When MacGillivray Freeman Films contacted me
about filming skysurfing with Troy Hartman in IMAX, I was
stunned. But during that initial conversation, I assured
them I could do the job. After all, their company was the
first to haul an IMAX camera to the summit of Mt. Everest, and BJ
Worth had shown the world that skydiving with large format
cameras could be done. I pictured myself with this huge box
strapped to my helmet in freefall - and then pulling my parachute
only to have the camera, helmet, and my head continue falling.
Troy Hartman and I filmed skysurfing sequences for an IMAX film about extreme sports in California produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films in Laguna Beach, CA. I jumped the 70 pound IMAX camera to film Troy over Mission Bay, down in San Diego. The location was nothing less than spectacular. The shoreline is carved into a tangle of inland waterways and our drop zone was a small park with palm trees and green grass surrounded by water and bridges. An A-Star helicopter piloted by a guy named BJ sat ready in the park to take us to 12,500 feet above the park. At 12,500 we could see north to Laguna Beach, and South well into Mexico. The camera was a bear, and I had to wear it on my chest which was unusual, but overall, it flew well and we came down with nice images. BJ Worth came out to film Troy and me flying together at the same location. Bottom line, it's IMAX. It's big, really big. Thousands of people who see the movie will feel like they're flying!
Update: Last week, Feb 19, 20, and 22, we went south again for more IMAX. On the 19th and 20th, BJ Worth chased Troy and me to shoot team interaction shots. On day one, BJ quickly found out that the mounting system he used for skydiving was way to heavy to film skysurfing with it's sometimes very slow fall rates. We worked together on that problem and, by the end of the day, came up with solutions that helped him slow down significantly. Troy and I also learned to limit our horizontal slide a bit and by day two BJ was rolling some very nice footage. On day three, I put the IMAX on for more single shots of Troy and even managed a smooth Tidy Bowl with the "Fat Cam".
Update: ADVENTURES IN WILD CALIFORNIA IS PLAYING IN THEATRES AROUND THE WORLD. The good word, and excellent reviews are spreading like wildfire and theatres around the country and the world are picking it up. Wild California is considered by many to be the best IMAX movie ever produced. It's a fast paced ride through California with some of the state's leading risk takers in sports, environmental research, and entertainment. Like many IMAX movies, the cinematography is stunning - and MacGillivray Freeman films (Everest, Dolphins) again takes IMAX to new and unusual places. Not to be missed!
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