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06Nov2012

A Dive Film in a Day?

One show...one day, that’s the line. It may seem like a lot for 5 minutes, but with two contributors, numerous set ups and locations and the obligatory ‘stunt’, trust us, it’s not. The stand-out BBC One Show shoots already sit on the fine line between military level organisation and a bloomin’ miracle. When you bring scuba diving into the scenario, things get interesting.   Without boring you with the physics of diving we get a maximum of around 2 hours to find your animal, and we all know animals are, well, animated.

The first sighting of our quarry - the prehistoric looking Atlantic Wolf Fish - was unplanned and frankly, a little inappropriate. Now, I’m not one for superstition, but eating the subject of your film for dinner the night before can’t be a great omen.  Luckily, in addition to One Show diver Miranda Krestovnikoff, we were able to call upon a seaworthy dive squad up to the challenge - the St Abbs marine rangers, experienced boat skipper Paul Crowe, ever cheery cameraman Mark Sharman, ex rock legend dive supervisor extraordinaire Richard Bull and in water standby ‘Special Agent’ Richard Barton – a man calm enough to have dispelled panic on the Titanic itself.

On the boat it was all hands on deck, with the director and me turning cameraman and soundie and everybody else scrambling to get into the water before the change in tides. For anyone planning a dive shoot I’d thoroughly recommended a crash course in the wonderful (yet frustrating) world of underwater communication and recording systems (thanks to Dave Blackham for mine). And even then be prepared for things to go wrong – electronics and water don’t mix and it’s still a relatively early art form.

For the topside crew the most difficult part of the shoot is the eerily quiet wait after the underwater team leave surface. The surface communication unit is more of a safety tool than a listening device, but it didn’t stop us pressing ears up against it for a hint that the blue monster had been located. You’ll have to watch the item to see the star itself, but let’s just that Miranda’s crackled exclamation in similar to Red Riding Hood’s “My what big teeth you have!” was welcome relief for the expectant boat crew. 

Diving With Wolves airs on BBC One The One Show - date TBC

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