The Last Reef is a new underwater nature film which features the most advanced macro and 3D filming technology around. Until recently, trying to get tight in-your-face images of coral and other underwater 3D video was the limited by the current technology. IMAX recording equipment use a massive camera and rolls of film tucked into an equally massive waterproof housing, plus you had to keep the camera at least six feet from what you were shooting or else your viewers might end up with a queasy feeling. This shortcoming of IMAX shooting gear inspired cinematographer D.J. Roller to develop revolutionary underwater 3D techniques in his latest movie The Last Reef hitting the screens this summer. Roller’s film features uber-close-up, mind blowing 3D images of sea turtles, rays flying through the depths, and giant bubble-gum-pink sea anemones.
The recent 3D trend was sparked by IMAX but really brought into the mainstream with James Cameron’s record-breaking Avatar. Roller took the route he learned working elbow-to-elbow with Cameron and decided to create an entirely new camera system when he and his team decided to film the annual mass spawning of corals and the reef bleaching caused by rising ocean acidity. The Liquid Pictures 4K 3D Digital Cinema Camera System is a custom-built system based around the beam splitter 3D camera that can catch eye-popping, tight macro shots but was previously only used on land. Roller built a custom housing for this camera along with designing a special polarized dive mask that lets the director review footage and make changes on the fly, maximizing every minute underwater. Roller is exploring licensing the technology and we can only imagine some of the incredible underwater movies possible in the future. Click here for a sneak peak at some of the incredible footage.