The dive through to the end of Sump 2 is a very popular dive (and there is loads of footage of this section of the cave already on YouTube) as it is both very picturesque and easily doable wearing backmounts. However, we’d never seen any images of the cave beyond this point , and so took a sidemount configuration, video camera, stills camera and strobe through to the start of Sump 4 to document this a little more.
Although further in than we normally go, the cave actually goes on for quite some distance further, having been explored to its end by Rick Stanton and John Volanthen in 2007, involving caving between, and then diving, another 9 sumps beyond our little excursion.
The film starts with footage from sumps 1 and 2 (the shots with 4 tanks). The footage with just the black steel 7s is from sump 3, including a detour into a lined dead-end section which gets rather tight for two divers to try and turn around!
The original idea had been to film a mini-documentary, with some interviews and far more footage taken of the set-up and the region. In the end we didn’t find the time (or the organisational skills) to do that, so at least felt the need to do something with the footage we did get.
The underwater stuff was filmed by Os on his old Sony TVR-900 with twin 18W Halcyon HIDs with video reflectors. The rest of the shots were mainly captured by me with a Panasonic Lumix FT2 go-anywhere point-and-shoot which records 720p HD video. It proved quite useful, and was able to withstand both the humid “dry” cave, the inside of my drysuit, and even some of the diving (although rated to 10m, I think I forgot it was in my pocket diving one of the sumps and accidentally took it to about 17m, oops).
I therefore had a choice when it came to mixing the two sources: (i) downscale the HD and crop it to 4:3, or (ii) upscale the SD and pillarbox it. I went with option (ii) as it seemed a shame to throw away information from the higher res footage and I much prefer the 16:9 format anyway. In retrospect, given that most of the film is the underwater stuff, it might have been better to conform everything to that? In future, hopefully everything will be HD!
I was a long day of diving and filming, as we also took time out in between sumps to try and photograph some of the dry cave (again with the Lumix). The results (see here) are a little mixed, but give a flavour.