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Underwater 360 VR Filmmaking

Boxfish Research recently sat down with Nick Zachar, filmmaker for the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation to learn more about his experience with the underwater VR/AR Boxfish 360 camera and his virtual dives with the unit.

Take a look below and get to know more about the Boxfish 360 and its underwater work with the National Marine Sanctuary 

Give us a brief background of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and your role with the Foundation.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is a leading voice for U.S. protected waters, working with communities to conserve and expand those special places for a healthy ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes. Working together, we safeguard species and the places they call home, and preserve America’s maritime history.

My role as filmmaker is to share the stories of the places protected by America’s National Marine Sanctuaries and, more importantly, the people who dedicate their lives to protecting these underwater treasures.

NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as the trustee for a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington state to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. The network includes a system of 14 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments.

What problem are you trying to solve and what is the purpose of the Boxfish 360 for your current project?

Our goal is to bring sanctuaries to the public through “virtual dives”. We want to give every citizen the opportunity to experience our national marine sanctuaries, even without the need to get wet. Through these virtual dives we hope to inspire the next generation of ocean stewards, and generate the understanding of the interconnectedness of our waterways to our ocean and Great Lakes.

Why did you choose the 360 camera from Boxfish Research? Describe your selection process.

We wanted an underwater video camera that is reliable and produces high quality images. As a small team, we also were considerate of ease of workflow. The Boxfish 360 checked these boxes.

What risks did you consider?

With this type of investment and the nature of our filming, we are always considerate of reliability while underwater. We have had nothing but great experiences thus far with the ease and reliability of the housing.

What results have you seen since implementing the Boxfish 360?

The video we shot became part of the first “episode” of the  Sanctuaries 360 series in May 2020, followed by three other episodes later in the year. These virtual reality voyages use 360-degree video to highlight the amazing habitats, animals, and cultural resources you can find in each national marine sanctuary. Our goal is to allow the public to virtually dive in each national marine sanctuary.

Learn more about our virtual dives here!

What business processes does the Boxfish 360 enhance, and how much does it reduce the cost and time to complete your project?

The Boxfish 360 is an amazing addition to our toolkit. We shoot topside with the Insta360 cameras, and underwater with the Boxfish. The workflow that Boxfish has implemented speeds up stitch and post-production, allowing us to create more experiences in a shorter amount of time.

What would you tell others who might be considering our product?

As a small team, we take our time and resources very seriously. As do most in the world of filmmaking. This holds especially true in VR/360 filmmaking. It can be intensive in all aspects, especially the post-production. The Boxfish 360 camera eases the workflow underwater and makes it easy to operate for a small team.

The lighting package also helps us in dark environments, which we do experience in caverns and wrecks. The resolution is what we need for headsets such as Oculus and on social media. In short, it checks the boxes (pun intended!). 

Looking for the right ROV to help you film your next underwater project?! Contact us today and check out our website for more epic underwater footage.

To learn more about the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, visit their website and follow along with Nick’s underwater adventures on his Instagram and website