Filming on Water


It is the first word here as it should be first before putting any camera in a boat.  Depending on your project – movie, commercial, motion or stills – the list of things required is similar yet different if you want to pull off a great safe production while floating on water.

Here are a few tips about filming and photography on and around WATER:

  • Walk through a safety check list with the boat owner(s) / operator(s) from ample life-jackets to current paperwork.  Licensing to State and local registration.
  • Know the local waters.  From water depths to tide tables to rocks in lakes and trees in rivers.
  • If you are shooting on a beach, keep an eye on the possibility of erosion.  I once scouted a beach that was a viable option.  Three days before the shoot, it disappeared with a high tide.
  • The smaller the boat the tighter your personal space will be.  You might be standing in one place for hours.
  • Choose extra wide shooting platforms as your camera boat, like a pontoon or even a barge.  In markets where they shoot a lot on water, there are camera boats with great rigs.
  • Even if you’re shooting one boat, you’ll need at least one additional.  Think about boat to boat photography and a place for the client, crew, extra gear, and / or back-to-shore runs.  It could be kayaks for everybody or a houseboat.
  • If your boats are big, confirm bridge clearances and canal access – before you rent them.
  • Your best case scenario is to have a marine savvy crew.  Some crew near water own a boat.  Grips near water carry wet suits and aren’t afraid to jump in – literally.
  • Have things to keep you and the gear DRY like plastic bags, tarps, rain gear, and boxes THAT FLOAT.
  • Boats should have protection from sun and weather.  Especially if you’re on the water all day.
  • Have fun.   And be SAFE – I can’t say it enough.

Photos and words COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay 2012  ANY USE requires permission.

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