Deep Explorers Document the Graveyard of the Atlantic

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Fri, 08/28/2009 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

This summer in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of the Marine Sanctuaries and Rutgers University Institute of Marine and Coastal Science Deep Explorers documented the wreck of the USS Monitor a U.S. Navy warship that has been resting 230 feet down on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for more than 150 years. The company produced a series of video segments entitled Graveyard of the Atlantic which were posted on the NOAA website during the expedition. A Sony PDW F350 XDCam camera paired with a Fujinon XS13x3.BRM lens served as the primary topside camcorder for recording interviews and stand-ups of divers and scientists conducting research of the wreck and its surrounding marine habitat. The team opted for Sony HVR-Z7U HDV camcorders in Amphibico as the primary underwater camera rig. All footage was edited on location using a combination of Apple Final Cut Pro and PC based Adobe Premiere Pro CS3.
  “Audiences of natural history documentaries have come to expect extraordinary footage. Outfitting our topside camera with the XS13x3 BRM Fujinon lens gave us stunning pictures ” says Deep Explorers executive producer Dan Crowell. “We were thrilled at the picture quality when we first began shooting and the ultra-sharp Fujinon glass produced stellar results. We also found the lightweight lens performed well in low and changing light conditions.” 
  The videos chronicled the unique challenges that were part of the expedition 16 miles off the North Carolina coast. According to Crowell conditions were often far from ideal during production. At some points dive conditions were too treacherous to allow exploration of the wreck. 
 “There were times when we could not dive so we had to make the most of our topside segments ” Crowell says. “The weather was an obstacle for much of the week so the segments shot with the Fujinon lenses were thrust into the forefront.” 
At just 15x8 feet the confined space of the boat deck could have been an obstacle but the Fujinon wide-angle lens was able to capture the action. “The Fujinon XS13x3.3BRM allowed us to shoot on a relatively small boat and make it appear much larger ” Crowell says. “We got extremely positive reactions from viewers as well as from people who were with us on the boat.”