Underwater Camera Operator Braden Haggerty

In episode nineteen, host Brett Stanley chats with underwater camera operator Braden Haggerty, a Canadian who’s based in Vancouver. Braden has worked on shows like Batwoman, Altered Carbon, Power Rangers, and the recently cancelled Siren – a drama about mermaids with loads of underwater sequences.

They chat about the process of shooting for TV, what she needs to keep in mind for the visual effects, and how training your stunt people for underwater can make the job go so much smoother!

Follow Braden: Website, Instagram, IMDB

Discuss the episode in our facebook group.

Visit our YouTube for livestreams

About Braden Haggerty – Underwater Camera Operator

Braden Haggerty is a Vancouver filmmaker specializing in underwater photography work since 1993. She has her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Film Production from Concordia University in Montreal. It was a love of being in the water that steered her towards a career in underwater filmmaking. With years of experience she is able to offer up viable solutions for filming underwater sequences.

Braden also enjoys helping those new to underwater shooting get started in the right direction. She has consulted with several stills photographers to help get them through their first underwater shoots successfully by offering tips and insight on everything from equipment to pools and what to wear. As well, those just looking for some advice on the logistics of filming underwater are always welcome to talk with Braden on the specifics of their projects.

In her spare time Braden trains in kick-boxing and yoga to stay in shape while also exploring the world of free diving (breath hold) to further her underwater skills. Braden is also developing her own brand of photography under Braden Haggerty Photography, which will be a collection of her underwater photographic interpretations. She also balances being a mom to two athletic teenage boys who keep her busy with their many activities.

Braden’s underwater camera operating credits include; Bat Woman, Siren, Breakthrough, Power Rangers, Altered Carbon, and The Haunting of Bly Manner.

Podcast Transcript

Ep 19 – Braden Haggerty

Brett Stanley: [00:00:00] Welcome back to the underwater podcast, nd this week I’m joined by underwater camera operator, Braden Haggerty, a Canadian who’s based in Vancouver.  Braden has worked on shows like Batwoman Altered Carbon Power Rangers, and the recently canceled Siren, a drama about mermaids with loads of underwater scenes.

We chat about the process of shooting for TV, what she needs to keep in mind for the visual effects and how training of stunt people underwater can make the job go so much smoother. Okay. Let’s dive in. 

Brayden welcome to down to water podcast.

Braden Haggerty: [00:00:32] Thank you. Nice to be here.

Brett Stanley: [00:00:33] Yeah. So we’re here in Vancouver right now. Right.

Braden Haggerty: [00:00:37] Yes.

Brett Stanley: [00:00:38] And how is it up there? I mean, Canada is done pretty well at keeping things fairly safe up there. I think

Braden Haggerty: [00:00:44] Yeah, we feel pretty good here in Vancouver about how we’ve flattened the curve. Uh, Uh, we have a doctor up here has become actually infamous a bit, I think, down there as well, dr. Bonnie Henry. And she’s been very clear about the guidelines and we’ve managed to pretty much follow them and keep, keep our cases down.

So. Um, being in the film industry, particularly, um, Americans, I think have kind of an eyeball in Vancouver because we do have a good, a good control of the situation up here. It’s looking like it’s pretty safe to go back and, and some productions are back now here, here in early July. Yeah.

Brett Stanley: [00:01:17] I was talking to some, some people, I don’t know, probably two months ago, right. In the middle of it. And it was basically like a race to see which country opens first to be able to start shooting again. I think it was, you know, so I feel like Canada might be the, you know, the, the next one to,

Braden Haggerty: [00:01:34] Well, uh, CA uh, Canada, but particularly British Columbia. I think, I think we’ve got a little bit better numbers than some of, even the other provinces. So that were hit a bit harder in the beginning. Quebec had a hard time because their spring break was a couple of weeks earlier. So they were on spring break.

People were still we’re on spring break, riding around in all these different places. So they got hit a little bit harder, things like that.

Brett Stanley: [00:01:56] Oh. Cause they were out of the country kind of doing

Braden Haggerty: [00:01:59] Exactly. Whereas we, you know, my family was going to go away for spring break. Um, I was actually away myself, but my husband and my younger son were going to go to, uh, Los Angeles and actually canceled their trip

Brett Stanley: [00:02:12] Yeah. Oh, that

Braden Haggerty: [00:02:12] because the, the, the guidelines were coming in. By the time they were to leave I was in Sri Lanka.

Brett Stanley: [00:02:18] when the lockdown happened,

Braden Haggerty: [00:02:19] yeah, so I probably left a week before, or it would have been advised not to even go

Brett Stanley: [00:02:24] right.

Braden Haggerty: [00:02:25] and then came home actually on the date that I planned to come back. I should have three days early because I had planned to go from Sri Lanka to Thailand. But my trip to Thailand was canceled while I was in Sri Lanka.

But I mentioned Sri Lanka because we were there. We were swimming with blue whales. And so. Yes, trying to get some photos. We, we only managed to see one blue whale and our trip got cut a bit short, but, um, it was an amazing experience.

Brett Stanley: [00:02:49] I almost wish she didn’t bring it up. Cause now I have to ask you about it. Because blue whales that must’ve been incredible.

Braden Haggerty: [00:02:55] It, it was incredible and it is, it’s actually okay to ask me about it because it’s a part of where I’d like my career to go. Um, I would like to segue into photography career on top of my underwater filmmaking career. Uh, so this trip was sort of the first of a traveling away during underwater photography.

And it really made me realize that, yes, that is what I want to do. So I hope we open up again at some point because, uh, myself and my, uh, I call her my partner in crime. She, she does our underwater free diving training and she trains actors on the sets, but she has done a lot of these trips. She’s lived in Sri Lanka.

She’s lived in the Philippines, she’s lived in Costa Rica and she also wants to go and work on doing photo shoots around the world. So this was our first adventure and, uh, it’s definitely what I want to continue doing.

Brett Stanley: [00:03:43] Wow. And so was that a trip to like more of a wildlife photography thing? Or did you have models as well?

Braden Haggerty: [00:03:49] this was just wildlife, but we will, um, in the future, we’ll work on taking models with us. For example, um, we were talking about siren earlier and I’m sure that will come up, but the lead actress on siren, Ellie Powell, she is someone that we definitely want to take on some of these trips and work with.

She’s kind of my underwater muse. At this point. So she would, she would be brilliant to bring on a trip like this and do photo shoots with her free diving, because she’s become an amazing free diver free diving with wildlife as well as just wildlife and as well, just the models. So we’ll, we’ll work on concepts and plan trips based around them.

Brett Stanley: [00:04:27] Yeah, well, that’s amazing. And, and speaking of siren, which I think is your current big project, I think you’ve been on this for, is this season three, now that you’re doing

Braden Haggerty: [00:04:36] That’s correct. We just finished. Well, we finished season three, season three, just finished airing about a month ago, correct? Yeah.

Brett Stanley: [00:04:43] season four yet or?

Braden Haggerty: [00:04:44] We’re not sure if season four is happening or not.

Brett Stanley: [00:04:47] Yeah.

Braden Haggerty: [00:04:48] We’re waiting to find out.

Brett Stanley: [00:04:49] at the end of each season, are you usually waiting or is it, is there always that kind of pregnant pause as to whether it’s going to get renewed?

Braden Haggerty: [00:04:56] Sometimes, uh, as we’re shooting the last episode, it’s already known. It’s going to go again.

