Kayaking

These tiny kayakers will make you smile

© Raphael Boudreault-Simard/Flow Motion Aerials
By Josh Sampiero
Whether you're a boater or a board-rider, this epic tilt-shift video is guaranteed to grab your attention.
"In kayaking, the videos are always about who can run the biggest waterfall, or the wildest rapids," says Raphaël Boudreault-Simard. "I wanted to make something that was simply fun." In the video below you'll see if he succeeded in not only making it fun but funny also. And if you aren't sure at first whether those are real kayaks or toys, don't worry. That's kind of the point.
"The tilt-shift action video has definitely been done before," says Boudreault-Simard. But the Canadian national was interested in evolving the filming style with a drone. "You get new angles on everything – stuff that in kayaking you simply didn't see before, because of the complexity of getting the shot."
In fact, it was drone flying that got him operating a camera in the first place. The young Canadian's kayaking career was cut short by a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery three years ago. It was during rehab from the surgeries that he started flying the drone for fun and discovered a knack for filmmaking.
Aniol Serrasolses and Nouria Newman kayaking in the fast waters of British Columbia, Canada.
Aniol Serrasolses and Nouria Newman on the natural rapids
Virtually every shot you see in the video filmed from a drone – a strong testament to his steady hand and skills as a pilot, because off all the sports one can shoot with a drone, kayaking must be the hardest. The deep gorges whitewater boaters are drawn to make it tough to get the GPS signal that helps the drone stay steady and as the canyon walls get tighter, the longer the drone is in the air.
So when he wanted to make Tiny Kayakers, Boudreault-Simard knew one thing was important: he had to work with athletes who understood the goal. Spain's Aniol Serrasolses and French paddler Nouria Newman were the perfect pair. The two were already road-tripping around Boudreault-Simard's backyard in Whistler, British Columbia.
Aniol Serrasolses and Nouria Newman walk with their Kayaks over difficult wooded terrain in BC, Canada.
Getting to the kayaking spots wasn't easy
Over five intense days, they hit up every river they could, from the Elaho to the Upper Cheakamus. One of the biggest scores, however, was Dipper Creek. Usually this location has too much water until late in the year and since it's an hour-long hike with your boat to get to the put-in, few boaters are willing to make the trip mid-season. Boudreault-Simard had a plan however: he'd fly his drone over the remote river to check out the water levels and if it looked good, the crew would head in. Sure enough, it looked good and so in they went, where they ran the waterfall seen in the video.
Both Serrasolses and Newman were good sports, hamming it up for the camera, taking an extra few unnecessary spills and generally just having fun. That's one thing that made Boudreault-Simard really happy about the trip.
A drone with GPS gives you plenty of aerial filming options
Shooting kayakers with a drone was no easy task
Aniol and Nouria were just doing the same thing they'd normally be doing if we weren't filming. That means they're having fun and I'm having fun Raphael Boudreault-Simard
Once the filming was done, much of the real work began. Although filming with the Tiny Kayakers concept in mind, Boudreault-Simard's drone didn't accommodate a tilt-shift lens. He had to film normally and then apply the effects afterwards using some Hollywood-style movie trickery. Paired with a slightly faster frame rate, a quirky, clever clip emerged that helps remind us that having fun is what it's all about.