Video: Diving into the Unknown Galaxy by Fan Ping

Fan Ping blackwater on Wetpixel

Filmmaker Fan Ping has shared a beautiful short film entitled “Diving into the Unknown Galaxy” which documents his friend Songda Cai’s obsession with capturing blackwater images. It was filmed in Anilao, the Philippines last May, on a RED Helium with a Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 II.

Fan kindly agreed to answer a few questions about the film:

What was it shot with?

It was shot on RED Helium 8K camera with Canon EOS 16-35mm f/2.8 II lens, in a GATES Pro Explore housing.

How did you get the blackwater sequences?

There is only manual focus on RED and that’s why I decided to shoot 120fps first, and the high frame rate really helped a lot as the subjects were actually moving 5x faster than in the video, and any movement that’s not parallel to the lens will end up out of the depth of field easily. The focus distance would change according to the size of the subject and the focal length I was using.

Where was it shot?

It was shot at the end of last May in Anilao, Philippines.

How did you light it?

I used 2 KELDAN Video 8X 13000lm lights on camera for most of the underwater shots, V24k video lights from Scubalamp on the rope were used to shoot the silhouette of the diver.

What made you decide to shoot a film about blackwater?

I am a cave diver and focused on big wet rocks in the last a couple of years, I seldom shoot macro. The photographer Songda Cai is a very good friend of mine, and he needed a short film as a behind the scene story for his new book going to be published soon, so he asked me to make it with him. I found his story and the things he does very interesting, and it always feels great to create something new. This is why I decided to film blackwater and I am glad it came out pretty OK.