Brett Stanley: [00:05:00] Uh,

Braden Haggerty: [00:05:01] has, I believe we didn’t find out till later on, uh, it is a little bit later this time, because if we were going to start shooting at the same time we did last year, we would have already been up and running, but it has not been. Canceled either. So we’re, we’re all kind of, kind of crossing our fingers and we’ll see where it goes.

Brett Stanley: [00:05:19] So siren is, is pretty unique in that it’s a TV show that has a lot of underwater scenes. The, the premise of the show is it’s kind of like a. And correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s kind of like a little bit of a, like a soap opera mixed with, uh, with mermaid kind of mythology

Braden Haggerty: [00:05:35] Uh, Uh, I guess you could say that. Yeah, because it’s sort of follows this relationship between a mermaid who comes to land and develops a close friendship with these two, um, Marine resources. Mmm. Who are land-based, but then they start to play around with crossing over cross species. Um, Well, relationships love relationships, as well as there’s an, there’s an injecting of blood of the mermaids into the humans and seeing what happens and they develop some of the mermaid traits and they sort of play with that idea.

Brett Stanley: [00:06:07] So how did you get involved with that? Was that, I mean, I’m looking through your eye MDB and you’ve been doing underwater for long time in the TV world.

Braden Haggerty: [00:06:16] Well, what happens is there’s, there’s very few underwater cinematographers in town. Um, I’ll go back a little bit back in the day. Uh, There they used to bring in, uh, Americans often to do underwater, especially on the bigger features. But what happened is over the years we’ve developed, there’s a few of us in town, particularly in town.

And as our skills are developed, people have become more comfortable with just using who is here. So, so there is competition, not a lot of competition, but there’s very few, few opportunities so often, um, When you get a job it’s based on, because you’ve worked with the people before, either the producers or the production manager, um, or the director of photography, usually in particularly.

So, um, in my career, it’s been, um, um, well was in the case of siren. I knew that producer and when I found out who the producer was, I, I rang her up and said it, you know, Well, I fired her an email actually, and I said, Hey, I hear you’re doing siren and it’s got lots of underwater in it. I just want to let you know.

Still doing underwater and I’d love to be considered if you’re underwater. And she goes, Oh, okay. She goes, Oh, that’d be great. Give me a minute. And then she sent me an email by email back 10 minutes later saying that the DP was Brian Pearson. And I had just worked with Brian on power Rangers. And, um, and she said that Brian was going to give you a ring anyways.

So often what has happened is it’s have you worked with the people? Do you know them? I have a. a good reputation and I worked with Brian before I’d worked with Tracy before, uh, she was the producer of the pilot for siren and, um, um, so that, so I got the pilot and, stayed on for season one, two and three.

Brett Stanley: [00:07:53] episodes of that show. Is it, is that kind of a dream job in terms of the work?

Braden Haggerty: [00:07:59] absolutely. That’s unprecedented for any show in Vancouver. I’m pretty sure the amount of water that they did. A first two seasons. What we would do is a block shoot. three episodes or two or three episodes of work on one day. So if they started shooting in August, they would plan a day in October to shoot the underwater for episodes one, three, and four say, and they didn’t have as many underwater sequences.

And they weren’t as elaborate as they later became. So they did that for seasons one and two. Uh, what they found is that their fan base requested more underwater. They wanted underwater and every episode for, um, moving on. So for season three, they decided to go with a tank day, every episode. So basically, I don’t know if, if, if you worked on episodics before.

Brett Stanley: [00:08:49] No, no, I’ve usually just done features and stuff, but,

Braden Haggerty: [00:08:51] Okay, well, the format which may be familiar, you may recognize when I say it, but an episodic was shoot on average. I say about eight days per episode,  there’s some other ways of shooting now that have come in where they block shoot. But for in general, eight days per episode, And then they might have a second unit day to pick up some things that they didn’t get during those eight days.

Well, the next episode has started so on siren, season three, we did eight days. And then they had a tank day. So every episode was nine days, but that night they was not called ninth day. It was called tank date. And that belongs to us, which is unheard of, usually as a, a shooting, a tank day, we were fighting with other aspects of shooting as well, which means that, you know, okay, well, you’ll get Alex.

Any lien, the main people in your tank day, you’ll get them when we’re finished with them on another set. So it’s harder for us to shoot this way. They just, the priority was the tank and that’s, that’s unheard of.

Brett Stanley: [00:09:50] Yeah. Having a dedicated day, just to be able to shoot those scenes. How did that change the way you worked? I assume it made things lot easier and a lot less stressful.

Braden Haggerty: [00:10:00] What it meant was that it was a priority and it was important. So we had rehearsal days, which we, um, which is real treat. That’s something that you usually only get in features. I was invited to all of the, um, production meetings where the whole script was discussed.

So I’d have an idea of what was happening. In the rest of the shoot, you have a much better their access and communication with the rest of the crew props, special effects, grips, lighting, um, access to all those people. So that give them my input on what we’d need in the water. And they, and they had the, you know, as a respected crew member that they knew, and they knew I knew what I was doing.

So we just had that kind of mutual respect, uh, even with the set, um, The art director, great conversations with, with him that, um, to make everything work together better so that we could build, we could build an underwater environment that could help everybody and vis visual effects was key. That was heavy visual effects.

And in siren, All the mermaids, where it had visual effects, that sets were visual effects, but they’re still, it had to be a conversation between special effects, visual effects, art direction props, and the director and the DP who was doing what and who was fitting. And I was able to be at all those meetings and help clarify.

And, and so I would know what I had to do to assist in all that.

Brett Stanley: [00:11:24] it is quite heavy on the VFX. I think I watched some of the pine the same stuff and just seeing how they’ve composited, all those amazing tales and the movement under the water. How is that to shoot? Like, is it, is it fairly choreographed or are you kinda, are you chasing them through the water? How does that work?

Braden Haggerty: [00:11:43] Yeah. Well, you probably saw you, might’ve seen some of those clips on Joe Mendez. If I said that, right. Men does this Joe Mendez, as I mentioned before, the show runner, he showed some of those clips of how they layered things. It was great. Um, Um, I’ll just give him as an example. Cause most of the episodes I did were with him, he had a very clear vision of what he wanted to see, so where we started and he even shows that in some of his layering of.

We can start to finish. We started with the storyboards and what you do is you sit in a meeting and every, all those people I mentioned before are sitting in the meeting and we look at a storyboard and we go through, okay, that you have a mermaid swimming by a ship. Let’s give that as an example. So the mermaid is we’ll go, okay.

Well, her tail is this affects, uh, Is there, her hair will be real. You know, we go through these things, the rock, there’s going to be a rock here in the background that she’s going to come out from behind. So that’s going to be visit facts, visit. I can say, then this affects what do you need from me as structurally in the tank, right.

And he’d say, well, I’d love to have a, the rock is not too big. So we need something a little bit smaller, but it’d be nice to have something that he can. Build around and then the ship is going to be here and she’s going to swim through a door and into the ship. So then, and we also, we need to see a door for her to go into the ship.

So then I know that I need to build in the, okay, with the aid of the grips, which is the written grips who are going to help me scaffolding. And then my in water grips, we’re going to build a structure that’s black and not too big, which will be the rock. And then we’re going to build a frame. That she can grab onto the edges and swim through.

Um, and then they’ll build the ship around that. And, uh, and that’s the conversation with this special visit visual effects, um, and grip and myself, uh, and in terms of to get the director, what they need.

