Creating new jaw-dropping images or video can be daunting when it seems as if everything has already been done. During a recent scroll through an underwater photography forum the mouths of many underwater photographers hit the floor with a poetic dance underwater using prisms to tell the story.
Adrien Oneiga’s “Alchemie” is a meditation on self-awareness through reflection. The goal was to create a a fantasy world through a multi-sensory journey entirely based on practical effects including organic lighting and prisms underwater. “The film serves as a poetic metaphor for the experience of transformation during the creative process,” according to Oneiga.
Oneiga chose the Tokina Vista lenses, including the rare 18mm, 25mm, 50mm, and 100mm macro, for their ability to capture detail with an organic three-dimensional quality to help counteract the issue photographers may run into with shooting underwater. Oneiga wrote, “RED’s large-format MONSTRO sensor was the perfect camera to faithfully capture the delicate nuances of color as well a massive dynamic range of light in the scene. With RED's new IPP2 color pipeline, even as I pushed the limits of the color spectrum through the variety of light sources I was using, the wide gamut of color was contained gracefully.”
There were two underwater housing units from Gates where the team felt the ability and the full control to the DSMC2 cameras. The Vista prime 18mm lens were relativity new, and at the time only approximately eight or nine in the world. The Gates housing has the most flexible port system according to the team that allowed the fitting of the lenses.
They designed a 3D light grid with over 40 light fixtures from Digital Sputnik. These were used on land and below the surface as well. There were chandeliers to work as prisms refracting the light. “The DS lights (used on films like ‘Rogue One,’ ‘Ghost in the Shell,’ etc.) create some of the most beautiful color I've ever seen, so it was a dream to have a grid of them,” wrote Oneiga.
The performance was executed by Hannah Fraser alongside the music of Krister Linder. The costume design included various layers of prisms, reflective paint, and iridescent fabrics. The preparation of her look took eight hours to complete over two days of shooting. The film, according to Oneiga, was to serve as a “poetic metaphor for the experience transformation during the creative process.”
All images, video, and behind the scenes were with permission and courtesy of Adrien Oneiga.