'Explore the Underwater Realm' Kickstarter Project Releases Terrific How-to Video Tutorials

Explore the Underwater Realm is an in-progress series of films that are getting a lot of attention in the filmmaking community, and for good reason. Not only are they making a series of ambitious underwater shorts, they've been releasing extremely helpful video tutorials during their Kickstarter campaign as well. I backed their project, and after watching these tutorials and checking out these rewards, I suspect many of you will want to follow suit! Seriously -- the tutorials here are incredibly helpful. This is a guest post by director David M Reynolds.

I don't know about you guys - but I don't spend a lot of time looking for ways to give my money away. That said, it's not difficult to squeeze cash out of me - all you have to do is show me something that is going to make my filmmaking better.

Call it selfish, but I am pretty set on creating the best work I can - I don't have a whole heap of time for much else. That is precisely the idea behind our Kickstarter. We really didn't have much of an existing fanbase, yet we have raised over $30,000 in two weeks to produce a series of five short films.

Sure, the project is exciting, unique and memorable (it's set underwater...) but that isn't what is binging the backers in. It's the fact that we are giving away things people actually want.

I wouldn't pay $30 for a 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' t-shirt, I sure as hell won't pay $30 for a 'insert_your_film_title_here' t-shirt. It seems obvious - but you have to make your rewards desirable!

We are offering all manner of rewards, but the most popular by far is a simple set of $50 rewards:

Indie Action Pack

A limited edition copy of 'Zomblies' along with 10 in- depth tutorials that will allow you to create a similar killer action flick with no real budget. This includes the construction of compressed air cannons to add safe practical explosions to your shot, making cinema grade blood, silicone moulding and much more.

@EveHazelton Lighting Guide

After the recent success of a dslr lighting tutorial on Philip Bloom's blog, our DOP Eve has agreed to put together an hour-long lighting masterclass video covering everything from light theory to industry kit and common lighting setups/solutions. Twitter followers are able to make suggestions for content during the KS campaign.

LED Lighting Pack

We send you a video guide and a PDF booklet explaining in detail the construction of a set of battery-powered waterproof LED kino-flo style light banks that we developed for the project. They are 100% dimmable and flicker free.

Ocean Fan Pack

This is for the fans. A signed Blu-Ray of the finished shorts, along with a full copy of our weekly video blog and a 10-minute  'thank you' video showing you what your donation helped to create. You also get listed in the credits as a supporter.

Each of these four rewards is priced at $50, or you can get all four for $125.

By offering good quality rewards that actually help people make movies our average pledge amount is a whopping $85.54 - way above average for film projects. Our most popular pledge is $50, followed closely by $125 (rather than the typical $25).

Offering good content also makes you more likely to get the word out there. We had clocked 55K views on our vimeo account in the year leading up to the campaign, and yet we have just passed 72K views in the last 2 weeks!

We still have a long way to go - but with folks like Philip Bloom and Eric Kessler on board as associate producers, and folks like Koo and Stu Maschwitz backing the project we have a great team behind us pushing us towards the finish line. This could never have happened without the 'give something back' attitude.

Link: Explore the Underwater Realm - Kickstarter

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Your Comment


Thanks for the article and the pledge Koo!

UPDATE: We have now hit 90,000 vimeo plays, and are inches away from $45,000 (75%) - what an amazing few days!

December 22, 2011 at 10:32AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Dear David,

Wish I could've backed the full amount but I did what I could. I think what you are doing is fantastic and really when you look at it, people like you, Koo, Philip Bloom, Vincent LaForet and others are accomplishing two very important things:

1. Helping create the next generation of a world wide community of storytellers and helping many of them to not give up on their dreams by simply teaching the most valuable lesson a creative person can learn: YES, YOU CAN DO IT.

2. And then teaching this whole new generation of filmmakers the next extremely valuable lesson: OKAY SO YOU CAN DO IT, NOW GET GOING AND DO THE WORK TO GO DO IT.

Wishing you the best of success on Underwater Realm.

December 30, 2011 at 8:27AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I love kickstarter so much! It's how I was led to you and this site! (which is amazing and incredibly helpful)

It gives me so much hope for what this generation of filmmakers will accomplish, all without the studio system.

Thanks for showing me my new favorite project!

December 22, 2011 at 1:01PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Looks interesting.

What camera/lighting is used for the underwater shooting?

December 22, 2011 at 2:26PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Hey Skeptical,

we are using the Red Epic underwater, with some of the only housings on the planet. We have designed and built our own LED battery operateed kino-flo style lights for use underwater.

We are giving away plans for these lights as part of our Kickstarter campaign.

Thanks for your interest,


December 22, 2011 at 3:01PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Great videoes - i'm backing up this for the sake of creativity. Love the project, keep it comming.

December 22, 2011 at 6:25PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I wish I could back you guys! But all my funds are wrapped up in my documentary/film on creativity The Creative Solution. If you guys need a poster designed or something let me know, I'd love to help out!

December 22, 2011 at 7:26PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Wow. I love your ambition and how much work you've put in. Will be following along from now on, and heading back over to the kickstarter page shortly.

December 23, 2011 at 12:33AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


This sounds so cool, really amazing work. Ive been building homemade Kino's for a while but LED is definitely hot on my list! How do you find the colour temperature of your LED's. What about your CRI?
But anyway great project, will certainly be contributing :)

December 23, 2011 at 1:20PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Ant Fisher

I watched the lighting guide a week ago I think it was featured in Bloom's blog. That lighting tutorial is very good.

December 24, 2011 at 5:28AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Amazing project! I am really looking forward to seeing it completed. Just backed the project on kickstarter and I am very excited about the goodies. Awesome way to gather the funding: sharing your knowledge with the community.

Keep up the great work!

December 28, 2011 at 10:22AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM