Shooting cinema quality 3D underwater is fraught with challenges. Quite apart from normal scuba diving precautions all camera gear must be contained in a water-proof housing, which introduces it's own set of problems. Firstly there is the need to withstand the pressures at up to 40m below sea level, which requires a milled aluminium box with a thick port that won't crack under the strain. Running cables through the housing and creating a water-proof way to control the cameras and rig requires a completely different methodology with much of the control surfaces ensconced in chunky boxes with oversized buttons and dials.
However, the most important piece of equipment is a tiny rubber gasket seal that is the only thing keeping the salt water from getting in and destroying $500K worth of camera equipment. Even a single grain of sand in the wrong spot can lead to disaster.
The 10 day expedition that took us to some of the most pristine reefs in the world, far away from the continental shelf and onto undersea mountains such as Ospray Reef. In water that was 2km deep, we captured footage of a shark feeding frenzy, moray eels, potato cod, minke whales and many more besides. My task as stereographer was to oversee the 3D operations both above and below water.
Pro Diving magazine Dive Log ran an article on the expedition, which can be viewed here. A short 'making of' video of the trip can be seen here *Update; I have recently found out that a handful of shots I did from the 10 day Coral Sea expedition have been purchased by James Cameron's production company for his upcoming Deep Sea Challenge 3D documentary. More on that here...