3D underwater movie being shot in Lake Tahoe

By Heather Segale

TERC researchers Brant Allen and Katie Webb along with 3D movie specialist Steve Andersen, script writer Sharon Wood, and the entire TERC education team, are working hard to bring the Tahoe Science Center another 3D movie.

This film will let visitors virtually dive under the water and learn about the ecology and physics of the lake using actual 3D video footage from under the surface of Lake Tahoe.

Imagine being able to see the kokanee salmon swimming under water, algae growing, and researchers diving, all in 3D.

Getting these shots is not easy. In order to get 3D footage the videographer needs two cameras set up for the “left” and “right” eye. On top of that, the cameras must be waterproof, stable, and timed to perfection. Filming in 3D takes a lot of precision and control — two things that are hard to come by diving deep under the surface in Lake Tahoe. Often shots are hard to film because of sediment and organic material being stirred up by diver’s flippers or the wind. TERC is using cameras and waterproof housing donated by GoPro to capture all the action from the boat and underwater.

Not only are Allen and Webb certified research divers and scientists, they now are amateur filmmakers. So far, they have been filming their underwater research for TERC. Since the script is not yet finalized Allen and Webb are taking shots that they think will work well and that everyone would love to see. This movie will allow visitors to see the lake from a diver’s or a fish’s point of view, a rare and beautiful way to see the lake. There is so much to see and learn under the surface of Lake Tahoe, and soon the Tahoe Science Center will be able to show visitors this unique perspective.

The tentative completion date for the film is summer 2014.

Heather Segale is education and outreach director for UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center in Incline Village.