I’m on a (big big) boat

I’m on a (big big) boat

By: Solomon Hsu | Digital Producer (Corporate Communications Intern at time of writing)
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The company I work for thought it was a great idea to throw me out to sea on a large vessel to test out filming at sea.  It worked out. Here’s the story.

In my fourth work term with Teekay Corporation, I was fortunate enough to be sent on a three-day trip down to Los Angeles to board one of our many vessels that transported energy across the world.  No one on the team had ever been on a vessel voyage, and this was a chance for to test out what could be done on a vessel in terms of video and photography. This was new to everyone, and being that I had no prior experience to travelling the seas at all, I knew there would be some challenges. I had to deliver something that would make trips down to vessels worth the money and time, as well as adjust to the completely new environment of sailing on a giant vessel.

The vessel was called the European Spirit.  This Suezmax tanker vessel with a length of more than 250 meters and size of 151,849 deadweight was operated by a team of just 23 men. I talked to many of them, both when I was trying to figure out how to best capture the essence life at sea, as well as on our down time at the dinner table.  I was one of three visitors on this vessel, accompanied by two other members of from the Teekay Vancouver office who were visiting the vessel to update the network infrastructure that allowed the seafarers to have internet access from the middle of the ocean.

This trip was the ultimate test in my photography and videography abilities; the setting was completely different, the people think differently, and it was in a place where order must be kept with minimal disruptions. It took a bit to adjust, but as time went along, I slowly began to pick up on seafarers behaviors and actions that would look good on camera, and slowly built a bank of possible shots that I could use. Being able to adapt quickly really helped me capture a little glimpse of what it meant to service 10% of the world’s energy. Life at sea involves staying away from their families up to nine months at a time, and making sure the vessel keeps going forward and every safety precaution is taken so everyone makes it back home.

Once I got back to the Vancouver office, after sailing from Los Angeles to international waters and back into San Fransisco, I sifted through the footage and the photographs I captured (all 97.1 GB of it).  I then began to edit a few clips I thought the team might benefit from to show the advantages of sending an in-house creative to film aboard a vessel as opposed to hiring an external film crew who had less knowledge of what the company was about.

Upon completion, the edited video was published publically across Teekay’s various social media channels, and within a week, it gained enough traction to become the number one most viewed video on the Teekay Youtube channel (31,000+). 

 

The experience was extremely beneficial to me because it put me in the front lines of what Teekay does in the industry, which has enabled me to tell a more wholesome story when I worked on other projects.

Beyond the Article

Posted on May 29, 2015