D.J. Roller, a cinematographer/producer, veteran diver and founder of Liquid Pictures, recently wrapped principal photography on a new IMAX 3D film, “Wild Ocean.” All underwater sequences were shot with two Fujinon HA10X5B-W50 HD Cine Style zoom lenses mounted on a Cameron/Pace Fusion Underwater HDTV 3D camera system.
The lenses are encased in specially made lens barrels for the rig and affixed to custom-designed Sony HD-950 cameras. Roller used that system with two of the Fujinon lenses and one backup.
Roller has led film expeditions on all seven continents but found this particular location to be particularly challenging. According to Roller, it was the combination of Fujinon lenses and the Pace underwater camera system that made it possible to meet the numerous challenges presented by underwater filming.
“The camera technology afforded us longer record times, and the lenses gave extremely sharp images,” he said. “Since the camera and lens are encased in an underwater housing, switching out lenses is not possible. Without the lenses Fujinon developed for the Pace camera, we wouldn’t have had the flexibility cinematically to capture the amazing pictures we did.”
“Wild Ocean” was shot over two summers along South Africa’s pristine wild coast, documenting the annual sardine run. During these “runs,” massive, miles-long schools of sardines swim up the coast in search of food, drawing predators including thousands of dolphins and sharks.
The environmental documentary is expected to be released to IMAX and Digital 3D theatres worldwide this March.
“On other underwater projects, we’ve had the luxury of a research ship and a huge harbor to dive from,” Roller said. “Given that our location was very unique and so wild, we took just two 25-foot Zodiac boats—one for support equipment and one for camera equipment—down river tributaries to get to the ocean.”
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