For dramatic Iceland scenes, thank this daring helicopter pilot


(CNN) — Historical tales of trolls and magic dwell on in Iceland, an island nation of volcanoes, lava fields, glaciers and ice caves.

To totally take a look at each individual corner of the dynamic landscape, unravel neighborhood folklore and fight the all-natural things, one have to take to the skies.

Enter Jón Kjartan Björnsson, the pilot with a mission to demonstrate the real Iceland.

Björnsson, a helicopter pilot for 35 a long time, has taken camera crews, administrators and actors to some of the most beautiful places in the place.

A helicopter can go spots in Iceland most people today can not.

FlyOver Iceland

The thundering waterfalls and deep valley gorges found in TV’s “Recreation of Thrones” and the films “Oblivion” and “Flags of Our Fathers” are many thanks to Björnsson’s specialist navigation capabilities.

Björnssons’ clarifies that because you can’t use a zoom on the huge-angle camera, the trick to finding that intimate really feel is transferring the actual helicopter near to the shot: “If it feels like you are shut, you are near,” he claims.

Iceland, the alien earth

Even though Björnsson enjoys to showcase his strikingly extraordinary region, numerous of the photographs he allows filmmakers to build are not offered as Iceland at all.

In point, Björnsson states, “Each time administrators want to show somewhere on yet another earth, they shoot in Iceland!”

The aerial filming environment is tiny, clarifies Björnsson, who describes it as a significant family members.

The desolate volcanic deserts, glaciers and lush mossy valleys viewed on the planets of Eadu and Hoth in “Star Wars,” in “Recreation of Throne’s” Land Further than the Wall, and in Thor’s dwelling of Asgard have been all filmed in Iceland.

From fast-rushing waterfalls to steep mountain peaks, Iceland's scenery has made it a favorite among filmmakers.

From fast-dashing waterfalls to steep mountain peaks, Iceland’s surroundings has created it a beloved between filmmakers.

FlyOver Iceland

Iceland also stands in for an alien planet in the film “Interstellar,” the place astronauts journey by a wormhole to uncover a further property just after Earth results in being uninhabitable.

And in the post-apocalyptic movie “Oblivion,” Iceland features as both a war-torn and ravaged Earth as well as its opportunity replacement, the planet of Titan.

Iceland immersion

In addition to get the job done on feature movies and television series, Björnsson is also dependable for obtaining the director and filming crew in the correct location for the FlyOver Iceland video used in the exhilarating knowledge primarily based in Reykjavík.

The FlyOver show, now in Vancouver and Iceland and before long in Las Vegas and Toronto, usually takes site visitors on a sensory journey suspended above a 20-meter (65.6-foot) display. The working experience blends some of these amazing sights depicted on film with the physical sensation of traveling, together with an genuine mist falling on your facial area from a waterfall.

FlyOver Iceland is an immersive film experience that takes viewers through the otherworldly landscape.

FlyOver Iceland is an immersive movie practical experience that takes viewers by the otherworldly landscape.

FlyOver Iceland

You might even get a whiff of refreshing mountain bouquets as you glide around a meadow.

In a person spectacular sequence in the Iceland film, Björnsson flies right through an impossibly slender arch that has the total viewers gasping and keeping their breath as they truly feel by themselves hoping to make it by the arch.

In truth, he tells CNN Vacation the width was extremely comfortable at about 50 meters, but it certain seems and feels slim as you embody the position of the silent passenger, sitting beside Björnsson, trusting Björnsson.

The completed footage from FlyOver and Björnsson’s other projects — entire movies and exhibits — produces the impression that the viewers is appropriate there with him. It truly is as shut as most persons can hope to get to numerous of Iceland’s or else inaccessible territory.

Remoter even now

Remarkably for a male who has been flying skillfully for around a few a long time, Björnsson says he is essentially terrified of heights and prefers reduced-amount flying.

