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Making music for pictures is a totally different way of approacching the audio goal. Cybertribe's music was chosen to enhance the Imax movie "Sacred Planet" among others. Please read more in the following lines.

 

You also can download the trailer here

 

 

Sacred Planet

 

 

SACRED PLANET, the Giant Screen Experience, will take full advantage of this state of the art technology to transport audiences to pristine regions of the Earth to discover the exotic and beautiful places that still exist unchanged by humans. Shooting locations will include New Zealand, Namibia, USA (UT, AZ, CA, WA, AK), Coastal British Columbia in Canada, Borneo and Thailand. Images from around the world will serve as a powerful reminder of the beauty and fragility of Nature.

State of the art camera techniques, including motion controlled time-lapse photography will be combined with an eclectic soundtrack of acoustic and world music to create a journey into the mystical sights and sounds of Nature. Transitions between scenes will flow and morph together seamlessly, as if seen while passing though a dream. Powerful and poetic words of wisdom from Native Elders of the Americas, Asia and Africa will describe an almost forgotten way of life, when human existence was based on harmony and balance with Nature.

 

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Inside the Sacred Planet
from Fred Topel

 

Interview with Imax filmmakers Jon and Karen Long

 

 

Imax films are unique varieties of movies, whether narrative or documentary. Both genres use the format to display their subjects up close and personal, focusing on the visceral thrills of the locations or activities they portray. Sacred Planet takes viewers to remote deserts and jungles around the world, with tribes living traditional existences with no modern interference. Director Jon Long and producer Karen Fernandez Long spoke to us about the trials and tribulations of producing this Imax venture the day of their Hollywood premiere as they anticipated their walk down the red carpet.

 

Did all the tribesmen sign release forms?

K: Oh, yes, yeah, of course. We always had a liaison that had worked with the traditional community in the past, not necessarily in filmmaking, but a liason who was with them for anything else they would need. That individual would always make sure that it was communicated clearly to them what was happening and what they were being involved in. And I think that’s where the subject matter of the film went a long way for them to feel like they wanted to be involved even if we weren’t from their culture and weren’t necessarily using equipment they’d ever seen before.

 

But it wasn’t the first time the modern world has approached them?

J: No.

K: It was different from culture to culture. Some were more remote than others, but no, the reality of the traditional cultures that still exist in this world is that the modern world is impacting their way of life.

J: It’s closing in around them. There are still some people, very few people in the world who are still living a traditional lifestyle, but you might see a T-shirt or you might see a metal pot or something like that. But I think probably in the next generation or two, these people will not exist anymore where they are really living a totally traditional lifestyle.

 

Have any chosen to leave the tribe because they’ve seen modern developments?

K: I don't know. I don't think we had that depth of the linguistic communication with them, so we didn’t get to share in that sort of experience of that part of their lives. What was clear to us was that the elders of the community are still the leaders and the spiritual providers of the youth of this community. That is a really common thread of how the societies are structured throughout all of the indigenous cultures that we visited. And so we considered ourselves really fortunate to be able to communicate with those elders and actually find a few who did speak English. And those are the voiceovers that appear in the film that you hear as you’re watching Sacred Planet. So, we kind of see that we’re giving a voice to these elders of these communities.

J: Yeah, I think to a large extent in some of these very remote places where the traditional way of life is still going on, is the children are starting to be taken out and to be educated in traditional schools. So that generation I think is really the last generation to live the traditional lifestyle because once the kids get into the education process and more subjected to modern culture, then it’s something that they find quite appealing and that they’re going to probably gravitate towards that. I think that’s obviously what’s been happening over history. Really, what we wanted to do with this film is we’re not saying that the traditional way of life is the best way of life, or that modern culture is a bad way of life. What we wanted to do is go and talk to the elders of these indigenous cultures and say what are the most important values that you think should be brought forward for future generations based on what you’ve learned over the 1000s of years? And a lot of those values translate to modern culture, so that’s really what we wanted to bring out and make it more of a message of hope than one of despair.

K: Yeah, even Jon’s example of the children being educated in a more modern type of schooling system, that’s the unknown. Maybe it will be good, maybe it will be good, maybe it’ll be an improvement or a taking away of what’s there. Who’s to say? Because it’s unknown. But one thing for sure is it’ll be different than what the elders of that community have experienced and than their parents and their parents before them. So, we really thought that, you know, unfortunately, these elders aren’t going to be with us for much longer. It’d be nice to hear what they have to say.

 

I have to ask. Did you cut any shots because someone’s privates fell out?

K: Oh definitely.

J: Yeah, we did.

K: Nudity is viewed very differently in these cultures. So many things are viewed differently than we are used to, so we really have to be open minded to, you know, you go into these communities and want to be careful not to inadvertently insult people by the baggage that you bring to the table, so we tried to do a lot of watching and observing before we rolled, to know what we were working with.

