Today, me and my partner, Lumi M. Toma have officially started working on our featured documentary about long exposure night photography, “Get Your Stars Right”. The production is contracted by EpicTV channel, and will appear online and perhaps go to further distribution in Spring 2014.
The whole preparation process required stringent research, a great deal of planning, endless telephone conversations with our multimedia partners and getting quite a few permits for filming.
“Get Your Stars Right” will be a penultimate guide to long exposure night photography for photographers at any level! We are aiming here not only at complete amateurs, but also at the ‘geek’ part of our audience. For that very reason we have decided to place our production in the breathtaking settings of Aosta Valley, most notably the Osservatorio Astronomico della Regione Autonoma Valle d’Aosta located in the village of Saint-Barthélemy.
Why is the Aosta, THE location for long exposure night photography and starry sky observation?
Careful meteorological research has revealed that Saint-Barthélemy has at least 250 cloudless nights a year. The minimal light pollution and low atmospheric turbulence make it an ideal site for astronomy. Saint-Barthélemy in the Aosta Valley’s mountains is 1.600 metres above sea level and roughly 15 kms from the town of Nus. The village lies on a naturally formed “balcony” and has some of Europe’s highest mountains: Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, and the Matterrhorn all within a 40 km radius.
Our location scouting process starts with acquisition of C-roll footage, which is always carefully studied in our studio. That way we can pick the best spots for filming and utilize the available location to the best possible extent.
For this production we will use Canon cinematic cameras. In most cases of the practical interest we believe Canon C100 with Atomos Ninja-2 recorder should do the trick! Consequently, we have decided to take one of our cameras for the spin with our favorite slider, Cinevate Atlas 10.
We have spent some time walking around the observatory and shooting many angles, including some basic establishing scenes. The observatory looks really amazing from outside, especially considering all the iconic summits of Mont Blanc Massif visible from its location.
Moreover, the whole structure seems to be completely self-reliant on solar energy power. Something really important considering vast number of electronic devices required for data processing.
However, the coolest part of this amazing piece of engineering can be found under these large and motorized domes!
After footage acquisition, I needed to have a quick look and double-check against the printed storyboard / concept. As always, good ol’ MacBook 13″ with excellent G-technology G-Drive Mobile Thunderbolt did the trick. All neatly packed in our favorite LowePro Pro Roller X300.