What is diveLIVE?
Daily LIVE SCUBA dives hosted by marine biologists streamed LIVE on to YouTube, Facebook, Periscope and eventually TV. You can send in your questions and have them answered in real time from underwater. Join our diveLIVE Facebook community here.
Let’s connect the world with our oceans
This is why we want to launch diveLIVE, a pioneering LIVE virtual diving experience. We believe that if we can get people to fall in love with our oceans, they will all be encouraged to care for them.
By joining hands with you to achieve this mission we will be making history because the ability for divers to talk underwater while streaming LIVE video to the internet was limited. Until now that is, as WildEarth has been developing technology and systems that will enable us to do exactly this.
Anyone watching, wherever they are in the world, will be able to interact in real time with our divers, all marine experts. They will hear your question and be able to answer you by name in real time, while they are diving..
Since 2007 WildEarth has been sharing Africa's iconic wildlife with nature enthusiasts across the planet through our show: safariLIVE. From humble beginnings it has grown into a large community of well over 100,000 passionate and addicted subscribers. Along the way we have built a partnership with National Geographic and have even won a few awards. Nature-lovers hop onto the largest safari vehicle in the world with expert guides to search for and learn about Africa’s best-loved animals. As a result, we've made many more people understand and care about the African wilderness.
Through diveLIVE, we now want to do the same for our oceans. And, as with safariLIVE, we aim to keep doing this indefinitely. diveLIVE is not a once-off or short-term endeavour, but set up to be a long-term and sustainable way of connecting people with our oceans.
How will diveLIVE work?
To get this right several people and countless bits of technology need to work together. Firstly, there are the expert divers, who wear full-face masks so you can hear them talking. They will be joined underwater by camera operators who follow them and act as your eyes to give you the feeling of actually being there with the experts to see what’s happening first-hand. The bright cables in the video below are technical umbilicals that connect the divers with the surface teams and with you. Fibre optic strands run through this to carry audio and video up to the surface and your questions down to the expert divers.
On the surface (on the beach or on a boat) a narrator, also a marine expert, watches what’s happening down below on a monitor. He will join the conversation between the diver and the audience. It takes lots of air to talk underwater so the narrator will help the diver save their breath by doing some of the talking.
A third team will be back at a control room on land and will monitor the social media feeds. They will send any questions that the marine-obsessed community ask to the other two teams so they can be answered.
So it’s a three-way conversation, all happening in real time with people in several different places across the planet! And it can all happen because of clever, customised technology that our guys are developing. Our next steps are to extensively test what we've built so far, set up camp on Grand Cayman, train the expert divers and fine-tune these LIVE dives.
Why are we doing this?
Jane Goodall said it best when she said:
"Only if we understand, will we care, only if we care, will we help, only if we help, shall all be saved.”
Our oceans are in trouble and we want to help change that. Through diveLIVE we are giving people the mechanism to observe the underwater world as if they were actually diving. Many of people may never have an opportunity to go diving in real life. If we can help everyone understand the ocean a little better and make them care a little more, we are sure they will all be inspired to help.
There is more to this though, as being connected with nature is a two-way street and people benefit from the relationship too. Many people who are sick or depressed tell us that they feel better because of the connection with nature they get through safariLIVE. Here are a few quotes:
I have been watching safariLIVE for about 2 months... I struggle with PTSD, ADHD and bipolar manic depressive disorder and sometimes I can get so depressed I just wanna give up but then I get the notification that your show is on and when I turn it on... all my problems go away and I become happy again... (name withheld)
It has been a tough year... safariLIVE has been a haven for me... you continue to be an inspiration to me. (name withheld)
Ordinarily #safariLIVE is a source of amusement and edification for me, but in recent weeks that role shifted to one of escape and shelter from a personal storm. My mother was seriously ill in hospital... It was a great benefit to connect with the sights and sounds of the bush on the hospital WiFi for a bit of respite... Thank you for all the mysterious ways that #safariLIVE touches the lives of its viewers. (name withheld)
There is also a huge educational element to what we do. LIVE dives, like our safariLIVE drives, can be broadcast into classrooms around the world and the students then have exclusive access to the experts to ask their questions.
Shaping the minds of the future custodians of our oceans is one of the biggest potential achievements of diveLIVE. Albert Einstein hit the nail on the head when he said, “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better”.
Location … why Grand Cayman Island?
