Making of

“Emerald Paradise”

In 2015 I was able to convince my close friends, talented photographers and film makers at a young age, to come to Slovenia with me to capture the incredible scenery on videos and photos.

I was especially impressed with the results we got from a 4K camera and I instantly decided to produce a feature length documentary about fly-fishing on the Soča river in 4K.

Since this was a new quality level, I was faced with multiple problems like data storage, need for faster connections, more expensive cameras and the fact that higher resolution is only half the ticket to a better picture. HDR (High Dynamic Range) means that we have more details in both dark and bright parts of our shots which makes the film you watch as lifelike as nowadays possible. In addition, filming alone does not cut it. Postproduction is extensive, especially for Dolby Surround and HDR colour grading. You need a lot of know-how and experience, and facilities, like tone and editing studios. It soon became clear to me that I could not take care of this myself.

Step 2

Meanwhile

In 2017 I founded a film production company (Beautiful Escape Media d.o.o.) in Slovenia, to build a team to be able to produce the “Emerald Paradise” project which I have now been envisioning for 15 years. Our budget is minimal, so I can only employ Gregor who has learned to fly drones and got a license which allows him to do so.

In Slovenia, drone flights must be carefully planned and you need a permit from the national flight agency each time you want your drone to take off. In order to get it, one must submit two pages of risk evaluation and a precise flight route created on Google Earth 12 hours before the flight! Additionally it must be two people operating, one flying the drone and one to control the camera.

When we have complicated shots or multi-camera scenes that involve more people (including the transportation of a lot of equipment), we are lucky to have the support of three very motivated and talented students (Žiga, Klemen & Vanja) and many others who help us part-time.

Finally

I have applied for co-financing from EU funds and I was very lucky to get a substantial loan from a great friend who believes in the Emerald Paradise project. My former teacher for editing helps me to cut and prepare the footage for the postproduction where tones and colours are finished in one of the world’s best and the biggest post production studio outside of Hollywood, ARRI Media in Munich.

The biggest difficulties we face are the unpredictability of nature and wildlife. We had to sit out weeks of rain, we were waiting for months for snow to fall to shoot vital winter scenes, then we had to wait for murky waters to clear, and when they finally did, the weather got bad again. When we aimed for shots of certain very shy animals we often scared them off while we set up our cameras. Time and again we carried hundreds of kilos of equipment into steep canyons without paths and had to do what is called canyoning – abseiling vertical rock sections and waterfalls, wading through ice-cold water – to get to our location. It’s a challenge and a continuing adventure, and there is always risk involved: to ourselves and to our expensive gear, so injuries and broken equipment are inevitable.

Since all this is very time consuming, and we have such a minimum budget and little manpower, a famous producer once said to me that maybe it would be even more interesting to produce a movie about the making of Emerald Paradise, than the documentary itself…

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