Brett Stanley: [00:13:39] And I assume with that, with that structure that you’re building, it doesn’t need to have any texture or It’s just purely a reference for the VFX people to replace.

Braden Haggerty: [00:13:46] Yeah. And sometimes preferably preferably it’s black Ty’s will ask, you know, do they want green tape so that they can see it better? Um, a lot of it will go back to really, you need to give visual effects what they need, and then there’ll be lighting. We’ll have some requests. Okay. Well, if she’s going into the shit and say they have like a light coming, that’s supposed to simulate sunlight coming from the surface.

So that light’s coming down, but now that person is going into the ship, so lighting will request, okay, well they go through that door. Can we have something over top that will be now over top of her

Brett Stanley: [00:14:22] to flag that

Braden Haggerty: [00:14:22] blocking the light? Yeah. So, so we can see that the light changed on her as she went through the door.

Brett Stanley: [00:14:27]      interesting. So you’ve

kind of got to think about all the aspects of, of what the end result is going to be to be able to give them the raw footage that’s going to work.

Braden Haggerty: [00:14:35] Yeah, and then give that to visit effect. So it was very fun for me because I had to be really clear on what the shots were, which was great because Joe had these fantastic storyboards, very clear vision. And so then I’d have to build really the set out of scaffolding and frames and stuff like that. But I found it really fun because also my challenge was to go, okay, well, what other shots need these scaffoldings in these formats?

Because we only had so much floor space in the tank and moving the scaffolding would take time. So ideally. Is there another shot that needs this rock scaffold, they built this way and we can just move it a few feet, get that other shot and then dismantle it and turn it into another kind of scaffolding for a different shot.

So I had to think what is a good order to shoot these things as

Brett Stanley: [00:15:26] yeah. Do you, do you enjoy that kind of, um, efficiency, like reusing those kinds of things?

Braden Haggerty: [00:15:31] I do. Absolutely. It was a lot of fun and especially, um, siren, um, episodes nine and 10 got really heavily ha they had a lot of heavy water and a lot of thinking about, you know, the main character goes into a, um, the hall of an airplane. Uh, is that, is it called a fuselage, the fuselage of an airplane swim around a locker and another, uh, evil Merman comes out from behind the locker and he, you know, so we had to build the locker.

We had to build a place for the evil mermaid to stand on. Behind the locker, but yet still have a corridor for the main actor to swim down. And then there’s, they have a little fight and the actor shoots him. And then inside this fake locker, there’s a little girl and her hands going to come through the cage of the locker and, and all these elements.

And I have to visualize how we’re gonna. Build that underwater. Sometimes I have to say with that one, sometimes I’d get lucky because you know, something would change and okay, well, we’ve got the little girl here now, so we’re going to actually go to this shop first and so I’d have to quickly go, what am I going to do with the scaffolding?

How am I going to build the locker? How, how am I going to get that right height? Because a little girl has to be higher in the water column. And so I’d have to on the fly. Restructure how the day’s going to go and how these elements are going to fit quickly as I can. Anyway, I remember one time going to the, the rigging grips who are outside of the tank, but they would, they would build scaffolding for us, and then lift it up on chains and fly out there on the outside of the tank.

Pull it up on chains, drag it over the top of the tank and then lower it into the tank, a little bit of a production, but I remember going, Oh my gosh, you need an extra foot on this scaffolding. I need to be a foot higher on the foot to lower or something. And they, and they, and then they’d go like this and point it, this, I remember them pointing at something and I was like, Oh wait, no, that’s, that’s exactly what I need.

Yeah. Right there. And they’d just by fluke. Had it. So. Uh, you know, as you get more experience, you kind of get lucky with how things will fall into place for you. And I think it’s because you’ve looked so far ahead and plan for every scenario sometimes when things change it without even knowing it it’s there for you anyways, because you’ve done so much prep and looked at every aspect, things fall into place.

Brett Stanley: [00:17:44] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And all that, all that preparation sets you up for success, I think.

Braden Haggerty: [00:17:49] exactly. That’s exactly it. You’ve worded it perfectly.

Brett Stanley: [00:17:52] Is, is the sort of prep you’re doing on, on siren. Is that more intense than you’ve done on other shows? Just because you’ve got this whole day to shoot or is there more prep on shows where you’re a bit more, on the scheduled, I guess?

Braden Haggerty: [00:18:06] I mean, you can go from as simple as I can just show up with a little camera. I don’t even need tags cause I can hold my breath and somebody’s going to fall in the water and then we’re going to watch them in their feet, swim away. I’m in a swimming pool. I can stand to do my shots. That that’s a really simple.

And then other times, uh, power Rangers. For example, we had five actors and five stunt people doubling them. There was a lot of people who did not have a lot of water experience. It was sort of a bigger, challenging sequence with a lot of swimming to the bottom of 16 foot tank, um, which has its own challenges, which w which will be interesting to go over.

And so we did a lot of. We had a lot of rehearsals. We had rehearsals in a pool just to get water comfortable, and then we’d have rehearsals actually be practicing the actual swimming that we’re going to be doing in a, still a pool. And we did a previous, um, you know, swim to actual just in the swimming pool, the actions that the actors would be doing so that we could kind of give a show the director and then, um, Then you’ll have rehearsals in the tank so that the, you know, going from a bright lit brightly lit swimming pool to a darkly lit tank is yet a whole nother thing for talent.

And the more water time they have, the more comfortable they are. So siren was on the more intense. And because as, as with power Rangers, we would often have five, six. I think sometimes even more actors who are also then being doubled by each one would have a double. Um, so we, we would have to spend time choreographing.

So, um, should I go into that? Some of those layers of prep.

Brett Stanley: [00:19:40] Yeah, that’d be great. Yeah. I mean, if you, if you want to talk about the layers of prep that you’re doing for something that’s involved like that, then you know, that would be

Braden Haggerty: [00:19:48] Yeah.  well. Let’s do let’s do is power Rangers and an example, cause we’ve talked a lot about siren, but it power Rangers. And this is where we started, especially doing this. A way of preparing, but so there’s a friend of mine. Who’s a free diver and she’s became a free diving instructor just before we were shooting power Rangers and her name’s Roberta.

And she is trained all the mermaids and, and a lot of your people who will be listening to this probably already heard of Roberta. Anyways, she, um, Where we start is we take the actors and we have to train them for one, to be on scuba. There’s some limitations on scuba, but all, anybody who is going to end up being on a scoober underwater too, a scuba diving equipment underwater needs to be, um, It has to go over scuba with an occupational diver who will also be their safety diver on the day.

So we go to a pool to do that as well as we do some, you know, practicing breath hold and being comfortable with breath. Hold equalizing. And, uh, it just swimming. How do they score? And Roberta goes over a lot of that with them. The biggest, the biggest challenge, funnily enough, in a tank situation are eyes, ears, and nose, uh, eyes, because they don’t have, they don’t wear goggles when they’re underwater.

as well as getting used to them, the water stings eyes. So there’s managing that. No is just getting water in your nose. So that’s like once you’re upside down, water is going in your nose. So, uh, I don’t, I know one. Person who is fully comfortable with that, but there’s not a lot. I use her a lot and underwater, she was a stopper double in siren, and then there’s, um, years.

So you have to equalize and that the biggest equalizations happen at the shallowest areas, because as those are the biggest changes in pressure. So it’s all about eyes ears. No. So we do a lot of pool training and we had a lot pool sessions with. Both the actors and the stunt doubles on power Rangers before we went into the tank.

