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James Malamatinas

Considerations for a beach shoot

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I'm 2nd AC on a shoot this week and it I'll be shooting on a beach for the first time, I was wondering if there are any special considerations to be taken into account, or any tips for making life easier? Currently looking like we'll be enjoying some typical "wet 'n' windy" British weather to make it more fun!

 

I'm guessing the Magliner should be left at the truck unless boards are going down on the beach? Anything else - I know it's not quite the same as preparing for sub-zero conditions, but always good to be prepared.

 

Thanks.

 

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From my last beach shoot (was dit) - mostly annoying was the distance between camera truck/ dit station and the actual beach. We had two more V-mount batteries (total was i think 8). Yeah the Magliner was not of much help so it was lots of carrying equipment back and forth - so keep that in mind for shoot prep on set and when you leave. Also take extra things with you to clean the equipment - the sand goes everywhere.

 

The first AC also cleaned extra carefully the lenses afterwards - telling me that the salt in the air can be harmful for example to the rubber parts. Not sure if that that concentration of salt is really that relevant though.

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I'd recommend bagging whichever camera you are using like you would for rain. You don't want any sand getting into the camera and sand is small and can get in anywhere. Otherwise you could tape up the ports you are not using. But if it's going to be wet as well, bag it and be done. I would also put an optical flat or clear filter closest to the lens in the matte box. Have lots of canned air.

Be extra careful with lens changes (port hole and front and rear elements) and media changes. Bring good sunscreen spray kind is good but make sure you don't spray around the camera :P . If it is hot keep the 1st and Cam Op and Dp well hydrated. Force them to drink water. They'll thank you when they don't get heat stroke.

 

I'd recommend those "sausages" for talent marks or make your own as long as they have some weight to them.

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If you spent every waking hour on an English beach old age would get you before the heatstroke did.

Still good advice though.

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No, I totally get it. I figured to put down any info related for people who might be searching the forum later.

 

Not LA Gregg, I did a show in Florida and we spent 2 weeks on the beach with a RED One. Although it does get quite hot in the midwest united states too!

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James, you might want to talk to the 1st AC about doing a Camera Coffin. Not sure if this idea has made it to England. But basically you get something like an Action Packer and a furniture pad or sound blanket. Put the furniture pad inside the Action Packer, slim down the cam and remove lens, put camera in the Action Packer and lock it. I do this during lunch or at wrap if staging area is staying the same and is secure. Your gear is in a safe location but I still wouldn't want a camera just hanging out on a cart(attached to a head or quick plate).

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Thanks guys for the advice, finished the shoot and definitely took what you said on board. Thing's I learned?

  • Don't work with the Red Epic! (Haha, kind of half joking, but it sure as hell didn't make our life easier - faulty recording, crappy BNC connector, random power down, random setting changes etc)
  • Work with the 1st AC and use shot list to find the best possible place to put the kit so you don't have to move it too much, I know this is general good practice anyway, but even more so on a beach - it's more effort and takes longer to do everything so try and be as efficient as possible.
  • Make sure you have a ground sheet - the magliner on the beach just doesn't work and but you'll still need to get the kit close to where your shooting whilst minimising the sand getting into any of boxes.
  • As above, make sure you keeps the boxes clean, especially the lens boxes and filters because the sand could end up scratching the glass. For this reason keep take the lens to the camera with caps on (something I know some 1st AC's like at all times anyway).
  • Make sure you have appropriate monitor hoods and black-out material so that you can avoid the monitor picture be washed out in the sunlight.
  • Michael said it, but sunscreen and water will make you feel a lot better - we didn't have the sunscreen and believe me my lobster skin definitely isn't happy!
  • Michael again nailed it about open ports and cards - tape these up to stop unwanted sand getting inside.
  • Our weather was pretty good in the end, but if had turned bad I'd definitely recommend more ground sheets to cover the kit - you can try an E-Z up but it can get fairly windy at the beach and you'll be struggling to stop it blowing away.

Michael, I'd not heard of the camera coffin idea before but definitely something to consider for future shoots. Do you try and use this on a lot of your shoots or just ones when you think the conditions are going to be particularly bad?

Thanks again for recommendations - I hope this helps anyone else too.


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Thanks guys for the advice, finished the shoot and definitely took what you said on board. Thing's I learned?

  • Don't work with the Red Epic! (Haha, kind of half joking, but it sure as hell didn't make our life easier - faulty recording, crappy BNC connector, random power down, random setting changes etc)
  • Work with the 1st AC and use shot list to find the best possible place to put the kit so you don't have to move it too much, I know this is general good practice anyway, but even more so on a beach - it's more effort and takes longer to do everything so try and be as efficient as possible.
  • Make sure you have a ground sheet - the magliner on the beach just doesn't work and but you'll still need to get the kit close to where your shooting whilst minimising the sand getting into any of boxes.
  • As above, make sure you keeps the boxes clean, especially the lens boxes and filters because the sand could end up scratching the glass. For this reason keep take the lens to the camera with caps on (something I know some 1st AC's like at all times anyway).
  • Make sure you have appropriate monitor hoods and black-out material so that you can avoid the monitor picture be washed out in the sunlight.
  • Michael said it, but sunscreen and water will make you feel a lot better - we didn't have the sunscreen and believe me my lobster skin definitely isn't happy!
  • Michael again nailed it about open ports and cards - tape these up to stop unwanted sand getting inside.
  • Our weather was pretty good in the end, but if had turned bad I'd definitely recommend more ground sheets to cover the kit - you can try an E-Z up but it can get fairly windy at the beach and you'll be struggling to stop it blowing away.

Michael, I'd not heard of the camera coffin idea before but definitely something to consider for future shoots. Do you try and use this on a lot of your shoots or just ones when you think the conditions are going to be particularly bad?

Thanks again for recommendations - I hope this helps anyone else too.


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I use the Camera Coffin for everything.

 

Also, this is a personal preference and there has been plenty of discussion on this, but I hate when a 2nd brings a lens to me with caps on it. Under special circumstances maybe. I want a lens change to be very fast, I don't want to wait 30 seconds at the camera because of caps, especially if everyone is waiting on camera. I find there is too much to juggle with when you are handling a very expensive lens. Also, the caps never go missing if they always stay in the case etc....

 

 

Red's, from my experience, definitely have more issues than other cams out there. You really have to do a thorough prep(not that you should half ass any prep) with Red's and their cards/drives. As a 2nd you should be at the prep if you're not booked on another gig, even if production won't pay you for the prep.

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I personally completely agree, I find changing lenses with caps more difficult, time consuming and increases the risk of something being dropped - at the same time however I think it makes sense in conditions where there is a lot of stuff in the air. I was also always taught to adapt to however the 1st AC you're working with wants things to happen, so generally I will ask their preference at the start of a shoot and do it that way. I'm with you all the way though when I 1st AC myself!

Also agree on the prep side, unfortunately it seems that over here they are become less and less common, especially on smaller day shoots which is really frustrating since a lot of issues could be resolved with a days prep and end up saving production a lot of money.

 


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