FILMING STRATEGY AND EQUIPMENT
OF THE "NORGE PÅ LANGS 2022" PROJECT
We are first of all outdoor sports filmmakers with 16 years experience from many kinds of outdoor projects, filmed often in the hardest conditions. Capturing this "Run Norge på langs" adventure is our absolute priority. Equally important as the trip itself! It is a very complex process. A combination of several demanding activities.
months of running more than a marathon every day in very hard terrain in a clean = hard style
everyday filming of everything interesting both on the run and in the backstage
editing photos and videos, writing texts and evaluating statistics for sophisticated daily reporting on social media and webpage
hard work on all the daily "backstage processes" like cooking, charging batteries, backing up the data, solving logistics etc.
Doing all of this for more than 2 months is extremely difficult. Every above mentioned aspect requires a lot of time and energy from all team members. Honestly, after a week on such project, usually everybody already feels tired. It is all-day-long hard work even for the team.
FILMING ON THE RUN
The pressure on the runner, who is at the same time main filmmaker and also partly daily reports creator, is simply enormous and hard to describe. Filming on the run is hindering you enormously. If you want to film everything that might be later used in a film, you must count with VERY LONG DAYS. You spend sometimes 2-4 hours a day just filming, which means that you have much less time for running and resting. You are also much slower and your backpack is a lot heavier. Taking care of sensitive and fragile film equipment in long periods of bad wet weather takes it to another level.
The way you solve your film gear consists of so many details. The crucial details like for example "how you fit your cameras and tripods etc. to your backpack", to have them available anytime, fast and without having to put the backpack off your shoulders. If you have to take your backpack down 50 times during a cold rainy day just to get your film gear ready, you must stop 50 times, you will freeze 50 times and you also will be way too slow. You have to have everything adjusted to your activity. Each part of NPL requires different gear and approach. If you are missing one smalle cable in the middle of the wilderness, you don't get the shot.
These "small details" are in the end absolutely crucial and essential! They decide the whole process. And there are hundreds of details you must solve during a project like this. It takes years of experience and trials and still there's a lot to learn.
You also have to have a clear vision of what you want and what to film and what to skip. Generally it is better to have more footage than too little, but too much will kill the speed of the project and you will be too slow. Truly mindblowing and highely schizophrenic process sometimes.
To film or to run...? To post daily reports on social media or to keep the materials for later...?
One of the hardest things of the whole process. The art of choosing. Takes also years of experience and even now, I would not say that I have absolutely clear plan how to prioritize. Especially on a project like this, where you do not know what expects you on the next steps behing the next rock or tree...
I will try to create a video about this whole process before we start our NPL in late June 2022.
The biggest problem for Petr isn't the running or filming, but sharing daily reports on social media and web. The worst time earter!
COMPLEXITY, AUTHENTIC DYNAMIC STYLE AND MOTIVATED TEAM
Imagine runnning alone 50 km every day in total wilderness, filming everything interesting on the way using several cameras and drones, choosing, editing and posting parts of daily footage online, ideally the same day and also getting some food and sleep... It simply does not go well together for very long. Petr has to do all of this alone.
Doing it for 2 months? Insanity! It is not the pain in your muscles. Your biggest enemy on the trail is TIME...
In the past we were not be able to document such difficult long journey in high enough quality. Nobody would, maybe except of the richest outdoor-sport oriented TV teams like RED BULL with several very fit professional sport filmmakers and big editing car and huge budget. But that would destroy the atmosphere of a small lonely free expedition.
That's why we've been working on perfecting this whole process for several years.
Petr even started NPL in 2019, but decided to stop it after some days, because with his previous team and experience, many details were not solved yet.
"RUN NORGE PÅ LANGS" is a project about moving through an amazing nature, about running. So the filming style shall be very dynamic, to show the whole process in the most authentic and cinematic way. This means the usage of "moving cameras" = drones and stabilised cameras on gimbals. A very demanding process.
It sounds logical, but the problem in the recent past was the size and weight of such gear with acceptable image quality. It is generally very hard to move with all this heavy film gear through the remote mountains and film someone who is light and runs under time pressure. After one such long day even a very fit filmmaker is usually totally tired. There are just a few filmmakers capable doing it in high quality anywhere for many days in a row. Petr is one of them. But the problem was the fact, that here, in this particular project, Petr was also the main actor/runner. So he needed someone to film him with quality drone and cameras, even in the hardest parts and moments. And back in 2019 it was not possible to fit this "good enough film gear" into a small running backpack and follow someone on 3000 km journey in any weather and terrain.
