View from Hurtigruten

Postet til: English-articles, NRK, NRKbeta, TV & Video

Hurtigruten: 5 day TV marathon in the midnight sun


The article and all pictures used are licensed under Creative Commons, you can use all of it or parts of it in whatever way you find suitable, as long as you attribute it with the following text and clickable link to this page:

Content licensed under Creative Commons
Source: NRKbeta.no http://nrkbeta.no/2011/06/16/hurtigruten-eng/

Norsk versjon av artikkel her

low sun outside the bridge window of Hurtigruten, the silhoutte of a man controlling the boat is visible

Norwegian Public Service broadcaster NRK will be transmitting the 134 hour boat trip from Bergen to Kirkenes live and non stop, starting Thursday June 16th at 19:45 CET. And you can catch it in the comfort of your own home, either live or via BitTorrent-fueled download. Because we’ll be making everything available with a Creative Commons license. And you can win stuff! More on that shortly.

Lo-o-o-ong

134 hours of television, that must be a Guinness World Record? Well, no, it can’t compete with the 8,763 hours of a Big Brother show. But it’s still pretty long and close to double the world record for uninterrupted TV watching, so this show should be prime material to set your own world records :)

Here’s a quick taster; the TV promo:

YouTube link

The live stream is available at nrk.no/hurtigruten from Thursday June 16th 2011 until the ship lands in Kirkenes Wednesday June 22nd. Info on how to download etc. can be found there as well.

8040 minutes of sea and arctic nature

Hurtigruten, the Norwegian Express Line, has for well over 100 years been the backbone of coastal Norway, bringing people and goods up and down the weatherbeaten west coast towards the north of Norway. A fleet of 11 ships service 34 ports from Bergen to Kirkenes, covering a distance comparable to the distance Oslo – Tunisia. Daily, and all year round, regardless of weather. In its heyday, this earned the line its nickname National Highway 1.

map of Norway showing the landing ports for Hurtigruten

With the advent of air transport and roads, the goods and the local travellers aboard have gradually been replaced by tourists coming to explore the fjords and expanses of largely untouched arctic nature in the comfort of cruise ship-like amenities. Comfort except for the sea temperature and the possible range of weather, that is.

Watching paint dry – live on TV

Does this trip makes for brilliant live transmitted television? Five and a half days of rolling sea, with a ship crawling slo-o-owly northwards through the changing seascape, just briefly interrupted by a little less than six daily stops for loading and unloading…?

Well, we wouldn’t have thought as much until one and a half year ago. That’s when we did a TV show covering the train trip from Oslo to Bergen – 7 hours 16 minutes, across mountains and through forests and long tunnels – in real time. It turned out to be NRK2′s most watched show ever – with a healthy margin: 30 % of Norway’s entire TV population dropped in during the transmission. Several of them even wrote to tell us they loved it.

During the show, people were watching the show together, while chatting in the Twitter Carriage – as they put it. A while later, Danish TV channel DR gathered a horde of Danes (probably steeped in mountain envy) in front of their screens when they aired the show in 2010, 170.000 were watching – at a time of day the channel was off air normally. Which might indicate it wasn’t just Norwegian patriotism driving people towards their screens, but maybe also some kind of need for a soothing anti-overload experience.

Following the TV show, people around the world have downloaded the footage, which we’ve made available for download via BitTorrent, and done wonderful things with it – you can read more about that in the article Download Bergensbanen in HD.

No sleep ’til Hammerfest

Hurtigruten Midnatsol shot from a helicopter, mountainous Norwegian landscape surrounding a fjord.

But. The voyage of Hurtigruten is 18 times as long as the train trip – 134 hours, making it close to humanly impossible, even for hardcore insomniacs, to watch the entire trip. And even before the ship reaches the midnight sun (the sun is up 24/7 as soon as the ship crosses the Polar Circle Sunday morning), the Scandinavian night will be so light it will be hard to excuse a quick nap by grumbling «too dark to see anything».

So what IS this midnight sun thing?

