Shoot the Ultimate Kayak Film

You just watched the Reel Paddling Film Festival and you’re inspired. It’s time to share with the world your passion for paddling. You have a camera, eager paddling buddies and a favorite kayaking spot—now what? Focus your efforts with these pro pointers.

Know before you go Just like you’d scout a slot before running it, storyboard your film before shooting it. That way you know who, what, when, where, why and how to shoot.

If you bring it, use it It’s easy to get lazy and leave the camera in your boat—that’s when you miss some of the best shots.

Tell a story Filming your buddy surfing a wave is lame. Filming your buddy—who escaped a life of crime through kayaking—surfing a wave is better.

Mix it up Wide angle, close up, static shots, dynamic shots, shoot up, shoot down…If there is a spot that will take lots of time and effort to reach and looks like a perch no human would ever want to be, odds are it’s the money shot. 

Think outside the helmet POV (point of view) cameras like the GoPro are great, but don’t overdo it. Use them for interesting angles and slow motion footage, not primary shots.

Clean your lens Water droplets on your filter (which I know you bought for a few extra bucks to protect your several-hundred-dollar investment) can ruin a shot. Keep an old t-shirt in your camera bag to wipe them off.

Keep it steady Use a tripod, monopod, tree, PFD or alpaca…whatever it takes to keep the camera steady.

Audio please People will forgive bad video but not bad sound. Spend the money on a good mic setup for interviews and lifestyle shots.

Don’t encourage stupidity Kodak courage is a real danger. If you think someone is doing something dangerous because a camera is pointed at him, turn it off and see if he changes his mind.



This Skills article originally appeared in Rapid, Summer/Fall 2011. Download our free iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch App or Android App or read more advice for paddlers here for free.


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