Thomas T. Berge is a hobby photographer and filmmaker from Norway. Thomas started with film editing in 2004 and gradually got more interested in photography after he got a DSLR camera in 2011. He previously edited a timelapse film from Hardanger where his brother took most of the photos, and he wanted to explore this technique for himself.
“West Coast” is mainly captured in the region around the city of Stavanger where I live, and as my wife and I have been blessed with 4 children over the last 5 years, it took me 3 years to capture enough footage to be happy about the end result as most of the outings were done after the children were asleep. There are also some scenes that were shot outside of Bergen (example: the suspension bridge) which is approximately 200km further north along the coast.
Stavanger is perhaps most known as the hub for Norway`s Oil & Gas related activities, but the scenery in the Stavanger region is surely something that deserves attention as well. With the Lysefjord to the east with famous tourist attractions like Preikestolen and the Kjerag bolt, and the beautiful scenery in the south consisting of white beaches and big open fields fenced off with old stone fences, it is the perfect location for any photographer.
The big advantage of working on a project at home with no deadline is that you can be very picky about weather conditions. Some of the cloudscape scenes and especially the advection-fog scene in the film was a result of seeing the weather forming over the ocean and run to set up the equipment within a couple of minutes. It`s also beneficial if you plan to use a specific location in the film, and then be able to wait until the sky is sufficiently interesting, typically with a mix of clouds and clear sky.
One thing I wanted to achieve with this film was to display the coastline of Norway. Usually when you see a timelapse-film from Norway you can bet that a fjord will be part of it. While I love the fjords we have here, I also wanted to show the beauty of the coastline as I find that it holds the most interesting skyline of the two.
During the project I also got inspired by several films on Vimeo showing the hyperlapse-technique; which basically is timelapse-photography only you move your tripod a certain distance between each frame. I did struggle a bit with this technique in the beginning as it was more challenging than anticipated to move the correct distance and verify the frame within relatively long intervals (18-20s), but I do find the end-result of a hyperlapse sequence intriguing and somewhat exciting as you never know if you`ve added some flaws that the warp stabilizer in After Effects won`t fix for you. For the more subtle movements I used the Dynamic Perception Stage Zero Timelapse dolly.
On the technical side I`ve used Canon EOS 600D for all my shots. This camera can be labeled as a relatively cheap DSLR camera (approx. $400), and acts as good example that you don`t need very expensive equipment to make something great. I used two different lenses for the project; Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM and Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM Art. I also used ND filters for many sequences, especially the hyperlapse scenes to ensure smooth motions. The main challenge I found in using an APS-C camera is when shooting astrophotography, as I used a 30mm lens and the “300-rule” applies for my camera (compared to the 500-rule for full format cameras) I basically had a maximum exposure time of 10s to avoid star trailing. This put some limitations on what I could achieve in my night scenes, and forced me to drop my plan on including a timelapse of the milkyway in the film.
All post-production was done in Adobe Lightroom 5 and Adobe After Effects CS6. Especially the aforementioned “Warp Stabilizer” tool in AE is essential to ensure smooth hyperlapse footage. A year ago I asked the very skilled Norwegian artist “Foreground Set” if I could use his track for my film, I chose this track as it allows for a nice mix of calm and upbeat sequences which aligned well with the footage I wanted to capture. It was essential to decide early on which music to use as it determined what type of sequences I was missing in my project.
My next project is still on the brain-storming level, but I am leaning towards a timelapse film with a main focus on mountains and astrophotography. All I know for sure is that I will continue to produce timelapse films.
Thomas also takes amazing photos, enjoy.