In early October 2017 we travelled with GAA Films to Dungarvan, County Waterford, Ireland. Our mission was to capture footage to help tell the story of the Harty family, their aquaculture farm Harty Oysters, the town of Dungarvan, and Ireland itself. For three days we closely followed and documented daily life on the farm and in town. We rose before dawn each day, riding with the crews as they drove out far into the bay to harvest their oyster beds. At night we ventured into the town's pubs to see how Dungarvan unwound after a hard day's work.
Because we had to film in drastically different conditions over the course of each day, we used a wide range of tools in the field. Our main cameras were the RED Dragon, mounted on a MoVI Pro; and the Sony FS7, used primarily in shoulder rig mode with a stabilized long lens. For drone shots, we used the Inspire and the Mavic. Some shots, like those we took hanging off the side of a moving truck, required a compact camera with exceptional mobility - for those shots we used the Sony a6500 with stabilized wide lenses. We shot all of our footage in 4K.
Our greatest challenge in the field was the ever-changing weather. In between rain showers we ran drone flights and shot most of our exteriors. Out on the water, we shielded our cameras from the intermittent rain under windbreakers and kept filming. Another challenge was minimizing the volume and complexity of our equipment so that we could travel as lightly and nimbly as possible. We streamlined our tools as much as possible, using battery-powered LED light sticks instead of our usually CFL lights and ditching our tripods for everything but the interviews on land.
Our classic team for GAA Films projects was in action: GAA Films Producer Becky Holt had the masterplan - she developed the concept for the film, oversaw the pre-production, handled all onsite logistics, and supervised the edit. Alex Pickering and Ken Marcou shared Director of Photography and Camera Operator responsibilities, with Alex running the drones and RED camera on the MoVI, and Ken setting up the interviews and capturing handheld shots with the Sony FS7. I served as Director and filmed b roll with the Sony a6500. Back in Boston, Shana Bethune edited and colored the video.
Our hosts in Ireland, the Harty family, were exceptionally hospitable and helpful. Filming abroad and out in nature often leads to unexpected logistical challenges that necessitate quick changes to the schedule and set up, and the Harty family consistently aided us along the way. We greatly enjoyed our time with them.
This was our third film with GAA Films, and we look forward to continuing this exciting partnership in 2018!