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Creator Spotlight: Immersive Medium

Simon Brooksbank / 8 months ago

Based in Thailand, Immersive Medium's primary goal is to build and maintain a highly structured and ever-expanding repository of high-quality underwater Virtual Reality Content. Founded by Dimitri Bintein, Dimitri believes the ocean is uniquely positioned to offer amazing Virtual experiences via recorded content. Beneath the surface, there's a whole new world which few of us have ever had the privilege to live and he and his team at Immersive Medium have taken it upon themselves to bring all this underwater beauty to those who have not yet experienced it and in doing so, inspire love for it.

Blend Media are thrilled to exclusively represent their unique catalogue of incredible 8K underwater footage in stereoscopic 3D.

What is your background and how did you become an underwater 360 filmmaker?

I have made a career in technologies, specifically in emerging technologies. I have probably been lucky but I have always ended up working with the right technologies at the right time, in many different positions. Starting out as a developer in the mid-nineties, I also had a fascination for CGI and how films like Jurassic Park could look so realistic, so I started playing around with CG software and importantly VRML (Virtual Reality Modelling Language) which really captured my imagination.

I also developed a passion for wildlife photography and was traveling the world with full frame cameras and big lenses. I also fell in love with the underwater world and after moving to Asia for work, access to the ocean was much easier so I was able to more freely and frequently combine my passion for both photography and marine life.

In 2019 I launched my start-up with the simple mission to bring the underwater word to everyone who wants to experience it. 99.9% of the people on this planet have never experienced it... and so translation of a Flemish proverb "unknown is unloved" is very fitting here.

I believe that XR is going to be the next big disruptive technology, and it works beautifully as a medium for my mission. Now is the time in the XR market where the internet was in 1995, you can still know everything, but it changing fast.

I actually believe there are few environments more fitting for immersive film making. Even the headset feels like a dive mask.

You're based in Thailand so must have access to some of the best diving locations, where are your favourites?

I believe the best diving in Thailand is in the Andaman sea. One of my favourite sites is Richelieu Rock, A pinnacle located between the Surin Islands and Khao Lak. It is actually known as one of the best sites in the world for diving. Amongst and incredible variety of marine life, it’s frequently visited by whale sharks, and has giant barracudas hunting around. 

East of Koh Lipe there is a site called Stonehenge, as at its feel, there are many obelisk type rocks. The site is covered in many shades of purple, soft coral, making it look like an unreal alien planet. Truly unique.

About 2 hours by boat off the coast of Koh Lanta, there are two sites called Hin Daeng and Hin Muang. On A lucky day, one can see oceanic Manta rays passing over the cleaning stations

Close to PhiPhi island, Koh Bida Nok has an amazing reef with an abundance of manini life, called finger reef due to its shape. 

 

"I actually believe there are few environments more fitting for immersive film making. Even the headset feels like a dive mask."

What makes your underwater 360 video content unique?

Colour: We take great pride in trying to preserve as much colour as possible into our content. Underwater content creation is a whole different game than on land. Not only is it an extremely hostile environment to work in but the light behaves completely different with colours disappearing with depth. For example, the colour red disappears in the first 5 meters and blue is the last colour to disappear due to what is called ‘absorption’. This is why lots of amateur underwater footage always looks completely blue. We preserve colour through a combination of production and post-production techniques. Elements like time of day, sunny or cloudy, depth, visibility, artificial lighting, positioning in the water, capture settings, lenses, aperture, white balance and step-based grading approach. 

Consistency: We also try to have a very consistent way of grading our content, so that any of our footage can be used with each other.

Clean: In our content you will not see the camera operator, equipment, or any other divers. We remove these as we believe this helps with the immersive feeling we want to project. 

Quality: All our content is created stereoscopic 3D. In a VR headset, where we hope one day our content will be consumed, we believe stereoscopic content is much more appealing. In post process we also create a monoscopic versions of our content too.

Resolution: All our content is created in 8K. We believe that 8K stereo is a good middle ground between future-proofing our content and the current capabilities of processing these huge files in. As an example, to process one minute footage, we have to process around 200 gigabytes of data. With future proofing, I believe that in 10 years streaming 8K to a headset will still be relevant.

What's your favourite shot of yours available on your Blend media collection?

I believe my favourite shot which currently is available on Blend Media is where a whale shark passes by. I believe it was more the magic of the moment in the water which makes me like this shot so much. We had already filmed a lot of amazing shots but near the end of the dive, my assistant pulls my attention to a baby whale shark approaching us from behind. 

In the location we were whale sharks are spotted about 3 times per year, so it is pretty rare.

So I prepped the camera as fast as possible and try to get a glimpse of it but it’s too fast. However as the whale shark was fading away in the blue, I saw that her body just started to tilt to the left and I knew that she was curious and wanted to see what these people with a  weird camera and lights were all about.

I stop, reset the camera, point myself in the direction I think she going to come from and compose myself... and sure enough she emerges from the blue. It was magical.

Funnily enough when reviewing the footage afterwards, we saw on the footage that during the entire dive, she had been stalking us. A curious little whale shark who just at the end worked up the nerve to take a closer look at us. Whale sharks are such playful, curious creatures... 

If you would like to see Immersive Medium's collection on Blend click here and if you would like to license any clips from the Blend platform then please get in touch with us at: licensing@blend.media