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Dick Harrewijn

Director of Photography, Dick Harrewijn, has worked on a wide range of international wildlife and nature projects. Since working as a cameraman on the hit movie “The New Wilderness”, he has contributed to the success of many award-winning documentaries and TV productions. His love for the sea and nature is clear to see in his recent work, “Silence of the Tides“.

“Silence of the Tides” is a film that showcases the beauty of the Wadden Sea, the largest tidal wetland in the world. It highlights the relationship between humans and nature, and the importance of preserving and protecting our natural environment. Director Pieter-Rim de Kroon‘s passion for cinematography and natural history shines through in this stunning film, which is a testament to the power of observation and visual storytelling.

The Silent Symphony of Nature

Pieter-Rim worked closely with Director of Photography, Dick Harrewijn, to create a unique observational film. “The style and precision in which Pieter-Rim makes his films has been an inspiration for me for years,” says Dick. “But when he told me about his vision for the film, no narration, no dialogue, no interviews, no voice-over, not even music. I was sold.” The film quietly explores the harmonious yet delicate relationship between humanity and nature and presents an awe-inspiring portrait of the cyclical patterns of life, death, and transformation against a backdrop of ever-changing skies, winds, water, and light.

Rules of the Game

Pieter-Rim and Dick first began talking about the visuals and looks of the film long before shooting started. Together, they established basic but strict rules for filming, such as always keeping the camera on a tripod and mainly avoiding operating or movement with the camera. They kept the horizon high in the frame throughout the film, about one-third from the top, as the story was about the landscape and the sea, not the sky. Dick used his trusted Sachtler tripod systems to create stable shots, essential when working with long lenses up to 1500mm.

Breath In – Breath Out

The concept of “Silence of the Tides” emerged when several organisations, including the Dutch Wadden Sea Fund, were interested in producing a film about the Wadden Sea region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “I had been to the Wadden area several times and had been thinking for many years about how to tell the story of the tidal process,” says Pieter-Rim.

I consider this tidal process as a breathing in and breathing out process, low tide and high tide, ebb, and flood. This breathing cycle became the central subject of the film, and its constant awareness made it the main character.

Pieter-Rim de KroonDirector

The film showcases the diverse characters that inhabit the islands and the Wadden Sea, all connected by their relationship with the area and the tidal process.

Tough Conditions – Tough Gear

The small crew captured the beauty and drama of this surrealistic landscape for six seasons. With the film set outside in wet and harsh conditions, they knew tough and reliable gear was needed to make it through the entire production. “Frequently, we found ourselves waist deep in the water waiting for the tide to come or go,” says Dick. “Or we had to hike long distances knee deep in the mud at low tide to get to the perfect location to capture a landscape shot.”

He adds, “These adventures were much easier using my Sony VENICE camera and lightweight Sachtler Video 20 and heavy-duty Video 25 fluid head systems.”

With so many variables to consider in the landscape, Dick had everything covered with his two Sachtler fluid heads. “My Sachtler Video 20 is the ultimate compromise between being portable and still stable enough for long lens work,” he says.

My beloved V25 is my day-to-day best friend. I work a lot with long lenses, up to 1500mm, so having heavy-duty camera support like the Video 25 System is necessary. The weight is crucial as it provides more stability.

Dick HarrewijnDirector of Photography

With 18 steps of counterbalance and 7 drag settings, the 150mm Video 25 head delivers smooth camera movements for payloads up to 35kg.

Dick has relied on his Sachtler tripod systems on many outdoor film documentaries. “One of my teachers at film school once said when you start as a cameraman, buy your own tripod, it will last over 10 years. And my Sachtler Video 20 fluid head has been with me for the last 10 years,” he says. “I have both my tripod systems serviced regularly by my local Sachtler Premier Partner, so they always perform like new. And that’s quite amazing because I’ve been subjecting them to every tough environment you can think of.”

Risk and Reward

Image quality was a key factor in showcasing the power and beauty of each scene. The crew chose a Sony VENICE camera to meet the challenge. “Its full-frame sensor, colour science and extremely wide exposure latitude intrigued us,” says Pieter-Rim. “Some people advised me not to do it because this was a brand-new camera, untested on long feature productions, and this was going to be a rough and wet and salty salt-water shoot. They were unsure whether it would be reliable. But it worked out well. In six months of continuous shooting, we didn’t have one problem with the entire camera system.”

After 150 days filming the six-part series, they eventually completed editing, unveiling the sensational production at preview screenings at the festival in Cannes. An international film festival release followed, where the film picked up several wildlife film awards. “We put a lot of attention into a delicate and dynamic three-dimensional sound design in full Dolby Atmos,” says Pieter-Rim. “For us, that’s important because the impact on a large screen with a lot of attention on the photography and full Dolby Atmos sound should make for an immersive viewing experience.”

Local Hero

Dick has recently been filming a seven-part wildlife documentary series called “Onze Natuur” (Our Nature) that tells the story of wild Belgium. “Belgium is not the first country that most people would think of for wildlife, including the natives,” says Dick. “This new series will show the world that there’s an interesting ecosystem with lots of fascinating wildlife to see.”

Find out more about Silence of the Tides including screening locations, behind the scenes videos and information on the cast and crew on the Silence of the Tides website.

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