I am salmon

I am salmon

Subvision Productions recently finished a short video on the life cycle of the wild Pacific salmon and their importance for the Tseshaht First Nation in the Alberni Valley.  I am salmon  is a 7 minute short narrated doc and was recently accepted to be screened on the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in New York October 2018. This video is also submitted to other festivals and we hope to post more screening events in the coming months. The video will also be used in the local  First Nation language revival project. We are proud and honored that we were able to make this video happen.

Here you can watch the video

On location: Salmon

On Location: Salmon

In further pursued of the documentary “Salmon Tails”  Subvision Productions went on the road early November to film salmon in the Alberni Valley. Every year a great migration of these two salmon species takes place in this area. We drove to the site and hiked the 10 minutes to the river bank.  The gear that we filmed with included the Panasonic GH4 with a variety of lenses, a GoPro 4 black and a DJI drone with a 4K camera.

In the early morning the Stamp river was loaded with large Coho and Chinook salmon . Fog was drifting over the water surface as the sun was climbing the sky and illuminated the water and the forest.

On location Stamp river panorama
Stamp river panorama

A nearby creek added cold run off water to the river and the fish assembled at the mouth of the creek. The water gave the small boulders in the creek a beautiful sheen.

On location: creek

As the day progressed the light on location changed and so did the salmon activity.  The sun was sometimes obscured by clouds and  created a wide range of green hues. As the sun started to disappear behind the trees the water turned a vivid green. The salmon became even more active and the Coho were constantly jumping.

On location: Coho in the late sun light
Coho in the late sun light
On location: Coho duo breaking the surface
Coho duo breaking the surface

When the sun was gone so were we. On to the next “On location” destination !







4K footage of fish net removal

4K footage of  fish net removal

During the weekend of April 16 and 17 2016 Subvision Production filmed underwater and topside footage for a video production. The subject of the video was  derelict fishing gear and resulted in 4K footage of fish net removal.

The location in the Gulf Islands in British Columbia was just of North Pender Island and the topside weather was beautiful. The waters however were not very clear and the currents and the diver activities with the silt from the net removal made the filming challenging to say the least.

4K underwater video frame grab of derelict fish net removal
4K underwater video frame grab of derelict fish net removal

A combination of commercial and volunteer divers worked for 2 long days underwater and removed 24 large bags of seine net as well as some recreation fishing gear stuck on the reef. A large amount of invertebrate life was returned to the ocean alive.

fishing gear retreived
fishing gear retreived

The 4K underwater video frame grab of derelict fish net removal depicts divers removing nets underwater as well as footage of the net coming to the surface and the processing of the net of the boat.

This is effort is part of a wider growing movement to establish a BC / Canada wide derelict fishing gear removal and recycling program.

The final video productions is expected to be released on World Oceans Day in June . Short clips are available for purchase after June 8th 2016 and will be part of the Subvision Productions stock footage library.  More footage  of derelict fishing gear s available in 2K .

Contact us for more details


Field test Gates GT 14 lights

Field test Gates GT 14 lights

Review of Gates Underwater Products GT14 LED underwater video lights in green water.

The GT 14 features (amongst a number of other features) a wide angle light angle and maximum light strength of 14000 lumen.

Charging and burning length:
The charger came with 4 charge green LEDs. They indicate 25, 50 75 and 100% charge. However Gates has indicated that they will most likely a different / better charger.
The charging time of the batteries (Li-ion) is stated in the manual as 3 hours for 100% charge and 75 minutes for an 80% charge.
Starting from a battery after burning it down to the flashing lights (2 minutes burn time left) it took 61 minutes to get to 75% and 180 minutes to get to 100% charge.
During charging the actual charger gets warm but not hot. This is normal.

Burn time test:
With a fully charged battery the following burn test results were obtained. Time was measured from turning on and all red LED indicator light flashing (2 minutes burn time left)

Setting:                1                     2                        3                       4                          5
Lumen:             400              5600                 8000             9700            14000
MF approx.
burn time:    > 10 hrs      75 min.             50 min.        40 min.          30 min.
Tested burn
time:                   16 hrs       69 min.             57 min.        52 min.          39 min.
So in general the burning time meets or exceeds the manufacturers indication. I am convinced that the 69 minutes is simply a matter of the battery not the light.

