As a homeschooling parent and former aspiring marine biologist, any field trip that involves the aquarium, sea life or sea creatures will see my daughter and I. We’ve trekked the hallways of many a sea life theme park and ooh’ed and ahh’ed over what seems like countless slimy and colorful sea creatures in pretty much every field trip worthy location in California. There’s just something about the ocean, water, and sea creatures that have captivated my attention since I was a child myself. I’m in awe of the beauty that is found below the surface of our oceans; some never have been seen by humans before!
One of my favorite sights in an aquarium is the jellyfish. They float about in silent beauty, their translucent bodies luminescent in the dark caverns of an aquarium hallway. I’ve many a photograph of jellyfish from our field trips, and they remain one of my favorite creatures to see there. I’d not want to encounter one in real life, though.
Cinematographer and photographer Alex Soloviev was also inspired by these free-swimming marine mammals the first time he saw them. Back then, he knew exactly how he wanted them to look on film, but didn’t have the equipment nor experience to execute his vision. A few years later, armed with a Canon 6D, Alex made his way to a local aquarium to create this beautiful video.
With a goal in mind of making it look like he was filming these creatures in their natural habitat on the ocean floor, Alex shot in RAW with mix of 1080p and 2.5k shots downscaled to 1080p in post. He spent much time looking for the correct lighting and angles, shooting wide open to expose properly and try to keep his objects in focus, all while fighting the reflections of the glass (for which he used Marumi’s CP-L filter to help) and avoiding other aquarium attendees. He wasn’t able to bring in a tripod (for obvious reasons), but a Kamerar viewfinder helped stabilize the shots.
He used VAF to eliminate aliasing and had to remove it for 2.5k shots. Using a Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8, a Canon 50mm f/1.4 and a Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 at f/3.2 and f/3.5, ISO 800. He then graded and stabilized the footage in Davinci Resolve Lite, exported to Cineform 10 bit AVI, then did the final curves and editing in Sony Vegas.
The result, a hypnotic underwater peek at some gorgeous sea creatures. The video was also picked as a Vimeo Staff Pick.
See more of Alex Soloviev’s work on his Vimeo.