Echo Bay Media travels the world filming Descending diving doc
Ontario-based Echo Bay Media filmed in 15 different countries for TV documentary series Descending. The show follows a team of travellers as they dive to sunken wrecks, probe submerged tectonic fault lines and experience a range of underwater wonders.
Director Andre Dupuis and co-host Scott Wilson extensively researched the best diving locations around the world and put together a wish-list of global destinations. Their ideas were then looked at more closely for seasonal and political restrictions, while also liaising with local resources.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef had to be left off the list as no local operators were available at the time to act as guides. Filming was also planned for Egypt, but although in 2010 the country was still a year away from a violent revolution, a tourism issue nonetheless forced a filming cancellation.
“The Sharm El Sheikh region of Egypt was within our grasp but became unattainable to us right at the last minute,” recalls producer Jeff Wilson: “I had literally just walked out the front door of the Cairo press and television centre having finally secured our permit and received a phone call stating that it had already been revoked. As it happened, a series of shark attacks in the region's waters had prompted the government to pull the plug on our production.”
Getting to film in Sudanese waters required a lot of pre-production and considerable money for various permits.
Jeff Wilson, Producer
Multi-tasking production roles and working with heavy equipment were among the greater challenges faced during the extensive shoot. Dupuis, Scott Wilson and Ellis Emmett were constantly on the move, juggling technical and presenting roles and also having to be safe divers in potentially treacherous underwater environments. At each new location the team was assisted by experienced local divers.
Jeff Wilson singles out Sudan as one of the trickiest locations to access: “Getting to film in Sudanese waters required a lot of pre-production and considerable money for various permits. Plus, with only a single flight in and out of Port Sudan from Cairo per week, it meant we had a very tiny window of opportunity to make it. In the end it was well worth every effort - what a beautiful place.
“Generally speaking, whether they're film-friendly locations or not, any location can (and likely will) throw unexpected obstacles at the team. Pre-planning as much as possible obviously helps mitigate big setbacks, but remaining calm, respectful and patient when dealing with challenges invariably nets quicker (and cheaper) results.”
Descending is screening in the UK on Travel Channel.
(Photos: Echo Bay Media)
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