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Waka Ama 2016: 16 kms of Coverage

Last weekend Chillbox took to the seas to help film the annual Great Waka Ama Race for the the University of Auckland.

Competitors launched their waka from Takapuna beach, worked their way to Rangitoto island, ran to its summit, then returned to their waka and paddled back across the harbour to the finish line. While this was undeniably challenging for the participants, it posed another challenge entirely for the camera crew – requiring careful coordination of multiple camera operators across several locations (all with budget in mind!).  Ultimately, we decided on four crew – one camera operator on Takapuna beach, one camera operator at Rangitoto’s MacKenzie Bay, and two crew aboard a small support boat to capture the waka in action using a combination of high-speed photography and aerial drone footage.  In addition to these units, we mounted Go-Pros to two of the racing waka, though little of this footage made the final cut.

The race was fierce, with teams jostling for the lead throughout. Competitors had trained for months, and the winning team gets to compete in an elite competition in Hawaii, so there was a lot at stake.  All of this made for great footage that, when edited together and put to music, really helps sell the intensity and scale of this event.

Luckily for everyone involved, Auckland weather held out and competitors were treated to a great day on the water.  Supporters also enjoyed to a day of fun in the sun, as can be seen in this other video we pieced together.

Overall, we had a great experience and were really pleased with the final result. There’s nothing like being out on the water in the city of sails on a clear blue-sky day.


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