The lights come with a standard 1 inch ball mount which bolted to the housing of the light. This gives you the option of using many different arm types and brands. However one could use an
alternative mount by adapting the alternative mount to the 2 threaded holes (standard ¼ “ bolts).
In am used to both flex arms for lights as well as arms an knuckles for mounting lights. In both cases I found it necessary to add flotation to the light heads in order to have them stay in position
and not fall down. I “DIY-ed” a short sleeve over the battery part of the light. The weight of the light (with battery inserted) is 1417 grams or 3.14 Lbs. Once the floatation was in place the lights held in place without a problem.

The light head has a set of 4 large LED indicators on each side of the battery compartment / rotator switch. They indicate the same so no matter at which side of the light you look you get the same
information. When you insert the battery the top LED (on both sides) turn on and the red color indicates that the battery is ready to use. As long as you do not turn the actual light on this will
remain on. Once you rotate the switch (located at the end of the battery compartment against the back end of the light head) the indicators will signal the strength of the light you have chosen. A single pink
LED at the bottom for the scout setting (400 lumen) and as you increase power to 5000, 8000, 9700 and 14000 lumen the indicator LED will have respectively one (pink turns blue), two, three or four
blue LED lights. This indication will only remain on for 3 seconds. Then the two arrays of LEDs will indicate the remaining battery life with green and red LEDs. This happens every time you change the light strength. I find the 3 seconds rather short , especially if you deal with two lights.  The difference in daylight between settings is not always that clear and with ticker gloves in colder water the clicks between settings are no always obvious. So in order to verify settings on both lights around 5-8 seconds might be better. It could be a matter of getting used to.  I find that the LEDs are easy to see (partly due to their size). However I would personally prefer one
array constantly indicating strength and the other battery life. This would pose a problem with a “left and right hand light” and may not be practical.

Going clockwise it goes from 400 to 5600 to 8000, 9700 and 14000 lumen. However the switch can also go straight to the 14000 lumen if one turn the switch counter clockwise. This a handy if you
need the full capacity right away.
The lights themselves have a very nice evenly spread light and the colours at proper white balance setting hold very true to life. Due to the fact that I tested in green water under dark skies the most
effective setting was 5600 lumen. However for fill light on the foreground whilst shooting toward the surface the higher settings provided a very nice option to have the colors come through at a
higher intensity. I would have preferred a setting between 400 and 5600 but Gates will offer the option to program the lumen settings on a custom basis (at a cost) to meet your needs.
This is a great option if you know you need specific light strength requirements. The light at any setting is nicely and evenly spread. The 90 degree angle gives a great spread and the light also allows an easy bridge for high contrast situations like for example when filming sand and rocks at the same time.

400 lumen 5600 8000                400 lumen                              5600 lumen                      8000 lumen

9700 14000 contrast                  9700 lumen                      14000 lumen                       contrast

Another observation was that with the strong light and a model, a presenter or light sensitive creatures there was a tendency to be blinded. The user guide says do not look into the light and
certainly even with 5600 lumen the light is very strong on the eyes of your fellow diver. Gates is contemplating which system might work best to hold a diffuser. I suggested to Gates that a flip up
system that holds diffusers , gels and folds on to of the light would be a great way to go. Certainly if there was a “click lock” system that would prevent the filter holder to wonder into the
light, the versatility of the light would be better.

The Gates GT 14 lights are a lighting solution that a lot of pro shooters will like for the light performance. I am not sure how the pricing will do for the pro/consumer market but that is not
where the light’s design is geared towards. The even light spread, the power and the relative long burning time will make this a light set that is like all the other Gates products; well designed ,
sturdy and made for the job. Another product that adheres to the Gates philosophy…”under-promise
and over-deliver”.

Mini series made into movie

Mini series made into movie

Explorer, film maker and adventurer Lawrence Wahba has recently released a new mini series called “Todas as Manhãs do Mundo”. This 6 part series made for National Geographic and produced by Canal Azul, (Sao Paulo Brazil) tells the story of life in the hours of dawn and the differences with day time in behaviour and environment.  Lawrence takes you on a journey that covers the Africa, South America and other iconic places. One of the great episodes is filmed on Vancouver Island, British Columbia in Canada. This episode covers the amazing trek of the salmon, the bears that feed on them and the rich, productive underwater life. As one of the Directors of Photography I worked closely with the team on a daily basis and filmed the encounters with wolf-eels, sea lions and other beautiful underwater creatures.

A black bear takes a nap after feeding on Chinook salmon

A French version of the series is due to come out in the spring of 2016. This will be produced by “Bonne Pioche” under the lead of Frédéric Febvre. This team received an Oscar for the movie “March of the penguins” in 2006.

Currently the Brazilian team is working on a movie version of the series and Subvision Productions has contributed essential footage to the salmon sequences. The movie version is set to be available in early 2016.

Salmon tails

Salmon Tails; stories of salmon and humans


Salmon Tails, stories of salmon and humans
Salmon Tails, stories of salmon and humans

The work by Subvision productions on the documentary “Salmon Tails” continues.  As the life cycle of the salmon comes to a pivotal point, filming of their great migration continues.

But not only the natural history of the salmon is an essential part of this documentary.  Humans with their stories of the intimate connection to salmon is the other important part of the film.  From First Nations to commercial fishermen and everyone in between, all have their lives influenced by the cycles of the salmon.

Through interviews and terrestrial and underwater images, “Salmon Tails” tells the story of the importance of a healthy salmon population and the many things we know and do not know.

salmon in raging river
salmon in raging river

Filming has been ongoing and the documentary should be finished by the end of 2016.

We have a growing library of salmon stock footage. Contact us for specific footage request or check out our Youtube channel.

National Geographic channel program

New National Geographic channel program:

The series “Todas as Manhãs do Mundo” on which Peter Mieras of Subvision Productions worked as a director of photography (DOP) for the British Columbia episode will start to air on National Geographic channel in Latin America on October 4th.

A series without sensationalism and a great presenter in Lawrence Wahba

Todas as manhãs do mundo
National Geographic program

The series on the National Geographic channel is an exploration of the differences in night and day activities of animals in many parts of the world. It goes from tropical savannas to rain forests and temperate oceans. One of the episodes is about the marine life and other terrestrial creatures in British Columbia Canada.

Subvision Productions provided both logistical support as well as camera work under water and  on land.  The collaboration with “Canal Azul” from Brazil and Subvision resulted in a great episode and we are currently supporting a new documentary of Lawrence Wahba.  More information about that soon.

Lingcod video

Lingcod video

Lingcod (Ophiodon elongates) is one of the signature species of British Columbia, Canada and an important fish for various interest groups. First nations traditionally fished this species in times when other preferred fish were less abundant. Current commercial and recreational fishing by bottom trawlers and hook and line fishing underline the demand for this fish. Recreational fishermen appreciate this fish and recreational scuba divers consider this fish one of the most voracious species in BC waters.

juvenile Lingcod eats shrimp
Lingcod eats shrimp

Lingcod are only found on the west coast of North America, with the highest abundance off the coast of British Columbia. They typically live on the bottom and prefer rocky areas at depths of 10-100 m but are also found on sandy areas, particularly when juvenile.

It is easy to obtain Lingcod video as they generally don’t swim away when slowly approached. However knowing the life cycle of the Lingcod and its behaviour will helps to get Lingcod video with significant content. And of course with any underwater video luck and being at the right time in the right place is a factor in getting exceptional Lingcod video. These includes examples such as a Lingcod trying to catch a salmon, a Lingcod eating a painted greenling etc.

