“Silent Storms” elicits incredible emotion from Northern Lights

by planetMitch1 Comment

I found this short on Saturday and just had to share it – and I also had to contact Ole C. Salomonsen, the video's creator, because I have questions about the Northern Lights – mainly because I've never been able to experience them myself, I've only seen them thru the eyes of others.

My biggest question to Ole was about how he used Magic Lantern RAW video to shoot a couple of the “live segments” in this short. You see, since I've only seen the Northern Lights in timelapse, I had no clue how fast they actually move… so I asked about those bits and Ole responded:

Hi, thank you!
No the realtime sequences are not slowed down, they are, realtime, 23.976fps 🙂

The timelapse sequences however are slowed down.

I have 3-4 more timelapses/videos of the auroras as well, did you check out those? You should! Links to all previous films in the description here under Silent Storms.

Also realtime in my previous project “Polar Spirits” done with the Canon EOS-1D X.

The lights are most commonly slowly moving yes, but they can also move furiously fast, and this is what we all who hunt the lights are hoping to see! The fast moving auroras over the entire sky will give you goosebums!! for sure!! IT is the most amazing thing you can see with your eyes!

I think yes that although even my timelapse sequences still move slightly faster than realtime, they are close to realtime, so they should give you an expression yes of what they are in real life. One exception though, the red/purple auroras are difficult for the eyes to see, so here the cameras sees more than the eyes.

Silent Storms

Silent Storms is my fourth consecutive aurora/astro film. In a way Silent Storms shows how the night skies can be during the three seasons we have darkness here in northern arctic Scandinavia; autumn, winter and spring. It was filmed in Norway, Finland and Sweden, primarily around the Tromsø area, Norway.

The “storms” referred to, are the geomagnetic storms which takes place in the atmosphere when a strong solar wind hits earth, often followed by a CME. When a geomagnetic storms takes place, it can last for days, with several substorms causing auroras to appear. Although there has been reports of audible auroras, this has yet to be proven scientifically.
Shooting through these different seasons raises different challenges, and opportunities. Late august/early september you are still battling against the sun, with the skies appearing very bluish. When the sun finally is low enough beneath the horizon, and there is still no snow, you have pitch black darkness, and it is difficult to use and lit foregrounds properly, unless the moon is present. At this period, I find using silhouettes exciting. When winter has settled you have the most beautiful period, with snow coverd trees, icy reflective grounds, partially frozen rivers etc. In March/April when spring arrives, sun is coming back, causing bluish skies again, but you also get beautiful colors from the sun in the horizon to combine with auroras, if lucky.

Shooting milky ways/startrails this far in the northern hemisphere is challenging as well. First because of the obvious that we cannot see the strongest parts of the milky way up here, but also because there always seem to be som auroras “interfering” when you're planning to shoot an astro shot, even if activity is reported to be low.

The film is made primarly of stills, two sequences are realtime video (03:17 and 03:38). The still sequences has been slowed down in post to a speed I feel is representative for a fast to to normal authentic moving aurora, although still to a speed/length which allows fitting the sequences within the timeframe of such a short video.

Some sequences was added panning to using motion control and rails from Dynamic Perception.

This video is in HD video 720p, but the film is available in full HD 1080p, and 4K/UHD, please contact for licensing inquiries.
Shot using Canon DSLRs + lenses. The realtime sequences was shot in RAW 14bit video using Magic Lantern Firmware on the 5D Mark III.

Check out my previous projects here:
vimeo.com/64122803 – POLAR SPIRITS (2013)
vimeo.com/40555466 – CELESTIAL LIGHTS (2012)
vimeo.com/21419634 – LAND OF NORTHERN LIGHTS (2011)
vimeo.com/82181786 – HOME OF THE NORTHERN LIGHTS (2013)
vimeo.com/68924195 – HUNTING THE LIGHT (2013)
More info about me:
Music: AJ Hochhalter
Licensed from: The Music Bed

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


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