Because it's world-class diving at its best! Located in the northwestern Caribbean Sea, the Cayman Islands have been a diving attraction since SCUBA diving first came into existence. Famous for steep wall diving, wicked wreck dives, magnificent coral ecosystems and almost unmatched visibility. Shore diving on amazing coral reefs is especially accessible from Grand Cayman thanks to an absence of currents. This will translate into a visual feast for diveLIVE's audience with regular visits from spotted eagle rays and sea turtles among a myriad of other creatures.
In time, diveLIVE will take viewers under the ocean in other amazing diving locations like Sabah in Borneo.
A bit more about us
WildEarth was established in 2006 by husband and wife team, Graham and Emily Wallington with the mission to create LIVE wildlife content from all over the world.
Our flagship show, safariLIVE, is hosted LIVE from the the Greater Kruger Park (South Africa) and the Maasai Mara (Kenya). We broadcast for six hours a day, 365 days a year on the Internet and regularly on television with National Geographic. It's totally unscripted and unpredictable. We never know what is around the next corner.
Our online community consists of over 100,000 nature addicts and we have over half a billion minutes viewed on YouTube alone. LIVE broadcasts allow people all over the world to interact in real time and gives them a sense of actually being transported to Africa as they witness the good, the bad and the ugly of what really goes on in nature - authentic, real reality TV!
safariLIVE takes social engagement to a new level: post a question online and have it answered in a personalised way by an adventurer in the depths of Africa.
We advance virtual tourism using safari vehicles, guides on foot, drones, balloons, rovers and remote cams as we follow our viewers' favourite characters and share the action as it unfolds from various up-close perspectives.
What we still need to do
Our goal is to perfect the ability of our presenters to talk from deep below the surface in real time. For that we need to refine our technical process and our equipment to do this. Diving on Grand Cayman is the next phase for this.
As part of this we need to set up our operations properly on the island to sustain daily broadcasts. We also need to find and hire our expert teams; a land-based team in our Control Centre, a dive team including presenter and camera operator and a surface support team on-site.
And all this in a remote location with limited infrastructure.
Our technical gurus have been working hard at customising and testing our specialised diving camera rig. Rig 1.1 has recently been tested at Sodwana Bay in South Africa. There we tested the full mask talking capabilities and the ability for all parties involved to hear and communicate with one another and with the audience. Watch this video to see how they did.
There were a few issues with earpieces and some problems with noise reverb on the full face mask, as well as some general technical gremlins. One major learning was that the camera rig was rather heavy and unbalanced.
Since then we've developed rig 1.2 to address these points and this is now being tested in Grand Cayman. No doubt we'll discover further improvement options which can then be implemented in rig 1.3 which is to be completed by the end of this month and in time for the next phase of diveLIVE.
This project stage is what we call a proof-of-concept which will show potential broadcasting clients that our product not only works, but rocks! We aim to secure a television partner at some stage in order to allow us reach an even larger audience and to operate these free daily LIVE dives on an ongoing basis, forever...
Our website: https://wildearth.tv/divelive/
Our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/livedivelive/
Risks and challenges
Whenever taking on an ambitious, pioneering project there are challenges (and where technology is concerned, the gremlins are always ready to jump in to cause mischief) but as the old saying goes, "If it was easy, everyone would do it!".
WildEarth (WE) love a challenge and always set about doing a job with a glass-half-full mentality, trusting that things will work out because we work very hard to make them a success (we're no strangers to those nasty gremlins and we have a whole dedicated gremlin-exterminating team on hand).
Yes, this project is hard, yes, this will be pioneering but we believe the outcome is worth every bit of effort and we are no strangers to making new ideas work out:
* WE conducted the very first LIVE daily 3D safari broadcast with a self-developed camera set-up.
* WE followed the daily lives of different families of meerkats with a self-developed meerkat eye-level camera rig and streamed this live.
* WE did the very first LIVE broadcast of the birth of a wild black bear cub from inside the den.
*WE pulled off the in-air filming and LIVE streaming of migrating whooping cranes.
*WE streams LIVE content twice a day every day from the depths of the wilderness in Africa on safariLIVE.
To be first to LIVE stream the marine world from under the ocean on an ongoing basis with expert commentators providing answers to the real-time questions of people watching from around the world, is just another first we're planning to add to our list.
We're passionate about connecting people to nature, we're passionate about LIVE wildlife content and we're determined to master the process that will make the blue wilderness accessible to the world.
Come along on our journey and share the experiences... challenges included!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)