The making of… (part 2) – Filming

We arrived in Dahab, Egypt on a sunny afternoon. The cab driver was not happy, the check points had a strange feel of suspiciousness and we were all tired.

The room we had booked in Dahab was covered by mold and the door could hardly close. We asked kindly to get a new room and after having a cup of something that looked like tea with the owner we agreed to pay a small extra amount to get a room with shower and toilet. It still wasn’t much more than just a room and a broken toilet but it was sufficient, cheap and let’s not forget… it’s Egypt. Now we were set. We had to check the ocean!

Dahab is a small village just by the sea on the Sinai Peninsula. Only 20-30 meters from shore the depth of the water falls drastically to 20-30 meters. Some places even deeper and at the famous Blue Hole the depth drops to an amazing 130 meters inside the hole. Perfect for freedivers.

We took a quick dive at the ‘Light House’ which is just 30 meters from the city shore. The water was quite warm (taking into account it was January) and the visibility perfect. But we were not used to diving deep yet. At home it’s all about diving in a pool in Winter time. So we had to warm up and try to accustom our body to some deeper dives.

Our trip to Egypt was scheduled to take 2 weeks and it wasn’t untill the middle of the trip that we really started feeling comfortable going diving everyday to depths of 20 meters and more consecutively. Some of the first camera takes had a recording length of only 15-30 seconds. The footage was sometimes okay, sometimes overexposed/underexposed and at the same time my lotus position was a big pain. But the longer we worked and the more practice we got it all started to flow and feel more comfortable. After about a weeks time our takes went to a recording length of about 1:00-1:30 and the dives and contractions felt less and less hard. Some of the best takes were done at the end of our trip.

There’s more to making a movie than what you see on the screen. Even though this wasn’t a major production in the sence of actors, lightning, sets and so on we still had to do some behind-the-camera stuff. The right locations took us quite some time to find and not all takes were something we could use. One of the most important roles was safety diver Carl Thomaeus without whom we would never have done this film. He would go with us everyday and make sure our buoy was in the right place, follow me up on longer dives, pull the line up before filming and much more. He even managed to crack his wet suit wide open on his ass while a whole restaurant was watching in the back. That’s dedication! He even placed loose weights inside my wet suit to balance me out in the water. And while using a primitive “slegde” of 2-3 water bottles filled with sand – which would drag me down to the starting point of filmning – he also pulled the sledge weight all the way up again.

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