One of the new additions to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is the Haunted Castle. They completely demolished the old Haunted Castle and spent months rebuilding a two story ride that goes down into the depths of the Boardwalk. While shooting the new commercial spots this year, we had to put off filming any of the dark rides since the Haunted Castle was in the midst of being built. We came back a few months later with new talent to capture most of the variety of dark rides offered at the Boardwalk.
The Haunted Castle portion of the shoot was definitely the most exciting part of the day and what I was looking forward to most. The ride was actually still under construction the day we had to shoot but we were under a deadline to get the shots done for the upcoming Kick-Off to the Summer show. Interesting fact is that the cars and track were built in Italy and are very high tech and due to the complexity of the Machine, things weren’t working as smoothly as the Boardwalk had hoped. Up against the pressure of opening the ride on-time and having to trouble-shoot the problems with the cars meant that when we showed up, shooting a commercial was the last thing on their mind. We actually had only a small amount of the ride we were able to work within and only had one shot at each portion as we couldn’t operate the car backwards and get the shot again. So we had to make each shot count. If we didn’t get it, we wouldn’t have had another chance. It’s a good thing we’re used to shooting in high pressure situations and goes to our doc experience where we don’t have the luxury of “doing it again for camera”.
In each area of the ride we would turn on the attractions and have the talent react as the car was not moving so Tam could get close-up reaction shots. And then when we were ready to move, one of the Ride Technicians would use a remote box connected to the back of the ride to move the car forward. He was actually slowly moving behind the car while we captured our wider shots. It’s amazing what you can do with lighting and camera angles.
I still have yet to ride the ride as it functions for the public to see. I personally do not like rides where things jump out at you. I do need to ride it though because I’m curious if now that I’ve experienced the ride with the all the lights on, if it will take away the mystery and fun for me. Next trip to the Boardwalk, Haunted Castle is on my list.
Check out the finished :15 spot!