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#1 Michael Collier

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 09:08 PM

I am on a lifelong quest to bring filmmaking to Alaska. I have been shooting up here since I was 14 and I can tell you its a beautiful place.

My question is weather any of you as DP's would argue to shoot up here, and if not what would keep you. Our cost of living is about 5-10% higher than california, so it would cost a bit more for certain things.

Here is where I think alaska really shines (bad pun intended.) In the summer in anchorage we get aproxamatley 20-22 hours of daylight a day. Most of the midafternoon sun is low in the sky. It has all the color and intensity of a californian mid-afternoon, Its just low in the sky. Later on at night (around 7-8pm) we get into 'magic hour' type sun. this last about 4 hours then goes to a dusk (perfect for day for night) and lasts another 4 hours then goes back to dawn magic hour.

I am thinking if you were to shoot all exteriors in anchorage and stage the rest in cali, would the light save you on renting light? Would the extra magic hour time add attraction to shooting up here by reducing days?

What do yall think. I want to talk to the mayor and get him to start a serious film location marketing campaign (big oil windfall, its great for our gas to go from 20/barrel to 60/barrel) I would love to see serious films and a serious film community start up here.
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#2 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 10:05 PM

The issues as I see them are, how "warm" does it get during these 20 hour days?

Can you see the actors breathe? Can you see vegetation in the background or, snow?

Can your actors wear shorts, bikinis, jeans and a shirt?
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#3 steve hyde

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 10:33 PM

...well it sounds like Alex has never actually been to Alaska. :blink:

Shooting at Northen latitudes in summer is amazing. I have done quite a bit of outdoor photography in Alaska . Snowboarding decents at two-oClock in the morning and all of that. I agree it is a fantastic place to shoot. Perhaps you guys should have an architect design a daylight studio up there. How much daylight do you have now? 10am -1:00??? Here in Seattle we are seeing sun from about 7:30 to almost 5:00pm...

Days are getting longer now :D

Steve
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#4 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 10:50 PM

...well it sounds like Alex has never actually been to Alaska. :blink:

Shooting at Northen latitudes in summer is amazing. I have done quite a bit of outdoor photography in Alaska . Snowboarding decents at two-oClock in the morning and all of that. I agree it is a fantastic place to shoot. Perhaps you guys should have an architect design a daylight studio up there. How much daylight do you have now? 10am -1:00??? Here in Seattle we are seeing sun from about 7:30 to almost 5:00pm...

Days are getting longer now :D

Steve


And after your reply, I STILL haven't been to Alaska.
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#5 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 05:03 AM

Coming from Scandinavia, which is about the same latitude, I've asked myself the same thing. The summers up there are beautiful and have, as you pointed out, 24 hour sunsets - basically. But even the winters are absolutely gorgeous. Not many hours of daylight, but they have a certain quality of light that can't be replicated elsewhere. And images shot in snow are always beautiful.

I remember a funny quote from finnish director Renny Harlin on the set of Die Hard 2 where everyone in the team was on and on about how cold it was to shoot night exteriors in Toronto (in basically the warmest winter they've had ever since they had to ship in snow..). Asked how cold Renny tought it was he just said - "ah, they're basically just southern californian wimps" in his unimitable lingo. And on Braveheart the executives complained that Mel Gibson shot in 'real weather' in Scotland - they couldn't understand why he simply didn't do it in a studio in California instead and so on.

I think the reluctance to go up north has to do with the film business built-in need for flash and largess, combined with laziness. We all know the real reason why every commercial done during the winter is shot in South America, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia - beacuse that way the creatives get a free holiday to a sunny place where they can have drinks in sleeveless shirts. That's the real reason. And most people dislike cold and are in to creature comforts. Never underestimate mankind's propensity for laziness, as someone said. I'd like to expand that - never understimate mankind's propensity for avoiding a location they perceive as cold or uninviting or to far from a "happening" place.

Me personally - if you want to torture me, drop me on a beach. I dislike sunbathing and sand vehemently. I'd much rather cross the antarctic on ski's than sunbathe on a beach for for the same amount of time. I've always been fortified and quickened by weather - the more it beats down, the more I like it.
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#6 Tim J Durham

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 08:09 AM

Me personally - if you want to torture me, drop me on a beach. I dislike sunbathing and sand vehemently. I'd much rather cross the antarctic on ski's than sunbathe on a beach for for the same amount of time. I've always been fortified and quickened by weather - the more it beats down, the more I like it.

This is a good thing. Somewhere, European men got the idea that it's OK for them to wear a thong to the beach. I'd much rather be skiing with a Swede. B)

As for Alaska, isn't it massively buggy up there in the summer? Don't get me wrong, I'd love to go but I think too many people in Hollywood saw Al Pacino in "Insomnia" and think that'll happen to them. Like me. I've been to Sweden (Ã…kersberga- anybody?) in the summer and it was tough to get to sleep for a few days.
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#7 G . Stephen Bruno

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 10:22 AM

Perhaps you guys should have an architect design a daylight studio up there.


Wow, that sounds like a freakin awsome idea!
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#8 Michael Collier

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 08:50 PM

The issues as I see them are, how "warm" does it get during these 20 hour days?


Its actually very nice in the summer (May-Sept) it stays around 70-80 degrees. Doesnt dip below 60, doesnt get hotter than 85. Most places are totally free from snow, including all visible mountains in anchorage. Of course we do have boarderline camp, a snowboarding camp in Girdwood (20mins from anch) and about midway up the mountain there will be snow most of the year. The camp is in Aug!

Your actors can wear anything (70 feels much warmer for some reason in AK than in CA) and no, you wont be seeing any breath in the summer months.

Whoever made the comment that you cant replicate the quality of light in the winter said it right. Now adays we get light (enough to shoot with) from 10a-4p (its 4:30 and a bit to dark to shoot, though day for night would work)

In the winter it stays around 10-20 degrees. (extreme lows touch -10, but dont last)

We also get long periods of time when the sun is just after sunset where the sky is litterally on fire. I have never seen colors like them anywhere.

Another advantage is break up, its warm enough to wear shorts and bikinis and whatever you need your charecter in, but the snow is the ugliest dirtiest thing ever. Everything is brown and looks like the whole world is rotting (this lasts 2-3weeks) Not your typical idea of beauty, but for scenes that need that grit and ugly, its definatley attractive-ugly.

The daylight studio is a great idea. I just dont know much about them, could someone give me some info on them? I assume they have some kind of clear walls to let light in, but what about support structer? do those give off shadows? Are they soundproof?

as for cali wimps, well in the summer most of our tourists are frail old people. These are the wimpiest of the wimps in terms of cold handling. Asside from a light wind jacket they do just fine.

I should peice together a demoreel of AK beauty shots, combine that with a reporter track describing photographic advantage to shooting up here and see if I can get a list from maybe the ASC or an orginazation like that. I figure If I get this in the hands of respected DP's and Directors and make them fall for alaska, producers will pony up the cash to make their prize director happy.

In the end this is totally selfish thing. I love alaska and dont want to leave. In a year I am going to move to california, try and establish a name over 10 or 20 years of hard work so I can move back to alaska and have people fly me down to shoot their films. (kind of roundabout, but I love film and alaska and I dont wanna choose between them) I think if any DP or director is into fishing, then the sale would be easy.
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