Shake-A-Leg (Newport, Rhode Island) is a non-profit organization that offers assistance to people with all types of disabilities, both physical and mental.

I was asked to shoot, narrate and edit a documentary on Shake-A-Leg’s unique and innovative adaptive sailing program. This program uses modified sailboats and 12 metre famed America’s Cup racing yachts and brings able bodied and disabled sailors together to enjoy the therapeutic effects of open ocean sailing.

The program really does work and these experienced disabled sailors are able to keep up with able bodied race boats.

The program recently acquired the Easterner 12-metre and they plan to race it in 2009.

In addition to helping people with disabilities, the Adaptive Sailing Program is now reaching out to kids with cancer from area hospitals. The calming and soothing effects of being on the water is helping these kids heal.

The story is quite amazing.

I covered the sailing with a Sony HVR-Z1U with a wide angle lens. I mounted a Sony HDR-HC3 wrapped in plastic with a Bogen magic arm to the fibre glass of the boat for the on-board POV shots.

I used Sennheiser evolution series2 wireless mics with Sony lavs. Keep in mind, I was battling heavy winds.

I shot all of the sitdown interviews with the Sony PMW-EX1 camera with the Letus Extreme 35mm lens adapter mounted to the front of the camera’s lens. I primarily used a 50mm f1.4 Nikon Nikkor lens for the interviews. All available light, no silks, no HMIs, sometimes in direct sunlight.

I edited with Final Cut Pro and narrated the video using a Zoom Handy Recorder H4. Great bit of gear. I did pop a few p’s even with the wind screen.

Total shooting:
4 days in July
1 day in August

It was just me. I could have used an assistant, especially jumping from boat to boat grabbing the POV and the wireless mics.

I did not have too much time to color correct the footage, so most of it was how it was shot. I am using a consumer, pro-sumer and professional camera. You can see the difference. This was the first time I shot a doc and used all three together.

TRT: 11 mins 40 sec
Size: 254.3 MB

Format: Quicktime 720p HD

Production Credits

Shot, Narrated and Edited by:
Tom Guilmette

Special Thanks To:
Karyn Cooper
Meghan Sepe
Alex Egan
Paul Callahan

Charlie Dana
Gayle Bordlemay
Richard Konkolski
Sarah Kirwin
Newport Shipyard
and the Adaptive Sailing Staff

This video is not to be distributed.