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Hurricane in the studio! Workshop with virtual and real scenography Photo: Screen shot of the virtual 3D exteriors that students at Copenhagen Academy of Digital Arts created in Unreal, in dialogue with the film school student on Lillehammer.

Class 13 participated in an extensive studio- and color workshop on Lillehammer with theme "New Orleans post-Katarina". The production design students had to represent the destructions of the hurricane. The workshop was a collaboration with the Film School's VIPROS-project and involved students from VIPROS-partner CADA (Copenhagen Academy of Digital Arts) who designed virtual exteriors from New Orleans in dialogue with the students on Lillehammer.

The production design and cinematography students of class 13 participated in a studio and color workshop that lasted for several weeks and focused on changes caused by a natural disaster. The students had to build the interior and exterior of a house in New Orleans and show how water and natural forces transformed the buildings after Hurricane Katrina's ravages.

The workshop was led by Siri Langdalen, head teacher of production design, and Kjell Vassdal, head teacher of cinematography. Kjell and Siri have collaborated on similar student workshops before. Previous classes have worked on various topics, including "Before and after the bombing of Mosul" and "The Chernobyl accident in several stages".

In this year's workshop, the production design students built the environment that was to go through a dramatic transformation in studio 2 in Lillehammer. In studio 1, the cinematography students worked on testing light and lookout / backdrops.

-Working in the studio is challenging and important for cinematography and production design students to learn, says Kjell Vassdal. In studio you get nothing for free as on location. You have to build everything and make it look realistic. In the studio, you can create any world to film in, both fantastic and realistic worlds.

Katarina Porch Kjell Vassdal

Photo: Kjell Vassdal

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Scenography post-Katarina in studio 2. Photo: Kjell Vassdal

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Cinematography students Simen A. Samuelsen, Signe Edelboe and Ask G. Jacobsen. Photo: Kjell Vassdal

Katarina Farger Foto Kjell Vassdal sm jpg

Photo: Kjell Vassdal

Katarina Farge Monitor Foto Kjell Vassdal sm jpg

Photo: Kjell Vassdal

Virtual production

For the first time, the studio workshop used virtual production, a technique cinematographer Kjell Vassdal has experience with from the research project VIPROS led by Troels Linde.

- When you build a decoration in the studio, it usually has windows. What is to be seen outside the windows will therefore be important for the overall experience, Kjell Vassdal explains. There are many techniques for creating lookouts through windows. This time we have chosen to use a fairly new technique with a virtual world that students from CADA in Copenhagen have helped to create. This is a technically complicated technique that the Film School has now acquired a lot of knowledge and experience in, the cinematographer concludes.

The research project VIPROS led by Troels Linde was therefore an important part of this year's workshop. Students from VIPROS partner CADA (Copenhagen Academy of Dramatic Arts) designed the virtual exteriors from New Orleans. The students from Copenhagen worked online in collaboration with the cinematography and production design students in Lillehammer before traveling to Norway to participate in the studio on the last part of the exercise.
Katarina VP Kjell Vassdal

Sondre Haug from the game studio Sleepy Turtles works with virtual production on set. Photo: Kjell Vassdal

Sondre Haug, CEO in the game studio Sleepy Turtles, was brought in to help with the virtual production-part of the workshop. he has previously collaborated on the VIPROS-project and explains the technique they use:

- We use a program which is called steam VR together with equipment which is called HTC Vive. With our Vive-equipment we have a position tracker that we measure the location of, and we put the tracker on the camera. Then we load the information from the tracker into the PC setup that we have prepared where CADA students have recreated the scene virtually. The virtual scene will then show up in real time on green or blue screen in studio while they are filming. Then we'll have two camera-feeds; the raw-feed that the students record in and I receive my finished composited feed with background and film combined. I have worked on a similar setup with VIPROS last year, but usually I don't work with real scenography, so this is exciting.

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Screen shot of the virtual 3D exteriors: New Orleans post Katarina.

