This episode rocked my world, literally. I was hanging from a 160-foot construction crane, six stories high. And, yes, the helicopter was rocking.
The helicopter (and I) hung over a tank that was
60 feet wide
5 feet deep, and contained
100,000 gallons of water.
The tank was used to simulate THE OCEAN for Rabbit and Marisa's water rescue. Built-in wave machines and gas-powered, high-intensity wind fans gave the water chop.
When suspended from the crane, I was either hanging over this shallow "ocean" pool (with gigantic fan blades), or solid concrete. Neither seemed like a good option if the crane malfunctioned.
Tonight you'll also see three boats: a speedboat, a yacht, and the famous SFFD Guardian.
The speedboat was filmed ON THE ACTUAL BAY off our Treasure Island stage and the 110' Cam Craft yacht was rented for the day from Horn Blower yachts here in San Francisco. (It's usually used for tours of the bay, corporate events, and private parties).
But, my favorite boat you'll see tonight is the SFFD Guardian. It was actually a gift to the people of San Francisco from two anonymous donors after the 1989 earthquake. The donors were residents of the Marina district, where rampant fires had broken out following the quake, and many homes were saved by the work of the Guardian's predecessor, the Phoenix.
But, the coolest set piece was this newborn baby doll.
Before you guys ask how we worked with a newborn baby, I wanted to give you the scoop.
This "newborn" is a remote-controlled doll made out of rubber latex and foam. The doll has motors inside that allow the user to move its mouth, eyes, chest (to simulate breathing) and hands. It took ONE MONTH to make this doll.
It was an art piece.
Tonight, you'll also see a shot of Marisa working on the helicopter. For this ONE shot, they set up a camera track and crane. The camera was FLYING -- and so was the cameraman. But, again, it will probably be a one-second shot, so keep an eye out for it.
As you can see, most of tonight's episode takes place at NIGHT, which means that we were shooting from 4 P.M. to 4 A.M. everyday!
And, to answer RotorFib's question, yes, all the actors took EMT classes. We learned how to hold C-spine, take blood pressure and insert IVs. (I talk more about our training in my "Action and Training" blog).
Enjoy tonight's episode and thanks again for all your comments.