A friend of mine was working in the front line of the tourist trade a couple of years ago and was one day confronted by a visibly disappointed tourist fresh off the cruise ship, who complained she couldn’t see the midnight sun, and also wondered whether it would be possible to see it and the normal sun simultaneously.

The answers to her questions were:
1) the midnight sun is not a daytime thing, hence it’s name
2) it is not visible in Oslo, we’re too far south – but to end on a positive note
3) it is possible to see the midnight sun and the normal sun simultaneously, as they are one and the same.

What is known as the midnight sun, is the good old sun we all see, but the phenomenon only exists in summer, at nighttime, close to the poles. Short explanation: Planet Earth’s axis of rotation is not at a straight angle to our plane of spinning around the sun, it is slightly tilted. Meaning that the half-year of our spin the north is sun-facing, the days are longer in the north and vice versa. Close enough to the poles, beyond the polar circle, the sun doesn’t set during summer. It gets fairly low, so the light is dimmer, but it’s visible. And it’s quite light outside. The flipside is of course that in winter the sun doesn’t rise at all. That makes it easier to see the northern lights, but, well, it isn’t for everyone.

The sun’s highest point is at summer solstice, which in 2011 will be June 21st at 17:16 UTC, right before the ship is landing in Mehamn, as far as I’ve been able to calculate. That is in the daytime, so the midnight sun won’t take notice, but it means that these nights, we’ll be seeing the midnight sun at it’s highest possible point.

What can I see from abroad?

The short answer is everything. Language barriers may stop you from understanding some of the content, but there probably won’t be that much talking on the boat trip, so as long as you understand seagulls, you’ll probably be all right. We’ll also crowd source translations for the torrents, we’ll be returning to that in a later article.

You can watch the entire transmission live via internet streaming right here: nrk.no/hurtigruten. The main content will probably be the forward facing camera, broken up with some other cameras and the odd interview and archive footage.

The TV signal will be beamed back to NRK’s Main Control via satellite from the boat. The massiveness of the TV signal prohibits us from doing more than one live stream from the boat, so live you’ll be seeing the produced programme, which is interspersed with cutaways to different cameras, interviews and archive footage, but at every port on the trip, we’ll be dropping off disks with uninterrupted footage from the forward facing main camera, which we’ll be making available for download continuously as quick as possible via BitTorrent. The video is produced in full HD, but is converted down to SD for transmission from the boat because of bandwidth limitations. The torrents will be full HD, though.

Why are we doing this?

Primarily because we’re a publicly funded Public Service Broadcaster with a responsibility towards Norwegian culture; a responsibility for covering things important to the inhabitants of a small country, a country that in spite of, or perhaps because of, our significant oil wealth has a vulnerable culture. And programmes like this aren’t economically feasible for a commercial channel; to a large amount of the public it probably seems completely useless, but to some of our viewers it can have a very high value, be something they wouldn’t get in any other way, and in twenty or two hundred years, it will be a strange document of life at the edge of civilisation from a different time.

Also, there’s the NRKbeta Doctrine

The only way to control your content is to be the best provider of it.

It is only by doing this we can we be sure that the content is available to the public in the best possible quality.

And finally, we have to admit there’s an element of «because we can» – as Norway’s largest broadcaster, we have the experience, we have the personnel and we have the equipment to undertake productions of this magnitude, and marathon productions keep us on our toes.

What we’re giving you to play with

Apart from the TV transmission via old-skool TV here in Norway, we are streaming the programme live to the Internet.
Screenshot showing the flash application, an interactive map, live video and information about the ship

Underway, we’re giving you a Flash site (we know some of our users, for instance those on iPads, aren’t happy with Flash, but some of the video trickery is unfortunately impossible to do otherwise). We’re working on a stripped down version for iOS which we hope will be available later tonight. Here you’ll be able to go back and forth in the video, chat with the other passengers partaking in the virtual cruise, share all of or parts of the trip with friends, navigate maps, get data from the bridge, such as map with information on ships in the vicinity, position, depth, speed, weather etc, you’ll find behind the scenes-footage about the production, archive footage and still images, plus you’ll be able to do the trip in 3D with the Google Earth plugin. And there’s also a Flickr photostream.

So how was the internet part of the production conceived?

With a little MASSIVE help from our friends

NRKbeta (NRK’s technology & media sandbox – the blog you’re reading right now) is blessed with a large contingent of helpful and friendly readers providing us with endless input. After we asked how we best could undertake this project, our readers have suggested a lot of the things we’ll try to be doing the coming days. To put the amount of effort our readers have put in in perspective: After we wrote this blog post (translated to English by one of our kind readers here), which is 3 PageDowns long on my PC, we got 64 PageDown-lengths of suggestions, comments and «I’m now paying my license fee with pleasure»-thumbs ups. Which kind of makes you proud to work at a place like this.

The circled part is the article, the rest is comments and suggestions:

Win!

As the ship lands in the various ports northwards, we’ll be dropping off video material from the forward facing camera and make it continuously available for BitTorrent download. And as soon as the trip is over, we’ll do an export from all the ship’s data systems, crunch it, and make it available in a sensible form.

It is up to you to do weird and wonderful stuff with all this. For inspiration, you can take a look at the projects submitted for the Bergensbanen remix competition (in Norwegian, sorry)

We cannot let this project last only during the voyage, we must make sure it lives on beyond today and beyond Norway. Because of that, we are giving away all the material with a Creative Commons license, in the hope that the creative people of the world can make better, wider, more creative use of the material than we can imagine or achieve within our means. And to make it attractive, we’re giving away a NOK 8040 (that’s one Norwegian Kroner pr minute video material, or around € 1000) gift card, good for travelling in Norway, to the person presenting the best application of the material from the boat trip. A jury consisting of swell people from NRK will select the best mashup project based on content from Hurtigruten. Submissions must comply with the Creative Commons BY-SA license terms, be available for evaluation and be submitted to remix @ nrkbeta.no by September 1st 2011. The first prize is a gift card, good for travel in Norway, value of Norwegian Kroner 8040. Go create!

License for use

The license for using the material will be the same as for Bergensbanen, Creative Commons BY-SA, which means:

You are free to…

to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work.
to Remix — to adapt the work

You can edit the work, color correct it, put on graphics, play backwards, anything, as long as you follow the terms in the license.

Under the following conditions…

Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).

All your derivative works must be marked with the URL to http://nrkbeta.no/hurtigruten. If you make something for the web, the link should be clickable. Videos should have both a clickable link in the text description and this text superimposed at the end:

«Hurtigruten» – NRK

http://nrkbeta.no/hurtigruten

Failing to do this, is a breach of terms.

Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same, similar or a compatible license.

Everything you make from our work, must have the same Creative Commons license. Which rules out using other people’s work (unless they also are Creative Commons or similiar), because you have to share your work with the same license.

Failing to do this, is a breach of terms.

Commercial use

The work is also licensed for commercial use. But again, you have to make your work available with the same Creative Commons license.

Summary

You can share and remix the work – also commercially – as long as you credit NRK and link to http://nrkbeta.no/hurtigruten, and use the same Creative Commons license on your work. For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this, is with a link to this web page.

Talk to us

If you’d like to share your experience, give us suggestions etc, use the Twitter hashtag #hurtigruten – and there’s always the comments field under this article.

If you’re a reddit-user, the discussion is here

If you’re on Digg – please digg it.

More English language coverage of Hurtigruten:
newsinenglish.no: Norwegians love Hurtigruten show
newsinenglish.no: Hurtigruten show draws millions
wired.co.uk: Norway’s NRK webcasts 134-hour arctic boat ride
broadbandtvnews.com: NRK sets pace with ‘slow TV’

114 kommentarer

      • Just to be the nit-picker that I am: It will not be copyright free. All the CC-licenses are built on top of normal copyright law. NRK will keep all its normal rights. CC only means that you let people use the material to some extent (depending on which CC license you use), without asking permission first. You can still add other licenses to the material, either exclusive for some specific party, or non-exclusive.

        tl;dr: It’s still a normally copyright protected work, you just grant everyone a non-exclusive license to do some specific stuff with it.

        :)

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        • The work is distributed/licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0:

          You are free:
          to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
          to Remix — to adapt the work
          to make commercial use of the work

          Under the following conditions:
          Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).

          Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

          link to creativecommons.org

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  1. Forgot to tell big thanks to NRK for producing and broadcasting such amazing event, and LIVE! Also giving these pictures to all the world, not only NO IP adresses. Greetings from Latvia!
    Labu ceļavēju! (in latvian, which briefly translated means «good wind on your road»

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  2. Congratulation for the quality of the images and sound.
    As i did same trip 2 years ago (on sister ship Nordkapp) and South Georgia+ Antarctica on the Nordnorge, it remind me lot a wonderful souvenirs
    Why don’t do same -live webcams- on the FRAM on his journeys in Antarctica next season mostly in the Weddell sea trip ?

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  3. Congratulations to NRK (and Hurtigruten) with this fantastic project !!

    Seeing the splendid norwegian coast, it brings back sweet memories from my previous trips on board Hurtigruten (MS Kong Harald, MS Polarlys en MS Trollfjord).

    Quote
    Video from the forward facing camera will be made available in full HD 1920×1080 for download via BitTorrent shortly after each ship landing. You’ll find links to the torrents on this page, or you can subscribe to the RSS.
    Unquote

    So, now I am wondering where you can download the BitTorrents or where to subscribe to the RSS…

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    • It is upscaled on NRK2 – the satellite connection from the ship can’t handle 720p HD, so it’s downscaled from 1080 to 576i for the satellite uplink, then it’s upscaled to 720p for transmission from the Main Control.

      Not ideal, but satellite transmission from ships is – as far as I’ve understood – tricky stuff.

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  4. Neville Forsythe

    What a great concept – and such lovely scenery – very much like NZ’s Fiordland.
    Here in Sumner Christchurch we have had yet another major earthquake, and probably will lose our home – so it is a healing experience to watch this beautiful voyage. I truly wish I could be there – but this is the next best thing! Thank you and best wishes from New Zealand.

    Neville Forsythe

    PS as a musician, conductor and teacher I can hear Grieg’s music in my mind as I watch.

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    • Limpiaparabrisas (svar til Neville Forsythe)

      Good luck to you Neville! I was born and bred in Christchurch, it’s still ‘my’ city, and I suffer on hearing of my relations’ earthquake tribulations from day to day. Must correct you on a point though. NZ’s fiords are not the same as Norway’s. Topographically, yes, but the vegetation is totally different, and probably less rainfall here. The Maori went to the West Coast and Fiordland for greenstone, not much else. My great-grandfather Samuel Moreton (1863-1921) from Invercargill explored much of this remote land, carrying just flour, sugar and tea, and painting, away from his large family for months. The European colonisers (invaders) had no need to settle in the NZ fiords when so much else land was available elsewhere – well, it’s now apparent that building on ChCh’S swamps was yet another dumb English decision.
      People have lived in Norway’s fiords for many centuries. (The Vikings inhabited mainly coastal islands, closer to the expansive ocean). They survived through ingenuity and obstinacy, establishing cornerstone industries like furniture. My Norwegian wife’s fiord ancestors grew tall and thin living on herring, potatoes, bread, coffee – perhaps mutton and an illicitous drop of akvavit at Xmas? They toiled hard and were totally reliable in evey sense, read only the Bible and waited every day for the radio weather report. Today you can wonder at the affluence, the plush villas, new cars, the inhabitant’s second homes in The Canaries and, sadly, a bit of greed, envy, racism and a liking for reactionary politics. And too much potato chips in front of idiot-TV.
      Cheers mate, from Oslo

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  5. Chris Chapman

    This is wonderfully hypnotic viewing — thank you so much. I loved Bergensbanen and this is a different, but similarly spectacular thing.

    Would it be possible for you to release the footage from the two side-facing cameras as well please? They seem to give better views in many places, and would widen the remix potential. And (though I lack the hardware to do this myself!) the three views playing in sync on three monitors would, I think, be wonderfully immersive.

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  6. Neville Forsythe

    I agree the NZ Fiords are very different on many levels – population, vegetation, rainfall etc. However the comment re ChCh’s «dumb» location, while true, does not indicate a corresponding «safety» for Norway – I saw last night on this channel, a scientific research lab modelling the tsunami threat posed by avalanches and landslides in the narrow fiords. Natural disasters come in many shapes and forms. Fire, flood, quake, tsunami, drought ….
    May we be spared all these – however it comes with living on a dynamic planet.

    Neville

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  7. Kari Wijbrans

    Very nice! We are planning to come to Norway on vacation this summer. And we have spent some weeks in Nord Norge before. This is a perfect introduction to the holiday fun. Takk skal du ha NRK! You are doing an awesome job on this.

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  8. My wife and I took this trip in 1978 and enjoyed the wonderful views of the coast and company of our fellow travelers. There were many from Germany, a few from the United Kingdom and we were the only Americans. At that time the trip was for carring mail, goods, locals traveleling from town to town and turists.

    In 1997 I had our grandson travel this same trip as a gift for his graduation from his masters degree program from Michigan State University.

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    • Martin Blied (svar til Martin Blied)

      My wife and I were in Bodo twice, the first time in 1969 when we arrived in Bergen Via SAS from New York. We traveled by train to Oslo and took a flight to Bodo to enjoy the Midnight Sun. In Bodo there was a resturant high on a hill where we ejojoyed the view of the area. We were taken on a trip around the town seeing a large ski jump and an elementary school. Next morning our flight was back to Oslo having experienced 24 hours of Sun light. Our trip by coastal ship in 1978 found the local folks in all of the villages greeting the ship as it arrived. I remember seeing many mothers with small children in baby buggies and others waving just as the folks are doing with this trip.

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  9. Hi, I’m trying to find out where I can download the front camera files. It is stated that the files will be available for download after each of the stops but I can’t seem to find them. Can anybody help me with this?
    Thanks
    Pete

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      • Oh Thanks for that info- Little bit disappointed, I tought it’s more spontaneous behaviour.
        Pity !! It seems that all the coast peoples are on the sea today alongside the Nordnorge.
        (I was onboard the Nordnorge in the Falklands,South Georgia and Antarctica, we do have more penguins, whales,seals than boats with Norway’s flags around us !!! Maybe it’s why i like that ? Never know !)
        but never mind : I like it !!!

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        • Kaare K. Johnsen (svar til JOSZ)

          Well, it IS spontaneous. It’s not like they’ve been paid or asked to go out there. But as soon as people saw on TV that people were greeting M/S Nordnorge on the shores and in boats, more and more people went out the further north the boat got.

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          • There may be other reasons for flagging in Norway, keep in mind that i haven’t watched that show, but we flagg in Norway when someone in the local communtiry has died or rarely when a celebrity dies, we also flag whent he queen/king are dead. And also on special days, the national day is 17th of May. We also flag when the royal (king) family has their birthday. Iknow it is a really late answear but i just discovered this thread.

            Greeting from a 15 years old Norwegian boy (who is a quarter english)

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  10. Why are the torrents so huge ?? Could you «chop up» the torrents in smaller (download friendlier) packages ?? I tried to download episode 8 and that is soùe 8.75GB ??? It will take me ages before I can download that torrent. Not to mention it crashes my download limit….

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  11. The reporter doing interviewing has a very pleasant unassuming manner reminding me that there are no celebrities interposing themselves between the trip and the viewer. I like the periods during which the boat’s progress, and the unfolding scenes, are allowed to speak for themselves without incessant commentary. Programmes are rarely like this.

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  12. Henrik Kofoed

    I can’t help following this on my computer. I love Norway. I also saw parts of the Bergensbanen – and I had expected to see a beautiful and calm sea voyage. It is certainly beautiful – but calm NO. This broadcast has apparently turned into a Norwegian event in itself. I seems that every Norwegian along the «road» is trying to get a glimpse of himself on national TV. Hundreds of boats are accompanying the ship, at every small port it seems like every local citizen is present in a boat, on the quayside or even swimming in the water. Bands are playing, acts are being performed, people are dancing, swimming, jumping, waving, screaming. Every local Norwegian seem to be hoping for 10 seconds of glory, appearing on national TV. You can see how many boats cannot concentrate because they need to follow the broadcast while sailing – others cling to their cell phones to be affirmed – “Your are on TV”. What we see is still a beautiful scenery in the background, however the foreground is heavily disturbed by Norwegians who are – at best – FUNNY

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    • They’re having fun, nothing wrong with that. Only problem is small boats getting too close to the ship, the captain is worried about accidents. You can say this live coverage is a huge success. I find it relaxing, watching the beautiful scenery.

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  13. Sorry by after many trying on my 2 imacs and on my Windows-Vista, all 3 are unable to download any .torent file. After trying only same url without torrent and with ….mp.4 file: no success !
    Could you please let me know, understandingly,how to proceed for effective downloading on my desktop.
    Thanks a lot !!

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  14. Hi Josz,

    I assume that you have been able to download the torrent files from the website successfully? and that you have and know how to download files from torrent files (I use Vuze).

    Are your hard drives formatted in FAT32? If so, you won’t be able to download the files because FAT32 format limits files to 4GB and these files are bigger. On Windows you need NTFS formatted hard drive and for Mac there are a couple of options but I’ve chosen Mac Extended (Journaled) format, and so far Vuze has no problems. Well, I say that, but it is downloading but says it’s going to take about a day for me to download.

    So guys if you’ve downloaded the files, stay online so we can share the data faster!

    Hopefully that helps Josz.

    Gavin.

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  15. Will the ship go in to Trollfjorden?
    I have heard it is only the south-going route that makes the «wipe» in Trollfjorden, if so I hope it’s maden an exception for this fantastic program.

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  16. Hi,

    This is a wonderful broadcasting.
    Very interesting with many beautiful landscapes.
    And supermarketing for Norway.

    A suggestion when after the project it is on the nrk website: please subtitle it in English or more languages. Adds to the marketing potential.

    Lode

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  17. Hi! Thank you very much for wonderful coverage. I have a question. Will NRK2 later air some kind of highlights from the all 134 hours, for example – 10 hour montage (and in HD)? Or this is the LIVE marathon and there won’t be any programmes later made?

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    • Lode V (svar til Chris)

      Yes, a playlist would be wonderful
      Please also with a day and time and between which towns it was played.
      A few times I started to watch (again) and fell into a piece of music of which the title etc was shown before I started watching again.

      I must say watching paint dry is more addictive than I originally thought.

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  18. Outstanding work on the live broadcast. I am addicted! It is making me very homesick for another trip to Norway. Love the music as well. Please release a listing of tracks played during voyage.

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  19. Lloyd Sokvitne

    This is a wonderful project. I am watching the Hurtigruten cruise from Tasmania, Australia and enjoying it immensely. Congratulations on the concept and delivery – this is a fantastic web event, well planned and easy to use. Norway should be proud of NRK and the team behind this – a great achievement and one which many other countries could learn from.

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  20. Tak til NRKbeta for en fremragende udsendelse.
    For 9 måneder siden købte jeg en rundtur med Hurtigruten. Afgang fra Bergen den 10. juli og ankomst igen den 21. juli.
    Jeg har glædet mig lige siden biletten blev købt.
    Nu kan jeg næsten ikke vente, til det bliver dagen for afrejse med «MS NORDLYS»
    Med denne fremragende eksponering af den norske natur, kan jeg kun sige TIL LYKKE til alle, der har bidraget til denne udsendelse

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  21. What a marvelous treat! This Californian has enjoyed this so much … from the magnificent scenery to the sound of the ship moving through the water to the crowds at each port (including the thong-wearing water skier, the guy in the yellow chicken suit and the Elvis impersonator.)

    And now the lovely midnight sun as you approach the last few ports.

    Thank you for making this available.

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  22. Are there any plans to release Hurtigruten Minutt for Minutt in h265 (successor to h264) ?

    The x265 encoder is in development, see Doom9 forum
    DivX are also releasing their version .

    I would like to see a higher quality encode … something closer to q19 (x264) or q21 … rather than the q23 released by NRK in 550 GB.

    Thanks much

    It’s all good
    Pascal

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