Tasmania, 15 - 20 March 2012.
After many weeks of preparation and testing I was finally ready to fly to Tasmania and film with my RED Epic camera housed in the DeepX . Mike Seymour and Jimmy Shen from FXPHD in Sydney had booked their flights and were meeting me. They were coming to witness the idea that one can dip the naked lens directly into the water without a port in the quest to produce the ultimate picture sharpness underwater. A combination of curiosity and fascination had Mike confident that there would be a story to be told on this trip...
Following extensive research and testing, it is now possible to film using a submersible lens and RED epic digital cinema camera. I had been excited for many weeks about producing the first footage, right up until the day I broke my ankle and was unable to dive. Four days prior to flying out Jon Shaw from ginclearfilm agreed to fly to Tasmania to acquire footage.
Jon is an experienced underwater film maker, and was quick to accept a deep diving excursion to 37 metres with my RED Epic camera housed snugly inside the DeepX. It is Sunday18 March 2012, the water is cold and very murky off the east coast of Tasmania at this time of year and the visibility is poor (approximately 5 metres). After years of research, measurements and design, nothing was going to deter us from our mission.
Jon and the rig slowly disappeared under the water. It is difficult for me to watch and wait. I had always thought it would be me filming the first footage with DeepX. Whilst Jon is filming, I feel impatient and despite my confidence in engineering principles and knowing the design and precision that has gone into making DeepX... a flicker of doubt crosses my mind. Finally Jon surfaces after 10 minutes of decompression and says with a big grin "it's good!". He was happy with his shoot and I was relieved that science and precision engineering had not let me down. Phew!
Monday 19 March 2012, we were out on the boat again. The forces of the universe were not so kind to us and the weather conditions were treacherous. The northerly gale force winds churned the water and a strong current was pulling us south. Those who suffer from sea sickness were left behind, and testing continued. Jon disappears quickly and he descends to 37 metres, the shot line was carried away with the strong current. On his return, Jon is forced to do a blue water ascent in poor visibility to decompress for 10 minutes. Jon surfaces feeling exhausted but happy and reports that the housing handled very well and that he actually managed to take some nice images on the bottom - truly remarkable.
I would like to thank Jon Shaw for coming to Tasmania at short notice and offering his experience and help. Our trip was greatly enriched by having Mike Seymour and Jimmy Shen join us and provide assistance and contributing to the successful testing of the DeepX housing.