Imaginarium 2012: Behind The Scenes With Team Body Glove
Last year Body Glove won the Imaginarium by bringing the "8-Bit" video game theme to life—literally building a Mario Brothers set on the beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This time around, they set out to execute a darker concept, something along the lines of the Creature From The Black Lagoon meets The Blair Witch Project. During the course of the shoot, the dark concept turned into dark reality when they almost lost the life of one of their own. We gave Body Glove's Greg Browning a ring to get the inside scoop…
TransWorld SURF: Where did this year's Imaginarium concept stem from?
Greg Browning: After last year, doing the fun 8-bit video game thing, we sat down and pulled a bunch of pictures from magazines, trying to come up with a new concept to advance the art of surf photography. In the process, we stumbled across a Creature From The Black Lagoon image and we were all like, "That's what we're doing. We're doing something with a sea creature." From there, it was a lot of questions and planning, like: How are we going to get this thing made? How can we make it functional? Where will we shoot? We felt last year our biggest flaw was a lack of waves, so we chose Indonesia and went to work making a suit and putting together a crew.
How was swimming in that creature suit?
Swimming was really tough. The sea creature was Scott Smith—one of our videographers here at Body Glove—who also happened to be a collegiate water polo player. We worked with a place in Hollywood for over a month designing and developing the suit, which is a lycra latex combination, but we didn't get to test the thing until we got to Indo. The biggest issue with the design was Scott couldn't move his hands. So when he got in trouble, which happened quite a few times because the surf was solid and he was getting caught inside, the mask would fill up with water and he couldn't get it off. It was intense. He had two legitimate near-death experiences wearing that suit. And not to mention, getting it on and off was a nightmare. It took three giant bottles of Astroglide!
Sounds crazy. Did you guys run into any other unexpected roadblocks that could have ruined the concept—besides almost losing one of your employees?
We're really stoked that everything came out, but overall it was really tough to pull off. Coordinating a camera crew into the right spot to get a good water shot with a surfer—and to get the sea creature in the middle of it all was one of the hardest things ever. A lot of times it wasn't possible. We were shooting in Indonesia, and that meant dealing with rogue sets and 20-minute lulls—and Scott just couldn't get under some waves because you can't swim proper in that suit. So like I was saying, Scott had two near-death experiences. I did all the water video and Brent [Bielmann] shot all the still photos, but we were also Scott's rescue unit and yet the entire time we were getting smoked ourselves. So yeah, it was super interesting.