Brett Stanley: [00:21:51] how long do you tend to spend with that amount of people? Is that a whole day or half a day or.

Braden Haggerty: [00:21:56] Yeah. Uh, well, there’d be about there about four, three to four hour sessions because that’s, you know, then, then you’re tired, but we try to do more than one. So I think with power Rangers, there was about three pool sessions. Um, and then there were, uh,

I think we had a day rehearsal in the tank as well.

Siren, we would have a day rehearsal, um, for every tank day that we had, we would, we would try to go and we would shoot on, um, either on the main, well, we would shoot it so that we could show the director and we could, yeah, it sort of changes, uh, from him or her, a lot of female directors on siren, which was nice.

So that we could, we could make adjustments for that before. Day before the shoot day. I’m not so much power Rangers, power Rangers with just a lot of swimming. It was a lot of all the actors through the water, swimming down through the water. So that was, you know, really getting the equalizing happening and things like that.

Nobody really was on scuba in power Rangers in the end. But in siren, we would do a lot of mix of people just doing breath, hold for their shots. And also going down on scuba, you take the scuba out. You take the regulator out, do your acting. This is especially for closeups where they weren’t really swimming a lot and then put the regulator back in, breathe up a little bit more and then take the regulator out again and do so we can do multiple takes without people having to come up and

Brett Stanley: [00:23:19] yeah. Yes. That would save you a lot of time.

Braden Haggerty: [00:23:21] Yeah. I hope that’s clear the way I’m describing it,

Brett Stanley: [00:23:24] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So you’ve got a

mix of people who are, who are just doing, seen swimming from the surface down on one breath. Um, and, and other scenes where they’re sitting with a safety diver, whether on scaffold or, or holding onto the diver and

breathing as such. Um, and then when they’re ready to take their, do their shot, that type, the rig out and move frame.

And, and then yeah. When their talent signals to, to breathe again, they come back in.

Braden Haggerty: [00:23:48] Yes, you’re you’re set. You don’t need to train. You’re ready. You’re ready to do it, but you’re right. They would signal, they put their hand up to their mouth to fingers, to their mouth and they give it a very distinct signal that they’re ready for their air and their safety divers sprints back in siren.

Was a lot was mostly breath hold. We prefer to use the breath hold cause it’s then you can just be anywhere in the water column and, and as well as they were always moving in siren. So we definitely had a rehearsal day for each episode where we would go through the more complicated maneuvers and Ilene Powell, who was the lead was, uh, uh, did the, most of the swimming was.

Amazing in the water, right from the beginning. I mean, she, she got a little bit ahead of everybody cause she had the most training in the beginning. Uh, we did a lot of pool sessions and her training actually started, she came over from, I believe it was London that she was where she was living at the time, even though, um, She’s Belgian, but I think belief, she was living in London at the time when she first was approached to do the show because Roberta has connections all over the world for free diving.

So she connected with a free diver in London and alien actually started her training in London with this woman. Then she came to Vancouver and there was, there was a. Several more pool sessions and then she was in the water. Um, and she was amazing from the beginning re she, she made it easy for me because I, if she was easy to follow, um, very fluid, she was really good at maintaining her level in the water column.

Um, so that was yeah, really special experience for me being able to work with

Brett Stanley: [00:25:18] Yeah. From from shooting with siren and from shooting with these people in the water and maybe moving in different ways than you’re used to on other shows. Are you, do you find that you’re shooting it in a different way?

Are you learning different, different ways to move that camera through the water?

Braden Haggerty: [00:25:32] Yeah, that’s a good question. I have, I found as I’ve looked through the photos, um, if you, if you go to my website, you’ll see photos of me on various shoots, and I’ve noticed that I’ve gone from. That my gear has changed. The gear that’s on my body has changed. So I gone from wearing a BCD for a lot of. My shooting too.

I’ve taken the BCD off and I S I swim without the BCD through the water. Now it’s just too bulky and cumbersome. It’s made the task for this. I have a, a woman and an, a guy who take turns gripping for me underwater, and they manage my hoses. So now that might be, I work off of a long host, so they do a lot of swimming around with not only the video cable for the camera that goes to the surface, but now my long hose as well.

And. Swimming might tank around. So we’re all getting a really good workout and they’ve been fabulous at not, um, I don’t know how hard they’ve been working until I look back and look at them and they’re like scrambling around trying to keep my regulator in my mouth. So, you know, and, and, and caught up with me and this cable that’s cumbersome as we swim all the way across the tank, chasing sing a mermaid.

Brett Stanley: [00:26:40] yeah, I think that’s, that’s a really interesting thing. Cause, cause when you’re, when you’re shooting, when you’re operating you you’re so into that monitor and peripheral vision that you don’t know, all the other stuff that’s happening behind you to keep you running and to keep you yeah. Keep the area clear for you to get through.

And I just say to keep regulators and stuff in your mouth.

Braden Haggerty: [00:26:59] Yeah. Yeah. So it’s, it’s been fun. We all, we all get a good workout, but so that hasn’t been a fundamental change in the way I shoot. And now I just tend to never have the BC D and just be so often in, in the past, if there was the shot descriptions. They were smaller sequences. Sirens had a lot more sequences and they would be, you know, the, the car goes in the water and then the person comes out and looks around and sees if it’s safe to swim back up.

And a lot of the time, um, I would be able to stand and I’d be able to move with people. I’d be able to walk. I’d be able to put a scaffold and be able to stand on it to shoot. Now I just. If I can get a scaffolding in there, I do, but I’m prepared at all times to just float in the water and, um, and hold the shot.

Sometimes it’s, uh, it would be nice to have be a little bit more stable and often when that’s necessary, we can get something in there, but because so much of it has been moving, um, I just kind of went, okay, I’m just, I’m going to have to. Get really good at this, uh, holding a tight shot, uh, while I’m floating and we siren, and we’ve got so much practice with the rehearsals and everything.

It’s, it’s worked out really well. And there’s one shot, um, where I really went like, yeah, this is, this is the way I’m going to do this from now on. Um, that worked out really well is the lead actor. And it was, I think it was season two. It might’ve been season one, but the lead played by Alex Roe. He plays his character.

Ben. He has to dive under, dive into the water, swim under the hall of a ship and get dislodged something from the, um, The fin or the teal or whatever, the rudder. And he has to swim under he dives under to follow him. He looks around and then he swims forward and I have to back up with him and go all the way up to, and then come up a bit in the water to this fin thing.

And then he releases the fin and he swims out. And it was, I think it was that sequence was the one where I really went, Oh, this is swimming around with them. Like, this is really kind of fun. And I’ve got ditched the backpack by then. I think that was the one where I really, um, moved to that mode. the nice thing too, is we use this, uh, uh, housing from this company called hydroflasks and, um, they put all their cameras, it fits a number of different cameras, but one of those cameras is much smaller than the actual housing.

And so I called up Pete Romano and he’s he started hydro flex and he’s he shoots everything with. His housings, of course. I’m sure he has this beautiful housing that no one else uses.

And it is perfectly trimmed for him. Look, trim and, um, keeping balance in the wall column with the way you’ve put things on your body and the way you have things on the house. And I gave him a call and I said, Hey, are you ever thinking about. Making the housing a little bit smaller to fit for the Alexa mini, which is used a lot in the housing.

