View Full Version : Tips for Filming on a Boat


jackdelamare
05-22-2009, 05:11 PM
Hello,

I am shooting some scenes from a boat in a few weeks. Quite a few scenes really, many long shots of the boat cruising through the ocean and then a few talking close-ups.

So, I know using a tripod on the film crew boat won't work well at fast speeds, and me holding it won't be great either, so what's the best method? I have a camera frame which helps me get more stable shots but will this be acceptable on a boat? We're trying to get the best weather possible so it's calm but there's no promises with the weather here.

I was looking at the following product, but wasn't sure if it'd work or not. I wouldn't want to cash out over 60 on it and then have it useless to me. Oh my camera is a Sony Handycam DCR-SR100(90e). Still rocking that camera.

http://www.keene.co.uk/electronic/manfrotto/manfrotto-mn585-modosteady/MN585.html

Oh and the long shots, should I consider getting a wide angle lense? The rest of the film wasn't filmed on one but for the ocean scenes it might look good.

And how is the best way to go about close-up scenes while the boat is still moving? It'll obviously be making sounds, so would I be best to use a microphone on gun/zoom for the speaking parts? I'm really nervous that the footage will come out horribly...

Think of the introduction to Jurassic Park 3 when you think of the wide shots of the boat going through the water. That's the view I'd like to achieve.

Anyway, thanks in advance!

Jack

Gonzo_Entertainment
05-24-2009, 11:55 AM
You'll have to find someone who has used that particular product, but yes a "steadicam" sounds like what you need.

indietalk
05-24-2009, 02:29 PM
It depends on the look you want/need. If you secure the camera to the boat you will have a steady look, as the camera will be moving with the boat.

jackdelamare
05-25-2009, 08:03 AM
Well the film crew with be on a dingy, so attaching it may be an issue, but what about if I used a tripod? I could just have it flat on the surface of the boat, so it'd be stable. Would this give me a more stable shot?

Cinemaair
05-25-2009, 08:41 AM
I have done this type of shot several times although not with one camera. How we do it is with one camera on the subject boat filming close ups and audio. The second camera on one of our aerial platforms filming from the air. This works well, I beleive there are several people in your area that could help with this depending on your budget.

jackdelamare
05-26-2009, 01:15 PM
I have done this type of shot several times although not with one camera. How we do it is with one camera on the subject boat filming close ups and audio. The second camera on one of our aerial platforms filming from the air. This works well, I beleive there are several people in your area that could help with this depending on your budget.

How did you record the audio, as it'll be windy? Did you have a seperate audio recorder, or did you use a camera microphone or did you just have clear weather?

And do you mean from a helicopter or something? I've tried to get a helicopter before but that didn't happen so it'd have to be from a film crew boat... unless I did it from a high platform like a wall side or something. Only problem is that there are other small islands in the background. But thanks for the idea, this could help out a lot. :)

Brooksy
05-26-2009, 02:59 PM
This is what I would do depending on my budget:

I would first try to get a professional steadicam operator to come out and shoot the close up scenes. Seeing as this is a movie shot on a boat they might be able to take a cut in pay because it is an unusual circumstance and may look good on their reel. However they might also want proof of insurance, but since this is going to happen on water I am sure you have that anyway. If you didn't want to get that. I would pretty much just beach the boat. Find a nice sandy beach some where and drive the boat into it so it is nice and snug, and not heaving back and forth. This way you can have steady shots and a big ocean in the back ground. Obviously location scouting for this is a must. Other then that just put that camera on your shoulder and hope for the best. I wouldn't put the camera on the tripod and lock that down. What your going to get then is people swaying back and forth trying to keep there balance while everything else looks steady, it may make for a weird shot.

For wide shots I would first re-try the helicopter. That could really give your film a very nice high end production shot. You can rent one for probably about $500 depending on where you go. While you could try to find a building tall enough to get a shot what I would look for is a pier that jets out into the water. Any ocean that I have ever been to, I have always seen some kind of big pier that shoots way out. I think that may be your best bet.

As for sound I would talk to your sound guy and see if he has a furry cover for the boom. I am not sure what the name is but he will know what I am talking about. That should be able to knock down about 80-90% of wind noise if not more. If that doesn't work for you, and this is what I would recommend, I would say record the voices in ADR. That is definitely going to give you the best quality in a controlled environment.

My other advice for shooting on a boat. Rehearse and plan before you get on the boat. A lot. You say it is going to be a long day of shooting, then it is likely that some of your crew and actors are going to get sea-sick. You can cut this down if you have the shots picked out exactly how you want them and your actors/actresses know their lines and exactly what you want them to do.

Other then that. Good luck, let us know how it comes out.

