Iron Sky Goes Australia – Stunts, Studios and Special Effects

June 14th, 2010 by Timo Vuorensola

The new director’s diary is out – this time it’s about stealing internet and cooking breakfast.

Most of Saturday went to talking with our stunts and special effects co-ordinators. Yes, at this stage 90% of filmmaking is sitting in meetings. Handling stunts in a correct way is very important, though. Back in the fuzzy Ozploitation days in the 70′s, the life of an actor on set was hanging by a thread. During that time, many filmmakers got injured and even died because of neglected safety instructions. So, not surprisingly, the regulations are nowadays much more strict. This reflects especially to the actors and stunts – basically, an actor can’t do anything that could be even potentially harmful on the set. Meaning: fake-punch in the face – stunt. Falling down on the floor on your ass – stunt. Running in the forest – stunt.

But it does make sense; if anything was to happen, even something as small as spraining an ankle, there’d be nobody to shoot then during that day. Or the whole week. And that’s when it starts to get really expensive…

Stunts and Effects Meeting

A meeting with our stunts and special effects co-ordinators in our Australian producers' beautiful house slash home office.

But this is all small stuff, because then there are the real stunt maneuvers, which we have plenty in the film. We have some quite complicated action sequences, and we’re playing around with the gravity quite a lot; surface of the Moon has 1/6th gravity, and space, of course, zero. There’s anti-gravity generators being turned on and off, people floating around and so on.

We had a very interesting meeting with our Australian stunt coordinator (who, by the way, looks *exactly* like Sean Penn…) where we were planning quite a lot of these effects. Most of the Nazi troopers can be played by stunt people, since they have their masks on, as you’ve seen in the teasers, so we don’t have to spend too much time training them how harnesses and wiring works: and yeah, jumping several meters while dangling on harnesses takes some skill and practice.

Nazi Moon Base Blueprints

Floor plans of the Nazi moon base, or at least a part of it.

Actually, here’s something you can be helpful with – I need a good reference library of films that have zero-G or Moon gravity effects. If something pops to your mind, share it with me – I need to get hold of those films and start doing a bit of research. I’m especially interested to see how hair is done in films in zero-G. Our main character, Renate, has a long blonde hair, and we would need to understand how that works in a zero gravity environment, and how to fake that.

Other than discussing the stunts, we re-visited the studios. It was nice to walk in the huge halls, around the massive set pieces of the new Narnia film that was shot there, and imagine that in few months the sets of my film will be populating the lot. I also learned that we’re shooting Iron Sky most probably during the same time as one of my all-time favorite directors is shooting in the studio across the yard… More on that later.

At the Sound Stage

These studios are big. The joke is that we'll need at least two. Now you may start to see where all those 6.5 million euros are going to go.

(You can find more photos in our Flickr)

I’m starting to like it here in the Down Under. A funny moment I found myself yesterday evening in was that I was sitting by a very traditional Finnish wooden table, just fresh out of Sauna, sipping coffee from a Moomin mug, listening to Irwin Goodman and discussing the differences between Turku and Tampere… And all this in Australia. Bunch of our producer Tero’s friends live here in Brisbane and we visited them. It’s good to know there’s also a Finnish sanctuary available whenever one gets too homesick here on the other side of the world.

I’ve been sleeping very badly lately. I managed to completely wreck my rhythm with the jetlag, and I’m basically falling to sleep around two in the morning, but jumping up at five not being able to sleep anymore. So most of the day goes by in a strange, fuzzy numbness, until in the evening I finally perk up…

I need to do something about this jetlag. Any suggestions?

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11 Responses to “Iron Sky Goes Australia – Stunts, Studios and Special Effects”

  1. Sami says:

    Not much help for the zero gravity hair situation but some:

    “In zero gravity, long hair should be held in place by a cap, clip, or a ribbon. Otherwise it will go all over the place!”, from

  2. Olli Vainio says:

    Zero G is “easy”. Just do it like they did on Apollo 13, rent a Vomit Comet(, build a set in it and shoot. ;)

  3. GG says:

    -2001: A Space Odyssey
    -Apollo 13
    -Barbarella :)

    Washing hair in zero gravity:

    Plus maybe other documentaries on space stations.. Or you could just put her hair in ponytail or bun. ;) Just joking. :)

  4. Or perhaps you guys could contact Richard Branson about the possibility of getting some quality filming time on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. :-)

  5. Mikko says:

    I would definitely recommend going through Apollo 13 for ideas on how zero gravity works.

  6. King10 says:

    Youtube can be very helpful:

    There’s footage from Nasa experiments/training in Vomit Comet provided zero gravity. You can observe the hair too. (Though the female trainees seem to have tied their hair on this occation.) Also some shots how liquid and soap bubbles behave in a zero gravity vacuum(?).

  7. About the jetlag: Grab some Melatonin from the local pharmacy or natural supliments store. Then take 1,5-3mg when you want to sleep.

    It’s the stuff that makes your body decide “blimey, it’s late, better get some sleep”. So it should help with getting to sleep and sleeping a bit better.

  8. RPG says:

    From The Earth To The Moon series has some nice footage.
    Speacially on the moon surface shots.

    Apollo 13 is fine source and it used Vomit Comet quite much but actors also faked zero-g by moving themselfes front of the camera. BTW Apollo 13 blu-ray has just been released.

  9. Tuomma says:

    Good stuff getting rid of the jet lag is a drug called Atarax that is mainly used for allergy like “heinänuha” etc. It is on a prescription in Finland but freely available in most of the countries. The drug itself is harmless (and doesn’t help too much on the allergy) but I love the side effect of a relaxed and comfortable feeling which makes you fall asleep pretty nice. And you get to sleep until you are awaken after 8-10 hours X)

    I heard that they use Atarax in elderly home if the old people can’t get sleep.

    Have fun and work hard!

  10. DarkStar says:

    I always thought the moon gravity effects (when outside Moonbase Alpha on the moon’s surface) were pretty good in the British show Space:1999 from 1975.

    Cheers, and looking forward to seeing the finished film!