Film VS. Digital
Give us your perspective on film versus digital.» I have a real love/hate relationship with digital photography. I love not being limited to taking 36 images on a dive. I love the immediate gratification that comes with looking at my images after a dive, learning from my mistakes while on location, and having the chance to go back and give it another try. But I resent the amount of time I must spend editing, processing and to catalog the images. It’s so easy to fall behind when I’m on location that I now feel compelled to spend every spare moment dealing with images. And I still have trouble keeping up with it all. Gone are the days of enjoying bits of quiet time to relax with a book.
How did you and Howard make the jump to IMAX productions?»Howard received a call in October 1992 from Graeme Ferguson, one of the co-founders of IMAX Corporation. Graeme was in pre-production for on IMAX’s first underwater 3D film. Howard’s reputation as producer, director and cameraman of the award winning television program Seasons in the Sea led to his being recommended as the director and cameraman for this exciting new project. At first we thought the phone call was a prank – a joke being played on us by one of our buddies. But when Graeme actually came to town a few weeks later for a meeting with Howard, and then asked him to fly to Toronto to consult on designing the underwater housing, we started taking the project seriously. That film, and its subsequent tremendous success, of course opened the door to other projects.
From a sheer size standpoint, putting a standard IMAX system in the water must be daunting?»The underwater 16mm film camera system we used in the 1980s and 1990s weighed in at 48 pounds. Mark Conlin, our AC (assistant cameraman) for our television documentaries, used to hand off that 16mm system to Howard by holding it over the edge of the boat’s swim step or the side of the inflatable or skiff. In contrast, the IMAX 3D system (camera, housing and accessories) weighs 1,300 pounds. The housing measures 4 feet by 4 feet by 3 feet – big enough for me to crawl inside! Placing it in the water requires a crane or A-frame capable of handling loads of at least 2,500 pounds. Even the standard 2D IMAX system, weighing 250 pounds, requires, at minimum, a davit to hoist it.