Interview Jim Bailey (Underwater Camera Housing)

Posted by | Posted in INFOS | Posted on 20-08-2011

Il est primordiale pour un site comme le notre d’ aborder le moindre aspect de la production de Jaws 3D. Ne soyez donc pas étonné de voir à la une de un article entièrement consacré à la caméra 16mm du couple Fitz Royce/ Tate (visible dans deux scènes importantes du film) et à son créateur: le sympathique Jim Bailey d’ Orlando. C’ est donc très gentiment que Jim a accepté de nous raconter son parcours et sa participation au troisième volet de la saga:

« In 1956 at age 28 I left England as a Machinist/mechanic for Canada. . Having a great interest in photography and always looking for new subjects to film. I became a certified SCUBA diver.
Back then there were very few ways to take a camera underwater. So, I had to make a housing.
With a friend/partner we designed an aluminum one for his 120 roll film camera, and I pushed to make one for my Bolex H16.
Like most under funded partnerships, we parted amicably. And I went forward with the 16 MM.

This turned out to be my entry into most things oceanographic, and put me in touch with the top people in that field. (More later.) In 1967 the Canadian Government sponsored a country wide exhibition of new products designed in Canada. And my prototype was sent to all these shows, and eventually given a ‘Design 67’ award.
Of course I had a full time job. I had a small lathe and drill press in my basement which was OK for the small parts, but I had to borrow a much larger lathe for the main castings. Getting into any real production, was just not in my budget. But I finally managed to find the money for 5 sets of castings. This was such a radical design that when I advertised it in Skin Diver Magazine they called it the ‘Bowling Ball’
The later units were motor driven and a 200 watt light and adjustable arm added. A time lapse unit was also offered. All from a rechargeable 30 volt 4 a/h battery.

I was almost on my way! In order to get some real experience and tests with the (Then named ‘JubaMarine 16’) I signed up for an Underwater Photo Course in Florida. The people that had organized it, after seeing my ’bowling ball’ were so impressed, instead of a mere student I was treated almost as faculty. Here I met those people that were to be a great influence in my life. To cut to the chase the housing was seen by a man that wanted to create jobs in central Florida, manufacturing underwater housings.
After meeting him I was offered a job to set up his plant as design and production manager. His company was ‘Sea Research & Development, Inc. The Research side was being phased out, and all effort was on manufacturing. There were problems with his existing products and after two years decided to close up, but was kind enough to make it easy for me to buy the company. ‘Thanks Bill.’. We never looked back…

Here my wife Inez and I was in sunny Florida, with a real machine shop, and a house that went with the job. She had her garden, and each weekend we would dive Florida’s fabulous springs and sinks, and with the eventual purchase of a boat got to the Bahamas almost every long weekend. Easily the best fifteen years of our lives.
I mostly made custom Underwater Housings in Plexiglas and had an order to make one for a photographer working on production of the movie Jaws3 D. The producer had seen my orange aluminum 16 MM housing and wanted to use it (It would have been a much more colorful prop, being orange, and matching the -in film actors costume).

 But it meant a lot of work to get it into working order and they were not prepared to pay my rental rate. The Housing you see in the film was the Plexi one. Some time after the production was completed, the customer brought it back for some changes, but never came back for it, and I have it still.
My website says it all. 50 years non stop… At 83, I now make only Water housings. Much less hassle. »

Merci à Jim pour sa générosité et sa disponibilité. N’ oubliez pas de visiter son site et gardez bien en tête le contenu de cet article la prochaine fois que vous aurez l’ occasion de revoir Jaws 3D!



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