Sea of Love 3D IMAX

Humpback Whales: mother and the calf - frame grab from 3D footage

Hidden beneath the waves lies a world of unexpected romance and extraordinary devotion.

We often overlook the presence of love in the life of sea animals - within their families, communities, schools and friendship circles.

The potato cod may not sound romantic, but watch a pair caressing and nuzzling up to each other for an hour or more, oblivious to all around, and it becomes hard not to see romance. Watch a dazzlingly colored male sea dragon so laden with babies that it can barely move and can hardly feed itself, and it becomes harder not to see extreme devotion.

The Sea of Love explores the many ways marine animals show their love for one another. Watch underwater beings develop friendships, romantic liaisons, parental bonds, and fulfill their community duties. Whether it involves sacrifice, sharing and caring, or flirting, singing, dancing and romancing, the theme is one of attraction, attachment and care for others.

The Sea of Love shines a light into the clefts and crannies of the oceanís reefs where love and caring exist beyond our wildest expectations. It begins where love is irrelevant - with the spectacle of mass coral spawning, the ultimate in indiscriminate coupling - but then reveals the intimate and social bonding behaviour of the oceanís real lovers.

Discover the customs of the deep when it comes to finding a partner. You may find some bizarre, yet strangely familiar.

Filmed with newly developed underwater housing technology by a cameraman with over 15 yearsí experience filming underwater, Sea of Love offers a sharpness and quality never before experienced even on IMAX screens.


Highlights from Filming Humpback Whales in Tonga.

Sea of Love IMAX 3D - Highlights from the Coral Sea 2013 shoot from Pawel Achtel on Vimeo.

Intimate animal behaviour is rarely seen and even more difficult to film. It can be rarely predicted with desired accuracy and it can be all over in a blink of the eye. The "actors" are unaware of the script and there is no dress rehearsal. There is no second chance or take two.

Our Coral Spawning trip required extensive research of our "actors", timing and location of the anticipated spectacle. We needed to pin point the climax as this is what we were most interested to capture. It happens at night and each species has preferred timing, position of the moon, tide and current assisting them with their performance.

This meant being in the water with the camera focused and lights set up waiting for the exact moment. Once they get into the mood, they release the sperm and millions of eggs within seconds and, once the sperm and eggs are released there is no more sex until the next year. If you looked in the wrong direction for just a few seconds, you could miss the whole event and months of preparations and all the effort would go in vain. For this reason it is important to have the cameras focused correctly, aimed at where the action will take place, synchronised, shutters Gen-locked, framed correctly and with the right amount of 3D parallax. Luckily, with our 3Deep 3D housing setup this was the easy part!

After spending hours in the darkness you often ask yourself: have I just missed it or is it going to go off in a second? And, finally they went off. First was the male colony of large Porites coral released huge cloud of sperm within seconds. Then, within just a few minutes and some distance away, a female Porites colony, released a snowfield of little eggs. Luckily, with the small size of our 3D housing I was able to capture both male and female climax in all desired glory. How rare is such a show? According to one research scientist onboard - a professor at James Cook University, he has never seen Porites spawning in the wild. We were lucky: this was not only and extremely rare, but also very spectacular coral love affair.

Highlights from Palau from Pawel Achtel on Vimeo.

Earlier this year my search for love in the sea took me to one of the most abundant ocean habitats and home of thousands of ocean lovers: Palau in Micronesia. Here, our aim was to scout for locations, research spawning and mating aggregations and film some of the action. The reason Palau has an incredible array of marine life is because of strong currents bringing particles and nutrients from deeper waters. Sometimes, the currents are so strong that it is impossible to even remain the same position and even divers with no cameras are swept away downstream. The surface conditions were even worse: huge waves and winds tossing the boat like a toy in a bath.

Small size and titanium construction of 3Deep housing again paid off. I was rewarded with some spectacular 3D images fish aggregations. I was also able to get lots of footage of shark and manta ray cleaning and feeding behaviour. Our custom modified RED Epic cameras fitted with our custom Colour Science filtering can not only see through milky water with astounding clarity and sharpness, but now can also overcome the grey-magenta tint and reproduce pleasing gradations of blue water colour while retaining other colours at the same time - something not possible with standard RED Epic cameras.

The reason people go to watch Giant Screen films is to experience a spectacle. The success of achieving that spectacle lies in capturing the beauty, action and colour of the underwater romance knowing that this is once in a lifetime opportunity with no second chance to capture it again.


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