Brooksy
05-26-2009, 03:03 PM
By the way, that product your looking at is good but has a large learning curve. There are balancing procedures that you have to go through and if you are unskilled at them it can really make for a long shoot day. Good luck.

jackdelamare
05-27-2009, 05:02 PM
Brooksy, thank you for the tips here. I did actually mean piers but I couldn't think of the word. I think this will work as there are many here. I could rent a helicopter but for getting one or two shots it might be a waste of money... it's tempting but since I'm only a student it's a bit much. I could always go back to it to get these shots anyway. The closeup idea is good, but locally there's not very many people at all who do this kind of thing. I live on a small island so it's limited, little amounts of film makers here for sure. I could talk to the local TV station... I did some work experience there so I could attempt to rent some of their equipment for sound as I know they have that "big fluffy thing", lol. Actually I'm going to try and do that.

The script is written so we do get to a beach so we could film the dialogue scenes there, it would help quite a bit.

Thank you for the help again, this should turn out ok now. :)

Cinemaair
05-27-2009, 07:02 PM
The Aerial shots I have done are with a helicopter, for the audio we use a seperate audio recorder as even with the furry mike we have had issues with high wind noise. The helicopters are what works for us as that is what I do . We have three helicopters at present.

jackdelamare
06-06-2009, 01:47 PM
The Aerial shots I have done are with a helicopter, for the audio we use a seperate audio recorder as even with the furry mike we have had issues with high wind noise. The helicopters are what works for us as that is what I do . We have three helicopters at present.

Lucky! Well, I've been considering it and I really do want to get some helicopter shots in there, but I have a feeling it's going to be very expensive. When you say seperate audio recorder, do you mean recording alongside the camera, or at a later date outside of the wind? Because it's hard getting mouth movements to match up...

jackdelamare
06-10-2009, 12:47 PM
Does anybody have any recommendations for the audio recording? I'd like to try and fluffy mic idea but since I'm using a little Sony camera I do not have a place to plug in a mic, except for on the top. I sometimes use a Sony mic on the top, just a little one that records gun/zoom sound but I find it's not as good quality as the normal audio on the camera. Plus it's small so doesn't have a fluffy cover for wind.

So I think a seperate audio recorder is in order. Does anybody have any suggestions? It'd have to be on set because if we recorded it afterwards the sound would just not match the mouth movements very well and it is easier to record then and there.

And I think I've managed to get a helicopter/plane for some aerial shots. :D

jackdelamare
06-12-2009, 11:07 AM
Sorry to triple post. I've rented some recording equipment, a "fluffy" mic and a box which it will plug into, which then goes into my laptop (which I'll have to take on board).

http://www.rolandus.com/products/productdetails.aspx?ObjectId=970&ParentId=114

And I may have a helicopter/plane to do me some overhead shots. We'll have to see though. I've got everything sorted for Sunday 21st, so I pray the weather is clear, no wind, sunny. PLEASE!

jackdelamare
07-27-2009, 03:57 PM
I had had everything planned. I hadn't told anybody online so to avoid the whole cursed scene issue. We went out on the boats today, I paid 50 for each boat for an hours use and it was going perfectly... then it got quite rough. We went out, filmed a few shots, then I got onto the other boat to do closeups and audio. Went perfectly. I got back on the other boat, sat down with the camera strapped to my hand, and boom, wave hit the boat on the side, camera knocked out of my hand, flew into the water with the mic on top, and it quickly floated to the bottom. I wanted to die at that point.

I am so pissed right now. We were just heading to the damn beach, and then this happens. I have no camera. 150 for this weekend. Wasted.

2001 Productions
07-27-2009, 08:22 PM
Man, that is a terrible story! So sorry to hear it. Wish there was something I could say to make you feel better, but that just plain SUCKS!

Murphy was an optimist.

Zensteve
07-27-2009, 10:28 PM
That's a bit of bad luck, yah.

Still, could have been worse*. :)



* Repeat this as many times as necessary.

jackdelamare
08-07-2009, 05:31 PM
Man, that is a terrible story! So sorry to hear it. Wish there was something I could say to make you feel better, but that just plain SUCKS!

Murphy was an optimist.

That's a bit of bad luck, yah.

Still, could have been worse*. :)



* Repeat this as many times as necessary.
Thank you guys. It could have been worse but I'd rather have gone in. My camera was... my camera. I miss it so much.

I'm hoping the insurance pays off though. Next time, I'm getting that waterproof pack.

jackdelamare
10-04-2009, 04:01 PM
http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k219/jackdelamare/Scene8-1.jpg

Zensteve
10-04-2009, 05:34 PM
That water gonna be shallow enough for ya'? :lol:

All set for round two, then?

jackdelamare
10-05-2009, 05:43 AM
That water gonna be shallow enough for ya'? :lol:

All set for round two, then?

Haha it was funny when it was beached. But luckily it worked with the script so we got everything filmed. :)