And we had a conversation about trimming out the housing. He said, well, no, it’s, it’s actually worked fine for him. It’s a lot of work to change everything on those housings. Um, Eddie says I’ve just, you know, trim everything out and find, find that it works really well for me in the water as, as is. And I just kind of took that to heart and yeah, as we’ve had so many more days in the water, we’ve really.

Come to trimming the housing to the point where it just sits completely neutral in the water, but we can do it really quickly. So I’ve always wanted to achieve that, but sometimes it’s like we got to get in the water. We haven’t had a rehearsal day, so we haven’t been able to trim the housing out yet. We got a new lens in there.

The waiting is different, but with siren, we had the time to write, really trim it out. And now when we go to the other shows where we don’t have the time. We’re able to trim it out before it even hits the wall. Like often it goes in the wall. And like I say to my assistant Kim McNaughton who’s does most of the work with me.

Um, I’ll say it’s perfect. It’s good. I’m good to go. And so just because we’ve had the time now, so with that and trimming my body with not having to BCD and, uh, you know, I’ve even changed my weight belt that I wear actually. Um, it’s easy to do what. I’m trying to do this swimming

around. And so I I’ve streamlined myself.

I took the conversation with him and went, Oh, okay. And I looked at the housing differently. And now I actually like using that hydro flex because it is a little bit bulkier. Um, Um, sometimes you want to get into smaller corner and that that’s a little bit more challenging, but that the size of the housing works for me.

And, um, um, it gives me a little bit more. Push like something to push against the water with, if that makes sense. But yet it’s still neutral. So it doesn’t have the weight, but it does have, you’re still pushing something through the

Brett Stanley: [00:31:33] yeah. like a little bit of a Nosha to it. Like it’s got a little bit of resistance, a little bit.

Braden Haggerty: [00:31:38] Yes, resistance is a good, is a good word for it, which works for me.

So when I go to my smaller form art CA camera, which is a Sony  system mirrorless, so it’s much smaller. It feels like I’m on a little bit, like I’m on ice now. I don’t feel like I have that same control as I do with the bigger housing. And I actually had a conversation with Pete we’re now we’re two, two or three years later from that.

Conversation when we’ve talked about how he trims the housing and he likes the bigger housing. And we talked about those two things about how it’s a much more, you feel like you’re much more in control of that

Brett Stanley: [00:32:14] Yeah.

Braden Haggerty: [00:32:15] housing. 

Brett Stanley: [00:32:16] so from my experience, cause I’ve used that hydro flex housing quite a bit, and

going from that to the smaller housing. Yeah, to me, it’s like having a fluid head on a, on a tripod where you’ve got this resistance and it helps you to slide into a movement because it’s this little bit of resistance helps you to control the movement,

whereas the smaller house.

And like you’re saying, you’re on ice and every movement is almost exaggerated to the point where it’s, it feels a little out of control.

Braden Haggerty: [00:32:44] yeah, exactly. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. But we don’t say that it’s out of control because we’re always in control, but it’s not as it’s a nicer feel.

It’s definitely a nicer feel. It’s like having a sloppy. Fluid head as to a nice, when you’ve trimmed your, when you’ve trimmed your friction settings on your, on the head.

Yeah. That’s what it would equate to. Yeah.

Brett Stanley: [00:33:07] So you were using, so you’re saying you were wearing a BCD where you with, with tanks on your back as well. And now you’ve moved to like a hooker set up.

Braden Haggerty: [00:33:16] Yeah. Hookah, but the tank, the tank sitting on the bottom of the pool and I just have a long hose, but essentially that’s what it would sort of look

Brett Stanley: [00:33:24] Yeah. So then are you on like a 20 foot hose or something?

Braden Haggerty: [00:33:26] 20 or 30. Yeah, I like the 20, the 30 is good. If I’ve got to go a long ways, but the twenties a little bit more manageable. 

Brett Stanley: [00:33:33] And so

that’s just giving you so much more room to move and less drag in the

Braden Haggerty: [00:33:37] Yeah, yeah. And another thing too is, you know, we are in a 48 foot diameter tank. That’s 16 feet deep. That’s the most common that we get. Tank when we’re on a show and we’re like, yeah, I get, give yourself a little bit of room. You guys, and they’ll go for 40. Yeah. It’s hard to get a 60 foot tech power Rangers.

We had the 60 foot tank. That was brilliant. That was beautiful. But what would that 48 feet we want to maximum every foot. Cause it gets small fast. So when I, when I was talking about putting the scaffolding in, you put a w w we allowed ourselves a 10 by 10. Uh, scaffold that we put in and out a lot. So when we’re working with STEM performers, we can take them to the bottom of the tank, the 16th, that the 15 foot depth we’re allowed to take them to a 15 foot, but when we’re, um, have talented, and if people don’t have their Patty, then we’d have a seven foot depth.

So we’ll put them on. If we need to have people on scuba, what we would do is we bring down a couple mermaids and. Drop them onto the 10, five, 10 by 10 platform. That’s up 10 feet putting them in that seven foot range.


but as soon as you put that 10 by 10 platform in there, your tank just shrinks so much.

Uh, Uh, my, the underwater group that I work with, who’s a rigging grip background. Uh, his name’s herb dwell, and he’s done a lot of the work up here and the rigging and setting up of the tank. He’s invaluable to me. So we also need to have steps for people to come in and out of the tank.

And we used to actually have steps that would go to the bottom of the tank, set up on a scaffold, another scaffolding system that would take a big chunk. So now we got it. 48 foot diameter. I like to use right under where we get in and out of the water as my back wall and look out at my set, you know, 270 degrees out, looking away from that area.

Brett Stanley: [00:35:22] you the most space.

Braden Haggerty: [00:35:23] to give me the most space, but if I’ve got those steps there, I’ve lost five feet. So what we designed on siren to maximize is he made benches that were up high. So now the benches were probably at the 10 foot Mark. So when you stood on it, you had five feet, maybe a little bit higher.

So the benches allowed for somebody to stand on a bench. And have their head out of the water, shoulders out of the water. So it was probably a four half feet let’s say from the surface and then underneath nothing. So he built the benches from the top. Yeah.

Brett Stanley: [00:36:00] So

they’re hanging off

the edge the

Braden Haggerty: [00:36:02] exactly per year. You’re so good at finding my words for me.

Thank you. You’re right, exactly. Hanging suspended from the top and then. I added my five feet at the bottom and it felt like the tape became a 60, 40 tank. We won’t tell them producers that

it’s a 60 foot tank because we still want a 60 foot tech, but it added all this space. So for seasons two and three, We had this much bigger floor space.

So now we, we, uh, we try to build it that whenever

we can.


Which is great. Cause sometimes, Oh, for like we did a Batwoman the last few years we’ve had a lot of really good shows. Um, we did Batwoman and in Batwoman I believe we had a 36 foot tank and we had an armored car in it and we have two characters being blown out of the water.

And, well, I think we did have to have the. We didn’t have the bench actually. So as soon as we, you know, all I could have was one scaffolding. And so if we needed scaffolding for people to get in and out, and we needed scaffolding in the middle, I said, we’re going to have to, there’s no way we can have two towers and cause it takes just too small.

Okay. So ideally we’ll just every time we can, we get enough prep, we’re going to get the

Brett Stanley: [00:37:13] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it sounds like it’s, it’s a, an efficient way of doing it.

a, an efficient

Braden Haggerty: [00:37:17] Yeah. Yeah. Cause, uh, it’s hard to, you know, describe sometimes it’s very challenging to describe what’s going on underwater to the people on the surface. Uh, we’re getting better at it because we’re doing it more, but, um, there’s, there’s, it’s, there’s always a unique set of challenges.

