Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Rigging Speed Boats

Hi everyone,

I'm shooting speed boats, pontoon boats, and fishing boats next week. No helicopters... bummer. I'll be in a crow's nest on a triple decker pontoon boat for the overhead shots. However, I want to do some interesting shots with the camera mounted on the speed boats themselves.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Is a speed rail mount the way to go?

I've never done this kind of thing before, so ANY advice is appreciated. I'm also shooting Steadicam from the pontoon boat.

Any thoughts on that?


Ty Black
Sack Lunch Entertainment
Fort Wayne, Indiana

Speed rail mounts sound like the way to go if you can secure them to a fibreglass boat. (Suction cups, etc.) One thing I've done on large boats is secure a long extension ladder across the very top of the boat perpendicular to it (say the flying bridge), this allows you to get a perspective from either side while you carefully crawl out on the ladder either handheld or with a high hat.

Gerrit Dangremond, Chicago.


I have done quite a bit of camera rigging. The closest I have come to your project was a semi-pro go-karts and a backwards racer. Yes...a guy who was on Ripley's is a backwards race car driver. They race driving backwards looking over their shoulder like you would back out of the driveway. He drove about 50 mph with my speed rail rig on. I mounted it to the trunk and the passenger door. Both rigs were rock solid and both were made from speed rail. I would suggest you treat the rig a little differently than a normal car mount based on the added speed and jostling, of course.

My other advice is that no matter how slow they say that the vehicle is going to go always plan on doubling that for safety because time and time again these guys get comfortable with rig after time and start to pump up the speed. The backwards driver told me he would race half speed in the mock race, of course after lap one he went full out.

Hope this helps. It is good to hear a question from the Midwest.

Take Care.

Mike Gillis
Milwaukee Gaffer(sometimes key grip and rigger)

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