Thread: Documentary Ansião - expedition to the depths

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  1. #1 Documentary Ansião - expedition to the depths 
    Senior Member Rui Guerra's Avatar
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    Deep below, beneath the surface, a submerged cave awaits to be explored.
    A vertical descent into a well 45 meters deep. An underground fracture filled with crystal clear water. A team of 20 cavers set up an expedition to advance further in the knowledge of this submerged cave.
    This is the documentary of that profound expedition.

    Entirely shoot with a Red Weapon Dragon Mg 6K.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-BEicrffL4
    Rui Guerra - PHOTOGUERRA Underwater Productions, Lda.
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Patrick Tresch's Avatar
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    Nice to see your courage to follow this dive with one of the most beatiful sensor made up to date. Your effort is giving the divers team the honnor they merit.
    Thanks for your work.

    Patrick
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    Senior Member Karim D. Ghantous's Avatar
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    Well, I enjoyed that, even though it was a bit longer than it could have been. I really liked the underwater shots in that beautiful, clear water. I wonder if I would get a bit claustrophobic down there, although I actually don't think so. I like being submerged - at least in domestic bodies of water. ;-) I have never been diving but one day I might give it a try.

    I think that some of the shots were a little bit 'off'. The shot of the men around the car at 6:25 should have been a two-camera shot. I didn't like the zooming in and out.

    The edge smearing, caused by the dome port of the underwater housing, was obvious, but it did not interfere with the footage. I'm not sure if this can ever be avoided. Perhaps Red will make a dedicated underwater camera with special lenses which do not need dome ports. Kind of like the Nikonos system.

    Finally, I felt that the background music was a bit repetitive. Personally I don't think that you needed any music at all.

    I'd like to know what your settings were in terms of stop, ISO, focal length. Did you have any problem metering or was it generally straightforward?
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member Rui Guerra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Tresch View Post
    Nice to see your courage to follow this dive with one of the most beatiful sensor made up to date. Your effort is giving the divers team the honnor they merit.
    Thanks for your work.

    Patrick
    Hi Patrick,

    Thanks for your kind words. I think that when we do something with the heart, courage will not be the main driving force, but passion is.
    Anyway, generally in the technical diving world and particularly true in cave diving, following the rules and safety procedures, besides having a cold mind, surely goes a long way to be able to have a corner of my mind dedicated to filming in those kind of environments.

    Cheers,
    Rui Guerra - PHOTOGUERRA Underwater Productions, Lda.
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  5. #5  
    Senior Member Rui Guerra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karim D. Ghantous View Post
    Well, I enjoyed that, even though it was a bit longer than it could have been.
    I understand what you mean.

    The main reason behind that somehow "longer that it could have been" is the intention to been able to make a retrospective of the cave's exploration through the last decades, without shortening too much the time available for that. And of course the added time to show the actual exploration that were filmed. Since it was a personal project anyway, I choose to pace it as I though it was right to have the whole story displayed and not leaving outside at important part.

    This is "part one", where the past history of the cave's exploration toke a significant part of the film. Our intention is to make a second documentary (if we'll get the necessary logistics conditions) to document a significantly extend the exploration of the submerged gallery.

    I really liked the underwater shots in that beautiful, clear water. I wonder if I would get a bit claustrophobic down there, although I actually don't think so. I like being submerged - at least in domestic bodies of water. ;-) I have never been diving but one day I might give it a try.
    Diving (and filming underwater) is not very difficult. But I guess that like in other things in life, we must really like to make it a life's passion. But, you're right, nothing better then try it one day. With a good instructor and with very good conditions, if well done in a calm and safely way, most of the people like it a lot after the first try dive.


    I think that some of the shots were a little bit 'off'. The shot of the men around the car at 6:25 should have been a two-camera shot. I didn't like the zooming in and out.
    This was a one man band, where I hat to do everything myself regarding filming, with a very limited amount of equipment because all that must be carried also to the cave (only one camera). That and other plans were done by leaving the camera on a tripod and let it recording all the scene, so I could get the complete dialogue, without missing any important part. The zoom in/out, its a question of personal taste, indeed.

    The edge smearing, caused by the dome port of the underwater housing, was obvious, but it did not interfere with the footage. I'm not sure if this can ever be avoided. Perhaps Red will make a dedicated underwater camera with special lenses which do not need dome ports. Kind of like the Nikonos system.
    Since it was a cave without any natural light, I had to take all the filming lights with us, which were powerful but of course they have always limitations. I wanted that the cave be fully illuminated so it's dimensions could be appreciated in the film. Since the water was so clear, some of the shoots were done at a considerably distance to show the galleries's dimensions, but that poses a problem regarding lighting. So the solution was to shoot almost everything with the lens wide open, which is not the sharpest option for the image corners with a dome port (even with the a 230mm one).

