I am traveling to Dawson city, Yukon for january to shoot an independant feature. It is very low budget so we are shooting mainly on the Sony HVR-V1P, and experimantal sections shot on 35mm with a Konvas 2M.
The question i have is if anyone knows much about capturing the aurora borealis on tape or film.
I was wanting to get sync sound shots of two characters together infront of the lights however i have been reading that the only way to capture the lights is through long exposures and time lapse.
Anyone have any info or tips?
So let me get this right. You're an Australian going to the Yukon in January for a film shoot?
Well as they say, good luck mate!
Have you checked the temperatures for the Yukon at that time of year? As an Australian are you prepared for that kind of cold?
Shooting outside in freezing cold temps will be a real challenge. I've shot with the Konvas here in Southern Ontario during the winter, and it's not a piece of gear that likes the cold. Your cameras and batteries will need some sort of warming system.
Just using camera controls with giant mittens on is a real pain, bare skin will freeze in seconds. You look through the eye piece and your breath floats up, and right into the eye piece causing it to fog, your tri-pod head freezes in place in about a minute. The list of horrors that accompanies shooting in these conditions is endless.
As to your question, you will never get the northern lights on film at 24fps, even with 500ASA film they will be far too dim for a 1/48th exposure. That's why you always see them moving fast, they are always shot with long exposures in time lapse mode. So the camera needs to be able to do two things.
I highly doubt you'll get much on video either.
The easiest way to do this shot is to shoot your characters in studio against blue screen. Then key in the northern lights, shot with long exposures in time lapse mode.
Enjoy your trip, it's gonna be very very cold.