3D Movie of Lake Tahoe Set to Make a Big Splash This Summer

This summer visitors to the Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) will have the unique opportunity to “Go Jump in the Lake” without even getting wet.  A new 3D movie, produced as part of the LakeViz project, will dive under the water’s surface to observe the different organisms that live in Lake Tahoe and to explore the physics that governs the lake habitat.

The movie, “Let’s Go Jump in the Lake,” will feature unique footage of Lake Tahoe and its inhabitants, all in 3D. Stunning time-lapse sequences show changes in the lake throughout the seasons. TERC divers have captured subsurface video that includes kokanee salmon spawning, the extent of invasive species such as watermilfoil and Asian clams, schools of native fish, and underwater research projects. For close-up shots of the animals that live in Lake Tahoe, TERC set up aquaria for fish, Mysis shrimp, and zooplankton such as Daphnia. Computer generated animations are used to illustrate concepts—such as lake mixing—that  are difficult to capture on film.

Steve Andersen with Omnidual Media is filming and managing the post-production of the film. Since the movie will be presented in 3D, all the video equipment is specialized for the shoot. Steve has an arsenal of tools including several UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) designed to carry two cameras for the challenging 3D aerial shots.

3D Videographer Steve Andersen uses an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle equipped with dual cameras for 3D video of Lake Tahoe

“I’ve had to build most of the camera mounts to shoot 3D, both above and below water”, says Andersen.  “I designed a special stabilizing mount for the UAV to properly balance and control two synced cameras. This took several months of trial and error to finally get a working system.”

He has also built several underwater mounts for UC Davis TERC divers Brant Allen and Katie Webb to shoot the underwater scenes. Much of the video will be shot using the latest GoPro cameras and Sony’s NEX cameras placed in Steve’s custom designed 3D mounts. Steve will also be creating the 3D computer generated animations used throughout the film.

UC Davis TERC divers gather underwater film footage in Lake Tahoe for the new 3D movie

“Let’s Go Jump in the Lake” is currently in production with a release tentatively scheduled for August 2014. When complete, it will be showing at the Tahoe Science Center (open from 1-5 Tuesday – Friday).  It will also be available on the 3DH2O website, the LakeViz project’s library of resources for freshwater ecosystem education using stereoscopic 3D and augmented reality visualizations.

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