Last week, a video of an "underwater night club" in New York City went viral, drawing in millions of viewers from countless sites in more than 30 languages.
Today, I spoke with Michael Krivicka, co-director and co-producer of the video, who tells Yahoo News how the unique creation came about.
"We didn't want to create a hoax," says Krivicka, who produced the video with Thinkmodo co-founder James Percelay. "Instead, we imagined a 'what if' scenario. We wanted to make sure that this all could exist. The diving helmets are real; there are pressurized drinking containers. Some guy in Dubai has probably already seen this and is trying to make it happen."
In the video, the underwater nightclub patrons are lounging in futuristic diving helmets, shooting spear guns at dart boards and even dancing to music. The whole project was designed to promote TechnoMarine, a luxury watch company based in Switzerland. The original video is here:
"They wanted us to feature their watches in a way that would bring coolness, innovation and a sense of luxury to viewers," Krivicka said. "So, we thought, 'Why don't we create an environment that addresses all these things?'"
My favorite campaign of theirs was a video released in conjunction with the 2011 film "Chronicle," about a trio of high-school friends who mysteriously develop super powers. In the viral marketing video, Thinkmodo used remote-controlled props to make it appear that there were people literally flying around the skies of New York City. That video racked up nearly 8 million views on YouTube alone.
But creating the underwater nightclub set was no easy task. Thinkmodo went to California-based Sea Trek for the futuristic looking diving helmets. And they hired actual U.S. Navy divers to help ensure safety on the set and to coordinate with the actors. And while a casting agency was used, the nature of the video demanded that only actors with extensive diving experience could be used.
Filming had its own set of challenges. First, they couldn't use a traditional swimming pool because the shoot required flat angles so that props would not fall over or injure the actors. Also, the chlorine used in most private swimming pools doesn't translate well in commercial video. For filming, they turned to a company called Air Sea Land Productions.
And they finally found a set location solution at Survival Systems, an indoor diving training facility that is capable of simulating thunderstorms and other water hazards. Inside the 14-foot-deep pool, 11 actors and 8 divers worked around a constantly changing set to create what appeared to be an actual underwater nightclub in action.
"Most places just gave us the finger," Krivicka joked about finding a place to film the video. Thinkmodo turned to Mystic Scenic Productions to get around the myriad prop issues. "We couldn't use traditional technical materials like plywood, because it floats," Krivicka said. "And we had to figure out how to light this thing without electrocuting everyone."
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