Living in Utropia
RIP Filmkamp… Helllooo Premiere Pro

The keyword for the moment is “NEW”. New semester, (some) new editors, and most important… new computers with NEW SOFTWARE.

And not just any software mind you. We got the Adobe Master Collection CS6! That’s right, fawn over us here at Utropia; I can hear you salivating. And while the list of programs is near endless, it doesn’t put me off. I plan to make use of everything there. And I’ve started already with Adobe Premiere Pro. It is certainly a step up from the iMovies that I was using before. Though lots of frustration trying to understand how it all works. But that didn’t stop me from editing our VERY FIRST VIDEO INTERVIEW for Check it out on our homepage or here on youtube:

But with all this goodness coming our way at Utropia, there has also been sadness- namely, Filmkamp. Started at the beginning of the Spring ‘12 semester, we made 5 glorious episodes with appalling sound before summer. They were time-consuming, but fun; they denied me a social life, but only because the process was so engrossing and rewarding. I will miss you Filmkamp, now more than ever as we finally have decent sound equipment.

Tumbling from Sally

This week has been super exciting as we now have so many new volunteers on
board and they seem so full of energy, ideas, enthusiasm and possibilities
:) I can’t believe that we now have not just one illustrator but several.
And that this photo editor can be pleased to have so many photographers
attending the volunteer meetings. Wauw! I have this really good feeling in
my tummy for how this semester is gonna roll! And our first issue after the
summer holidays certainly prove that we’re doing great already! Awesome!

Hvordan ansvarlig redaktør tilbrakte påske.

Det var en lettelse å bli ferdig med utgave 6 før påske! Jeg hadde gledet meg til påskeferie, og trengte virkelig en pause. Jeg er dessuten veldig fornøyd med siste utgave som kommer til å stå i 2 uker til nå etter påske og bare innby til gode leseropplevelser, hehe.

Den første helga i ferien brukte jeg i all hovedsak på sofaen. Foran TV-en. Med mat, film, godteri og dyne. Alene. I mørke. I min egen stue. Digg. Høydepunktet kom likevel siste i påsken, på påskemorgen da jeg inviterte til påskefest hos meg og 10 personer dukket opp til en fantastisk fest! Morgenen etterpå var vi igjen samlet til påskefrokost. Et fantastisk måltid med gule påskekyllinger som bordpynt og et helt bord dekket av deilig mat. Med Back på radioen, stiarinlys og venner på besøk var nok dette en av de fineste påskefrokostene jeg har vært på. Vel overstått påske, folkens!

A Week in the Name of Mingling and Debating

I’ve had an amazing week of interviews, statements and mingling. On Tuesday, I was actually the one being interviewed… A fellow student of UiT was being interviewed by NRK and wished for me to be a part of it too so that she and I could debate an important issue while the NRK-film crew would capture our conversation. It ended up being for almost 4 hours and at 5pm, still trying to make good use of my breakfast, I was pretty done for. Such an interesting and great day! And I’ll be looking forward to seeing if I did actually manage to say something clever when it is being aired in August/September.

Monday and Wednesday, I conducted 8 interviews with UiT students about stereotypes. This was another very interesting and fun experience - and indeed I got to hear some of the things respectively Northern and Southern Norwegians actually think about one another, haha.

Thursday and Friday, I was at the conference Digitale Nabokjerringer and those two days proved packed with interesting lectures and debates, and one of the most important things at conferences: Mingling! I met some very interesting people and had great conversations. It feels so good to do this again; I got acquainted with a fair few influent people within Indigenous Studies when I was studying in Western Australia, and it feels nerdy in a great way to do the same thing here in my own hemisphere :)

But after a week of socialising soooo much, no wonder it feels really nice to sit at home in solitude cos even a social being like me needs a bit of alone time, sometimes :)

Near, far, wherever you are…

This issues Film Kamp is on  Titanic. It turned out to be a real treat for Josh, who got an insane (and easy to predict for Utropians) idea. He took our (mine & Kjetil’s) faces & put them on Titanic Leo & Kate’s most famous scene. It took him some time but the result is crazy! first we had to explore other offices in the corridor to find a lamp with yellow light (like a normal light bulb). Then, Sally took our pictures. Josh was holding the lamp & I had to fix my glassless eyes on him. First of all it was more of Josh-pudding, since I don’t see much without the glasses. Secondly, good that it was Josh, since he made me laugh, thus I actually managed to smile. Josh took some time photoshopping it, since the light on our faces was supposed to match the one on winslet’s and DiCaprio. I almost wanted him to add some crazy seagull :P

Just wait to see the results…

—- Barbara L.


Rotoscoping: Welcome to the threshold of He**

Why hello.

It’s been a while. Allow me to fill you in on what’s been occupying my time as of late. With Filmkamp going online in the form of youtube videos, I’ve been squirreling myself away during the weekends editing these films. They may only be 10 minutes long, but they take two and a half days with little to no sleep to edit to the level that they are now. Especially so with this second episode which has involved some special effects.

As the Filmkamp was about star wars and avatar, lightsabers just had to feature somewhere. Of course, that meant special effects… in iMovies? C’est impossible! Fortunately, I did not take a French attitude towards this challenge and endeavored to find a way. And a way I did find. SaberFX is a program that works with iMovies to create all the greatness of Star Wars: sabers and lightening. And US$30 poorer, I was rotoscoping my way into a new realm of moviemaking. 16 hours later, I amended this view to merely rotoscoping into an early grave.

