The Revolutionary Filming Technology Behind Netflix’s 1899

The creators of Netflix’s Dark, Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar, describe themselves as “old school filmmakers.” They intended to film their next show, 1899, across multiple locations in Europe, including Spain, Poland and Scotland. Yet they ran into a major obstacle right off the bat: Covid-19.

The timing of the global pandemic and ensuing travel bans meant their original vision was off the table.

So did they green screen the whole thing?

Nope.

Because of the constraints of Covid, these old school filmmakers had to use cutting edge technology. Neflix helped fund the building of a new virtual production studio from scratch. This virtual production stage, The DARK BAY, is now the largest and most advanced European virtual production studio. It is unique in the world of filming technology.

The production studio uses a technology known as “volume.” It’s a giant LED sound stage. Rather than using green screens or blue screens, on which the images are added later, the volume displays photo realistic images rendered in real time using a video game engine (Unreal Engine). It’s similar to the technology used in The Mandalorian. But even The Mandalorian shot half its scenes outside the volume — something that was more or less impossible for 1899 during the pandemic.

Apparently, the images on the LED screens were so realistic that the actors of 1899 were getting seasick from looking at the moving horizon.

The stage also includes rain and water atmospherics designed so that it wouldn’t damage the set.

Were there limitations? Philipp Klausing, the show’s producer and managing director of Dark Bay, emphasized that the capabilities of this technology come with some major limits that aren’t immediately apparent.”However you build a volume,” he said, “you try to achieve a full cylinder or circle around you so you can place your camera wherever you like. You soon realize you have all kinds of limitations on all sides, and you have issues with how to access the stage.”

Still, it was a very clever way for a show with a plot in multiple countries to overcome the limits of Covid-19. I think this technology also contributed much to the trippy, and dreamlike style of the show itself. And I think it will help influence the filming styles of many other shows to come.

Related Links

Watch the Making of 1899 (Netflix)

What is Volume, the virtual production stage used for making 1899? (Opoyi)

Behind the Scenes: 1899 (IBC)

Inside Dark Bay, the spinning LED volume at the heart of Netflix’s upcoming ‘1899’ (Techcrunch)

This is the incredible technology behind the Netflix series ‘1899’ (Gearrice)

Behind the Scenes (and Screens) of Netflix’s “1899” (Amplify)

‘1899’ First Interviews: Netflix & The Creators Of ‘Dark’ Talk Building Europe’s Largest Virtual Production Stage To Shoot Ambitious Multilingual Series (Deadline, 1899)

The Creation of the Dark Bay Virtual Production Stage (ARRI)

Dark Bay Website

“Five Star Bathroom” – Microfiction, Humor, Travel

Original Image Made on Playground AI

“Mama snores like a chainsaw battling rocks. My sister and I retreat to the five-star hotel’s bathroom and close the door. I lay on a pile of blankets under the sink. My sister is by the tub. The snoring is now so faint it’s a lullaby.”

This microfiction of mine was published by Cuento Magazine. They publish prose and poetry under 280 characters on their twitter page.

What I wrote is based off a true story which took place about 12 years ago.

A Microfiction on Fibromyalgia

(Image Generated with Playground AI)

“The fibromyalgia burns through my skin. I lay crumpled up in bed, staring outside at an oak tree. Flowers blossom from mottled branches. A yellow warbler feeds her chicks in the gentle pitter patter of rain. The fire within me cools to a simmer.”

See it here on Cuento Magazine on Twitter, along with other microfictions.

Also. Here are some resources on chronic pain below.

Chronic Pain Champions Official Website

Chronic Pain Champions Free Ebook

Neuroplastic Pain

Curable App

Mayoclinic Guide to Fibromyalgia (Book on Amazon)

Unlearn Your Pain by Howard Schubiner (Book on Amazon)

A Microfiction From the POV of a Space Monster

(Image made with Playground AI)

Movies like Alien, Event Horizon, and Pitch Black have popularized the Space Horror genre.

However, not enough literature or movies have shown space horror from the POV of the monster, in my humble opinion.

So I decided to attempt one and got it published on Black Hare Press. It’s a great website for creatives looking to submit drabbles, short stories, and novellas.

For those who don’t know what a drabble is, it’s a short fictional story around 100 words in length.

Check out mine here.

#PitDark is Today!

“#PitDark is the first and only Twitter pitch event to highlight literature of a “darker” nature. Importantly, this is not limited to horror works; however, any pitched manuscript must contain an element of horror or darker writing. Examples of such categories include pure horror novels, dark fantasy, murder mysteries, psychological horror stories, non-fiction works about darker subjects, etc. MG, YA, NA, and adult age categories are welcome.”

See More Details Here

Do NOT Write a Book

Image Made With DALL-E AI Art Generator

The title may seem like odd advice since this is a blog for writers.

Isn’t the first step of being a writer to … you know… write?

That may be true, but there are several good reasons not to start off your career as a writer by writing a book.

I just read a great article by Medium author Akshay Gajria called, “Please Do NOT Write a Book.” I highly recommend it.

The point Akshay makes is that a large number people have dreams of writing a book. And many of these people often have unrealistic expectations.

While there are all sorts of workshops and books out there training people how to write “12k” words a day, Akshay reminds his readers that much much more goes into a book than simply getting words down. There’s also editing and research.

While it may take 6 months to simply write a first draft, polishing that first draft into a quality product can take years. For me, it takes 2-3 years on average to write and finish a book. And that includes working on said book about 5 days a week.

Writing a book is not a mere passion project. It’s a major commitment. And it’s something that takes skill. One must know how to structure a story, create compelling characters, have a logical plot, good pacing and quality description.

A great point that Akshay made is that one should build their skill by writing short stories first. Short stories require a much smaller time commitment. They are also much easier to get published than novels. A publisher takes a smaller financial risk on a short story than a novel.

Many of the most famous authors today got their start with short stories, including Stephen King and George R.R. Martin.

Short stories are also a good way to build your portfolio, get your name out there and build an audience before you make the major commitment to write a book.

If you enjoyed this advice, please read Akshay Gajria’s article, “Please Do Not Write a Book.”

AI Art Generators For Creative People

(Picture of “tall colorful mushrooms at night” generated with DALLE-2)

The ability to use AI to generate realistic-looking art is revolutionary for all the creatives out there. These tools are even useful for writers. You can use these art generators to make a logo for your website, an image for an article, or a cover for a book. It can also be useful for stimulating your creative juices.

Check out Gizmodo’s Recommended Free AI Art Generators