...after over a year and a half in development, the Gates & 3ality 3d underwater camera system has hit the water. Further testing is being made locally by Bob Cranston to confirm depth rating and develop underwater procegers of this new underwater 3d system.
To much the delight of myself, i've had the pleasure of working with John Ellerbrock and Bob Cranston who have taken this idea from design to splash down. I've come aboard in the past month and assisted Bob with deploying the rig for the second time into the kelp beds at Catalina Island. This is quite a technical achievement and once you understand the Atom rig itself, you then realize the complications of operating, setting alignment and stereo as well as, and most importantly the quality of 3d and various shots you can achieve.
....Bob and John both will have more to say about these and I'll assume they'll chime in on this. I can say that 3d is new to me and in fact quite easy to understand after shooting and working with the files. Like much other camera work you get it when you have enough hands on time.
Recently we made a trip out to Catalina from July 17-20 and began shooting this rig from Bob's boat. Two of those three days we spent on learning alignment and making the rig more efficient (cabling/monitoring) . Keep in mind this is a completely new rig for us and most of the stereo-ographers working with the Atom rig can do this practically blind-folded. Divers need a few extra tries at it. That said, mission accomplished and alignment is quite easy once one has made thirty plus tries at it. I might mention that alignment is slightly different using the underwater Gates Controllers so this is another learned procedure that is not standard based on the 3ality controls....but, it is similar.
Camera Setup currently inside of the Gates Deep Pulsar Atom (DPA) rig:
*Denecke sync device
*Kramer video amplifiers
*3ality FIZ control (w/hayden motors)
*Stereo (convergence & I.O.) underwater hand controller
*FIZ (focus, iris, zoom) underwater hand controller
*External (underwater housed) Transvideo 12" monitor
LENSES: just about any configuration of lens can be used on this rig. We chose to use Nikon Mount with Zeiss 18mm Prime lenses on this shoot, while most seem to prefer the Angenieux 16-42 PL lens combination to cover wide as well as medium work.
...We focused on very specific shots of animal behavior on a tripod 90% of the time and then did a few shots free swimming the housing around in the kelp. Shooting 3d and capturing good 3d is not one and the same. But on sticks underwater you have a number of better choices and options to accomplish this task underwater. This already a tried and tested method based on success by underwater legends like Howard Hall and Bob C. from their previous accomplishments.
...At the moment more testing and learning is in order and happening in California to perfect the procedures as well as the supporting equipment. Bob Cranston is working on further perfecting the ability to put this rig in action quickly and efficiently and perfecting those techniques to work in the field. We are training now and next few weeks on just those tasks and Bob is training other camera operators so that they can understand how to set up the rig and shoot the rig as well as maintain the rig in the field. I can say that it's a "required" course for anyone expecting to shoot this rig and certainly a pre-requisite for purchase or rent.
The footage we recently shot is being processed in-house and will soon be available for download on the Gates, Bob Cranston and Baja Production web sites. I'll also post a notice on this thread to when the download is available. You will be able to download a side by side promo of the 90 second promo we intend to make.
For more information on Rental, Purchase or Training: www.digital3Dsea.com <http://www.digital3Dsea.com>
PHotos attached here: