Exploring The Sea

Looking for a new challenge on your next HD project? How about shooting on the open seas, above and below the surface? Or how about shooting in IMAX? Or maybe venture into digital 3D?

How about doing all three at the same time? Filmmaking and scuba-diving brothers Jean-Jacques and François Mantello have done just that—more than once. Besides the stunning imagery, their underwater IMAX films have pushed the boundaries of high-def 3D production.

“We did our first IMAX production in 2001,” says Jean-Jacques Mantello, the director of the filmmaking duo. The film was Ocean Wonderland 3D and featured coral reefs in Australia and the Bahamas. “It was released in 2003 just before The Abyss. It was the first film to be released on IMAX 3D that was done in digital. It was amazing because nobody knew if it would be okay or not, going from HD to 70mm prints. It was quite adventurous, but we succeeded.”

The film was the first of several underwater features for the brothers and is still on the IMAX circuit.

The Sony cameras have proven themselves to be extremely reliable, working in highhumidity on the boat and extreme heat in the camera housing. We’ve never had any problems with them.
—Jean-Jacques Mantello

Even then, shooting 3D HD video was nothing new to them. Their father sold broadcast equipment, so the brothers, who grew up in the French Alps, were always around the production industry. They were shooting corporate films and computer graphics when they took on their first 3D project in the early 1990s, a theme-park simulator ride called Doom Castle.

The brothers also had been scuba divers since their youth, so Ocean Wonderland 3D gave them the chance to join their passions for moviemaking and diving. “Ten years ago, nothing existed,” says Mantello. “Everyone thought we were crazy, making 3D movies. But we had always done 3D, so for us it was normal.”