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Incredible Underwater Footage of Sharks at Night: Short Film Showcase Filmmaker Q&A

This short from Steer Films profiles Joe Romeiro, a wildlife filmmaker who is passionate about shark conservation. “These animals need to be protected, and we need to evolve in the way we see them,” he says. Experience swimming with these mesmerizing creatures at night, and let “the fear turn into fascination” with this remarkable footage captured by Romeiro and dive partner Bill Fisher of 333 Productions. I spoke with team lead at Steer Films, Carlos Toro and 333 Productions about the making of The Edge.

How did you first meet Joe Romeiro and Bill Fisher?

Carlos Toro/Steer Films: I recently completed a diver certification course at East Bay dive center in Warren, Rhode Island. As team lead at Steer Films/Steer Digital Media, I had an interest in both expanding our services to our partners through underwater videography and also adding another useful skill set that we could bring along on our team travels.

Our instructor, Joseph Winston, mentioned that Joe Romeiro, an award-winning wildlife cinematographer and local Rhode Islander, had carved his own path in this space and that I should reach out to him. I did reach out, and in turn he found our film work to be exciting, so a natural collaboration was born out of this.  

What attracted you to this story of conservation of sharks?

CT/SF: Joe Romeiro is a great vehicle through which to learn about shark conservation because he can’t put a cap on his passion. It sits on his skin. As someone who is concerned with, in general, how we impact the world around us, I’ve come across many conservation initiatives and they all have their merit, but it can all become very disorienting figuring out what to single out, embrace, and bring our talents to bear on. But the energy that Joe brings to his work cut through the noise, and immediately we knew we had to tell his story but in a way that elevated the cause and not the person.

Where did you film the piece?

The Edge was filmed approximately 40 miles off the coast of Rhode Island, as well in Exeter, Rhode Island.  Joe Romeiro provided the nighttime footage, which was shot in multiple locations off the U.S. eastern seaboard.

What went into preparing for an underwater night shoot?

CT/SF: We accompanied Joe on the nighttime filming of the blue sharks off the coast of Rhode Island. Earlier in the day I was able to get in the water with a blue, with Joe’s assistance, and really get a sense for what it is to be in their environment and completely out of your element. For our team, it involved making sure that we had multiple angles covered and anticipating the correct settings on all of our equipment. Because of our respective scheduling commitments, we had one opportunity to make this work, and we think it came together really well.

From the topside view, I can tell you that Joe attracted several excited blue sharks that evening, so I imagine he was preoccupied with getting the best shot, all the while not allowing them to overwhelm his view.

Joe Romeiro/ 333 Productions: My prep work consists of all the camera settings I have to get through,  pulling focus and everything else to get the best shot, all the while managing the animals and communicating with my team to ensure that I pick up the best footage possible.

Everything done underwater is a coordinated effort, and I represent the efforts of my entire team when I’m face-to-face with these animals. Picking up the best footage involves constantly pushing past your personal limits and knowing you have a skilled, qualified team to count on.

This always leads to discovery for me. It feels to me like exploring a different planet and being one of the few people to do so. It’s an awesome and amazing journey .   

Is there something you want viewers to take away with them after watching the video?

CT/SF: We’d like viewers to both appreciate the extent to which a passion can inform your life’s work and also generate interest in the subject at hand: beautiful animals that are all but forgotten due to their existence in a world that seems so far from our own.

JR/333: I’m so very fortunate to be able to live out the dreams that i’ve had since I was a kid and most of all to have the people that I do around me in my life. Steer Films really captured what I have felt since I was a kid and what my life passion was in just a few minutes. Im very proud of the piece, and for me, it’s a piece of art.

What are you working on next?

CT/SF: Our team is currently working on several projects that are a bit under wraps. But in general, we are constantly scanning the environment for incredible stories to tell.

JR/333: We’re currently working on collecting nighttime footage of various shark species, and we have some great projects lined up that can showcase our latest work.

National Geographic’s Short Film Showcase

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the web and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic’s mission of inspiring people to care about the planet. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of the National Geographic Society.

Know of a great short film that should be part of our Showcase? Email SFS@ngs.org to submit a video for consideration.

See more from National Geographic’s Short Film Showcase.

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