S/S Burdigala – Filming wrecks at a great depth

SS “Burdigala” serves as a training ground; it let us practice and master the new methods of underwater filming. This season our director of photography is Sergei Machilskiy, who is a professional film director with a vast experience in underwater productions. He is considered to be one of the masters of Russian cinema. This year is not the first one that we are working in collaboration with Sergei, he is a professional diver, therefore he understands the specificity of underwater filming, what make working with him an easy and joyful task. He was working with U-Boat since our first days in Kea.


Sergey started with the light set up for the shooting process, he did some dives to check everything himself, experienced the submergences with the submarines, after that he drew up the schematic picture of the project concept, developed the plan for lighting that is being used on every dive.
During the shooting process we don’t use the light from submarine, we position carefully ROV to give us proper light. Only after achievement of the ideal lighting of an object, we can film the required material.
The preliminary storyline has been developed and confirmed during the numerous meeting and discussions, therefore with its help all information is being film in the precise approved order.
The length of an object such as Burdigala or Britannic is longer than 260 meters, which does not allow us to process it in full from one perspective and one angle of the ROV. Therefore, it was decided to shoot the wreck consecutively from the rostrum to stern or vice versa, depending on the current. The overall process requires a minimum of 2-3 different perspective points. The support vessel is moving along the object, which allows the robot to relocate itself for the best shot possible.


The next shooting stage is the filming of the objects, i.e. the ship itself. The first shots were made by the boat assisted by the ROV while deeper shots are taken by the ROV incorporating the submarine and the giant shipwreck. Such a complex filming requires very delicate piloting; operation and planning leading to the huge number of hours spend. Since the fact, that in general our submergences last for 5-6 hours, we are working with different timeframes from divers, whose dived only last for the maximum of 45 minutes.
Most of our objects are located on the depth of more than 100 meters, in complete darkness. Therefore, we film Burdigala during the night ours, in dark water, in order to test our equipment and prepare ourselves for any situations that can arise on the real deep-water conditions.