The professional team behind the workshop

Many people have contributed to this workshop. Screenwriter and Ph.D. student at the film school, Cecilie Levy, initiated the workshop together with Siri Langdalen. They placed the students in groups (one cinematography and one production design student) and let them work with with visual scripts and concept development to come up with and plan short visual stories in the studio in dialogue with the CADA students.

The students have also brought in different characters into the scenography to perform small interactions. Both children, staff from the film school's technical department and fellow students have represented human destinies in New Orleans.

Associate Professor in Production Design Astrid Astrup also worked with the production design students from the film school and the Digital Artists students from CADA to facilitate the collaboration and dialogue around the 3D models of the scenography. She met the CADA students to provide insight into the production designers' work process.

Liv Sørlien was responsible for building the actual scenography in the studio together with Joe Voigt.

Painters Matthew McLemore and Claude Wittwen taught the students various painting and patination techniques. Claude emphasizes that the scenography created in the studio will tell a story of aging and decay through rot and water-damaged surfaces. Props that are in focus in the scenography before the hurricane, are destroyed and disintegrated after the hurricane hit. In this way the props tell a visual story:

- Everything with patina has a story. The reason why things look dirty is because of time and of nature. I teach the students three or four techniques they can use with any kind of aging and the rest is up to them. They have to look at the whole set as a kind of two-dimensional painting. They have to have the confidence to take it to that level because they will be hiring set painters like me. They have to see the set as a bigger picture and not just focus on techniques.

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Bathrooms in different stages of decay. Foto: Hanne-Lovise Skartveit og Janicke L. Vibe

Cinematographer Uffe Mulvad (previous cinematography student from kull 11) was responsible for teaching lighting both during rigging and during shooting in the studio. .

Ludvig Friberg was very helpful in the research of how to solve the technical VFX challenges.

One of Europe's best colorists - Dirk Meier - teaches both photo and production design students color correction while working on the material filmed in the studio. The film school is now organizing this workshop for the 6th time and it has become one of the most important workshops for the cinematography and production design students. Dirk Meier helped establishing it and has been involved ever since.

Dirk is a trained film photographer, but his interest in grading and finishing made him choose to work as a colorist. For several years he has been involved in running a school for colorists in Berlin. He has taught at several film schools in Germany and held many workshops. He visited the Norwegian Film School for the first time in 2007 when he participated in a large workshop with both digital and analog camera formats. After this workshop, the idea surged to organize a workshop that would be about several things, says Kjell Vassdal:

- The most important thing was to teach cinematography and production design students key techniques in working in the studio and building scenography. In addition, it is important to understand how follow through concepts of light and colors from the idea stage via grading and to a finished film. In the workflow from you choose colors for the walls, to lighting and filming and to sitting in a grading suite, many things can happen that you want to have control over.

Siri Langdalen is impressed by what the students have achieved in the 12 weeks the workshop has stretched over:

-There is a lot of knowledge and many skills that have to be mastered in the course of these weeks, and the students have put down an impressive and time-consuming work in the studio. This benefits the whole class when the students are going to collaborate on creating visually interesting productions in the studio later in their studies.

Katarina Porch Kjell Vassdal

Photo: Kjell Vassdal

Screen Shot 2022 05 15 at 11 18 00 PM

Scenography post-Katarina in studio 2. Photo: Kjell Vassdal

Screen Shot 2022 05 15 at 11 19 59 PM

Cinematography students Simen A. Samuelsen, Signe Edelboe and Ask G. Jacobsen. Photo: Kjell Vassdal

Katarina Farger Foto Kjell Vassdal sm jpg

Photo: Kjell Vassdal

Katarina Farge Monitor Foto Kjell Vassdal sm jpg

Photo: Kjell Vassdal

Katarina VP Kjell Vassdal

Sondre Haug from the game studio Sleepy Turtles works with virtual production on set. Photo: Kjell Vassdal

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Screen shot of the virtual 3D exteriors: New Orleans post Katarina.

Katarin Bad3 HL Skartveitog Janicke Vibe jpg

Bathrooms in different stages of decay. Foto: Hanne-Lovise Skartveit og Janicke L. Vibe


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