But, uh, uh, underwater is just so beautiful that people, I think they end up mostly with something. They like the bat woman was, was really fun because the actual van was real. I didn’t have to fake it with scaffolding. So, um, we got to be inside the van. Um, we got to, the lighting was different, um, because, um, um, I’m trying to think of the name of the DP.

Uh, it was fun because it was night. He was using creative lighting. Cause there was, there was police up top that the van had the headlights, uh, were still on, you know, and he had put he put a light panel inside. The van that on the roof and that was lighting inside the van. And, um, it was an armored car type thing, right?

It was a, I guess it was a prisoners. It was a prisoners yeah. Prisoner transport vehicle. And they’re taking one of the lead actresses is being transported in this vehicle. And that woman ends up, it goes into the water and that woman comes in and cuts a hole in the side of it, drags this character out.

Okay. Um, so, and then they, they both get blown out of the water. So they actually got ratcheted out of the water, which was really fun as

Brett Stanley: [00:38:45] So they actually fall through the surface of the water or across the, across the tank. 

Braden Haggerty: [00:38:49] Uh,

they, uh, they were standing facing each other and they each got blown out away. So they got blown to the surface, so they weren’t that deep under the water. So yeah, we could do that sort of thing. No, no, you know what? They did it on breath hold that’s why. So they went down, suck down three, two, one, and then they got blown up because you don’t want to go, you know, when you’re, you don’t want to be on scuba and move that quickly to the surface.

Right. As

you, as you know,

Brett Stanley: [00:39:14] air will

expand and

Braden Haggerty: [00:39:15] Yeah, exactly. So we, so we had them on breath hold. So we’ve been doing a lot of, uh, okay. What shots are going to be breath. Hold what are going to be scuba depending on what the action’s going to be. So a lot of those conversations. And so we had a lot of conversations about how to set that up and decided that hold was going to be the best.

We had a Yvette Gawenda was playing Dublin for Batwoman and Lisa Chandler, who is woman who can go upside down and all kinds of water can go in her nose. There are two there too. Some of our go-to underwater stunt performers, and they’ve been training and practicing for it and they play. They doubled the characters.

And it was nice because I requested to the stunt coordinator, he already had one lined up and I said, can we request it? And it’s nice because they’ll listen to us. Sometimes when we, when we request these people anyways, they, they did it. So they were, they were okay to do the breath hold because that they’ve been training for

Brett Stanley: [00:40:06] Right.

is there something that you have to plan in terms of mixing breath, holder and scuba? Um, within a day, do you need to do them in a certain order or does the, the decompression residuals, not really matter between the two

Braden Haggerty: [00:40:19] Yeah, that’s a good question. No, because we’re in a 16 foot tank and the talent is never deeper than 15 feet. I say a 16 foot tank, but the water levels not right to the surface so that we stay within our guidelines. We have, we can be there for three days, but by the occupational diving standards, there’s no, uh, it kind of, it’s, it’s sort of infinity.

In terms of how long we’re ever going to shoot. So no, we just go back and forth as per, as per the shots require

Brett Stanley: [00:40:49] Yeah. So you don’t need to take it into consideration.

Braden Haggerty: [00:40:51] Yeah. You know what we take into consideration things like, okay, this is, this is an intense scene. People are not going to be thinking, breathe out. So we’re going to do it on breath hold and we will, you know, sometimes have to.

Really, you know, explain like, no, this is not going to be happening on breath. Hold nobody’s to change that. Or this will be happening on breath. Hold nobody’s to change that or, Nope, this is, this is better on a record later, this certain performer, whether they’re an actor or stunt person is good. It is very, very competent and we’re not worried about them holding their breath or not.

Um, we managed to sometimes be able to use some of the occupational divers as a doubles. Yeah. And then we’re worrying even less about what they’re doing. They do. So you’re taken to consideration the shots, what needs to happen in at the depth that it needs to happen at. And then who’s doing

Brett Stanley: [00:41:41] Yeah. And so I’ll just explain this because for people at home and the difference between doing a breath hold shot and doing a scuba shot is that when you’re on a breath, hold you take a lung full of air and you go to the bottom of the tank say, and then you come back up again with that same amount of air in your lungs.

Whereas if you’re on scuba, you’ll go to the bottom of the tank and you’ll take in a breath of compressed air. Which, if you hold that in your lungs and you rise up, your lungs will expand. Like it’s a balloon, which can cause quite a lot of damage. So as you come up from the bottom on scuba, you need to breathe out that excess air so that your lungs don’t expand and you get an embolism.

Um, so that’s the difference between the breath hold

Braden Haggerty: [00:42:23] it’s interesting too, because

well, lots of people like to go, Oh, free diving. It’s so dangerous or screw, but it’s so dangerous. You do these dangerous sports and they’re, they’re not really, if you’re doing them properly, it’s like anything walking across the street can be dangerous if you do it, not looking, you know?

So all of these things are safe. If you. If you stay within your protocols. And the interesting thing about scuba diving is most people think deep and all these things, same with free diving and your biggest problems can happen actually, right at the surface. If you’re, if you’re not paying attention, like you’re saying.

Brett Stanley: [00:42:57] Yeah. And I think statistically that’s where most of the issues happen is in that first, what is it? 10, 15 feet,

Braden Haggerty: [00:43:03] Yeah, so we’re good. We have, we always have a safety diver per person. We work everything out. Um, it’s funny cause I’ve also worked as a safety diver. And so even when I’m behind the camera, my, my mamma instincts are always there. Like I want to reach out and grab somebody and I’m sure the safety divers are just get, get out of here and get back behind again.

Um, yeah, it’s hard to leave you.

Brett Stanley: [00:43:26] Yeah, exactly. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s part of it, you know, it’s your every day, it’s when you’re under water that you’re thinking in the back of your mind, all that safety stuff, because that’s.

Braden Haggerty: [00:43:35] Absolutely as well as, um, being, I like to say as an underwater unit coordinator, you know, getting all the departments together, which means you’re high on the supervisor list. I am considered on, especially a show like siren head of that department. I’d be considered head of underwater department. And that puts you.

You’re yours. You’re responsible like a supervisor. So. If something happens and I don’t mean I don’t want anything to happen because I’m going to be held responsible, but I am in the position of being a responsible person and making sure that nothing does happen. So

Brett Stanley: [00:44:07] Yeah. You’re, you’re responsible because you don’t want anything to happen.

Braden Haggerty: [00:44:11] And I am legally too.

Brett Stanley: [00:44:13] Yeah,

Braden Haggerty: [00:44:14] I also, but I enjoy, I enjoy that responsibility. That’s what makes the job more interesting?

Brett Stanley: [00:44:19] Yeah. Yep. So how did you even get into underwater? Was, was water something that you grew up with or was it something you

Braden Haggerty: [00:44:27] Oh yeah. Um, I know as a kid, I always, I love being in the water. Which sounds so in, you know, but it’s true. So I remember my memory’s not the best, but I do remember when I was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, and we had a swimming pool in our backyard and my mom who didn’t swim that my sister and I knew how so we had the white WCA lessons as kids and Regina.