Just one scene in the 8-and-a-half-minute minimovie normally takes position at Iceland’s maximum peak, at 7,000 plus feet (2,134 meters) earlier mentioned sea degree. “I pretty much had to near my eyes in some cases!” Björnsson quips.

Björnsson routinely has the option to fly over destinations most Icelanders will hardly ever go to.

“Most of people web-sites in FlyOver are quite hard to get to except if you have a helicopter. The little lighthouse just south of Iceland is possibly the most difficult just one. But when you have the helicopter, you can go wherever you like to go!”

That remote and lonely little lighthouse is regarded as The Þrídrangaviti lighthouse and is found on the Westman Islands, about 5 miles off the coastline of mainland Iceland.

The producing of the movie

Some sections of the island do not characteristic in the remaining lower of director Dave Mossop’s 2019 FlyOver Iceland online video for the reason that weather conditions posed insurmountable obstructions.

Filming took area in excess of a 12 months and a 50 percent in all seasons. Mossop says that they were stranded for times in the northern section of the island when undesirable climate, including sideways snowstorms and zero light, produced it not possible to film or to leave.

This section of the place seldom sees holidaymakers and locals experienced warned Mossop that flying and filming would be difficult.

Jon Kjartan Bjornsson has been a helicopter pilot for 35 years taking camera crews, directors and actors to some of the most stunning spots in Iceland.

Jon Kjartan Bjornsson has been a helicopter pilot for 35 decades having camera crews, directors and actors to some of the most stunning spots in Iceland.

FlyOver Iceland

The tough shoots, nevertheless, reaped great rewards: The helicopter’s positioning provides viewers a grasp of the sheer scale of Iceland’s glaciers, not visible in this way by land — or even obtainable.

Black sands, lava fields and deep eco-friendly valleys glance like a sequence of remarkable canvas landscapes stitched together into a person accurate masterpiece.

“A single of the most remote places that we bought to go to and one that you would by no means be in a position to working experience in its total impact from the floor is termed the Tungnaa river, and I feel it really is a single of the seven wonders of the globe. It’s just the most lovely, wild, unbelievable river flowing from a glacier and spreading out around this silt sand,” Mossop claims.

When considered from higher than in Björnsson’s helicopter, Mossop claims it appears like a a few-dimensional Georgia O’Keeffe abstract painting, made by mother nature.

Directing risk

One particular of the most dramatic moments Mossop filmed in Iceland for FlyOver was a scene the place kayakers appear careening down the Goðafoss waterfall.

Mossop describes this as a “genuinely unsafe stunt.” While it wasn’t the optimum drop these experience athletics gurus experienced navigated, it undoubtedly was superior stakes due to the fact of the sheer quantity of drinking water.

“The entire river channels into this notch and just piles off of this beautiful basalt column amphitheater and makes extraordinary impression at the base of the waterfall … if it goes incorrect, you happen to be heading to be buried under this mountain of drinking water for minutes. And you could surely, possibly, die,” Mossop suggests.

Like considerably of the motion filmed for this mini-motion picture, timing was anything.

“We ended up really privileged we received a just take that worked. And it truly is in the film and I assume it is really 1 of the most excessive and extraordinary photographs I have ever labored on. It truly is such a stunning location and these an extraordinary athletic stunt by both equally the pilot and the kayakers,” Mossop states.

Mossop and Björnsson have captured a little something considerably extra thrilling and remarkable than an alien planet or a fictional and magical environment — they have served up Iceland in all its rugged, other worldly attractiveness.

Luckily for these of us who want to see it for ourselves, regardless of appearances, Iceland is essentially situated on our earth.

If you go

Small group tour providers these types of as Concealed Iceland organize visits to lots of of the remarkable filming places throughout the region such as glacial hikes over Vatnajökull the place you can stop by the startling blue ice caves.
To see the country from Björnsson’s stage of look at, nonetheless, you will need to reserve a chopper. You can arrange a tour with the gentleman himself through Nordurflug Helicopter Tours.

For the real Icelandic encounter, pick out a glacial landing, which charges all-around $725 USD for each individual.



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