 

What were the most difficult places to lug the Imax equipment?
J: I would say probably the most difficult places to lug it would’ve been in Africa when we were filming in some sand dunes. And the temperature was probably about 110 degrees and we had to walk for probably over an hour from the end of the road to where we wanted to get the shot and that day I would say was probably the most taxing on the crew.

 

So it was difficult for the physical strain?

J: Yeah, walking up steep sand dunes where you take one step up and you kind of slide two steps back and it’s really hot, really bright red sand that holds the heat.

K: Yeah, that was a problem, keeping food cool and water, but also keeping the cameras cool and operational because a lot of the camera equipment is black and it’s absorbing the heat.

We came up with some primitive ways to keep our cameras cool.


They can’t make white cameras?

K: You don’t know how many times I asked that question.

 

How close did you get to wild animals?

J: Oh, in lots of cases we got very close. One example would be we went out to the rainforest coast in British Columbia and we were filming grizzly bears and our guide took us up this river mouth to where the bears would be feeding on the salmon. And we pulled out our camera and got in a bit of a blind, and got out our long lens so we could shoot this bear that was 50, 60 yards away. And another grizzly bear came walking up behind us and literally just walked 30, 40 feet from the camera and just kind of looked over at us, like what are you guys doing here? But it just went about his own business.

K: The guide got behind the camera crew at that point.

J: Yeah, at that point, our guide was like, “I don't think I want to be this close to a grizzly bear.” And the cameraman who just wants to get the best picture possible was just pointing and just getting the picture.

 

How did you hide camera noise for the sync sound portions?

J: Actually, there isn’t really sync sound. It’s all voiceover and there is no really great way to hide the camera noise with these things. They’re pretty loud.

 

So tribe dances are all foley?

J: Well, no, we would go in and record them doing the game or doing whatever they were doing with just the sound without camera. Then we’d go back and sync.

 

Is sound recording easier than filming?

J: Oh yeah. Yeah, working with the Imax camera is quite a challenge. It’s not like an Arriflex camera where there’s 1000s and 1000s of those cameras made. There’s not that many Imax cameras so you’ve got to make sure that the crew, your core crew, can basically take the camera apart and rebuild it if they have to, and that happens quite a bit when you’re on an Imax shoot.

 

How do you direct Robert Redford giving narration?

J: Oh, that’s a good question.

K: He doesn’t need a lot of direction. I don't know if you can imagine what it’s like to hear his first take. He’s a pretty talented guy.

J: That’s the exact question I was asking myself before we went in to do the voiceover. How do you tell an Academy Award winning director how to… He’s a very humble, down to earth guy so it was actually a very easy process for us. It was just discussion and sitting down and doing it and it was an enjoyable process.

 

How did you approach him?

K: He’s a very close friend and colleague of the executive producer of Sacred Planet, Jake Eberts. And he viewed the rough cut of the film and decided he wanted to be involved. So he is an environmentalist and thought that there are certain things about this movie that he can really relate to. He feels that awareness for issues is one of the things that we need to focus on, and I think if filmmakers can make a contribution to that, then Robert is in support of that.

 

At what point did you guys get married?
K: September of this year actually.

 

Is it more a relief or strain being involved while in extreme situations?

K: You know, I think there’s no doubt that it puts pressure, but I think it’s like most things in life. It’s the difficult challenges you get through that brings you closer together and that makes the unit stronger. Ultimately, what every couple hopes for is that together, you’re greater than the sum of your parts. Certainly throughout the making of this film, we had to really pull together and achieve the objective. But it was nice also just to have a hiatus in our work life afterwards. The film was very all consuming for the year that we worked. We had a very small team and Jon and I wore a lot of different hats in the making of the film, so I think we finally had some time to focus on other things, so it was a nice way to round out the year.

 

What made you give up law for filmmaking?

K: You know, it’s kind of a transition.

The side of the film, as a producer, the side of filmmaking that’s based on financing and on putting the deal together is quite similar. I mean, the great thing about law is it teaches you how to manage assets. So I had six years in private practice before I started working in film and I found that to be a really smooth transition.


How has the Imax market grown?

J: Well, I think the number of theaters continues to grow. If anything, what’s holding it back in a sense is the number of theaters because the amount of money that you put into the film, you just don’t have that many theaters to recoop it from. The more Imax theaters that there are, the more money you’re going to be able to put into the budget for these films and I think that is a positive thing for the future.

K: And also, the studio involvement in the industry is a way in which it’s grown too I think because it’s diversified the market. It’s made different types of subject matter out there and different ways of making films, and I think that any industry is better for that. The more diversity the better.

 

What do you think of James Cameron’s digital 3D cameras?

J: I can’t really comment because I haven’t seen them. I’ve heard some good things about them and I hope it works out. It’s great to have a name like Jim Cameron working in the Imax industry because someone who is so successful to decide that he wants to put his passions into Imax technology I think is great for the industry.

 

 

 

 

 

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