Tips on filming from a boat.

April 10, 2018

The first thing I recommend when filming from a boat is to stay dry!

There are many things to consider when filming on the water: What is the subject matter, what camera are you using, what are the conditions i.e. rain and wind, do you want to get underwater shots, do you need sound?

I filmed and directed 7 seasons of our doc-drama series called Dark Waters of Crime. For all the scenes on or in the water I used a Canon 5D mkII in an Ikelite underwater housing. Even above the water I never had to worry about rain or spray from the boat, but there are always risks. For many scenes I used a tripod rigged to a Hobie Outback kayak. It is great because it has a pedal drive system so I don’t have to paddle. That leaves my hands free for operating the camera.

In one episode of our series I had to film a dead body being recovered from a submerged pickup truck. When prepping my underwater housing, I missed securing one of the latches. I called “action” and dove into the pool. To my horror I saw bubbles rising from the housing and immediately surfaced to pass the rig to my assistant. Within minutes the crew had the camera disassembled, towel dried and packed in bags of rice. 7 days later the camera was dry and working again!

So, before filming on the water here are a few things to consider. If you are filming with a DSLR and have a higher budget you should look into a true underwater housing. I like Ikelite housings (http://www.ikelite.com). They make bodies all the most popular cameras and lenses and are rated for dives that are deep enough for you to need lights. But the best part is that many of their models are completely clear so you can see the camera and all the lights and switches.

A more affordable option is a splash bag from a supplier like Ewa-Marine (http://www.ewa-marine.com/index.php?id=6).  These “plastic bags” are a good compromise for smaller budgets and much shallower depths. They will keep your camera protected from rain and boat spray as well as sub-surface. What they lack is functionality. You may not be able to adjust all of your settings without popping the camera out of the bag.

But at the very least a rain jacket for minimal protection from rain and boat spray. I’ve used a lot of Kata and Manfrotto jackets with great success. I chose a Manfrotto rain jacket over a polar jacket when I filmed the Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race.

http://www.ruggard.com/straps-rain-protection/rain-covers.

If you are using a smartphone I would consider a Life Proof or similar case. Although my iPhone drown in a LifeProof case the sprang a leak after less than two years of use.

For stability remember that the bigger the boat the more stable the filming will be. I recommend using a tripod that you can strap to the deck or weigh it down with sandbags or even a bag of rocks. If you want really stable shots I would recommend a gimbal. Either a self contained model like the DJI Osmo or Osmo-Mobile or something that is compatible with heavier cameras like the Zhiyun Crane 2 https://www.zhiyun-tech.com/crane2. I use this gimbal and it work great.

There is also a lot of cool stuff that can be filmed with a GoPro or a waterproof point and shoot like the Olympus TG-4 (I have one and love it) or the Nikon Coolpix S33 or Panasonic Lumix DMN-TS5 or Canon Powershot D30. If you have a choice of colours buy a bright one like red or yellow so it’s easy to find if you drop it!

Keep plenty of lens tissues and towels handy in a dry bag in case you need to dry things off. And most importantly wear a PFD!

Hire Us

Did you know that corporate videos can feel authentic? Let us help you tell your story in a way that resonates with your audience and creates engagement. We work with any budget and time constraints.

Schedule a free consulation now.

Learn from the pros

Did you know that corporate videos can feel authentic? Let us help you tell your story in a way that resonates with your audience and creates engagement. We work with any budget and time constraints.

Schedule a free consulation now.

You might be interested in

April 13, 2018
Often when I talk with people who are not involved in the video industry I’m asked to explain a lot of the terminology we use. In this blog I’ll attempt to explain B roll The term B roll is the opposite of the seldom used term A-roll. A-roll being your main footage such as and interview while B-roll is the secondary footage that usually supports the main footage. These terms stems from the analog linear editing
April 10, 2018
The first thing I recommend when filming from a boat is to stay dry! There are many things to consider when filming on the water: What is the subject matter, what camera are you using, what are the conditions i.e. rain and wind, do you want to get underwater shots, do you need sound? I filmed and directed 7 seasons of our doc-drama series called Dark Waters of Crime. For all the scenes on or
April 14, 2018
Nobody wants to appear awkward or self-conscious in a video they post for the world to see. But this is a common concern for people who are new to being an on-camera personality. A critical part of attracting and audience with your video presentation is to look authentic and professional.Authenticity comes from being prepared, knowing what you want to say and presenting it in a manner that appeals to your target audience. and you need
January 21, 2018
We recently were part of a Canadian delegation of factual documentary entertainment television producers that went to the UK to promote coproductions between producers and television networks the two countries. As part of the event, attending producers presented demos of their work, as well as info on their companies. When it was our turn to present, we showed our reel, which heavily features our series “Mushers: Conquering the Yukon Quest” a factual documentary about the

Get video content in your inbox every week