In September I flew to Japan to help Peter MacIntosh with his documentary about the Geisha world. We shot mainly in Kyoto but also in other cities.
It’s a joint effort of three; Peter, me, and Jonathan Kung. I usually work alone and do everything by myself, so this was a completely new experience to me, and I can’t say I’m completely comfortable and happy working this way.
My work was to shoot, and starting soon, to edit. We used a Sony FS5 and everything was shot in 4K. The 4K codec is 8 bit 4:2:0, and the HD 10 bit 4:2:2. I would have been happy to record in HD but it was decided that we should do it in 4K. It generates huge, heavy files, and I will need to work with proxy files. And I need a lot of hard disc space too, to convert the MXF-files to Prores 422 HQ. A lot! Of course there is some benefits having 4K files when editing, but I’m not sure it’s worth all the extra cost and time. Anyway, the camera was very comfortable to shoot with. I loved the handle and all the buttons, and the image looked a lot better than I’m used to with my camera.
I always upload all my documentaries to Youtube but I suspect Peter and Jonathan has other plans for this one. I don’t know yet how and where it can be watched, but it should be ready sometime this spring.
In October I drove (again!) around Finnmark in northern Norway and got some additional shots to my coming documentary about the area, and got a couple of more interviews too. As usually, this is a project without any external funding, so I saved money by sleeping in the car and eating very basic and simple food. The locals called October the blue season and I can see why. Northern lights almost every night too!
I’m hoping to be ready with this documentary sometime this year. It’s a road movie where I drive around Finnmark and stop at places that catch my attention and interview people along the way. I didn’t know very much about the area before I went there, and I choose not to do any research. I just went there hoping to find something interesting and improvised my way around. I would like to say that it worked very well, and I have high hopes for this documentary!
I have paid a professional researcher in Helsinki to investigate archives in Finland and Russia in order to find some information about my grandma’s life and whereabouts in Stalin’s Soviet Union. The war archives in Finland make their material available after 60 years, and in my case that means 2017, this year. This is going to be a documentary too, and as soon as I get some time, I will start reading and learning about that era. I have already some books waiting to be red, and I have a list of additional books to order. I had planned to go to Russia this summer or fall to start filming but now that seems too optimistic. The Russian archives haven’t been very cooperative and everything takes a long time.
This summer I have planned to go to Japan with the rest of the family and that should result in a travel documentary, but more about that later.
My camera has started to malfunction sometimes so I have felt forced to start looking for a new one. There’s a lot to choose from, and the big question is should I go 4K or not? Maybe it’s going to be the new standard in the future, but should I switch to it already? I can get a really good HD camera for a lot less than an equal 4K one, and the difference is probably hard to see if the end product is going to be HD, and I think HD is what most people are going to watch for many years to come. Going from SD to HD was a big jump, but HD to 4K doesn’t seem so dramatic. It’s a difficult decision and I’m feeling a bit irresolute about it, but today I think a Canon C-100 II would be perfect for me. Or maybe the new model that (maybe) comes this spring. The new model has maybe 4K too, but then of course it would be a lot more expensive. Or maybe I can get the C-300 II if I can get enough sponsors. I plan to launch an Indiegogo campaign soon for this purpose.