Come behind-the-scenes on our underwater shoot!

It's not often in an indie film production that you get the opportunity to shoot with underwater specialists like Laura James (Underwater DP) and Jon Lafollette (Underwater Grip). As experienced divers and adventurers, Laura and Jon maintained the fine balance between shooting movie magic for our film LIGHT ME UP in a difficult medium and ensuring our actors were kept safe every step of the way...

BTS still of Laura James, Underwater DP, at work taken by Jeff Whitehurst

BTS still of Laura James, Underwater DP, at work taken by Jeff Whitehurst

Growing up in New Zealand, I was encouraged by my parents to turn to nature for inspiration and solace... Especially when things got too much. So, naturally, nature features heavily in my work as a filmmaker... both as a source of inspiration and destruction in my characters lives.

This nightmarish moment in Light Me Up is all about the psychological impact of the raw power of nature, symbolizing fate, ripping apart these two characters from the inside and out... and the courage that they have to find in order to fight for each other and their dreams, despite the hopeless of their situation.

The opportunity to shoot this scene underwater with a professional crew was a dream come true. Watching the footage, I’m stunned by the depth that these images evoke... I can’t wait to see this part of our film come together in the edit.
— Miri Stone, writer/director of LIGHT ME UP
Josh (played by Conner Marx) reaching in vain for Ivy (played by Trin Miller) in the watery depths of his nightmare world...

Josh (played by Conner Marx) reaching in vain for Ivy (played by Trin Miller) in the watery depths of his nightmare world...

Firstly, we'd like to say a huge thank you to our cast Trin Miller and Conner Marx. Like us, this was their first underwater shoot in a formal pool environment and they were consummate pros!

As filmmakers, we all learned a lot on this shoot. The stand out being prepare yourself and your team for a dramatic shift in gears! It was quite the adjustment to come off the back of five straight days where we got our groove on to then be able to embrace the more quixotic pace of an underwater shoot. We quickly discovered we had to pull our shot list back to the bare essentials to tell the story... Luckily, this only added to the thrill of the experience as we nailed the heart of the scene.

Communication was key. Like other stunt scenarios, getting it right in one or two takes became essential as re-sets ate up precious time. This environment was physically demanding on our actors so we needed to avoid tiring them out with unnecessarily takes. To achieve this, we found ourselves pairing back our notes to the key action in frame and fundamental emotion. Having someone poolside whose eyes were solely on our talent and the action taking place in the pool gave us the peace of mind to be able to surrender to the gorgeous images floating by on that monitor...

Laura has cut together this awesome BTS video to give you a sense of what it's like to set up for an underwater shoot in an indoor pool location...

We'd like to offer a big shout out to the Mt Rainier pool staff for making us all feel welcome at their pool and the wonderful equipment sponsors who helped make this project a reality.

Light and Motion went above and beyond providing all the lights as demos for the production free of charge and even shipped them super fast so we would have them in time for production. Ocean Technology Systems and OMS Dive deserve an honorable mention as well.

Check out more of Laura and Jon's Underwater and 360 VR work at:

http://www.petrichor-creative.com/