POV Video of Jet-powered Hydroplane Boat Racing


Oh Boy! Oberto Hydroplane boat with driver Steve David


Graham Trucking Hydroplane boat with driver Jimmy Shane

When we got to the American Power Boating Association’s (APBA) site in Detroit, Michigan, we were immediately taken by just how aggressive the hydroplane boats were. They each had a trash-can-size jet engine on the back that wound up just like a jet, and drove a $15,000 propeller that was only good for 120 hours. We were charged with mounting JVC’s second-generation Adixxion point of view (POV) cameras on these boats as they raced up to 130 miles per hour through watersports’ most aggressive turn. We only ended up losing one camera, and that was when a sheet of water came off the back of another boat and hit so violently that it knocked not only our camera off, but also the entire front wing on the boat. Needless to say, there are some serious forces at work during these races.

We used RAM mounts to go into the 1/4-20 threads of the Adixxion. We generally stuck to the muffler clamp mount on the outside of the boat, and the suction cup mount or JVC’s standard VHB-tape mount for inside the cockpit.

For post production, we did a mock-3D text integrated into the live-action footage to introduce the driver and location. This doesn’t contain real 3D architecture, but it ended up being a convincing forgery after applying lights and a mock shadow/reflection in Adobe After Effects. For the aerials, we weren’t able to get up into the helicopter due to passenger restrictions, but we threw one of the cameras on the lead judge’s helmet. After sifting through literally hours of footage, we came up with about four usable clips that were each under five seconds long, and shaking like crazy. We stabilized the footage in After Effects and ended up getting some really nice stuff out of what started as almost-unusable footage. Overall, we were really happy with the way the videos turned out, and it was another case of making the most of POV footage, which is lower resolution and lower quality, but can capture some amazing angles.

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