Shark Cam Is Back, and This Time You’re in Control
By: Jason Robey
Amidst mounting anticipation for Shark Week‘s 25th anniversary (premiering Sunday, August 12), Discovery Channel is diving in early with the return of Shark Cam. For the third year in a row, Discovery will be streaming live video of sharks from Georgia Aquarium’s Ocean Voyager exhibit in Atlanta, Ga., in partnership with Ustream.
This year, in celebration of our 25th, we’re taking Shark Cam to the next level by giving you control. Using state-of-the-art, 360º video cam technology, you can now personalize your very own Shark Cam experience by simply clicking and dragging to change your view.
Shark Cam features seven types of sharks — including four whale sharks (the world’s largest fish) — five types of rays, sawfish, guitarfish and many other marine creatures. Keep your eyes peeled so you can follow them as they parade by.
“The best shot is when the whale sharks go right over top of the cam,” says TC Conway, Director of Innovative Marketing for Discovery Channel, and our resident Shark Cam Maestro. “They’re so big that they ‘black out the sun,’ so to speak.”
TC was at Georgia Aquarium last week helping to get Shark Cam up and running. “The rays and guitarfish love the cam. They skim right over top of it, and will even try to give it a little nibble as they pass by. They literally touch it.”
I asked TC what it was like to install the underwater camera at the bottom of the Ocean Voyager exhibit. “We were too scared to go in because there were so many sharks,” he said.
“I’m just kidding. We actually let the dive experts at Georgia Aquarium handle the installation. We were watching the live video stream as the divers were taking the cam down to the bottom of the tank. There was one blacktip reef shark that was really interested in one of the divers. It kept bumping his leg. It didn’t bite him of course, but it kept circling around and around. Everyone topside was very attentive.”
We worked with Immersive Media to set up the live, streaming 360º video cam experience.
“360 has had it’s challenges,” said TC, “because no one’s ever done this before, and for so long. There are 11 cameras built into the housing, and because we’re running them 24/7, they tend to get pretty hot. Luckily, the water is around 73ºF and the cam is at the bottom of the tank, which helps keep it cool. And the cam isn’t very big — about the size of a grapefruit.”