The movie explores South Africa's coastline, and the apex predators that patrol its waters: sharks, dolphins, whales and man... their prey: the supershoal of billions of sardines that lurk in the deep cold waters of the Indian Ocean. This is where Africa meets the sea...
Filmed over two years in Kwa Zulu Natal and the Transkei, WILD OCEAN 3D transports the audience to one of the world's last wild places, and gives them a chance to see the ocean as it once was elsewhere, hundreds of years ago.
Wild Ocean was shot over two winters in South Africa. An underwater crew was based largely in Port St Johns, headed by DJ Roller, the Pace underwater 3D rig. DJ brought his experience using the rig with James Cameron, for whom it was first designed.
A topside crew was also based here, with Dave Douglas utilising a specialised Imax 3D camera, otherwise only used in space for movies such as Space Station 3D and Hubble. This is the most compact 3D 65mm camera, and Dave had to handle it on the high seas in less than favourable conditions.
The land crew was based at Scottborough in KwaZulu Natal, laying in wait for the beached shoals, that never came! This was headed by veteran large format cinematographer, Reed Smoot, who nonetheless captured some beautiful footage (as he always does) with the enormous Imax Solido 3D camera system. Reed also handled the aerial photography, with Dave Douglas lending a hand and taking over the second year. All aerials were also shot on 65mm film.
Reed also shot the gannet sequence on Bird Island, just off Port Elizabeth, which is where DJ also shot the African penguin/mossbunker baitball sequence.
The fishing boat sequences were intended to be shot at Port Elizabeth, but the sardines had other plans: moving the entire crew down to Mossel Bay two Solido cameras were deployed out at sea on a sardine boat, the aptly named "Nemo", and also used to capture the offloading of sardines at dockside.
Another crew worked on some of the specialised shots, using the Paradise 35mm beamsplitter rig, headed by Max Penner and veteran stereographer, Peter Anderson.
As a result, the film utilised pretty much every available form of 3D film rig available at the time.
Steve and Luke then embarked upon several months of editng, composing and writing... Veteran South African actor and playwright John Kani was their first choice for narrator, his rich voice a perfect complement to the complex, shifting score.