"NORWEGIAN EUROVISION 2012": GradinG - 3 x opening sequences

Exactly one year ago I graded 4 x music videos that acted as the opening sequences for the Norwegian Eurovision Song Contest 2011.
These music videos featured beautiful cinematography by DOP Håvar Karlsen, featuring massive Norwegian landscapes and it's local population.

The Norwegian Eurovision TV-shows are produced by Dinamo Eyeworks for NRK.

This year Karlsen teamed up with director Magnus Rye and brought out the big guns!
A colossal Hollywood filmscore sets the vibe and drama needed to achieve the powerful flow of Rye's edit.

The shoot was done in a huge hall, with a full blown symphony orchestra and plenty of pyrotechnics.
Armed with high-speed cinematography and a technocrane, this opening sequence gave me goosebumps the first time I saw it.

Håvar and I discussed different camera-solutions well ahead of the shoot, both from an creative point of view and looking at how the workflow should be handled.

RED Epic and Arri Alexa where the contenders. Which would be the best choice?

RED Epic has a lot going for it: 5K sensor, very high framerates and a true RAW-workflow with gazillion possibilities in post.
But, it does requires a lot of image postprocessing before you can start editing in FCP.

Arri Alexa has "only" HD recording while using Log-C QT Prores recording, but has a simple workflow especially for HD broadcast work. No fuss, direct to edit.

Personally I really love the filmic-look that the Alexa has, and the workflow possibilities with Prores4444 recording are great for quick turnarounds
while maintaining enough latitude for grading. Doing an Arri Raw shoot would have given even more grading latitude, but the flip side is larger file
sizes and extra money needed to rent a Codex-recorder.

Karslen choose the Arri Alexa as his main camera, shooting QT Prores4444 Log-C, with some additional second unit shots done on Canon 5D DSLR.
The high-speed pyro shots were shot at 120fps to Prores422HQ, since the Alexa "high speed license key" has that limitation.

I was more than pleased to grade this great piece of work, which included 3 x 2 minute opening sequences that feature Eurovision in the past and the present.
We went for a rich golden look to support the dynamic onset lighting and the build up for the grand-finale.

The ever changing color-temperature of the massive stage lights did give me more to watch out for during the grading session, but no big issue.
Some of the artist-presentations where projected on to huge screens on either side of the orchestra, and sometimes the edit cut from the projected image to a full screen none projected version. Meaning we had to solve the color differences between the projected and the full screen versions, which wasn't always easy.
But I think we managed to find a middle ground that worked in the flow.

Last year the Eurovision had a TV marketshare of 60% here in Norway, which is about 1.2 million viewers.
Remember that only 5 million people live in Norway. It will be exciting to see how the ratings are this year!

Check out the first opening sequence from Ørlandet on Vimeo!

The DOP Karlsen has also posted a brilliant in depth behind-the-scene blog, be sure to read it!

The last two intro sequences will be aired on NRK: Sat. 28.01.12 and Sat. 04.02.12

Credit shortlist:
Client: NRK
Production Company: Dinamo Eyeworks
Director / Editor: Magnus Rye
DOP: Håvar Karlsen
Sound Design: Marius Ytterdal (Universal Sound)
Music: Zack Hemsey
Pyrotechnics: Unique Pyrotechnic
Colourist: Dylan R. Hopkin (Nordisk Film ShortCut Norge)

Technical details:

Original Format: Arri Alexa (QT Prores4444 Log-C) & Canon 5D MKII DLSR (Technicolor Cinestyle)
Aspect: 16:9
Release Format: National TV (NRK)

DOP - Håvar Karslen's Blog from "Behind the scenes"
NRK - Eurovision homepage

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