Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Handheld 35mm On A Boat


A client has asked me to shoot 35mm "running footage" for high-performance bass boats handheld in a similar style as footage I have shot on video and 16mm, in order to cut better with existing 35mm helicopter footage I shot with a Middle Mount. My question is, which body would be best for this task? The prime consideration is the wind load on the mag. The platform is a special boat set up with a gantry and walkway. The speeds in question are 45-55 mph. Lens will most likely be the Optimo 17-80 zoom. My first thought was the Aaton 35-3, a camera I have not operated before.

Thanks for your comments -

Guy Galloway
Little Rock, AR

If you can get your hands on one, you might consider an Arri 235 with a low profile (handheld) magazine.

The magazine sticks out behind ... mostly in the same wind signature as your head., and the camera itself is small and light.

Mark Weingartner
LA based VFX DP

You're going to make fun of me... but if you skip the zoom, an Eyemo with a decent couple lenses on it is perfect for the application and the wind loading is substantially smaller than a full-size camera with a mag. I have used them hanging out of airplanes before and they feel like a toy, but they produce great-looking footage, better than they have any right to.

Scott Dorsey
Kludge Audio
Williamsburg, VA.


Guy Galloway & those interested,

I love CML for stuff like this; thanks Mark W.: ..'might consider an Arri 235 with a low profile (handheld) magazine.

..' same wind signature as your head., and the camera itself is small and light.
( Mark Weingartner)

Sounds fun.

Just thought I'd add that with seeing the words : 'handheld, with small, light, 'wind load factor' @ 55-60mph "...the use of a Gyro would certainly come to mind.

It might help alot with keeping the Camera suddenly tipped sideways in gusts (assuming your whole body is not also momentarily swept sideways.

Also minimizing a MatteBox, to a cylindrical shade is a good idea when you're out In the Wind.... and if you're doing alot of this: I have also heard of using an independently Grip'd motorcycle faring (the shell) as a wind&splash shell for a camera shooting boat-to-boat (& car-to-car), especially as a preventative to the Splash factor when shooting moving Jet skis or Boats.

Set yourself up to be comfortable with what you're doing !


Kirk 'been there before..' Hammond
Photographer / Gaffing
Zürich / Pasadena

For situations like this, you may want to look into getting/renting a Konvas.

I have two and have used them for many hard to get hand-held shots, similar to what you are describing (shooting from a 4-wheel drive, out the open door of a helicopter, etc). They are ex-soviet, thus making them inexpensive camera equipment, but still, they are quite rugged and reliable.

If needed, you can modify the camera to PL mount and use the lenses of your choice, or you can use the Lomo lenses that often come with it. If you've never used Lomo lenses before, they aren't anything to laugh at, especially for their price.

With your choice of lenses, 400ft and 200ft mags (Even though it's labeled 200ft, it only holds roughly 150ft of film with a proper spool. The 400ft holds 400ft), you can set the camera up to be weighted for your needs. For wind, you should be good - my description isn't the best, but the magazine inserts into the back of the camera and your head can rest against it, helping to stabilize the entire camera. Btw: when you switch over to the smaller 200ft magazine, it becomes very compact.

It's MOS and kinda loud at 55db (operation with the 200ft mag is much quieter than with the 400ft mag), but for what you're shooting, it should work nicely.

See for more info (Disclaimer: I help run the site)

Adam Frey
Crimson Chain Productions

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions -

I thought those interested might like to hear how my bass boat shoot on the water went.

I ended up using the Arri 235 with the shoulder mags, which worked very well. I shot super 35 with a custom large TV GG. I used the Optimo 17-80 with a hard lens shade and no follow focus or zoom motor. I found that while gripping the 15mm rod with my neoprene-gloved hand, I could reach both focus and zoom comfortably with my thumb. I did not do any 'live' zooms. Focus was forgiving considering my deep stop with no filtration and 5201. I might consider next time trying the 28-76 Optimo or another lens in that range.

I found it useful to arm down the left handgrip and transfer some of the front-heaviness to my chest. Although this transmitted a bit more vibration from my lower body, I was able to compensate by using my legs more than I used to for the years I did this with SD video.

As usual day 2 was better than day 1 as I settled into a groove and fine-tuned which muscles to use and which to relax- a very important thing. Especially if the air temp is 36 degrees F and you are going 55 mph. Those of us who ride motorcycles can relate I'm sure. In fact I did wear a motorcycle jacket which worked out great.

And - I had my assistant hold a motorcycle windshield which was very helpful at the higher speeds especially. If we do this next year I have a rig in mind to build.

I left plenty of room for stabilization but the editor opted not to stabilize anything which I took as a compliment. I would say it was about as steady as a Middle Mount without the gyros, or maybe a little more stable.

All in all a fun and successful shoot. Thanks again for the support of the CML, it is much appreciated!


Guy Galloway
Little Rock, Arkansas

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