How to film a yacht party
You’ve been invited to film a yacht party. What could be more exciting film assignment? Truth is, it is exciting, but this article will help arm you with some information to prepare to make the most of your opportunity. Our recent private video shoot of the Hong Kong Yacht party will be used to illustrate some of these points.
1) Bring the right gear equipment and clothing
A tripod is a must to get stable professional shots. There may be some situations where there isn’t enough space for the tripod, and you may have to hand shoot. I recommend that the majority of your shots are on the tripod, but you may have spontaneous moments like a round of patron shots that you have to capture and may not have time to setup or space for a tripod.
I recommend bringing your primary camera and a backup with zoom lens for the majority of the shots on the boat. I brought my Canon 6d SLR and 7d with the 24-105mm L series F4. Two camera bodies are there for a backup in case something happens with the body. A zoom lens means more filming and less time switching out lenses.
I also bring a luggage bag with wheels to transport all my equipment onto the boat. I used a go pro hero 3 as I anticipated some shots that involved water. If you want to take it a step further you can bring a dolly on board for some extra production value. Don’t forget to dress appropriately. You are probably going to get wet at some point so bring your swimming suit and a change of clothes, sun screen, towel, and sun glasses just like the guests.
In my bag
• Canon 6d, 7d, 2 SLR batteries, 2 go pro batteries, 2 memory cards
• Zoom lens
• Waterproof HD action camera – go pro hero 3 with suction cup mount
• Cinevate atlas dolly
*I borrowed the go pro fishing pole mount which came in handy filming the wake boarding
2) Practice filming on boats
It is a good idea to practice shooting on ferries and boats to get used to the shaky boat motion rather than experiencing it for the first time. This also goes for using the go pro in a water situations as well. I found it challenging to film smooth dolly shots while the boat was moving. My tip would be to film these shots while the boat was anchored.
3) Consult with the organizer and have a vision
For this video I had already watched a couple of other yacht videos to help the organizer and I visualize what we want this video to be like. It also helped me brainstorm some of the shots I wanted before getting on the boat. For example, I knew I wanted a time lapse on the boat at some point during the trip. I also discussed getting establishing shots of the pier and people boarding the boat. Here are one of the videos we used for some ideas and inspiration courtesy of Blue Pencil Productions.
Here is my actual shot list and plan for this shoot. Looking back we were able to capture most of the shots I originally listed.
Here is the plan for the video. You have a better idea on the details please feel free to add your input before Sunday. Video objective a 1-2 minute music video showcasing the experience and fun of the yacht party. The video will highlight the yacht, the journey, the people, and good times.
-establishing shots of boat name and other activities in the water
-Shots of Gordon having fun with his friends
-Drinks being prepared
-Boat leaving harbor
-people signing in?
-DJ preparing the sound board
-captain of ship
-many shots of people drinking and dancing having a good time
-candid dancing shots
4) Have a shot list and a plan
This is a good mental exercise to go through so that when you are actually on the boat you have a plan and you’ll be more efficient with your shots. However, you must have some flexibility to adapt your plan based on the situation. I previously mentioned how I wanted a time lapse. I originally planned to do this with my SLR, but the boat was not stable enough to do a time lapse for 20 minutes or longer. I decided to adapt my plan and used the go pro with the suction cup mount on some glass as you can see on my yacht video.
5) Build some rapport with the guests
If you just show up with your camera and big lens and start pointing and shooting in front of peoples’ faces chances are they may be creeped out. It is best to introduce yourself and chat with the guests and introduce yourself as the videographer. It doesn’t hurt just to let them know to be themselves as sometimes the guests think the SLR is being used for photos. Building some comfort will go a long way to more comfortable guests and a better video.
Good chances are there is going to plenty of booze. It is ok to have some booze if the organizer is okay with it. Don’t forget why you are there and it’s your job to produce a great video. If you’re intoxicated with 60 other guests on the ocean on a boat this increases the risks or damage to your equipment and a poor video. Know your limits and remember to drink plenty of water so you can do your best job.
7) Protect your equipment
Have a safe place inside the boat you can store the majority of your equipment. When it’s not in use you can store in your bag. Remember you’re going to have risks to your equipment like the ocean water and intoxicated people. Don’t leave your camera lying around on the boat if you’re not using it.
Please leave a comment if you have any more ideas to add based on your experience shooting yacht parties. Hopefully this article can help start the conversation.