Sunday, June 03, 2007
Production Update: Rolling On A River Pt. 1
The weather conditions were perfect: indigo, cloudless skies and warm temperatures. Everything was ready for our two-day rafting trip down the Fisher Towers stretch of the Colorado River. On May 28th, I met with two of the SPLORE river guides, Lindsay and Megan, to go over any concerns they might have. They expressed some concerns with Whites Rapid and I wanted to make it clear that they were in charge as far as handling the river logistics. I also told them that we would keep them updated on all production matters, so that everyone was on the same page. For this type of a shoot, communication is critical.
May 29th: I spent the morning mapping out a shooting plan, using a river map I'd purchased. I wanted the production and SPLORE crew to know which spots on the river we would be filming and which spots we would be waiting. Melissa, our production manager, informed all participants that we would be spending a lot of time waiting. Unfortunately, that's how big productions work. Once I'd put together a visual plan, I was ready to go over each day with the production team.
The team arrived around 9:40 PM and we rendezvoud at the local Denny's. We discussed day one of the shoot as we ate. Then we parted ways, eager to begin production first thing in the morning.
May 30th: DAY ONE: I picked up coffee at Wicked Brew and then drove down the river road to the Dewey Bridge Put-In. SPLORE was busy preparing the rafts as participants ate breakfast and socialized.
After a brief group-building exercise, the participants and crew loaded onto the rafts: Goose, Mariner, George, IHC "Ichy" (the supply boat), and Maverick (the production crew boat).
Jeff and Koonce were the primary camera operators for the entire shoot. We first shot the rafts on flatwater. I made every attempt to bounce fill light, but the movement of the raft and occasional wind made it very difficult. The first complex shot of the day was Bull Canyon. All of the rafts pulled to the side of the river while we (the production raft) floated downstream to unload and setup a two camera shot. The setup took a considerable amount of time, given the fact that our steadicam had to be balanced correctly.
Once the equipment was setup and Jeff and Koonce were in place, I radioed the other rafts an told them to head down to our location, one at a time. We ended up getting great shots on both cameras, so I think the wait was well worth it. Once the rafts had passed, Jeff loaded some equipment into the RV and headed down the road to shoot some footage. Koonce and I met up with the rest of the rafts and had lunch. Koonce then boarded rafts to get close up shots.
Shooting on the river is very difficult, especially with three rafts. Thank God the crew from SPLORE were there to assist us. We ended up wrapping around 5:00. Much later than originally anticipated. That said the light was perfect for the Onion Creek Rapid shots. Once the rafts had passed over the O.C., Gordy taxied Koonce, Jeff and I accross the river to the RV. We weren't able to camp with the rest of the group because we had to keep an eye on the equipment. The three of us returned to town for some food and drinks, before heading back to the Rimwok Ranch to view the day's footage.
Overall, we were extremely pleased with the outcome. The steadicam shots near Bull Canyon and the Onion Creek shots turned out better than expected.