Documentary

Salty Surf Photography Documentary

The Story

This is what happens when Sydney based production company, Electric Bubble takes on a story that revolves around two photographers and one cinematographer all with a shared passion for creating work above and below the surface. Those that have ventured into the surf with a housed camera can truly appreciate the knowledge these three guys have with the environment they choose to shoot in. 

It is easy to miss-understand the power of the ocean. Scott Ruzzene, avoided the big city life to surround himself with the beautiful landscape and lifestyle of Wollongong, NSW. He speaks about being frightened of the water as a kid, however, that all changed as he welcomed the things that once scared him, being thrashed around, and having no control is what excites him about his work. Even if the conditions aren’t the best for him it’s just being present in the ocean, going out and hunting for details that he will later be able to blow up to full-size prints. If there is one thing he hopes for people to take from his work, it’s to show these environments in a way that affects someone to care and do something in their day to day life to make a positive change.

Through my work I hope to convey the feelings I have and the details I see whilst pursuing the things I love; and I hope you can find some inspiration here to rekindle your love for some of the amazing things that nature is responsible for, before it may become too late.

Scott spends a lot of time shooting with his childhood friend, Matt Hipsley, who founded Salty Surf Housings. Matt picked up a camera at the age of thirteen and built his first camera housing at fourteen with the help of his father, fashioning it from plumbing supplies collected from the local hardware store. Whilst it kept his prized Sony camcorder dry, it was far from a specialised, professional housing.

After attaining an engineering degree and acquiring years of surf photography experience, the drive to develop his own camera housings took hold. Matt kept working on these ideas, batch after batch he improved the designs. Spending months researching different manufacturing techniques and carefully considering suitable materials and parts, he was able to fulfil his vision of what a camera housing should be. The result is Salty Surf Housings.

Over the years Salty has developed a talented community of creatives around the world. One of these individuals that really stands out from the crowd is Spencer Frost, an underwater cinematographer based in Avalon Beach, Sydney. Spencer is a great example of someone who has great respect and knowledge for the ocean. He has recently completed a trip to the Arctic circle looking for waves and dealing with some of the harshest conditions on the planet. Spencer talks about how grateful he is to travel outside the bubble of Sydney and explore different corners of the world while taking his passion for filming along with him. 

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Behind The Scenes

Sydney based Filmmakers, Jake Ashe and Cameron Brunt had a desire to create a short-form documentary showcasing the community and brand behind Salty Surf Housings. The production was developed in just under a week, with every day involving a water shoot which proved challenging with changing weather conditions. 

Most days started with checking the surf before the sun had risen, once the location was chosen, the gear was prepped for one camera capturing an angle from the land and the other in the water. Jake Ashe, the director of photography, took a fly on the wall approach to film each creative in their natural working environment with a lot of reactive and handheld setups. The documentary was filmed on a Red Epic Dragon with Sigma Art lenses and a Canon 1DX Mark 2 in a Salty Surf Housing for the water sequences. The approach with the interviews was casual so they feel would be natural and authentic. 

During post-production, Electric Bubble was lucky enough to have access to some of Spencer Frost’s archive footage from his home break in Avalon, Sydney, and some tropical locations island hopping in Indonesia. Having this access helped to add more emotion to the final piece. Sound design and composition were very important to link the interviews and sequence together seamlessly. The team spent time with Wade De Souza, to develop a vision for the soundscape of the documentary. 

We were very happy to be able to bring such a colourful topic to life and give some really talented photographers and cinematographers the chance to get in front of the lens.

You can check out Salty Surf Housing here: https://bit.ly/saltysurf

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