefully to my silence, you will be reminded: Long before you ever walked upon the earth I was here. When you have taken your last step I will be here. Long after your walk is finished, I will yet be here. And your little lights, many and mighty though they seem, can't hold a candle to mine.

This was shot before the challenge began so I'll have to reshoot it but it will give you an idea of the look I'm going for maybe.
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Old March 29th, 2017, 08:03 AM   #2
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Re: Lament of the Milky Way

Here's some shots of the stars taken before the start of the challenge.
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Old March 29th, 2017, 04:02 PM   #3
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Re: Lament of the Milky Way

Kevin, great idea. You should be able to get awesome color videoing neon signs. Also, the two clips you posted were really nice and crisp. Remind me, what equipment did you go with. Bob
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Old March 30th, 2017, 07:29 AM   #4
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Re: Lament of the Milky Way

Bob,

I'm shooting 4K video on a Nikon D500 and the timelapse sequences on a Nikon D810.
Love shooting with both!
Talk about Nikon updating the D810 this year so if they really focus on video with it as well as improve the low light abilities I'll be upgrading to that.
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Old March 30th, 2017, 07:34 AM   #5
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Re: Lament of the Milky Way

Steve, put it back!!!

I didn't have time to read it all this morning when I woke up but what I read was really heartfelt!

I hope you have it saved someplace!

The whole part of this challenge is to get feedback while we are in the process of making our film.
Anything anyone has to say is always welcome!

If I remember what you wrote the text really resonated with you and you paraphrased it with your own spin.
How can you think that wouldn't be welcomed?

I hope you reconsider and put the text back!
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Old March 30th, 2017, 11:13 AM   #6
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Re: Lament of the Milky Way

When I woke up this morning, my first thought was how presumptuous it was of me to think I could improve on someone else's narrative, and then have the nerve to actually publish it without even asking permission. I couldn't get it off fast enough. I'll put it back if I can find it, but I think it was simply erased.
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Old March 30th, 2017, 12:22 PM   #7
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Re: Lament of the Milky Way

Heck no Steve, I welcome any help that makes me think, that makes me grow even if it just makes me look at things from a different perspective.

We're doing this two month challenge in order to get some feedback and make some mid course corrections possibly so you were right on target with your post.

I can't tell you the number of times I've watched an old film and wish I had changed this or said that.
I don't know diddle squat about flow or any of that stuff. I just put stuff together that I think looks good.

Whether you can find it or not, please done hesitate to offer anything that you feel might make something better. That's why I'm here.

If there's times when you think I'm way off the mark, call me on it. I'd much rather have someone say I didn't understand the way you showed this and if you would have added this shot, it would have made more sense.

I wish I could find some of the discussions Mat and I had about our films. I think they were legendary. 😃
We welcomed each other's critique no matter how harsh it was. We could either agree or disagree. Make changes based on the feedback or not. But if one of us didn't get it about the others film, that means other people probably won't get it either.

So seriously, if you think of anything that might make my films better or if there's something that you think is the cats meow, put it in here.
I ingest it all and sometimes I make the changes, sometimes I don't. But I think it's important to know what others, especially other filmmakers are thinking.
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Old March 30th, 2017, 03:58 PM   #8
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Re: Lament of the Milky Way

And here's an alternate, darker version...
This… This is all there is. This is all we are, where we came from…

Wide open and free skies going on forever and ever. It’s infinity. And it makes you forget it all and it makes you think. It makes you feel…

It’s simple, but achingly beautiful. Isn’t it?

Serenity reaching into the depths of your being. Rejuvenating your soul fully, but effortlessly.

The emptiness and quietness embrace peace, but from time to time- I feel your absence

The day is just as breathtakingly beautiful. The landscape’s colors come to life and the birds sing.

But, you aren’t here with me. You… You are far away. Busy. And I wonder.... Have you forgotten me entirely?

How could you pick this over me?

You can’t see everything anymore, can you? It’s like you are almost blind.

Your busy city disguises my vastness.

Your attention is trapped to what’s before your eyes. Always looking for something. A parking spot. The next big thing. The next distraction.

