Volcanic Tides

April 04, 2018 · Digital Cinema Projects


Get lost in the mesmerizing force of one of the most relentless volcanos on the planet. Experience Kilauea over a two year lapse as it burns through the island of Hawaii and maps an entirely new landscape.

Volcanic Tides is a twenty minute short film covering over two years of eruptions at Hawaii’s unique and hyper-active Kilauea Volcano. Using a dynamic mix of time-lapse and real time cinema, Big Island filmmaker Lance Page shows us a cosmic, cinematic perspective of his home island as it continues to grow. Page’s cinematography is brought to life with a stylish, heavy and haunting synth score by Icelandic/Slovenian artist weneednothingsilence as well as a vivid, molten earth sound mix by Stefan Scott Nelson.

Page Films’ lava footage has been featured in Planet Earth II, Emmanuel Lubezki’s Absolut TV spot One Night, Darren Arronofsky’s new National Geographic TV series One Strange Rock and others.


Lava Rivers from Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent on the slopes of Kilauea, July, 2016. (Photo: Lance Page)

Kilauea’s summit caldera and Halema’uma’u crater with its ultra bright lava plume. (Photo: Lance Page)


Kilauea, Hawaii’s most active volcano is nestled up against the south east side of Mauna Loa on the Big Island. Known for its dramatic history of eruptions, it continues to grow the island even bigger. Kilauea’s constant, ongoing eruption from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent began in 1983 and has since been divided into sixty one episodes. Volcanic Tides captures episode 61G which began it’s course in late 2015 and is still going strong as of early April, 2018.

In addition to Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō’s active lava flows, Kilauea is also erupting at its summit with a huge lava lake located within Halema’uma’u crater. Deep orange lava glow from the depths of the crater light up the clouds above and shine into the atmosphere.

Lance Page watching the glowing plume as it lights up the sky. (Photo: Lance Page)

A photographer at the edge of Kilauea’s dramatic ocean entry, August, 2016. (Photo: Lance Page)


Some scientists have studied the correlation between the moon’s tidal force and volcanic eruptions. While so far no significant evidence to connect the moon phase to various volcanic activity has been found, it is certain that Kilauea’s lava eruptions move between varying degrees of speed and ferocity. Some days the lava seems to be resting, only advancing in very small increments or remaining idle. Other days it can push forward at an alarming rate, taking anything in it’s path without regard. The films title refers to the possibility of lava eruptions revealing their own form of tides, a sort of cosmically reactive pattern.

The infamous “firehose” event from early 2017. (Photo: Lance Page)

A lunar halo hovers above Halema’uma’u crater. (Photo: Lance Page)


Kilauea, meaning “spewing” or “much spreading” is home to Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire, wind, earthquakes and volcanoes. Islanders have a deep appreciation for the power of Pele, often leaving tea leaf wrapped offerings as a sign of respect. Any way you see it, Hawaii’s lava flows are a stark reminder that our planet is alive and moving right along with us.


Hi. I’m Lance. I was born and raised on the slopes of Mauna Loa, Kilauea’s neighboring giant (due for it’s own eruption in the near future). After discovering a love of nature landscapes and dynamic time-lapse photography over the years, I decided to bring my gear to the volcano in 2014 to create a short film called Kilauea – The Fire Within. The film did well online and inspired a return to the island for what turned out to be a long term project covering a new volcanic episode of Kilauea’s decades long eruption.

Shooting Puʻu ʻŌʻō and its lava flows from the tent. (Photo: Lance Page)

Lance operating eMotimo gear at the ocean entry by moonlight. (Photo: Lance Page)


With the help of inspired friends and colleagues but often solo, I’ve trekked out into the active lava flows on countless missions carrying DSLR and mirrorless cameras, compact motion control gear and camping supplies in order to capture the flows for an extended amount of time. Time-lapsing active lava is extremely challenging to say the least. From hauling heavy packs for miles and miles then staying up all night rigging cameras to dealing with brutal, windy downpours and unpredictable lava flows. Though when it all comes together, it allows for Kilauea’s eruptions to move into a kind of hypnotic rhythm.

Base camp downslope of Puʻu ʻŌʻō early in the 61G episode. (Photo: Lance Page)

eMotimo spectrum ST4 4-axis rig running a time-lapse at the lava flow. (Photo: Lance Page)


With huge inspiration from films like Ron Fricke’s Baraka and Samsara, I hope for the film to bring the viewer into a deeper space to connect with the wildly fascinating and dangerous landscapes of an actively erupting hawaiian volcano. It’s a heavy, cinematic offering to Pele that isolates the importance of simply paying attention and respecting the power our home planet.


Danijel Robnik of weneednothingsilence: Working on Volcanic Tides has been a bliss. As growing up in north of Slovenia, I have been ever since in close relation with the organic textures of nature and soon the composition of stone, undergrowth, trees, roots, water and backgrounds of mountains and air (sky) have take over all of my interest.

(Photo: Danijel Robnik)

Snowy forests of northern Slovenia. (Photo: Danijel Robnik)

 I discovered that sound is the best tool to decode my adoration towards nature and actually help me better understand this planet and myself.

Lorn sort of brought Lance and I together (Lorn scored Lance’s film ReflectionVOID) as I find his work very connected to what I was trying to do sonically. The sounds on Volcanic Tides come from different perspectives. I believe no matter how sophisticated or contemporary we think of the instruments or genres, the music we will produce as humans will always be ancient music. Something that has been a part us since the beginning and we can look for it obsessively or not. As I accept this as water from the same spring, I believe modular synth can compliment a violin. The music in Volcanic Tides ended up being pretty expressive for my taste, it came naturally.
I think it’s highly likely that sound and composition dramatically affect the emotional reflections in everything much more then we give it credit for. We have been working on this project for over two months and most of the time things just somehow worked out naturally without much talking.


Volcanic Tides will be available in 4K soon, stay tuned for more updates and content. Meanwhile, check out the Kilauea landscapes photo gallery and don’t forget to follow @pagefilms on social media! 

View the entire Kilauea landscapes photo gallery by Lance Page Photography.