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Tampa Digital Studios Takes the RED ONE Underwater

Tampa Digital Studios, a visual communications company located in Located in historic Ybor City, Florida, recently collaborated with film director and cinematographer Jordan Klein Jr. to set a new standard in underwater videography.

Tampa Digital Studios is the largest digital media facility in West Central Florida and is is a turnkey resource for multimedia production and visual communications nationwide. It has a customer base that spans from ad agencies to independent and studio producers, from direct marketers to corporations, as well as sports, business, technology and entertainment leaders. The company creates long-form and short-form broadcast programs, web programs, national and local commercials, public service announcements, corporate communication tools, as well as many other projects using 2D/3D graphics, animation and Internet services.

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DP Jordan Klein Jr. (left, operating camera) and commercial director Rob Tiisler (right, on pool decking) plan the shot of a scene for the spot.
 
For Tampa Digital's recent project with Klein, a RED ONE camera was used to shoot underwater scenes for a television commercial. It's believed that this is the first time that a RED ONE has been used for underwater work. The 10-pound camera was housed in a custom 80 lb. aluminium casing built by Klein and lowered into the underwater set using Klein’s Aqua Crane device to remotely control the camera.

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The Red One camera encased in the underwater housing built by cinematographer Jordan Klein Jr.
 
“With the success of this commercial shoot using the underwater housing for the RED ONE, we are setting a new industry standard for underwater cinematography, much like has been done with the use of the Steadicam,” said Klein, based in Ocala, Florida, and one of the most accomplished Steadicam operators in the eastern United States. “This development provides a pioneering use for one of the most flexible and functional cameras in filmmaking.”

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A look inside Klein's underwater housing at the RED ONE camera
 
In December 2008 — on a day when two Tampa Digital productions were both using a RED ONE  for filming — Klein directed his RED to be lowered into a home pool in  South Tampa, Florida, for the shooting of a 30-second TV spot for Pinch A Penny Pools, Patio & Spa, one of the largest franchised retail pool supply companies in the southeast. The camera, using both zoom and prime lenses, and Klein's groundbreaking housing, was used to shoot underwater scenes of children swimming. The director of photography, accompanied the talent into the pool to capture the action using an electronic viewfinder, also housed in an underwater casing, and electronic camera controls.

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Klein operates the RED ONE safely housed in his custom watertight case.
 
“This is why we are in this business. We have the chance to work with incredibly talented people and being a part of advancing technology in our industry,” said Rob Tiisler, director of the commercial shoot and creative director at Tampa Digital. “We could not have asked for a better opportunity than to do the creative and production for Pinch A Penny, and do it with such innovative tools.”

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An underwater image from the completed 30-second Pinch A Penny Pools spot.
 
“We are very excited about the distinction and the energy of the footage shot for our television commercial, and marking this milestone,” said Vickie Marin, production manager at Pinch A Penny. “It’s been a rewarding experience to work with such a creative, talented and professional production company like Tampa Digital.”
 
Besides Tiisler and Klein, the crew leadership also included Chuck Mann, operations manager; and Mike Compton, producer. The crew consisted of Matt Staker, camera operator; Dave Cox, digital imaging technician; Frank Gill, gaffer; Rick Baylog, key grip; Ben Klopfensten, grip; Brett Huff, best boy/electric; Gustavo Mejia, production assistant; Janice Campbell, makeup; Leslie Webber, wardrobe; and Carrie Curtis, craft service.
 
Tampa Digital Studios conducted all post-production on the Pinch A Penny spot. Frank H. Walters Jr., senior editor, did the high-definition edit. Michael McCourt, director/producer, completed the color grading and color correction in FCP. Nathan Heim, art director/designer, and Javier Fick, broadcast designer, created the graphics, storyboards and finishing. Brian McKown, audio engineer, performed the sound design and final mix.