|Video for Kayaking; POV style
|Author: [ smburt ] Michael Shannon Burt Contact Author: smburt||Tue Sep 07 18:56:44 EDT 2010|
Kayak POV video|
(Brought to you by Trailpeak.com and Point of View Cameras.com)
In my last article, I wrote about mounting suggestions for the mountain bike, and how best to make use of footage shot POV style, along with more static shots. This week, we move onto the water and mount our cameras on canoes and kayaks.
There’s no better steadycam mount out there than that of your canoe and sea kayak. The natural stability of a moving boat on calm water produces silky smooth footage that almost looks like it’s slow-mo and peaceful.
The sea kayak and even its white water brother offers great opportunity to showcase both the scenery you paddle through, as well as the paddler’s interaction within the boat and the water. All you need is the creativity and variety of points of view.
I have found the most interesting shots to include angles that separate the viewer from the boat itself. For point of view perspectives, the most interesting ones look over the paddler and hull from the front or back, or view the boat and scenery from the side, in front of behind the paddle blade. To achieve these perspectives, you need to build a camera mount that is both steady, and easily accessed.
I was able to do this using a 30” PVC pipe solidly sunk into a 2x4 with its underside curved to set solidly on deck. The camera boom is easily anchored under deck bungees in a kayak, or floor mounted and guyed to the gunnels in a canoe.The wide angle view of the camera, when mounted high enough and angled down appropriately, will show the symmetrical hull shape, as well as the paddler(s) in the boat, plus the incredible scenery going by above and reflected at the waterline. Try to use rule of thirds when determining the position of the horizon. I usually go for one-third sky, two thirds water / boat, unless you have a lot of tall subject matter like cliffs falling into the sea. For more energetic shots, angle the horizon. Again, with the VIO 1.5, I use a mic clip so that I can angle down the camera. My Drift x170 has a mount adjustment that can also angle its position. Most POV cameras have mounts that provide such versatility. I’ve used this mount for kayak surfing, to general touring, and have had a ton of positive feedback on the results it gives.
This is a great camera rig because the same boom can be placed in front of the bow of the boat, to show it cut through or bash down on larger waves. Placing it horizontally across the deck will move the camera away from the hull and to the side. The perspective here is closer to the water, and shows another unique vantage point; the side of the boat, plus the scenery. You also can see the paddle strokes if this is mounted behind the paddler(s). If you are paddling with land only on one side, make this the side that you rig your camera. Open water shots don’t hold interest for very long.
In all these boom shots, you either need someone else to configure the camera positions for you, or you’ll have to stop, get out, and re-rig them yourself which is time consuming.
If you’re paddling with a group, get adjacent paddlers in the shot. Wide angle lenses usually make this easy.
All other camera mounting positions on the boat tend to either focus on the paddler, or the scenery exclusively. Shots mounted at shoulder height shooting back show the wake of the boat, and scenery going past. POV shots that use the rudder in the foreground look pretty neat, regardless of whether it’s been deployed or not. A pretty unusual shot might include an underwater shot of the boats and paddle blades going over you if you can stay under water long enough and deep enough to capture it. Finally, I never forget to mention that shooting from shore gives a bystander’s vantage point of the story; atop rock outcrops, waterfalls, docks, through trees etc.Either way, having a camera unit with a viewscreen really helps to dial in the shot you intended.
Sometimes your main camera angle won’t work because the position of the sunlight creates backlighting. Unless you’re prepared to settle for silhouettes only, you;ll have to change camera angles for a while until the lighting conditions change or your direction of travel changes, or paddle your route at a different time of day.
There’s an old editor’s adage: The audience will never know what you didn’t shoot.