Dagmar Scheibenreif

DFSA alumna and underwater film specialist co-directs award-winning production

DFSA alumna and underwater film specialist has co-directed part of a 48-hour film project which has won ‘Best Film’, ‘Best Cinematography’ and ‘Best Use of Line’ during the 48-hour Film Project.

Dagmar Scheibenreif, who graduated from UCA Farnham – then the Surrey Institute of Art & Design – in 2004 with a BA (Hons) Digital Screen Arts, co-directed the award-winning film, David and Bathsheba, which tells the story of a doctor who is obsessed with an actress from an old film and tries to recreate her in the water tank in his lab. The film was shot in and around Pinewood over a 24-hour period.

“There are many things to consider when shooting underwater,” Dagmar, who began specialising in underwater filming when she qualified as an HSE more than two years ago, says. “One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is if you want or need to use scuba, in which case the operation falls under HSE guidelines that you need to obey.

“The clarity of the water, the depth that you are going to shoot at, the light and colour loss, as well as your model’s capabilities and experience underwater are all factors to consider.

“Communication under water takes much longer and is very different, as you can only really communicate and talk on the surface – except you are using underwater speakers or full face masks – and all the models see is a blurry image of you and the camera or set. Shooting out in the open waters brings further challenges, and planning and staying safe should always be your top priority.”

The 48-hour Film Project is a challenge where teams must make, write, shoot and edit a movie within just two days. The genre of the film is chosen from a hat, and each team is given a character, prop and line which they must include in the film.

“Even though we only got the brief 48 hours before the deadline, we of course had to put a lot of pre-production work in to ensure we could pull it off. The strange thing with a 48-hour project is that you simply do not know what you will be shooting, so you basically prep for the unknown. It was a lot of fun though and we were a great team.”

Throughout her career, Dagmar has worked on everything from music promos and commercials to feature films, short films, and documentaries, although she credits underwater shoots as something she is particularly passionate about.

“I have always loved the element of water: the feel, the look and the other-worldliness of it. I tend to shoot mainly in pools and confined environments but, when I’m out on fun dives in the ocean I always feel so privileged to be able to visit this beautiful world down below, and connecting with its creatures is just so incredible. I find being underwater so calming and eye-opening – I really love it.”

To view more of Dagmar’s work, visit www.dagmarscheibenreif.com