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WHALES (article first published : 2005-09-24)

Whales is the newest large-format film from the National Wildlife Federation, Destination Cinema and Zephyr Productions. It links the engulfing IMAX„¥ format - ten times the size of a conventional 35mm frame and three times larger than a 70mm movie frame - with breakthrough aquatic filming technology giving the audience the sensation of being immersed in the ocean among whales.

For close-up underwater shots, high-tech cameras and scuba gear were combined with old-fashioned human ingenuity - diving to 60 feet without tanks to avoid scaring the whales with the noise of scuba tank bubbles, precariously mounting cameras to boats, floating amidst whales unknowing of the possibilities. The result is a ¡§breathtaking¡¨ experience of some of the most exquisite whale action ever captured on film.

Filmed with a specially equipped camera mounted to the bow of the research vessel, audiences see the ocean for the first time from a dolphin¡¦s point of view -- gliding alongside the bow of the boat, and playfully dodging in and out of the ocean.

¡§Pods of up to 200 dolphins all around us, spotted and spinner dolphins skimming the bow¡¦s wake, and at times, layers of up to ten dolphins in our shot, provided the extraordinary underwater dolphin-viewing experience,¡¨ recounts co-producer and co-director Dave Clark.

¡§This is the best whale footage I¡¦ve ever shot,¡¨ states Al Giddings, co-director and director of photography. This is not a light claim, coming from a man who has worked on numerous aquatic films including The Abyss, The Deep, and Titanic.

With partial production and educational funding provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Whales was developed in cooperation with education and conservation experts. The film brings a stunning combination of art and science together to create a new perspective on these mysterious marine mammoths.

Whales is running at IMAX Theatre Gateway at 10h00, 15h00, 20h00. Tickets R35 (R25 children, pensioners, students and uniformed services). For group rates and reservations, call Gael on 031 566 4414/5.




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