Shooting on Rivers
If dealing with transportable boats, choose as few and as convenient locations
as possible that can satisfy the script. Location moves take a lot of time and
if one location can look different by changing camera position and treatment
stay where you are. Recycling rafts will get faster. Consider multiple matching
boats and recycle only talent, but not boats in one-way situations, such as
I have found rafting companies very helpful and often provided able talent when
Hollywood actors didn't do very well at handling the rafts.
For shooting hand held I used the Horse Collar described elsewhere from a larger
raft if the talent raft was smaller. If a matching color larger raft is available
it can make it easier for in-the-raft shots.
Cameras on poles and lines can get passes under camera. Poles can allow tilts.
A 1-1/4" or 1-1/2" pipe inside a 2"IPS aluminum pipe is very stable. Mount the
camera center of gravity. Attach the camera to the inner pipe with a lever to
tilt the camera. A camera on a line can be tilted with a lightweight pole such
as a pole vault pole. A trolley shot on a line could be interesting.
Things to think about. Wet suits if water is cold. Many rivers warm by afternoon.
Sun burn protection. Bridges, hand ropes/rails, ramps, etc. to make recycling
boats and talent easier. Towing a raft upstream is hard. Check lighting in canyons.
Have sun program, map and compass. Explain to your local contact what you need
and be prepared to flow with actual conditions if they are not exactly what
you envisioned. Know what local regulations and customs are and respect them.
Other shooters will follow you. Long ladders can be helpful in very steep areas.
We have shot off Dexter track hung over cliffs. Don't cantilever too much from
an extension ladder. Keep operator and camera close to the ladder.
© Copyright 1999-2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.