A few weeks ago, Paul Reynolds and I went white water rafting down some very cold rivers in Oregon. One of these rivers, the upper McKenzie, can only be run this time of year because of the high water flow. The problem with rafting in the spring is the wet weather and icy waters.
Paul use to run a rafting outfitter in Oregon and has a lot of experience guiding people with little experience…like me. I joined him a few years back when he had the business and took a leisurely summer float down the lower McKenzie river. It was fun and the weather was warm.
This past NAB in Las Vegas, Paul and I talked about hitting a few rivers this spring. I committed to a trip out west and I am glad I finally did! We split the costs and had a blast.
The trip began with rain and raw conditions. We camped out most nights, but with the weather wet and cold, moral was low. Setting up the tent was difficult in the nasty conditions, so we ended up sleeping in the van down by the river.
One big highlight was Paul taking me to Belknap hot springs. White water rafting and hot springs are the perfect combination. If you are ever in the area, check out Belknap. They have camp sites, RV sites, a secret waterfall garden and even laundry!
I used the Aspect Solar EnergyBar 250 inverter battery system to keep cell phones and camera batteries charged. This battery is great to travel with and you can use solar panels to recharge it.
A few days into our trip in Oregon, the weather broke and it was sunny. But the waters remained very cold.
Since Paul ran an outfitter, he knew what type of gear to bring to keep us warm and daft on the river. We wore NRS wet suits, gloves, boots, helmets and floatation gear. We talked safety on the river and went over scenarios if the raft flipped or we got tossed into the cold torrent.
If you decide to raft because of this video, please use caution and follow all safety procedures.
Paul works in television, and we had both brought GoPros and Sony UWP wireless microphones. We used a Zoom H4N recorder and stowed the two receivers and the Zoom inside a Pelican case in the center of the boat.
Paul had snagged a Letus Anamorphic GoPro adapter from Aaron Pinto at Letus Direct while he was at NAB so we decided to shoot a CinemaScope 2.40 ratio video. This adapter works well, is very sharp and the flares you get look really cool. I am still trying to figure out exactly how to stretch out the footage to fit it into my timeline, so what you see on the rafting mini-doc I shot with Paul is not a perfect representation of Anamorphic. In fact, as of now it is just a “slimming” filter.
We figured that we could place as many GoPros as possible all over the boat and document our day on the river. I would ask Paul questions as we went down the rapids and the wireless mics would pick up the sound.
This type of documentary filmmaking is a lot of fun because with all those cameras, you are bound to get something! Plus, I do not know much about white water rafting so I was able to educate myself as I tried to stay in the boat.
I have used Rain-X before, but when documenting rafting, using this windshield rain repellant is a must. Just add a few drops to housing lens surface, rub it in with your finger, let it dry and buff it out with a lens cloth. Rain-X is a wax, so you must use a lens cloth after the fluid has dried to get proper results without image issues.
We managed to not destroy any of the wireless mics, thanks to the decision to use four ziplock bags instead of just two or three layers of protection. Of course, I jumped into the water wearing Paul’s Azden mic system, not my own Sony UWP!
Thanks to Todd for coming out on the first day and helping me learn how to survive a day with Paul…
Big thanks to Paul for setting up this trip and getting all the gear and food prepped for our adventure. And Marnie Reynolds for booking us a hotel the last night so we could shower. The folks sitting next to me on the plane as I headed back home got lucky!
I love Oregon!
Categories: indie filmmaking Information