Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, March 2, 2017 and Castine Patriot, February 16, 2017
Media student turns sternman job into film
by Anne Berleant
Last year, Alex Turanksi, a University of Maine, Orono, senior majoring in new media, did what nearly all college students do—he took a summer job.
And, like many local students, he found one on a lobster boat, the Matt Pat, out of Stonington, captained by Larry Moffet.
“I needed a job and happened to meet Larry Moffet,” Turanksi said. “It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.”
Outside of a sternman’s wages, Turanksi also got the inspiration for a class assignment to create a documentary.
With a GoPro video camera in hand, Turanksi reboarded the Matt Pat to shoot the hours of film that would turn into the five-minute video, Lobstah!
“[Moffet] didn’t pay me for a day and I could do whatever I wanted,” Turanksi said, “hang off the boat, climb on top.”
The video opens before daybreak, as herring bait is poured into crates from the Stonington docks and loaded onto the boat. The chugging engine provides an early soundtrack before the sky lightens and “The Mollusk” by Ween kicks in. Sternman Sam Trowbridge and Moffet do what lobstermen do, bag bait, haul traps, measure and notch lobsters and, by the end, off-load their catch at the Stonington fish pier and row back to shore.
Along the way, the GoPro’s fish-eye lens and time-lapse capabilties are used, as is its ability to film underwater—after Turanksi upgraded his equipment. First, he had placed the camera in a waterproof case and “stuck it in the water,” but the pressure from the boat moving through the water cracked the case, he said, so he bought a new model.
The two underwater shots, which total only seconds—of a trap being hauled out of the water and the closing shot of a lobster sinking below the surface and into the depths—cost $250 each, Turanski said.
The response from his class, and from Moffet, were positive, and Turanski is now working on his next project, a promotional video for 3D printers that show printing chicken legs for a chicken that lost its legs to frostbite, and then attaching the legs “and seeing if the chicken can walk. I’m going to make a little video of that,” he said.
View Lobstah! on YouTube at youtube.com/watch?v=1s-bwHskaA0.