Monday, October 13, 2008
Smokin' On The Water
Sorry about the delay in posting. Things have been incredibly busy production-wise. To start, Jeff (my producer/DP) and I have been trying to film as much as possible before the snow flies. Which it already has. I've also been spending all of my free time in front of two computer monitors, trying to cut raw versions of 19 different activities. Okay, let's get to the meat of this bad boy: Waterskiing.
Deciding to shoot waterskiing at Lake Powell was an easy decision. The place is amazing. Logistically, the shoot was a little tricky. We had to rent a jet ski and boat, which aren't cheap expenses. We also had to coordinate with talent. Our first choice for waterskier was Bill Bowness, a world class competition skier. He's a T-12 Para and a legend on the adaptive waterskiing circuit. He and his wife agreed to help us with our shoot, which was great. Bill and Denise were planning a trip to Moab, so we decided to time the shoot to coincide with their previously scheduled road trip. It ended up working out really well, which was fortunate considering how temperamental weather can be.
Looking back, we really lucked out on the weather conditions. Most of our local shoots have been canceled due to rain or clouds. So, driving down to Lake Powell was most definitely a gamble. What if it rained? What if was overcast the entire time? I'm sure we would have still shot our sports, but the footage wouldn't have looked that great.
We spent the night in a wheelchair accessible trailer. Yeah, doesn't get more pimp than that. After getting everything ready, we headed down to the marina and launched the boat and jetski. For the first day of the shoot, the weather was perfect. Blue skies, no wind. We decided to shoot jet skiing first. This was a last-minute decision, as we'd had some difficulty coordinating schedules with our previously cast jet skier. Bill and Denise did a great job on the wave runners and we managed to get the shots we needed.
Following jet skiing, we decided to wait for the best light before filming the waterskiing sequences. This was a gamble. Shoot while the weathers good or wait until the best light and risk a change in the weather. We could already see some threatening clouds brewing on the horizon. This was around 2 in the afternoon. Still, we decided to wait until about 5 PM. Getting beautiful light is key for any external production. Shooting at High Noon is never a good idea because of the way the sun hits the face. Evening light also enhances the red rocks.
We dropped Jeff off on a small sandstone island while Bill was preparing his skiing gear. For the next hour and a half we shot some amazing footage. We were able to get what we needed before the clouds passed over the sun, ruining our magic hour lighting. Jeff and I were happy with the day's shoot, but we also felt like we needed additional shots. Bill and Denise were gracious enough to extend the shoot an additional day.
The next morning, we were on the water by 7 AM. We had the lake to ourselves and the water conditions were just perfect. I drove the jet ski and Jeff filmed from the back. Then Jeff shot from the boat and water. We managed to get some great shots of Bill on his trick ski. At one point, as Jeff filmed from the water, Bill headed straight for the camera and I thought he was going to plow into Jeff. He didn't. Jeff and I both laughed. Bill was in total control. That comes from countless hours of skiing slalom courses.
We wrapped around 9 AM, just as the good light began to dissappear. Overall, it was one of the most beautiful shoots so far. There's nothing better than racing across glass water at 7 AM. It's so freeing.
Bill and Denise left and Jeff, Al (Jeff's Dad) and I took the boat out to play around on the lake.
We headed home around 3:30.
On a personal note, it was a real joy working with Bill and Denise. Bill's an amazing skier and I can't wait for everyone to see his footage. Thinking back on the shoot, I really felt like we got everything we wanted. The light was perfect, the talent was everything we could have hoped for, and more. It was an ideal production. Sometimes the stuff you shoot never turns out the way you imagine in pre-production. In this case... it did.
Next Up... Fishing, etc.