Thursday, December 3, 2009

Water, Water Everywhere

The marine environment is a big part of what makes our region desirable for many film projects. When done right, these aquatic shots can make a scene look and feel amazing. However, cutting corners on your water-related shots can cost time, money or even lives.
With so many variables on the water experience and safety are the keys to filming away from the dock or along the shore, finding the team with the experience sometimes just means knowing who to call. Multi-Marine Services, Inc., owned by Capt. Jimmy Hill, is your complete resource for marine-related productions. These guys have worked on a lot of the film and television projects requiring boats, special marine locations, water safety or specialized camera vessels.

Hill’s background prepared him for and led him to film work. Starting out as a professional boat captain, he soon founded the Jacksonville International Boat Show, which he still produces. As a result, when someone needed a unique boat or a hard-to-find water locale, they usually found Hill. His associations with the marine industry and time on the water helps assure that there is never a marine coordination request that is not met. He has more than 25 years’ experience working in the fire service. This explains why safety is always a top priority in all of his professional ventures. “It’s funny, whether you are dealing with a disaster, building a huge event or getting that magic shot, it’s all about logistics, planning, knowledge and most importantly, teamwork,” says Hill.

When asked what the future plans are for Multi-Marine Services, Inc, Hill says that he would like to do more work with the military. “We were involved with documenting a test on a system for warships. The test required us to run at the navy ships simulating a threat and film the runs. It was scary the first time, but organization and clear communication made this task a lot of fun. I personally hope it helps protect our service men and women in the long run.”

As far as motion picture work, we are looking forward to doing a lot more. Multi-Marine Services have expanded their resources by adding a new camera boat, a 26-foot catamaran that has all the features that make a perfect shooting platform. This boat makes a nice addition to our fleet. It has the increased stability and shallow draft that catamarans are famous for, but the coolest feature on this boat is that it is equipped with a hard top tower that makes for nice elevated shots even while moving fast, which is easy for this twin-engine, highly maneuverable craft.

Having the right tools will make any job easier. This new boat with our other catamaran plus the smaller jet drive inflatable used when we put personnel in the water makes most tasks well within our ability. If we don’t have the vessel that is needed in our fleet then we can get it in short order.

The right gear is great, but our crew is our strongest asset. We have a deep pool of talent to pull from and the word ‘professionalism’ would not do justice to this crew. We love this business because there are no two projects alike. We have worked on everything from car crash stunts into the water for “America’s Most Wanted” and The Hallmark Networks show “Everyday Heroes” providing safety divers and simulated police craft, not to mention sailing shots that included supervising and teaching talent to operate the vessel, site locate, crew transport and so on. For the acclaimed independent film Like Dandelion Dust we facilitated shots that felt and looked big budget but still fit within their means.

Working on a tight timeline is often the norm, but Hill and his crew were tested when they were asked to find two small skiffs from the 1930s and 40s for a major motion picture. They were called in at the last hour, literally. The boats had to be located, approved and delivered to the location within 24 hours. Not many of these small skiffs have survived over the years and most of the surviving boats from that time were too fancy and shiny for the look that was required, so they dug deep, called on their resources late into the night and found the boats that fit the bill perfectly. They sent photos for approval and then delivered them to the remote, waterfront spot. The shot went off without a hitch. Hill takes great pride in the fact that after everyone else was called and all time had run out on this major project, his team was able to deliver on such short notice. He hopes that when you are deciding whether to shoot on or near the water in Florida that you will consider letting Multi-Marine Services, Inc. help you make your film.

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