We also had only 2 months of time = enormous time pressure. It was simply just "a few years before" the right new small smart technology (and also honestly more experience) came.
The time back in 2019 was too tight, budgets even tighter. So the old "2019 film team" consisted of friends", very nice people, but not professionals. This was Petr's big mistake. This could work on a week trip, but not on maybe the craziest trail running media project ever. The guy responsible for the drone shots crashed (technical error) the main high quality drone on the Day 1. The support team generally was not able and probably also not motivated enough to work super hard the whole day to capture and share such a complex adventure in the quality it deserves. So, being aware of his mistake, with heavy heart, Petr has stopped the project after just 9 days. He simply did not want to waste such unique theme by doing it without sufficient image quality and authenticity. The project was postponed for 2020.
It was mentally very hard but incredibly valuable lesson.
This is much harder than all the climbing, skiing or polar film projects before. Every detail must be planned and prepared. And what is maybe the most important, you have to start such extreme project with really clean head, calm heart, sufficient budget and absolutely motivated loyal people in your team!!! Because it is not a dream holiday, but f*ckin hard job many weeks in a row ;-)
And paradoxly, running, no matter how hard it is as well, is the easiest part of it... Honestly...
Radka, Čenda and Petr at the start of the very important one month long NPL training trip in mid July 2021.
In 2020, Corona destroyed all plans, no chance to do NPL. Until late May 2021, the chance did not look real at all as well. No budget, closed Norwegian borders = no motivated quality team. In June Petr met super motivated Radka. She saw anormous potential of this project and was willing to radically change her life to make it happen. Despite still very difficult travel and work situation due to closed borders and long lockdowns, and despite not knowing each other, they have worked super hard whole June and half July to be able to quickly organize at least a serious training NPL mission. In a very small team and without any sponsors. It is not so easy as it sounds, for this kind of NPL you need a lot of money, a lot of expensive gear, suitable big car and a lot time, where you can't work on earning money.
During 26 days, Petr ran 1253 km across the highest mountains of Norway, in a great clean style, and also with much better filming gear than in 2019. Still not ideal gear, but it allowed him to capture himself "in the movement" anywhere. That was a huge thing, being able to run totally alone and still getting the shots in usable 4K quality. This way is much more "raw and authentic" (and demanding) than if he was followed and filmed by a bigger professional film team with big cameras with much higher image quality.
Radka proved to be extremely reliable and hardwoorking and did an amazing job as a "support team". We learned perfectly about all the running, filming and backstage aspects and details needed for such a complex thing. They worked the whole winter 2021/22 together on perfecting the cooperation for the final NPL push.
FILM GEAR EVOLUTION
Finally, in 2022, the quality, size and weight of the filming equipment has developed enormously. Petr will be using several different types of drones and cameras, 360 technology, phones, many different tripods, mounts, hoders, selfie sticks, powerbanks, apps, wireless microphones, unlimited internet etc. Nowadays, while still being relatively light for multiple days of running, you can capture yourself are in good quality literally anywhere. In motion, from the air, under water, in the worst weather while being alone in the most remote wilderness.
Compared to possibilities just 2-3 years ago, this is a huge gamechanger!
Today Petr finally doesn't need anybody filming him on his run. It will mean ultimate authenticity in still relatively great 4K image quality.
Radka will use high quality full-frame cameras and will take care of creating the backstage materials and video interviews with Petr when he will be by the car while crossing the roads. She will also be responsible (beside driving the car, food suplying etc.) for editing photos, videos for daily reports which Petr films on the run.
We have been closely working together on this process the last 6 months. There will be several small training trips in cool parts of Northern Norway during this spring 2022, the last weeks before NPL.
We hope that our experience and material preparedness have developed to the level, where even very small team has a chance to do things, which were up until recently impossible in this brutally authentic way even for big TV crews.
SPIRIT OF SMALL EXPEDITION
We will try to reach new level of capturing and sharing such complex outdoor project. At the same time, we will put huge emphasis on preserving the authentic and genuine spirit of a small pure adventurous journey. That's why we choose to be a very small team. Hard to say how far we can get. Norway is a country, where nothing is certain. But the following video perfectly describes our philosophy...
"If you are going to try... Go all the way!"
Every year, the gear is getting smaller, smarter, lighter and image quality better.