What’s up, Doc? Update from the Energia offices

September 10th, 2010 by Jarmo Puskala

It’s been a while since you’ve heard from us here at the Energia offices in Tampere, so it’s about time for a quick update on what’s going on and what happened during the summer that became known as “The Disaster Movie Summer of 2010″.

Summer at Energia...

Summer at Energia...

Finland got caught in the worst heatwave in recorded history and the temperatures stayed around 30C for two months. Now you’re probably thinking that doesn’t sound bad at all, but remember we’re Finnish. We don’t have air conditioning. Instead our office has ten people and some 50 processor cores crunching numbers at full steam.

The end result was an office that was hotter than rooms some foreigners call saunas. Even our internet connection kept crashing constantly because the ADSL modem overheated and as much as we love a good sauna we weren’t doing much better than the hardware.

At least Finland didn’t have radioactive forest fires like they did in Russia. However since this was the epic Disaster Movie Summer of 2010, we had obviously had to have a tornado destroy a trailer park.

With the heat we didn’t even have have energy to muck about, not to mention blog. Well, except when the 3D guys accidentally locked the bank vault we have at the office. The one we use for storage and that no-one has keys for. It took a visit from a “safecracking specialist” to get it open, but disappointingly there was noneed for dynamite or thermal lances.

Why do we have a bank vault in our office? Well, no-one knows. One theory is that it might have been built to house old-fashioned nitrate films when this place was a movie theatre. You know, the kind they want to blow up Hitler with in Inglourious Basterds.

Working on a 3D film (re-enactment)

Working on a 3D film (re-enactment)

Part of the 3D team actually spent the summer months working on another film project – a 3D horror film with a huge monster. The film shares a producer with Iron Sky and when they needed to outsource some shots on a tight schedule they came to us. Turns out, making monsters is almost as fun as making moon nazi spaceships.

Fun fact: While we did have modern LCD shutter glasses etc. we still used those silly looking red-green cardboard glasses when doing rough animation. They are far easier to use, no need to fine-tune the refresh rates or change batteries, just put them on and work.

The CGI guys do some cool stuff, but doing it does not photograph well.

The CGI guys do some cool stuff, but doing it does not photograph well.

Jussi, as you would expect, is working on concept art. Guess we’ll have to honor the traditions and post one of the new pictures when the Iron Sky page on Facebook reaches 30,000 likes.

Meanwhile 3D modelers are creating models that will be used in Iron Sky. We can’t wait to get to show you the current model in progress – a huge and hugely detailed space zeppelin. Animators are working on creating animatics, or relatively simple 3D animations of the film’s scenes. Right now our cinematographer Mika is going trough the scene for first real action scene of the film. Since the scene is running in real-time it means Mika can try what different angles, camera movements etc. would look like.

All this will eventually mean you’ll see some incredibly detailed spaceships and tight action scenes on the screen. Right now, however, it’s just a bunch of people sitting in front of monitors. If it was 1989 we’d be doing all this stuff with loops, action figures and cardboard boxes. That would certainly look fun in the making of, but then again there wouldn’t be internet where to watch it.

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