1943 - Wrecks - a pressurize chamber to prevent leakage

<< previous page

After the success with "By 18 meters deep," shot entirely in apnea, and especially after having developed with Emile Gagnan, his aqualung, Cousteau embarked on an ambitious movie. The wrecks of the harbor of Toulon and the surrounding area, shortly after the scuttling of the French fleet, is a fascinating and promising topic.

Frédéric Dumas and Jacques-Yves Cousteau ready to dive at the Planier lighthouse, near Marseille


For his second film, Cousteau and his companions develop a new watertight box, a second camera more elaborate that will stay in service until 1955. This is a 35 mm camera Leblé with a 30 meters charger, which correspond to less than a minute of film. It is adjusted, as will all his descendants, to shoot 22 images per second, which, screening at the normal speed of 24 images per second, offers a very light accelerated benefit to the dynamic images. The lens is a Sonnar 1.5, which presents, in addition to an opening equal to that of the first camera, a very good definition. As the Kinamo, the Leblé has an engine driven by a spring, reloaded before each immersion, providing energy to drive 30 meters of film. The autonomy offered is quite reduced but, as for the Kinamo, avoids any link with the surface.











Detail of the camera in a "breathable" box mounted on a butt

The waterproof case is carefully designed and made, seeking to erase the numerous shortcomings of the first one. To prevent water entry, a slight overpressure is set inside with use of a small bottle of compressed air which alerts the slightest leak by bubbles. They call it the "breathing" box. The waterproof case is for the first time mounted on a handle butt that combines the ergonomics of a machine gun. Cousteau imagines his camera like a pictures rifle, pointing the camera directly in line with its target as the barrel of a gun. It would be technically possible to mount a viewfinder on the box but Cousteau prefers to keep the attitude of a true hunter ...of images. The camera held without viewfinder will remain the hallmark of Cousteau cameras for 50 years.


>> next page