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Underwater Action with Swim England

We love working with passionate sports governing bodies and have been very fortunate to work with Swim England on several projects. When they approached us about creating a new brand strategy launch video, we were incredibly excited to see what we could create.

Our minds immediately turned to dedicated water tank filming, we wanted to bring that cinematic slow motion look you see in films and music videos when they utilise this dedicated underwater facility. Although we had several inspirations, we drew heavily from Billie Eilish’s ‘Happier than Ever’ Music Video, this piece has a strong feel and the classic teal and orange colour palette, but in a more modern, saturated and subdued style.

We searched for several locations, finally deciding to go with the wonderful ‘Tank Space’ around 45 minutes North of Nottingham. They have a fantastic studio dedicated to water filming, comprising both an underwater tank and rain stage as well. The tank had full lighting control and options to put in artificial light from the side and above, which allowed us to blend the blue tones of the water with orange artificial light.

James pushes off underwater, we loved the slow motion bubbles.

Calling on our network of Loughborough Athletes we recruited Anna and James, two elite competitive swimmers who would represent the high performance element of Swim England’s strategy.

We chose two cameras for the production, firstly a RED Raven for the shots outside the tank. The 4.5K slow motion RAW footage at 100fps was ideal for capturing the detail of the swimmers and the bubbles moving through the water and then for in the tank shots we invested in waterproof housing for our Sony A7Siii, again allowing us to achieve 100fps 4K footage, maximising options in the edit.

It was a real learning curve shooting in the water tank, particularly finding focus and compositions that gave the impression of being in a large swimming pool. As a camera operator underwater it’s a real skill to manage your breath to allow you to sink and stay at the bottom of the pool when your body will naturally start to try and rise up. The Tank Space team were incredibly helpful and shared their top tips (including putting weights in your pocket), which helped us achieve the shots we were after!

Jack gets to grips with underwater camera operation.

Next it was on to more recreational footage, firstly with the incredible Afro-Aquatics group who specialise in teaching swimming and increasing water confidence to adults who may never have learned to swim growing up. It was incredibly fun spending an evening with them and we primarily utilised our underwater rig to get in close with the participants to make the viewer feel like they were there involved in this session as well.

Fun with the Afro-Aquatics swimmers!

Finally we finished with a shoot with Minreet and her Mum, to showcase that swimming is a sport that you can enjoy for your entire life. With the edit nearly complete at this point, we focused on capturing some high end commercial style imagery that would complement the narrative of the piece.

Poolside with Minreet and her Mum.

Thank you to everyone involved for a really fun production and you can see a selection of our favourite underwater shots in this short video on the Ben&Jack Studio YouTube channel…

Much Love,


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