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The Stories of Galapagos

bigImage Filming in 3D: Underwater

Explains Al Giddings: "The biggest and toughest challenges of filming an underwater film using IMAX 3D technology was in figuring out how to handle and operate the camera, which weighs 1700 pounds [770 kilograms], and to maneuver the camera in a natural history configuration… trying to do moving shots and drift with the current, trying to get to the sharks and other animals when you need four or five people just to help you get the camera to the shooting position. With the enormity of the camera itself, coupled with the large casing that was needed to withstand water seepage and the pressure at lower depths, it would take 10 people to get the camera into the water and then between two and five of us to get it to the bottom."

The Camera That Got Away

"At times, in order to maximize diving time, we used a 2,500 foot [762 meter] film magazine," says Al Giddings.  "Since the 2,500 foot load is about 15 pounds [6.8 kilograms] heavier than the 1,000-foot [305-meter] magazine load, we needed to fool with weights to create the right balance. I wore about 50 pounds [23 kilograms] of weight and no fins and I shot most everything on the bottom, walking around."
"One night I went to the bottom and since I was really heavy with my own weights, I just pulled the camera to the bottom and put it down," recounts Giddings.  "The submersible was already in place to make a shot. But I noticed that one of its lights needed trimming, so I turned to the submersible, I trimmed the light and then turned around. And the camera was gone. I thought one of the guys had moved it until I saw them coming with large HMI lights. I suddenly realized that, whereas the previous week the camera had been 10 pounds [4.5 kilograms] heavier from the larger film magazine, it was now lighter and had actually floated up and over the submersible. I looked up and even though it was nighttime, I could see the reading light on the camera's dials. I went roaring to the surface and jumped in the Zodiac. About 30 yards [27 meters] away that camera was just floating peacefully on the surface. But the story is certainly a clue to how every dive presents a new challenge… with a different weight, angle, setup, balance, load and lens. And then you find and film the animals."

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Film Info

Video Clips

Clips & Trailers:

Galapagos Short Trailer MPEG

Galapagos Trailer MPEG

Galapagos: Submarine Clip Real Sure Stream

Galapagos: Sharks Clip Real Sure Stream

Film Status

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A Co-Production of the Smithsonian Institution and Imax Limited. Producers: Al Giddings and David Clark. Directors: Al Giddings and David Clark. Executive Producers: Laurence P. O'Reilly, Andrew Gellis, Peter Guber. Writers: Barry Clark and David Clark. Top-side Directors of Photography: Andrew Kitzanuk, Reed Smoot. Narrator: Kenneth Branagh. Featuring Songs and Music by: Mark Isham. Original Score Composed by: Mark Isham.


BMZ Reviews:

BMZ Review of Galapagos By Herb Lash

Scubavision By Ross Anthony

Outside Reviews:

"IMAX screen shows off beauty of Galapagos" By Lisa Willton, Calgary Sun

"Imax's 'Galapagos' Brings New Dimension to Nature" By Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

"Galapagos" By Elias Savada, Nitrate Online

"Evolution is ongoing" By George O. Singleton, Reel Movie

"Galapagos" By Christine James, Boxoffice Magazine

BMZ User Reviews

Rating: Good
Posted by: rxbolt
This movie showed less of Galapagos than others I have seen. It frequently, and clumsily, reminded the viewer that a female scientist ("Dr. Baldwin") was doing all these great things on the island. Gave no credit to her male colleagues, esp. the one who piloted their submersible to the bottom of the ocean. There are better documentaries about Galapagos. Sadly, it seems a now all-too-familiar agenda made this movie less than it could have been. ... Read More >>