    Finally, I felt that the background music was a bit repetitive. Personally I don't think that you needed any music at all.
    Of course that there were many other options regarding music, and that is always a very subjective matter. But personally I do think that the music adds to the mood of the film, and makes it much more enjoyable to watch.

    I'd like to know what your settings were in terms of stop, ISO, focal length. Did you have any problem metering or was it generally straightforward?
    With just some few exceptions, almost all the underwater shoots were done at 50fps because I wanted a bit of slow motion to increase the floating/smooth/dreamlike feeling of the divers exploring the cave.
    I broke the rules and used a 360 degrees shutter, mainly to get the biggest amount of light reaching the sensor (no noise reduction applied).
    ISO always at 800, although that in post (done with Final Cut Pro X) were done some exposure adjustments in some shoots as needed.
    f/Stop mainly at f/4, because that was the widest that lens could get. At that time the lens that I had available for this exploration was a Nikon AF-S 16-35 mm 1:4. I did not wanted to use a fisher lens because the distortion would be apparent in some of the shoots. If it were today, would use a Sigma Art 18-35mm 1:1.8 with the Nauticam WACP1 for a much sharper image at the corners and much more light.

    Metering to me is not a problem, because I keep everything in manual and I try to make all the exposure adjustments at the beginning of the dive. After that just do smaller adjustments at a shoot by shoot basis, which must be done fast, because we are in a cave diving environment, with much time and with all the other usual safety concerns. But a quick change in light output intensity (in the camera's onboard lights) and/or f/stop adjustment, will do the trick in a fast way.
    Rui Guerra - PHOTOGUERRA Underwater Productions, Lda.
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    Fascinating stuff.

    Gave myself enough time to watch it, so I didn't think it was too long.

    I felt the documentary did benefit from being shot on the RED Dragon sensor. Just for the fact that when I see a document of natural things, it helps to see it captured as realistically as possible.

    The only thing I think it was lacking was just a few quick comments or observations/opinions from some of the other people involved, but I understand there would have been time constraints that might have prevented that even if you'd wanted to include them more.

    I like the straightforward way you chose to present the information and events, but can see how some people might prefer it if it was presented as more of a 'story' (with a beginning/middle/end and 'characters' going on a journey of adventure to succeed or fail in achieving their goals etc. etc.).

    All in all I thought it was interesting and well made, thanks for sharing it here.
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Karim D. Ghantous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rui Guerra View Post
    With just some few exceptions, almost all the underwater shoots were done at 50fps because I wanted a bit of slow motion to increase the floating/smooth/dreamlike feeling of the divers exploring the cave.
    I broke the rules and used a 360 degrees shutter, mainly to get the biggest amount of light reaching the sensor (no noise reduction applied).
    Very interesting. It's worth noting that 360 degrees is one full stop more than 180. I think the most you can get on a film camera is 220 or so. Imagine taking a film camera down there. ;-)
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member Rui Guerra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Les Hillis View Post
    Fascinating stuff.

    Gave myself enough time to watch it, so I didn't think it was too long.

    I felt the documentary did benefit from being shot on the RED Dragon sensor. Just for the fact that when I see a document of natural things, it helps to see it captured as realistically as possible.

    The only thing I think it was lacking was just a few quick comments or observations/opinions from some of the other people involved, but I understand there would have been time constraints that might have prevented that even if you'd wanted to include them more.
    There was indeed some pressure by trying to film most of the action, with the necessary care for exposure, composition and camera movement and with no possibility of repetition. Imagine what it is like to try to film 20 experienced cavers, each on their own task, trying to do everything as quickly as possible so that we can start the underwater exploration in that same day.

    In addition to all this, none of them had any experience of producing a film, so in most situations they did not even waited for me to be close with the camera ready.

    In fact, I am sure it was better that way, because otherwise the delay would have been much greater and it would have been impossible to make the first dive that night.
    Rui Guerra - PHOTOGUERRA Underwater Productions, Lda.
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Rui Guerra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karim D. Ghantous View Post
    Very interesting. It's worth noting that 360 degrees is one full stop more than 180. I think the most you can get on a film camera is 220 or so. Imagine taking a film camera down there. ;-)

    Yes that was the only intention, to get that extra stop of light, since the lens that I had available at that time for these shoot was quite slow, at f/4. :-(
    Rui Guerra - PHOTOGUERRA Underwater Productions, Lda.
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