Filming The Kraken - Cameras For Ocean Exploration

In 2019, Dr. Edie Widder and I captured the first-ever footage of a live giant squid in US waters. This was a groundbreaking moment in deep-sea exploration, making headlines in over 400 media sources worldwide. With your support, we will continue producing even more captivating footage of the mysterious creatures of the oceans’ depths through the development of a revolutionary deep-sea camera-platform. This platform, called the ANGLER, will enable us to unveil new insights into life in the deep sea at an unprecedented scale. All donations, big or small, are deeply appreciated as are any efforts to share our campaign with your families and friends!

The deep sea is the largest ecosystem on this planet, covering around 66% of the world’s surface, and it is a bountiful frontier for exploration. Over three quarters of the deep sea are still to be explored and it is estimated that over half the species in this vast marine habitat have not yet been discovered. Even some of the largest known species inhabiting the deep sea have rarely, if ever, been caught on camera. In fact, the giant squid, a creature of myth and legend that can grow to lengths of 14 m (42 feet), has only been caught alive on camera twice: once in Japanese waters in 2012 and again in US waters in 2019. Consequently, there is still boundless potential to discover new species, film never-seen-before wildlife interactions, and gain new knowledge by sending cameras into the deep.

A key factor that has slowed the rate of deep-sea exploration is that most deep-sea camera-platforms are bulky and cumbersome. Because of this, they can only be deployed from large ocean-going research vessels and not from the millions of small industrial, leisure and fishing boats that dot the oceans. Another issue that has limited our ability to learn more about life in the oceans’ depths is that we have traditionally used white lights to pierce through the inky blackness of the deep sea. While this might sound reasonable, research has shown that many deep-sea species have sensitive eyesight and will avoid bright white lights. A much less invasive alternative is to use red light. Most deep-sea animals cannot see red and so they approach the camera without hesitation. Fortunately, we now have the technology and scientific insights to develop a deep-sea camera-platform that could address both of these issues.

48020398_1589527814106062_r.jpeg- Above - The yellow box to the left is the MEDUSA - the camera-platform that successfully recorded the giant squid in both Japan and the USA. The ANGLER will expand upon the design of the MEDUSA in several important ways.

Here, we propose to develop such a revolutionary deep-sea camera-platform – the ANGLER. The ANGLER will be small and light enough that it can be deployed by a single person from a single boat. This will greatly increase the opportunities available for deploying the ANGLER, opening the field of deep-sea exploration to a new generation of seafarers. At the same time, it will also retain the same image quality and battery-life of its larger counterparts. Finally, the ANGLER will be designed around the concept of ‘stealth’, making it all but imperceptible to passing wildlife. Using this flexible tool, we will upscale the rate at which we are able to uncover the mysteries of the deep sea. This could involve the discovery of new species or it could mean capturing the elusive giant squid on camera for a third time. Whatever it is, we know this footage will capture the imaginations of audiences worldwide.

Thank you kindly for all your support,

Nathan J. Robinson and Edith Widder

If you'd like to learn more about our work, please check out the links below:
Nathan Robinson (Wild Blue Science)
Edith Widder (TeamORCA)

If you have any questions or would like more information on this project, please contact us directly at: [email redacted]

48020398_1589700321460261_r.jpegProposed Technical Specifications for the ANGLER

Depth Limit – 1,000 m (3,280 ft).
Image Quality – HD at 30 fps.
Size – 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5 m approx.
Weight – 30 kg (66 lbs.) approx.
Battery Life – 12 hours of continuous recording.
Sensors - Depth and temperature.
Bait – Modifiable bait box or optical lure.
Illumination – LED 720-750 nm far-red.
Deployment / Recovery – The ANGLER will be deployed either tethered to surface buoys or attached to a modified deep-drop fishing winch.
Recovery – Surface GPS beacon and flasher.

Donations

  • Eric Cole 
    • 100 $ 
    • 20 d
  • Jackson Doyel 
    • 10 $ 
    • 1 mo
  • Eden Vander Zee 
    • 500 $ 
    • 1 mo
  • Kacey Borin 
    • 5 $ 
    • 1 mo
  • Julián Miguel 
    • 25 $ 
    • 2 mos
See all

Fundraising team (2)

Nathan Robinson 
Organizer
Raised 1,395 $ from 14 donations
Hanover, MA
Edith Widder 
Team member
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