Lingcod eats chinook salmon
Lingcod trying to eat a chinook salmon

The Lingcod’s reproduction cycle follows a particular train of events and is well documented. Around October and November females which are gravid will migrate from deeper water into shallow areas and select nest sites. The males , like with all greenling family members, fertilize and guard the egg masses the females have laid. The egg masses look like chunks of styrofoam and because of it’s high protein content many other animals try to feed on them. Sea stars, crabs and other fish likes them but the guarding males are vigilant.  

Lingcod video of Lingcod eggs hatched
Lingcod video of Lingcod eggs hatched
Lingcod female pregnant Lingcod video
Lingcod female pregnant Lingcod video






Below are some links to Lingcod video I have taken over the years:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiaC5IAp9tg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaHZYOKmgmU


2014 Adams river salmon run

2014 Adams river salmon run:

On October 19th Subvision Productions went on the road to film the 2014 Adams river run.

The following links have a video compilation of some of the stock footage we took :

Youtube standard definition  /  Vimeo 1080p version


This legendary sockeye salmon run is an annual attraction for millions of viewers from all over the world. Each 4 years an extra large run of sockeye salmon comes up from the coast and travels over 450 km up the Fraser and Thompson river. After crossing Little Shuswap lake the end up in the Adams river. The last big run was in 2010 and the expectations for the 2014 Adams river salmon run were very high.

sockeye salmon couple
Male and female sockeye salmon defending their nesting site

The dates that we went up to the river were ideal as we just hit the peak of the fish volume. The thousands and thousands of salmon were all over the river. Though the  numbers did not reach the expected levels nevertheless it was a large run.

The first day was spent in the fast flowing parts of the river. Using the Sony EX1 in a Gates Housing as well as a remotely operated GoPro 3 we were able to get very close up footage.  In this stage of their live the sockeye become aggressive towards each other with the females being more ferocious than the males. We filmed display behavior of the males like biting, yawning, chasing jacks ( smaller immature males) and air gulping at the surface. The females were seen chasing other males away as well as  females coming too close to their “redd” (nesting site).

female sockeye fighting
Female sockeye biting and fending off another female coming too close to her redd.

On day we went to visit shallow spawning channels and the exit of the river at Shuswap lake. In the lake we hope to film fish and other creature feeding on the carcasses of the dead salmon. However we did not observe this. Large numbers of sockeye were schooling in the fast current to get into the river.  In the shallower spawning channels we saw digging and courting behavior. However the actual release of eggs and milt (sperm) did not happen. I guess we will call that unfinished business for next year.

filming bears and salmon on Vancouver Island

Bear and salmon shoot on Vancouver Island

Early October Subvision Productions went on the road, together with Lawrence Whaba from Canal Azul, filming bears and salmon on Vancouver Island.  This assignment was part of the shoot for the National Geographic channel program “Morning-glory”.

Driving from Port Alberni to the outer West coast of Vancouver Island we searched and located Mercantile creek. There during the annual run of the Chinook salmon black bears benefit from the abundance in the shallow and small creek and get a lot of their winter nutrition.

Black bear falling asleep after eating salmon
Black bear full of salmon takes a nap

On the day of filming we set up our cameras and we did not have to wait too long before the first bear showed up. Shooting with Sony Ex1, Sony Z100, Canon C300 and even a GoPro 3 a great deal of excellent footage was obtained.

We observed and filmed bear behavior like feeding, fishing, stealing food from other bears and more. The Chinook salmon going up the creek provided jumps in the calm water of the creek but also spectacular schooling and. jumps at the waterfall further up the creek.

During the day the tide came in and more Chinook made it into the estuary and the creek.  A bear mom and cup showed up and after being concerned with our presence for a little while she settled down and determined that we were not a threat.  In total there were around 5 different bears and the action lasted from dawn to dusk. Amazingly the bear were active during the entire day allowing us to film different bear behavior.

The alternate rain and sunshine provided stunning light variations and close quarter encounters with the bears ensured very detailed shots.

The episode of the program will be edited and is expected to air around June 2015.  It will be aired in the Spanish / Portuguese countries.

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