Thursday, September 04, 2008

Swimming: Boop boop dittum dattum wattum, choo!

Finally! After two failed attempts at shooting the swimming sequence, we finally made it to the pool. This particular shoot had been a long time in the making. To begin, it was extremely difficult finding talent that was interested in being our swimmer. Our production manager finally tracked down Dave Tims, a para who has competed in several veterans games. Yes, that's right... he is a veteran. Why is that important? Well, we desperately wanted to find paralyzed vets for our video since the production is being funded by the Paralyzed Veterans of America. Easier said than done. I'm not sure why the search was so difficult. Needless to say, we approached every hospital and program and followed up on every lead we could.

Once Dave was on board, we had to find an outdoor pool that looked good. Hmmm. An attractive pool you say? There are several in the valley, but the only one that would work with our production was Cottonwood Heights Rec Center. And as far as attractive swimming locations are concerned, theirs is the Heidi Klum of lap pools. Or Brad Pitt if you're, you know, into guys.

Our first attempt at shooting came on August 17th. We arrived at 6:30 AM, unloaded the gear, met Dave and his training buddy and waited for our lifeguard to arrive. He did. One hour late. By then we'd lost too much time and had to call off the shoot. Dave wasn't thrilled and either was the crew.

Our second attempt came last Sunday. I should note that Sunday mornings were the best time to shoot because of the privacy. The pool didn't open to the public until noon. So we had 7 to Noon to get everything shot. On this day, however, there were severe thunderstorms and light rain in the morning. Once again, Dave and the crew arrived. The crew consisting of Jeff and I. Lyse, the aquatics manager, met us and personally opened the pool. She's been great to work with. Unfortunately, we had to call off the shoot due to crap weather. Strike two!

Third times the charm! Perfect weather, 181.1-degree water, and absolutely no public to deal with. Andrew was our lifeguard and he helped us prepare by taking down the car dealership flags. We just didn't need them messing up our shots.

Shortly after 10 AM, we started shooting. Morning lighting is always ideal and baby... we had it! Dave swam back and forth several times and we captured the action from several different angles. I don't think Dave was thrilled with the fact that we were making him swim over and over and over again. But he gave it his all and that's all we could ask for.

Jeff and I shot all of our locked down (tripod) shots first. Then we put the camera in the underwater housing and shot handheld. Jeff swam with Dave to get some nice tracking shots from the water.

Jeff also set up a tripod and placed the lens just barely below the surface of the water. This created an interesting effect: Dave's body is visible both above and below the water.

Next, we loaded up the scuba gear and sank to the bottom of the pool for some underwater shots. I tried filming the sequence but my mask broke, so I turned the reigns over to Jeff. Dave swam back and forth above the camera and we got some great shots.

Our last shots were overhead shots. Dave was exhausted by the time we assembled the jib rig. After a couple of passes we wrapped the shoot.

Overall it was a fairly smooth production. Jeff and I were both glad to get the thing in the can. Especially after two previous attempts. Dave was very patient today. Most of the talent we've worked with have been incredibly giving of their personal time.

We now have nine productions left to shoot: waterskiing, jet skiing, rock climbing, fishing (take two), kayaking (take two), archery, gaming, mountain chair, and sailing. While that may seem like a lot, in reality it's --- yeah it's a lot. But I think we can get it done. We have to get it done in the next month and a half. Meanwhile, I'm still editing and working with two very talented post-production individuals: Zach (graphics) and Steve (sound).

More updates are on their way. And I promise to reveal the name of our project very soon.


Pete said...

Hey Stan, those photos are great. After sunday I am sure you were stoked to get this thing shot. It looks like it will be an amazing film.

Spinal Cracker said...

Thanks man. Sorry we didn't do it on Sunday. Weather really seems to look down on our production.

Kristy said...

Looks incredible! I would be thrilled to see the final product.

dave said...

"Third times the charm! Perfect weather, 181.1-degree water, and absolutely no public to deal with." 181.1?? hey stan, i'm excited to see the teaser.