You never slowdown, turn off your lights and wonder anymore. Do you?

You have made me invisible.

Your city lights limit you and you don’t even realize it. Do you?

Every night, your skies remain empty.

Do you ever worry that you may be empty, too?

Society has come to this point and there is no turning back. It is impossible to turn back now.

But the price you paid was ruining the sky, erasing the stars, forgetting where you came from… Is it too late?

No… It’s not.

And what do you do? What do you do if you want to find me again? To return to this vastness and feel the power of the universe?

I’m always here, you see. To return… To feel me once more… It’s your choice because I would never leave you… In fact, I have never left you.

Millions and millions of stars. Never-ending beauty. And, remember… in your city, you have none of it.

You have made it so that it’s perpetually busy. You only see…

You forget where you belong, what you are, where you come from.

The day and night create a contrast, a dichotomy, a dance.

But your city has changed this for you…

Can you bring me back? Can you bring back the night? Most importantly, will you bring yourself?
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Old April 4th, 2017, 12:22 AM   #9
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Re: Lament of the Milky Way

This looks exciting, Kevin.
The last and darker version of the script? Receding almost poetic. Am I right?
The two clips gives us a hint of what awaits. Beautiful! I am looking forward already.
Because of the different languages, I have problem with going into the details of the script.
I do not know how you use figuratively speaking, which I use in my language.
Am I right when the story is without hope, or is my opinion wrong?
I'm excited about how the ending of the movie will be.
Wish I could give you more help Kevin, but my language skills have their limitations.
I haven't shot a thing yet (except for one night trying to shoot the Aurora) and now we're starting on April :/

All the best to you and hope it will stop raining :)
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Old April 4th, 2017, 10:58 AM   #10
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Re: Lament of the Milky Way

Geir,

The darker one is a bit more poetic and introduces the idea that even though we seem to have everything, we're as empty inside as the night sky in a big city.

You are so far ahead of me my friend. I struggle with English sometimes and you are fluent in multiple languages. That's all from the arrogance of America in believing the world should cater to us and learn English.

Anyway, the story says that there isn't any going back. No one is going to go without lights, we're not going to drive cars without headlights and companies certainly aren't going to turn off the neon signs. In a longer version I think I could go into ways that cities could adopt shielded street lights etc. There are towns that are around certified dark sky sites that work very hard to manage growth without adding to light pollution.

It's been nothing but rain here every day with 100% cloud cover. Thursday is supposed to be somewhat clear so I'm hoping to get out to the edge of town and get some footage of the night sky in a suburban setting.

Would love to get back and film the factory transitioning from day to night but the wind will be too strong to get a good reflection in the water. Might try it anyway just in case I don't have a chance to try and film it again.

I think this is one I'll stick with even if I miss the deadline.
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Old April 6th, 2017, 07:44 AM   #11
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Re: Lament of the Milky Way

Supposed to be clear after 8pm tonight.
Going to head out to the local nature center on the endless of the city to get some night sky shots that will have some stars but not really dark skies.
I'm thinking this might be the opening sequence for the film
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Old April 6th, 2017, 10:41 AM   #12
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Re: Lament of the Milky Way

Go for it Kevin!
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Old April 6th, 2017, 11:42 AM   #13
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Re: Lament of the Milky Way

Forecast is still saying clear skies after 19:00 tonight!

Moon is rising shortly so the sky will be more washed out though.
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Old April 8th, 2017, 09:21 AM   #14
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Re: Lament of the Milky Way

Got in a couple shots the other night when it was clear. Think I can improve on the, so I will try again.
More clouds and rain in the forecast though.

Did learn how to reduce noise in low light by exposing to the right and brining down the exposure in post.
Wish I could post a pic but it fails every time I try
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Old April 10th, 2017, 08:40 AM   #15
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Re: Lament of the Milky Way

More clouds rolling into the forecast for next week.
Everything else is ready to go except the weather.
Have a feeling this one won't get done until later this year.

Four months of nothing but clouds and rain s I'm fully expecting to hang out in the camper in Moab and watch DVDs the whole trip
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