Be wise and don’t get STUCK!

Its clearly understood that as an aerial cinematographer you have to go the distance to get the shot, but where is the line?

While out filming for the first time on the Salt Flats in Bonneville Utah we had been asked to get glamour shots of the mountains in our down time. Our instructions were simple, go towards the mountains and be back to basecamp in time for the next shoot. Previous to our arrive at the flats it had been flooding so as we ventured out towards the mountains we had to cross a slightly flooded portion. While crossing we maintained our speed and avoided getting stuck and were able to get the glamour shots we were looking for, but it was on our way back we ran into trouble.

As we were approaching the flooded area we began to really slow down, and with the loss of our momentum we came to a complete stop. As we tried to move again we slowly moved forward until we came to a complete stop and found that we had become entirely stuck. We called basecamp with the hope that they would come and tow us out but they were advised by the staff at the flats that it was too risky to take another vehicle out and that it would also get stuck. Our only option was to call in the snow cat.

We were forced to call in the snow cat and they were able to to out the vehicle, but there was one major issue, the $650 charge. As we had only been told to go towards the mountains we assumed that the risk of getting stuck would have been covered by the company. We soon found out this was our first mistake. We were then told that they only said to go to the mountains, but not to cross the flooded portion (it was all flooded for miles) and that it would be required that we pay the charge.

We didn’t argue with them but did learn a valuable lesson, DON’T DO ANYTHING THAT WILL PUT YOU OR YOUR EQUIPMENT AT RISK, or you will pay.

When asked to do something that may potentially put you or your equipment at risk, first analyze the situation and see if there is a safe way to accomplish the task and then suggest to do it that way. If there is no safe way to accomplish the task talk with the client and explain why it can’t be accomplished and do your best to find an alternative solution.

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    Michael Paul Jones – Director | Director of Photography
    Zac Eskelsen, Owner of Helivate Films kills it!!!! He took our production level to the skies with moving dynamic imagery. It’s always great to have people on your team willing to push the envelope and take chances to create that amazing shot, Zac is that person. Super easy going, wonderful to work with and an amazing pilot. I would recommend him to anyone for their professional aerial needs. - Mike Jones.
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    Scott Wilhite — writer | producer | director, Big Sherpa Film Co.
    Zac saved my bacon. We were nearly to our location in Moab (4 hours away) when our aerial cinematographer had to turn back with a family emergency. Called Zac. Not only was he very accommodating with our immediate schedule, but he quickly got the concept and was able to capture images that enhanced the cinematic storytelling of our show. So easy to work with. And talented too. Thanks Zac.
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    Sondra Lathem – Unit Production Manager, BYU Broadcasting
    I found my experience with Zac Eskelsen and Helivate Films to be outstanding in every way. Not only can they “deliver the goods” when it comes to aerial photography, they were professional to work with, prompt at responding to our questions, and attentive to our needs. I would highly recommend Helivate.
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    Sean Slobodan – Director of Photography, Vivint Marketing
    Helivate Films has been awesome to work with. They come ready with great ideas and solutions. I always come away with assets that I'm super pumped on.
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