And swam in the pool in the winter and then swimming our backyard pool, part of our condominium complex outdoor pool in the summers. And then when I moved to Vancouver where I’ve been, since I was 12, my best friend and I, we loved going to the swimming pool and that, that. UBC aquatic center, which just got torn down about two or three years ago.

And it’s been rebuilt while we were there opening. I recall being there opening day, I maybe that’s just my memory, but we w that’s what we did for fun. We went to the swimming pool and hang out in the water. So, um, when I got older, I thought, well, I’ll try out this scuba diving thing. I don’t know. Why I thought that because I did it by myself, I was 21, I think when I took my lesson.

So I got my scuba diving certificate, early days of it. I had troubles equalizing, and I thought, Oh, well, I’ll never re really be able to equalize. So we’ll see what happens with this, but didn’t do a lot of dive in here, so I didn’t really die for awhile. Um, then when, uh, uh, uh,

I went to film school, I. Did a bunch of things with school and actually landed deciding I like taking photos and ended up at, to film school at Concordia.

And while I was there, I ended up in the, working in the equipment room. And so a lot of people, I knew the cameras and how to work them, which back in the day of film, right. That was the precious loading and unloading that film was this precious thing that everybody was scared of doing, but I knew how to do it.

So I went out on a lot of shoots in the camera department in helping us particularly helping assist. Anyways, I, while I was at school, there was a, the NFB, the national film board, which is the. I don’t really hear about them so much anymore, but it’s well known up here in Canada. The nook of the North came out of the NFB years and years ago, famous documentaries.

they were doing a series called the anti-racism series. And my photography cinematography teacher gave my name to them and said, you know, maybe Braden would like to come out. And since I was in photography, I ended up shadowing the DP. Uh, Zoe, And, um, um, when I was working with Zoe, she was a DP for whatever reason.

And I thought I said, Oh, I wouldn’t mind doing underwater. I don’t even know. I don’t remember watching flipper and liking underwater. It doesn’t go back to kid days or anything, but I must’ve seen something that made me go underwater would be neat.

this is a 1989, 1990. Yep.

Now we’re dating me my age anyways.

No, it’s okay. So good. Um, I am what I am anyways. Uh, I was in Montreal at the time. That’s where Concordia is. And she said, well, when you head back to Vancouver, look up a woman, her name’s Pauline Heaton. She runs a company called water vision. She was doing underwater out here. And so when I came back, that’s what I did.

I started, um, Working out at her company and learning about the cameras I was doing, mostly assisting stuff, got in the water a little bit. We were in shallow pool. So equalizing was never an issue because I guess back in the day with film, we focused in the water. Do, did you ever use those systems where you were

Brett Stanley: [00:47:45] I haven’t used them, but I’ve spoken to people. And then, you know, you’re pulling focus on the, on the actual housing itself.

Braden Haggerty: [00:47:50] Yeah. Yeah. So that was interesting. It’s all changed  with the system as you know, the. The Mark five, the hydro flex housing we’re using now, everything is cabled up to the surface focus. I resume. I wish I could use the zoom. That’s the only thing I missed. He got to go up and talk about, well, let’s, let’s push in as opposed to, or let’s sorry, let’s zoom in as opposed to pushing it.

Cause you know, we want, we want that feeling. We don’t want the white clothes. We want a little bit of distance or, you know, so you have to go up and talk about it anyways. Um, So then I, um, I guess when I, I ended up getting back in the water was Pauline had a gig and we shot a demo for Kodak in Hawaii.

And because I have a darker skin color and another girl that was working with us had lighter skin tone, Pauline wanted to have both of us swimming in shots with, um, Monterey’s and whatever else it was so that we could see how the film stopped. It was a demo for the two 50 daylight. Remember that way back.

And so, um, I went, okay, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll do that. And I knew as we were flying to Hawaii, that I was going to have to equalize my ears and I was just like, it’s gonna work. It’s gonna work. And it was all fine. And then since then, I’ve just been back, back in the water that was 97. So there’s quite a gap I did.

I had already started shooting a bit on my own. Um, some of the tank jobs in town, um, um, So, but that’s where I started was out at with this woman learning the tricks of the trade and then slowly moving into shooting my own

Brett Stanley: [00:49:17] right. Was

there, was it very hard for you to get that kind of first step into the industry? Like did, was she reluctant to take you

on or was she kind of welcoming you in.

Braden Haggerty: [00:49:27] No, she was very welcoming. She was great. She she’s very much about sharing information, uh, teaching people, um, giving them the experience behind the camera shooting. As well, she, she, she was really good that way. And then as well, I guess, uh, as well as working with her, because there’s not enough underwater to just do that.

I also was able to get into the union as a second camera assistant. So it was meeting people in, in the world that I work, which I call Hollywood North, because most of what we work on are there were productions. So I was also making my own connections as well. They’re one of the cinematographers that I work with a lot, his name’s Rob McLaughlin, but the very first trainee gig I had was Rob McLaughlin was the DP.

And then I ended up working on a show for him as a second camera assistant. He was DP called millennium, and then he gave me a couple of jobs. Millennium happened to have a few underwater. Shoot. So I would, I did those as an operator and kind of, I think that kind of slowly started, so there was still Pauline, there was another fellow named Rick Mason.

There’s another fellow named Ian Seabrook and myself all sort of shooting Ian. And I did a lot of assisting too in the early days, but also shooting. And then Pete Romano might come up. Pete Zuccarini might come up. I mean, there’s lots of. Um, competition, but I would just, yeah. You know, I would try to get on as assistant or a safety diver, and you’re always learning, you know, you, you work with these other people, but you learn every time you’re in the water.

Yeah. I might not, not necessarily learning what they’re doing. What, how does peach shoot? Cause I have my own ways that I shoot,  but you also learn about underwater situations, you know? Oh, you cannot put a tree in the water and sometimes they try to put a tree in the water. So let’s make sure when I’m coordinating an underwater thing.

I know who’s doing setback and Oh, what are you guys planning on putting in there? Is it going to rust? Is it going to fall apart? Because you’ve been on all these sets. How did it work with the talent? How does it work with safety? There’s so many things to learn every time you’re on set.

My background as a safety diver has been so valuable to me as a shooter, um, because I understand. What safety needs. I understand how to read talent when they’re in the water, whether they’re a stunt performer or not, you know, not just because they’re a stunt performer doesn’t mean they can go from a, to B and back again.

Yeah. A million times, you know, they’re, they’re doubling somebody and they’re a good double, but is their breath hold good? Are they comfortable on scoop? Um, Um, and I can make adjustments knowing. Oh, okay. That’s who stent. Doubling. We can do whatever you want. That’s his step doubling. We’ve got to make some other adjustments.

You make them ahead of time productions aware. It’s all good. But if you show up on the day and you’re not aware of things, that’s when you get into trouble.

Brett Stanley: [00:52:06] so if you’re on a production and you, You know, you’ve got all this experience, you know, all these different, techniques and, and, you know, what’s going to You know, work in the water if you’re not fully on the production, if you’re just coming in for a day or a couple of shoots here and there are people like the are people set decorators and the art department, are they deferring to you or, or do you kind of have to go and

Braden Haggerty: [00:52:28] That’s a good question too, because I’ve been in the industry for so long and. I know so many people, especially because as we were talking before I’ve done stunts, I’ve done stand in. I’ve been extra I’ve, I’ve worked in the camera department for years and camera department gets to know a lot of people.

