Underwater Adventure in the Arctic Ocean – The Extremes of IMAX 3D Movie-Making

In making an IMAX theater film, because the
medium is so different than every other medium, new vantage points like from the air or from
underwater become much more critical to you. It’s a very serious trip that we are going
on in freezing waters of the Arctic ocean. One of the first things we had to do when
we boarded the ship was go through safety briefing and how to put on a survival suit.
If you fell in the water without the survival suit you would be dead in 3 minutes.
Hypothermia would set in and that’s it. We are very close to the north pole on this
expedition. It’s getting colder by the second. When you are filming sharks you are often
putting bait in the water. When you go out and jump in front of a bear, and he is swimming
towards you, I kind of guess, you are the bait.
So that’s kind of a different perspective. In your black seal suit out there.
Polar bears are much better swimmers. I wish I could swim as fast as a polar bear. They
are good swimmers but they are not good divers. Fortunately I was the good sinker, and when
bears did come down and showed interest I could just push my camera up to them and keep
sinking and then they would change their mind and go back to the surface. So that worked
good. I never really felt like I was that much in
danger by the bears. I felt comfortable as long as the water was,
fairly deep. The
walruses over there, to the left there in
that little valley. We just found a walrus in the water so hopefully
he will come over and say hello to us. I really was impressed with the walruses.
I thought they were just beautiful. Walruses are good divers, I mean, they move fast in
the water. They look so clunky and not very comfortable
on land, but when they get in the water they are really in their element.
We got great footage of a whole walrus colony and one shot in particular. The walrus and
this baby went straight up to the camera and basically kissed the camera and then came
back up. That’s a kind of crazy amazing rewarding thing about wildlife filmmaking is being able
to get it when you have all the right variables at the same time. You hardly ever have that
opportunity. But when you do, it’s so rewarding.

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