For those who have not had the pleasure- and I’m using the word quite wrongly- rotoscoping is a way of integrating SFX into your film. Basically, you overlay the graphics FRAME BY FRAME. Now I could not find a working copy of handbrake and therefore could not slow my frame rate any lower than 24fps. So for each second, I had to overlay the effects 24 times. So for a 30 second clip, that’s 720 frames… 720 times I had to draw in a lightsaber… Dear Mother of God, and that’s just ONE clip.

Now it was not THAT bad, I should admit. As long as the characters didn’t move, I could draw the visual effect and copy it over a number of frames. That saved time. And I may not need the saber for the WHOLE clip. But what was difficult was 1) having to draw the sabers turning on and then off; and 2) not having props.

Basically, the hardest part of the visual effects was not just having to go frame by frame and make the swords just a tiny bit bigger, but I also had to calculate ahead of time how many frames to do it for so that the final clip could be synced to the stock sound effects. That’s really key. Figure out how long the audio clip that you want to use is, so that you know how many frames you need the visual effects.

In this case, the clip with the lightsabers turning on and off is 2 sec. BUT, that’s the clip, I then had to analyze within that clip how long it took for the sound of just the sabers turning on was. In other words, the clip was 2 sec. But it only took 1 sec for the sabers to turn on. The other 1 sec was just sound of the sabers being on. Therefore, I knew that I needed to have my lightsaber grow for a period of 24 frames (in each second) and stop right after that. Then I needed to know how long the swords should be. Once I knew that I ruled up a piece of paper with the total length (in this case, 6inches) and ruled up 24 increments.

Why the piece of paper? Because of the second reason why it was difficult. NO PROPS. In order to keep the saber in the same place from frame to frame, I initially started with a piece of paper, but then moved to a bit of scrap plastic, which I taped to my computer screened. Then I would draw the effects using this line as my guide for both place and height. And it worked… mostly. Small inaccuracies, but at normal speed, not that noticeable. There is a small amount of the audio sadly out of sync. But again not too noticeable in the final video- but certainly leads on to the other big problem with this project:

AUDIO SYNCHING. My iMovies must listen to the Backstreet Boys, because it had a real hard time being… N’Sync. oh, *guffaw* indeed. Facepalm humor aside, this latest dalliance with iMovies saw multiple superimposing of audio tracks that not only had to be synched with the visuals, but with each other. And then, it was necessary to duck them with respect to what was going on on camera. (Ducking is a technical word that I have become acquainted with that means lowering the volume of an audio clip in relation to any and all other clips playing at the same time as it is.).

Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that it required lots of patience and incremental .01sec fine-tuning. 

But it’s done now. I invite you all to have a look at it online at: You can’t miss it.

I have also attached a few photos that highlights some of the work involved, from filming through to post-production work. Enjoy.

—- Cameron T.


We’re all afraid of something…

I had no idea what to blog about this week but then suddenly it just came to me like a bolt from the blue: Fear.

We’re all afraid of something. Spiders, trucks, avalanches, electronics. Actually, we’re dead scared. It may be of something tangible and everydaylike. It may also be of something unknown and often it is of the future. And don’t even get me started on people’s fear of relations!!

Some are afraid of committing. Some of getting hurt. Or hurting others because they may start expecting too much of us. 

And I think everybody is afraid of what other people may think of us.

Now, what am I(!) afraid of? Well, sharks. Fires. Ending up in a wheelchair. And one of my big fears these years is that I may disappear into the pool of ‘the lost generation’ of freshly educated academics who will NEVER get into the job market as there are no jobs for us now, and when jobs become available in some years then the even more freshly educated will take them from us as we have ‘expired’ degrees and still no work experience to add to the resumé… 

And I’m afraid of ending up alone.

One of my friends grabbed one of her fears by the throat 6 months ago. She was afraid of heights and started climbing at Kraft. Now, she has overcome her fear of heights. I’m not saying that we should all try to overcome every single fear that we may have. But at least we should ask ourselves this question:

We’re all afraid of something, but are you letting your fear(s) control your life?

—- Sally R.


A weekend of opplæring

This weekend has been chock-a-block. Back-to-back kurs: first journalism and then photography. And they were FANTASTIC. So much to learn, I really hope we can organize a follow-up.

We also had a great turn-out, and I just hope everyone enjoyed it. On Friday, we had the journalism course, which was really good for learning how to write like a journalist- always an important skill. And I’ll admit, the first time I did a street interview.

The Fotokurs was just as exciting. We learned so much, but you could definitely tell that there was still so much more to learn. So you can freeze the world with a flash, eh… Tell me more. :-).

—- Cameron T.


Journalism and Photography courses is a great way to spend the weekend.

This week we had a journalism and photography course. Friday and Saturday were very intensive.

I can’t wait to exercise the slow-sync photos! They’re cool and magazinish and there’s a lot to play with when you take them. As for composition I get it, but I’m usually too impatient to perfect it. Thus, I’m more on Tor’s side. Maybe it’s because I usually take concert pictures and struggle to capture the atmosphere of the gig rather than think of composition. I also underexpose pictures to get the colors of the light show and because until recent my camera had a maximum of 1600 ISO. I know that all the amateurs out there have better cameras, but on the other hand, how many of them managed to take a newpaper-acceptable pictures of Sivert Høyem. And I didn’t have to make them black and white to hide the noise!

I’ll probably perfect my portrait photography and composition now. I like challenges…

—- Barbara L.