Underwater Ballet

Underwater Ballet is a short film directed by Liz Goldwyn. A lone woman in an underwater universe dances to a strange and haunting tune. Obsessed, possessed by the music, she glides throughout her galaxy. A million burnt-out stars float endlessly in the atmosphere. She is of the sea and the earth and the heavens at once, finally at peace in her resting place.

The film was shot with a Phantom Camera, which captures action at 1000 frames per second. (Normal frame rate is 24 frames per second.) Because it records at such a high frame rate, the Phantom records all that the naked human eye cannot see. Thus, all the “in-between” moments of movement are suddenly visible.

In post-production, I played with the frame rate once again, “dropping” frames in order to speed up or slow down the action, so that the dancer appears at moments to be barely moving, one tendril of hair slowing drifting in the atmosphere; while the next second, she flutters like a butterfly. Underwater Ballet represents the first film to experiment with this technique.