Under the Sea 3D Cast
: voice of Jim CarreyDirector
: Howard HallGenre
: 3D DocumentaryRated
Assisted by an Australian crew, Under the Sea 3D was filmed entirely with IMAX 3D cameras for a vivid, immersive viewing experience unlike any other which takes viewers on an incredible journey to some of the most exotic and isolated undersea locations in South Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
Viewers will come face to face with some of the most mysterious and stunning creatures of the sea as images of great white sharks, flamboyant cuttlefish, leafy sea dragons, giant stingrays, jellyfish, green sea turtles, playful Australian sea lions, six foot garden eels in their natural habitats leap off the screen and float in front of your eyes.
Howard Hall and his crew spent a year in pre-production, more than 350 hours underwater, and 110 days at sea to capture more than 10 hours of raw footage which has been whittled down to the 45 minute masterpiece you see today.
Tell me a bit about Under the Sea 3D? Howard Hall
: Well, Under the Sea is a marine wildlife film, it is all about marine wildlife behaviour and we filmed it in the area of the indo-pacific, which is between the Coral Triangle and South Australia. The Coral Triangle is the area between Paupa New Guinea and Indonesia and Malaysia, that whole area near the equator which is considered the highest Coral Reef bio-diversity in the world. Then the film moves down through the Great Barrier Reef and additionally it ends up in South Australia.
How long was the process of creating the film? Howard Hall
: 2 years. A year in research and logistical planning, we had to get over 69 permits to work in these various countries. We had to charter boats and each of the boats had to be modified for the equipment we were going to be using and once all that work was done and the scripting had been done we spent a year of actual filming. The filming was taken over five actual expeditions and each expeditions was about a month long. Once that was finished we spent four months in post production.
Who filmed Under the Sea 3D? Howard Hall
: We had a team of people that we worked with. I direct the film and I also work with the camera, I also have a cameraman that helps me with it, because the camera is gigantic. The underwater IMAX 3D camera weighs over 500 kilograms and is about the size of a large washing machine.
How does the film incorporate climate change into the setting? Howard Hall
: Well one of the things we talk about in the film is the effect that carbon dioxide is having on our atmosphere and on our oceans. Certainly it is no surprise to people that increased levels of carbon dioxide is causing the atmosphere to warm up and that is causing sea waters to warm up. I think most people know that warming sea waters is causing corals to bleach in some areas and coral bleaching can lead to coral reefs dying. But one of the things we wanted to introduce in the film is the concept of Ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is the increase levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere dissolve into the ocean and change the chemistry of the ocean and the pH balance, salt water is very delicate and increased carbon dioxide levels make the ocean a little bit more acidic and when it becomes acidic it inhibits the formation of calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is what coral reefs, shells and many of the molecules are made of, even the shells of tiny planktonic animals that contribute to creating the oxygen that we have in our atmosphere. A dramatic increase in ocean acidification could be a very serious thing for our oceans and we wanted to introduce that concept to the public.
Is the movie for all ages? Howard Hall
: No question about it. If I had to say what group of people will enjoy the film the most, it is probably people between eight and fourteen. It is certainly for all ages, I think children under four it may be pretty marginal just because they have to wear these big glasses. We don't talk down, it's not a children's film in the way the narration is delivered, it is certainly good for adults too. Frankly anyone who goes and sees the film, I think will come out of the theatre with a big smile on their face having been amazed.
I understand Jim Carrey narrated the film, how did this come about? Howard Hall
: Well, Warner Brothers, who is the primary founder of the film chooses our narrator for us, based on who's 'hot' at the time and who is popular. Jim had just done a couple of films that were just coming out and Warner Brothers though he would be a good pick as he would draw in audiences. I think he is an interesting choice because many people will think if it is a Jim Carrey film there will be a lot of silly slapstick humour, those people kind of overlook the dramatic roles that he has done. I admit I was a little skeptical myself initially but he does a wonderful job of narrating and in addition he had delivered a narration that is very sensitive and very serious and very pleasing. Where there is an opportunity to include humour in the film he does a great day of execrating that humour. Everybody seems to really like his narration. Howard Hall
: Howard Hall is the Director and Director of Photography/Writing, his wife, Michelle Hall is the producer of Howard Hall Productions, together they specialise in making marine wildlife films.
In 1994, Howard directed the IMAX 3D feature "Into the Deep"; Michele was a location manager. In 1998, Michele produced and Howard directed the IMAX feature "Island of the Sharks," which was an enterprise of Howard Hall Productions. Howard was director of underwater cinematography for the Primesco Productions film "Lost Worlds" and the MacGillivray Freeman film "The Living Sea," and was underwater cinematographer for MacGillivray Freeman's "Journey into Amazing Caves/./" In 2002, Howard served as underwater sequence director and Michele as production manager for MacGillivray Freeman's large-format feature "Coral Reef Adventure," a film in which he and Michele are both featured on-camera.
In 2005 Howard directed and Michele was a producer for the IMAX feature "Deep Sea 3D," a Warner Bros. Pictures/IMAX film. Both "Into the Deep" and "Deep Sea 3D" are among the top five highest grossing IMAX 3D films ever produced by IMAX.
Between them, Howard and Michele have won seven Emmy Awards. Howard has worked on more than 100 underwater film projects. He has produced and/or directed many award-winning natural history television films, including a "National Geographic Special" (which he co-produced with Michele) and three episodes of the PBS series "Nature." Howard also directed and Michele produced the award-winning, five-hour miniseries "Secrets of the Ocean Realm" for PBS.
Howard holds a BS degree in zoology from San Diego State University. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Michele is a Registered Nurse and holds a BS degree in Health Sciences. She is a member of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Women Divers Hall of Fame. Both Howard and Michele are on the board of directors of Ocean.com.
Under the Sea 3D is narrated by Jim Carrey and opens in IMAX theatres nationwide on Thursday 19 March 2009.
Interview by Brooke Hunter