Definition September 2023 - Web



WATER WORK Behind the scenes in Egypt with DOP Tim Cragg (bottom left); and a huge team effort, filming underwater with freedivers to compile the necessary shots (above)

million views at the time of writing and edging its way up Netflix’s top ten films, The Deepest Breath has crossed over convincingly from niche sports doc to bona fide water-cooler TV territory. ABOVE & BELOW Blending archival film segments with fresh underwater footage, reconstructions and talking head interviews, a key challenge for the filmmakers was to create a cohesive, visually consistent whole. “It was hard. But we knew we wanted to create two worlds: with the underwater footage, a world that was Balearic and of the imagination, but also making sure it didn’t steal the show – that it was still very much part of the storytelling,” explains Cragg. “I’ve done a couple of Moon movies, and there’s something about seeing this sort of spaceship in the abyss that we wanted to capture. Then, with the other

elements, you’re not really seeing much; we wanted to give it an urgency that doesn’t feel like it’s considered – and that makes it more believable.” With filming taking place up to 35 metres below the sea’s surface, the production called on specialist diver- cinematographers to realise McGann’s vision, which she marvelled was like having a ‘pod of dolphins’ on the crew – on hand to snake down and capture impossible-seeming shots at her whim. A key player in the team was Florian Fischer, the co-founder of underwater production network Behind the Mask, who brought a wealth of experience in subaquatic videography. “The team came to us with ideas of scenes they wanted to create and parts of the story they wanted to tell, and we were able to recommend locations

where they could do it efficiently. We have contacts everywhere, so we were able to connect people that do the scouting and groundwork on location, and then make sure everybody got what they wanted,” he explains. “Some of the shots in the film are very dependent on the time of day. At the cenotes in Mexico, for example, there’s maybe only half an hour when you can actually get the sunrays we captured, through a tiny little opening, which we could advise on because we have that experience.” THE KIT Underwater shooting took place on a RED Monstro 8K camera, with a Nauticam wet lens sitting in front of the cinema lens. “This lens is an



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