And now that I have the time behind me and yeah, water and a very respectful career, um, I find that for most productions, if they have, they will ask there, I find that, um, um, There’s a good relationship. Yeah. T taking this set deck, for example, um, you know, do, will they. defer to me or ask, ask questions. Uh, we did a project, um, a couple of years ago called somebody where between, and they were building a very elaborate set in the water. And because I was part of the production meeting because the underwater was more complicated.

Um, I got to meet set deck there and I got to voice some of my concerns in the production meeting. And they got to say what they were doing. And I was like, Oh, well, I can. Find out where, where you get the best underwater. Plastic LG, or, you know, when you get stuff, do you guys mind showing me? And they’re like, fantastic.

And they were all over collaborating and, um, not so much me telling them what to do, but letting me know what they were doing. And did I think that would work. And so I went, I, when they were building the underwater set, you know, I would be in touch with the art director and he’d say, I’m going to be, can you come out on Monday at three and, and take a look and see what we’re doing.

And so I’d go out and we’d have discussions and, and we just both knew what, Oh, that’s perfect. Perfect. I’ll still be able to get scaffolding in, or, you know, these loose bits might not work so good or, you know, um, it was great. So most of the time there’s a good conversation that goes on.

Brett Stanley: [00:54:11] Yeah, because they want it to work as well. They want to be able to do a good job

and have this

Braden Haggerty: [00:54:16] Exactly. Exactly. And some now I’ve had a lot of experience in the water and some haven’t and if they haven’t, they’re very, they very much want to know, does this work, does that not work, especially when we’re going well, we’re going to Mount the, we’re going to use a foam such and such, and we’ll be like, okay, you’re going to need foam doesn’t work so well because you need.

A lot of weight to keep phoned down and they’ll be like, well, it’s just a tiny rock. And it’s like, you’re going to need 300 pounds to keep your tiny rock under water. And so a lot of those conversations are happening ahead of time. And I found it’s great. If you share information with people, if you respect their part of it and, and they will respect yours.

And so I have very, um, conversations with, with people. Um, mutually and I find that they, they re they want to engage. They’re interested in underwater. They want to know how it works and they’re so happy to help you, um, get something that works for both them and you, and I’m happy to, you know, I sat deck has, they’ve got things that they have to be able to see in there too.

And I respect that. I respect that. Nope. They want it here. They want it to be like this. Okay. How can we make that work for camera and, and work for you? So if it’s mutual respect, then. It works and I’m finding too, I feel, and it might be because my reputation is proceeding me a little bit more now. Um, I get that respect when I show up, I also feel like as we’re moving into 2020, uh, people are wanting to work there.

There’s less of a macho

Brett Stanley: [00:55:53] yeah, people just want

to get stuff done.

Braden Haggerty: [00:55:55] People just want to get stuff done. And they like, you know, I have to talk to the electrics. Um, you know, I need to know, I want to know exactly what’s going on because I’ve been zapped in the water before. So I want to, you know, the conversations have gone even deeper with electrics and you might approach them and you’re like, Oh, hi, I’m Braden, I’m shooting underwater.

And I just want to know what’s happening with your electricity, where it’s flowing. I’m going to ask you again every day to make sure we all know, and that if you’ve got new. Women or men in on your crew that they know, and even the old guys are, um, um, they’re like, Oh, okay. You need and, and, um, well, yeah, absolutely.

We’ll do it for you. If you get a little bit of a grope to grow up to you, approach it first, it’s easy. If you just show respect that, that they, they they’ll back off on that. And that doesn’t really happen so much anymore.

Brett Stanley: [00:56:43]  Yeah. I think the one thing that I’ve, I’ve got from doing all these podcast episodes with, with like Pete Romano and the entire Hashi and, and, and all that is it’s just respect.

Braden Haggerty: [00:56:53] yeah, I just in Takahashi had approached me just earlier this year to do a little clip thing for hydro

Brett Stanley: [00:56:59] Oh yeah. Yeah. I think I saw that on the, on their

Braden Haggerty: [00:57:02] So I just heard of him about a month or two ago.

Brett Stanley: [00:57:04] Yeah, he’s a great guy. He’s, he’s really nice. he’s all about, you know, building up the industry and,

you know, very much like Pete were very happy to share.

Braden Haggerty: [00:57:12] Yeah. Yeah. I think, you know, the people who wanted keep it to themselves because they’re worried that somebody else might take their job. I think in the long run, you’ll, you’ll do better sharing and being good at what you do than worrying that somebody else might. No, what you do, uh, and take it away from you.

I think, um, I think that’s more the, the motto these days.

Brett Stanley: [00:57:35] well, I think the, the inclusiveness and the sharing, if you’re someone who, who is open to people coming and asking questions, or, learning stuff from you that gets around. And I think people then realize that you’re a, you know, you’re an open person that you’re a nicer person. Whereas if you’re holding onto your secrets, you know, people kind of feel like, Oh, they’re a bit closed.

So maybe not as approachable.

Braden Haggerty: [00:57:56] Yes, absolutely. And in the, in the water, what we find well, it’s, I do the stump work as well. And so I have a good relationship with the stunt community. And, uh, over the past few years I asked Roberta who is the free diver and she’s also a cold water swimmer. Um, Um, I asked her if she could put a course together for stunt performers, that’s a cold water.

And, um, breath, whole course, so that, that they start coming, being able to do take jobs based on a little bit more knowledge and, and not jumping into cold water and And then the more you talk to stunt performers, you find out that cold water and breath hold are some of their Mo their worst memories.

So we’re trying to share information. And bring a community together. That’s how, you know, if they, if somebody’s got a cold water gig or a breath hold gig in the stunt community, they’ll call either Roberta or myself and say, Hey, look, we got this thing coming up. What do you think? And maybe that’s as far as the conversation goes, or maybe they

end up having Roberta come out on the day to help them, but we’re happy to share the information, whether it means they walk away and don’t need us or not.

But the community that has developed around that is really. Nice, but also just even the curiosity. And so, um, We, we are able to get more calls and maybe make things help, make things safer because people are happy to talk to us about it. So having that cold water for step performers, uh, and breath hold for some performers as has a lot of stunt performers have come and taken it.

I don’t even know. Now when she’s teaching it, she’s revert is actually a really good friend of mine as well. And she’s been, we’ve been doing some training during these. Lockdown down days, we’ve been doing a lot of cold water swimming and getting in the water free diving. Um, Um, yeah, so she’s been off and she’s like, Oh yeah, I’ve been training this step performer and that, and I’m like, Oh, when did you do that?

And it’s great. So now when we have. An underwater gig. You know, we’re working with a certain step coordinator who has to hire these people. They’ll ask us well, who’s who, who do you think would be good for this gig? And Roberta’s already seen them in the water. So sometimes we don’t even have to do the pool training with them because we already know that they can, can do it.

So we can also save some time.

Brett Stanley: [01:00:04] And makes your job a lot easier as well, because you know what to expect, you know, how to be able to work with them and, and kind of, um, estimate your shots and stuff as well.

Braden, this has been amazing. It’s it’s been great to hear your story and just to hear how you’re. Evolving from doing siren and, and also the stunt side of things, changing the industry a little bit.

So thanks very much for being able to share all this with everyone.

Braden Haggerty: [01:00:28] Thank you for having me.

Yes. Yeah. Stay in touch.

Support The Podcast


Buy The Underwater Podcast merchandise and 25% of profits will go to keeping our oceans clean with Project AWARE.

Subscribe for Updates

* indicates required