Category Archives: Uncategorized

Adventure guide program

Adventure guide program

Subvision Productions was part of a shoot of an adventure guide program for French language television this past week. The program called “guide d’aventures” is in its third season and is a series by  Ottawa based Balestra Productions.  Producer and director Mark Chatel is one of the busiest producers in the Ottawa area and was present during the shoot at Rendezvous Dive Adventures in Barkley Sound.

film crew
film crew left to right Ivan Cooke, Mark Chatel and Maxime Fourge. Photo by Kathy Johnson

This adventure guide program follows individuals who’s life is not a run of the mill one and who offers adventures of many different kinds to those who want to experience the adventure themselves.

In this episode the program follows a dive guide and a number of his customers on an underwater expedition. Peter Mieras is an accomplished diver, naturalist, film maker, author and lover of oceans. The weather was sublime and during the shoot unexpected wildlife showed up such as whales, eagles and sea lions.

first impressions after the dive
first impressions after the dive. Photo by Kathy Johnson

The adventure guide program will air in the fall of 2018 and Subvision Production supplied underwater and stock footage. After 4 days of shooting the crew and customers were sad to leave but very happy with the result.

Balestra shoot
Balestra shoot. Crew and customers. Photo by Kathy Johnson.


Film Festival

Film Festival:

Subvision Production’s short “I am salmon” has now been shown and  or accepted at the Element Environmental  in Vancouver, at the Smaragdni eco touring in Croatia and at the New York Wildlife Conservation Film Festival.

I am salmon tell the story of the life cycle of wild Pacific salmon and their relationship and importance to the Tseshaht First Nation. They are also intimately connected to animals and forests. They are a key species in both humans lives and nature’s ecosystems.

Go and see "I am salmon" at a film festival.
Go and see “I am salmon” at a film festival.

The 7 minute short has been submitted to a larger number of film festivals and potential acceptances for such a film festival will be announced throughout the coming months.

Herring spawn

Herring spawn

This year’s (2018) herring spawn was a great event and is currently still going on. The initial spawn was further south than normal. It started at Qualicum Beach and went to Madoona Point.  Only after a week it showed up in the Comox  area and may get as far north as Campbell river.

Subvision Productions was on site to witness the herring spawn in the setting of beautiful Vancouver Island. The shoot combined aerial shots  with land based and some in water filming. The nature of the spawn is such that the visibility under water become non existent and the sperm the male herring release colors the coast line a chalk like milk blue.

Aerial image of herring spawn
Aerial image of herring spawn

The conditions were not too bad as the mix of clouds and sun brought its challenges. But the golden light at the end of the first day made for beautiful shots.

Herring spawn back ground:

The story of the herring spawn  is a long standing one and the annual migration was an important part of the First Nation food provision. Each year in late winter and early spring, thousands of tonnes of herring migrate from deeper offshore areas to nearshore habitats and spawn en masse.  The spawn can been seen for miles along the shallow shores where the water is filled with white with herring  milt and eggs.

Herring eggs on kelp
Herring eggs on kelp

Next to the annual fishery by humans which was and still is a significant economic activity, it also provides food for many animals. Eagles, gulls, ducks cormorants and many more birds get an extra protein boost from the eggs but also fish for the herring.  Sea lions are a noisy predator in contrast with the harbour seals. Both species go after the herring and the sea lions often steal the herring out of the nets.

California sea lions
California sea lions

Like salmon, herring are a key species and , culturally or economically important. With that it is clear that any negative impact on their habitat can have significant impact. This is underlined by the slow recovery of the herring on the West coast of Vancouver Island where the species was over-fished for years and struggles to recover.


All footage was shot in 4K and will be available as stock footage. Sample footage will be posted at our Youtube channel.

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 !







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:


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.