In a global first, Soundfirm have partnered with Australian film-maker, Pawel Achtel, to produce a ground-breaking natural history short film.

Shot off the coast of Tonga by Achtel, and edited in Sydney on Soundfirm’s SGO Mistika editing system, the film is the first underwater footage ever shot in full-resolution 5K, and shows a glimpse of the lives of one of the world’s largest creatures, the Humpback whale, in the sharpest and most
intimate of details.

Using the new 3Deep rig, an innovative and award-winning underwater housing designed by his own company, Achtel has, for the first time, avoided the most serious optical problems – including severe distortion and chromatic aberration – associated with traditional underwater housings and at the same time created a system that’s a fraction of the weight and size of a conventional 3D rig.

Based on two side-by-side RED Epic cameras, mounted within the same titanium housing, and incorporating additional optical modifications to enhance the colours found underwater that can’t be matched in post-production, the 3Deep weighs in at a mere 23kg (50 lbs) including lenses, 3D monitor, batteries and cameras and is only 30cm (1ft) wide.

“With lightweight, maneuverable, yet high resolution camera systems, we were able to film natural behavior and follow the action in a way that hasn’t been possible before,” said Achtel, from his Tasmania-based company headquarters.

With the SGO Mistika 4k 3D finishing system at Soundfirm, associated with productions such as The Hobbit Trilogy (Warner Brothers) and The Great Gatsby (Warner Brothers), it was possible to align geometry, colour match, colour grade and adjust 3D, largely in real time, and with a couple of
keystrokes. “It was a fabulous system to work with“, said Achtel, “and transformed the footage we’d spent so long capturing in the wild, often in a matter of seconds.”

“It’s been a privilege to have worked with such an innovative Engineer and Film-maker” said Soundfirm’s General Manager, Paul Willey. “We have a passion for post production because, at its core, it’s about technology facilitating creativity and opening up real and imagined worlds to an
audience. Pawel’s groundbreaking and awe-inspiring work is the perfect example of that,” he added.


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