Archive for the ‘Energia’ Category

Stuff about our production company, Energia Productions Ltd.

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.

Vote on the design of a new Iron Sky shirt.

April 7th, 2010 by Jarmo Puskala

Vote your favourite design for the new Iron Sky shirt! Then follow us on Twitter, because when the new shirts are done we’re going to give away a few shirts to randomly selected followers.

Vote for the design of the next Iron Sky shirt

Iron Sky Goes Germany: Location Reconnaissance in Frankfurt

January 17th, 2010 by Janos Honkonen

As the previous blog post revealed to you, the Energia team is currently in Germany to meet the local (wo)manpower and handle various things having to do with the movie project. After finding out what the art department had been up to we headed off to Frankfurt to spend the next few days checking out the future shooting locations, ie. doing recce.

So, this is how things more or less works with us: the German art department checked out the storyboards and the concept art of the film, came up with their ideas about the sets and checked the demands our illustrious director Timo and director or photography Mika had for the locations. After that they hired a location scout, whose task it was to find the actual physical locations that matched the demands as well as possible.

(Flickr photoset from the trip)

Farm Life

Timo is planning on buying some cheese, and judging by his expression our director of photography is pondering whether it's "shoes first, pants after" or the other way around.

What we did from Wednesday to Saturday was to go around the locations our scout Regina Kaczmarek had found, after which Timo and Mika checked them out together with our production designer Ulrika. Timo made sure that the look and the feel was correct for the scene he had envisioned and Mika was there to determine how the scene could be filmed in the real life, where the camera would go, which locations required chroma (a fancy word for a green screen) and so on.

Around the Skyscrapers

Skyscrapers in downtown Frankfurt.

This part of the trip was sort of surreal, but very enjoyable for me as a whole. The surreal thing was that we basically spent 12 hours on the road, sitting in a car and occasionally jumping out to visit some really weird or cool place. A good example was our first stop, a very interesting communal antroposophic biofarm called Dottenfelderhof. It was basically a collective of several families, who were into hardcore farming, cheesemaking, baking, animal husbandry and things like that.

Farm Life

Fresh bread, straight from the oven.

Some of the other locations couldn’t have been further away from the first one. We visited really hardcore iron railway bridges, got on top of skyscrapers to see the massive view all around Frankfurt, skulked around an abandoned paper factory, drew long stares from guards in rather luxurious lobbies of large office buildings, screwed around in the news studio of a regional German television station and went for a trip to old and abandoned military tunnels that apparently stretched kilometers inside the Earth. One of my hobbies is urban exploration, so especially the tunnels and the abandoned factories made me want to call for a break, so I could spend a hour or two just inspecting them.

Military Tunnels

Deep inside a mountain.

On the Roof of a Skyscraper

Top of the world, on the roof of one of Frankfurt's skyscrapers.

A TV Studio

In a local TV studio. I think we got the lighting covered.

The last location of the trip was in many ways the most interesting of all: our potential new studio. It will be the place where the larger sets will be built in and where we will do all the difficult shots that require lots of green screen, constructed sets and controlled environments. What we got was three enormous hangars for the sets, a couple of smaller (relatively) halls which will be the set builders’ workshops, plus a big bunch of offices and such.


Yeah, guys, I don't think we are in Samuli's parents' basement anymore.

If all this sounds really glorious, you haven’t thought about the basics, which boils to this: we spent 12 hours in a day in the same car with the same people, who in this case happened to include Timo and Samuli. Then consider that one of Samuli’s maxims for humour is that “up in the ass of Timo” has to be incorporated in as many jokes as possible. Or situations. Or just repeated out aloud. So yeah, the humor in the car started of as loud, drifted off into hysteria and plunged into murky depths of retardedness. I’m honestly surprised our German hosts didn’t just strangle us and leave us at the roadside, but maybe we were saved by the language gap.

Morons on the Road

The mood in the car got a bit... restless in the end of the evening.

A Light Snack

A light snack, German style. This is us having lunch in a local restaurant in Frankfurt, full of older people eating dishes that were basically "sausages with a side order of meat". The food was delicious!

All right, next we’ll be returning back to Berlin to see some of our actors try out their costumes, and for several full days of casting new faces for the movie! Stay tuned to more blog posts on the road, don’t forget to check our Flickr for more photos and if you want to see links to new posts right in your Facebook feed, join as a reader of Beyond the Iron Sky in Networkedblogs!


Energia mobile office on the train - working high speed throughout Germany!

Blackstar Halo – Energia’s first Red camera vfx shots

January 5th, 2010 by Samuli Torssonen

My longtime friend Hannu Kumpula has been doing his own “starwreck” with a music album – he has been working for four years now with zero budget and now it is complete: Blackstar Halo: Illuminated.

When he asked me to help in some of the  shots in the music video I couldn’t say no. With the help of great vfx trainees Energia delivered its first red camera composite shots – in floating point color space. After messing around 7 years with 8-bit DV footage (star wreck) this felt totally unreal!

And I also felt the pain of using After Effects for this job!

Iron Sky will be also shot in Red camera format so this was a good tryout what we are up against. We are now looking into Nuke as the primary compositing software which is able to handle floating point image sequences better.

So, check out the music video now! I want to praise Ville Salminen (Obscure Entertainment) for the great look and feel! He color corrected & did the post in full HD with some low end laptop, ugh :)

One easy way to support their music is to buy their new album: