NRK, NRKbeta, TV & Video

Hurtigruten: FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

a map showing the flight of Hurtigruten, the travelled distance being red, the projected journey in green.

Norsk versjon her: Hurtigruten: FAQ – Ofte stilte spørsmål

Many ask questions about Hurtigruten, and even though we’ve answered most questions several times already, it may be difficult finding the right answer among the more than 900 comments on these 7 articles published to date at NRKbeta:
Hurtigruten: Noen glimt bak kameraene
Hurtigruten: hvordan sende direkte fra satellittskygge
Hurtigruten: 5 day TV marathon in the midnight sun
Hurtigruten: 5 døgn TV-maraton i midnattssol
Da er vi i gang : Hurtigruten – Minutt for minutt
Hurtigruten minutt for minutt: status
Hjelp oss å lage hurtigruten minutt for minutt

To save you from trying to find the answers among the comments, we’re making this FAQ – answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

Why a FAQ in English?

The Hurtigruten project has been visited from 176 countries, and somewhere around 40% of the traffic has been from outside Norway. We suppose that makes it normal courtesy to do an English version of the FAQ.

Will there be a DVD set of the whole trip?

We guess NRK Aktivum (the company handling NRK’s DVD editions) maybe won’t be making a 30 DVD/BluRay set from the trip, but the forward facing camera is licensed to use under Creative Commons, and is available for download via BitTorrent so if somebody out there wants to issue a DVD set, go right ahead 🙂

Update: We’ve done some checking, and it seems the door for a DVD isn’t quite closed yet – there’s been a lot of interest.

Will you be making a timelapse?

No, we don’t think we will be making one ourselves. But there will most probably be several – the forward facing camera is licensed to use under Creative Commons, and is available for download via BitTorrent so if somebody out there wants to do one, they’re heartily welcome. Also, If you do something cool, let us know, so we can link to it – tell us here: Hurtigruten: Look what I did!

Will the TV programme be available for download?

The TV programme, as seen on NRK2 in Norway, and in the video window on nrk.no/hurtigruten, will not be available for download, because it contains copyrighted material (mainly music, but also some archive footage). But it will not disappear from the web, so you can watch it forever on the web, but you cannot download it, and it isn’t licensed with Creative Commons.

When will the torrents be up?

We try to put up the torrents as soon as we’re finished coding them, but we have experienced delays and technical difficulties, meaning for instance that the first torrent isn’t up yet, and still may be delayed.

What’s the BitTorrent workflow?

HDSDI is recorded on a Mac Pro in DVCPRO100, then it’s copied to an 8 core I7-Linux server with FFmpeg and x264, which deinterlaces, puts on an NRK logo and transcodes to h264. The finished files are delivered via Sneakernet to NRKs district offices up the coast, where the files are copied to the main server in Oslo via our internal network.

Will there be a lower resolution torrent available?

We understand that some think it’s a bit heavy downloading all these gigabytes of video, and want a lower quality version. We will not be making one, though – it’s a gargantuan task to make another version. But the material is available in full resolution with a Creative Commons license. Meaning that as long as you abide the license terms, you’re free to make a low resolution version available – on a web site full of advertising, for that matter.

Why aren’t you putting out torrents from the parts where the ship is in harbour?

That is a practical consideration – the forward facing camera is quite eventless in harbour. It saves us some time, disk space and bandwidth we can use for more sensible things.

Will it be possible to download side cameras, Cineflex etc. as well?

Unfortunately, no. The main setup on the ship is for live transmission. That means we don’t have recorders hooked up to the various cameras, the only camera continously recorded being the forward facing one. That means we can’t do much recording from the other cameras. The main programme going out from the ship contains copyrighted material like music and archive footage, which we’re not allowed to distribute freely by the rights holders. That means we cannot give you that for download, but you can of course stream it to your heart’s content at nrk.no/hurtigruten. We’ve been asked if we could take the main program and edit out all music and archive footage, but that is several months of work (just going through the programme is close to 4 weeks’ worth, if we abide normal work hours), so it’s a bit too much for us. Sorry!

Where can I find the downloadable BitTorrent streams?

You’ll find all available material at nrk.no/hurtigruten under the Download tab.

Will you be offering all the material in one single monster torrent?

We won’t be putting up an all-files-in-one-torrent alternative, as it is a less-than-brilliant idea: It would give double the data amount and give different seeds, ie. more junk on the world’s hard drives and less speed. If you subscribe to the BitTorrent RSS feed, you’ll get the same result, but in a smoother way.

I’m having trouble downloading the torrents

Gavin says:

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!

I’m still having trouble downloading

The article BitTorrent for din bestemor – BitTorrent for your grandmother – explains in plain Norwegian (use Google Translate – or if somebody volunteers for a fan translation, we’d be most grateful) how BitTorrent works.

The video quality looks strange in parts, is it really HD?

Yes, the video is 1920 x 1080 HD with h264 compression. It looks great at day, but when the light falls at night, there’s both some dirt from the camera and some compression artifacts showing up.

What is the music you’re playing?

We’re making a playlist for all music played, we’ll publish it when the voyage is over.

Will you be subtitling the programme?

We’re planning to let our public fansub the programme when it’s finished, You’ll find more details on that here at NRKbeta later.

Can you tell us more about the technical side of the production?

You have these articles at the moment:
Hurtigruten: Noen glimt bak kameraene (hurtigruten: some glimpses behind the cameras)
Hurtigruten: hvordan sende direkte fra satellittskygge (hurtigruten: how to transmit live from the satellite shadow), both in Norwegian; Use Google Translate – or if somebody volunteers for a fan translation, we’d be most grateful.

Where can I find a map op the voyage?

There’s a map on the left at nrk.no/hurtigruten, it shows you the entire trip on a zoomable map you can turn on and off map layers (Kartlag) for Flickr pictures, nearby ships (from AIS system) and geo tagged archive video from NRK. During playback, you can press «Til båten» to see where the ship was at that point in the video.

a map showing the flight of Hurtigruten, the travelled distance being red, the projected journey in green.

Where can I find archive footage?

You can find geo tagged archive footage via the map on the left at nrk.no/hurtigruten – select Kartlag and check the Videoer fra NRK-arkivet check box.

How can I share footage from a specific point with a friend?

Navigate to the point of the journey you wish to share via the map at nrk.no/hurtigruten. When the video plays, you can navigate back and forth with the time slider in the video window until you find your exact point. Then press Share the trip over the video window and copy the Link to current position. It will look something like this: nrk.no/hurtigruten/#t=145818, the number at the end of the URL is the position in the video you’re linking to (in seconds from the start of the transmission). Double check that you’re linking to the right spot by pasting it into a fresh browser tab.

How can I navigate in the video material?

There’s a map on the left at nrk.no/hurtigruten, it shows you the entire trip on a zoomable map you can turn on and off map layers (Kartlag) for Flickr pictures, nearby ships (from AIS system) and geo tagged archive video from NRK. During playback, you can press «Til båten» to see where the ship was at that point in the video. You’ll also find a time slider in the video player, which lets you drag back and forth.

Can you tell us more about the cameras in use?

There are 11 cameras on board; 3 cameras are fixed inside the bridge, facing forward, left and right, one camera is hung under the bow, one Cineflex V14 HD is mounted in the front directly under the bridge, and is responsible for the more extreme zoom ins, the remaining 6 cameras are moved around, used in boats, interviews, etc. There’s an article explaining more here Hurtigruten: Noen glimt bak kameraene (hurtigruten: some glimpses behind the cameras), but unfortunately the interviews haven’t been translated yet.

Can you tell us more about the microphones on the ship?

We’ll try to get back to that in more depth in a later instalment. Generally, the ambience microphones have been placed where they can pick up a realistic sound picture of the ship’s movement, without being knocked out by wind or rain, and without picking up passengers talking.

How many people are working on the production?

There are 22 people from NRK on the ship, from 4 and up to 22 are working simultaneously. The working shifts vary, generally they’re 12-14 hours. Sleep is a luxury you catch when possible, but generally it’s saved for after the return home.

Who got the insane idea of making this programme?

It is probably an idea that has come from several people at approximately the same time, so it wouldn’t be right to credit one person for this, but we know for a fact that in September 2009, the week #Bergensbanen was screened on NRK2, we wrote this in a summary:

One of the better ideas that showed up on Twitter Friday night, was to do a similar project for Hurtigruten. Put a camera in the bow and film the entire journey Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen. 11 days – perfect for NRK2 between christmas and new year next year!

Lesson learnt: Don’t write off crazy ideas right away, they might just be unconventional – which is what it takes to stand out.

Isn’t this frightfully expensive to do?

Well, it’s not free to have 22 people working day and night at sea for six days, and there’s also some expensive rentals, like the satellite antenna, the uplink, equipment like the Cineflex etc, but once you’re up and running, you get quite a lot of TV hours out of it, so you can say that we get something like 150 documentary-lengths for the price of around what around 4 documentaries would cost. It’s probably considerably cheaper than many larger sports events, and also, maybe it touches more people more deeply. And finally, we’re the Norwegian license funded Public Service Broadcaster. We need to do stuff like this, because if we don’t, nobody else will.

Will there be a re-run of the show?

The entire 134 hours? As of now, we don’t know. But there will be a highlights programme coming up on NRK TV, and SVT, Swedish Television, will be running a 2 x 120 min highlights programme later on. We’ll let you know when we know more.

Will we get GPS data etc?

Yes, you will. We are doing a data dump of all data from the ship’s systems, but the format is quite complex, so we’ll have to wait until the trip is over, then we’re doing the transfer and converting it to something more sensible. We’ll give it to you in JSON format.

Has Hurtigruten gathered a lot of interest?

Absolutely. We’ve streamed 1 903 597 853 seconds of video this far; that’s 60 years of video. And we have had users from 176 countries – that’s 90% of the world’s countries.

The TV programme has been viewed by more Norwegians than anything else in the history, and the amount of action we’ve seen at Twitter has also been hard to keep abreast of.

We’ll fill you in with more on this later on.

How big are the torrents in total?

We’re not finished yet, but we estimate it will be around 250-300 GB in total when all 34 torrents are available.

How many people are watching Hurtigruten?

We’ll get back to you in this, but there are som numbers (in Norwegian) in this article 2,5 millioner tv-seere så livesendingen fra Hurtigruten

Will it be possible to stream the TV program?

Yes, you’ll find it at nrk.no/hurtigruten – it will be available for the foreseeable future.

My device doesn’t support Flash, where can I see Hurtigruten?

If you don’t have Adobe Flash support on your device (typically an iPad/iPhone challenge), we have a simplified fallback solution on nrk.no/hurtigruten/ios.html available during the live transmission (it uses the NRK2 live streaming). We’re sorry about this, but the solution we’ve built, allowing you to scroll back and forth in live transmitted video, is hard to do without Flash as of now.

For how long will Hurtigruten be available online?

Nothing is forever, but let’s hope close to forever.

I’m just seeing white panels at nrk.no/hurtigruten what’s happening?

The trickery we’re doing on the website demands the latest version of Adobe Flash. Some modern web browsers like Chrome handle this update automatically, but other browsers demand you do this manually. You can check your version and get a newer one: Adobe Flash

Also, some people choose not to install Flash. Our offering to this group is either the BitTorrent download or the iOS fallback: nrk.no/hurtigruten/ios.html (only working during the live transmission).

If you still have unanswered questions, let us know in the comments, and we’ll try to answer