Water On Lens: Underwater Stage Filming and Photography


If you were asked to name a truly wonderful British film, chances are it was filmed at Pinewood Studios. Its great reputation has resonated worldwide, the scene for a thousand iconic images. Pinewood Studios recently had an inspiring exhibition, Water on Lens. It featured underwater photographs from movies such as The Da Vinci Code, Casino Royale, and Elizabeth: The Golden Age, as well as television features and music videos. Here are 23 images taken from those underwater shoots as well as a few extra underwater stage filming photos.

Pinewood Studios


(image credits:Mirror,livejournal,Mirror,Pinewood Group)

Filming in water can be a complex and costly exercise, but Pinewood Studios does not excessively waste precious water. Instead they keep their underwater stage permanently filled. The water tank is sized 20m x 10m x 6m deep, holding 1.2 million litres of water. This a globally unique water-filming facility captured images for Water on Lens  to share with us like The Golden Age at top left. Beneath that photo is actor Alan Davies in a scene shot underwater for the TV series Jonathan Creek. Both the top right and the bottom pictures were captured as actors and actresses performed underwater with a complete filming crew.

From Motorcycle Stunts to Commercials


(image credits:BBC)

James Blunt plunged into the water to promote his performance on the British Awards show in 2005, the same year Pinewood Studios started…after after 5 years of being in concept and design. He is in the top two photos. Many advertisements have been filmed at the worldwide prestigious studios, including a commercial for The Quays Shopping Centre in Northern Ireland, shown on the bottom left. In the bottom right image, EastEnders filmed a dramatic car accident involving Peter Beale.

The Studio


(image credits:Mirror)

For a deeper insight into the craft that goes on to film underwater, here are more images to impress you with the work done at Pinewood. The top left photo is from Houdini while the top right picture was taken during filming of Mr. Nobody. Also included above are filming shots from an Oil of Olay commercial, Jaws, and Atonement.

From Sports to Fashion


(image credits: image credit:BBC)

Rugby is a beloved sport to many fans worldwide. The top image was taken in an advertisement for rugby. Underwater action sequences give the impression of weightlessness when bubbles are removed in post production. In the bottom photo, Hollywood actress Kiera Knightley submerged in water while dressed in haute couture dresses and jewelery as part of a charity shoot for Fresh 2o.

Baby to Blue Screen


(image credits:shortlist,Pinewood Group)

Water facilities available at Pinewood Studios include numerous stages with tanks incorporated into the floors, an exterior tank with a blue screen backing measuring 240 x 60 feet, and an underwater filming facility. Amazing results can be achieved for films, TV and commercials from underwater blue screens that are permanently on site to “wet for dry” appearance. The photo with the baby, upside down and submerged underwater, is a stunner. Also pictured above is the famous blue screen which can make any image at all seem to be the background. It takes a large group of people to successfully shoot and film a car falling into the water and sinking.



(image credit:short list)

The capsule collection from Water on Lens provided a rare and behind-the-scenes view into one of the world’s most prestigious film and television studios and its underwater stage. Commercial diver and underwater photographer Phoebe Rudomino captured all the iconic moments on camera for Water on Lens, including the graceful and intriguing shot above. She stated, “U Stage provides such a secure and comfortable water filming environment that we’re able to produce almost any type of underwater production shoot. From working with horses and fire to the world’s top actors and models, the scenes are truly fascinating to capture.”



(image credit:shortlist)

In this underwater boxing match, synchronised swimmers Emily Kuhl and Asha Randall of Aquabatix showed off their competitive streaks. What you don’t see in the shot is the massive crew for lighting and filming and even for holding the oxygen tanks.

Bond & Golden Age


(image credit:short list)

The photo on the left was a famous filming moment when the elevator plunged into the water during Jame Bond: Casino Royale. The frantic horse trying to swim in the choppy water was captured in this photograph during the filming of Elizabeth: The Golden Age.