Tasmanian filmmaker Pawel Achtel scoops Innovation Award at NAB

15 April, 2013 by Emily Blatchford

Tasmanian film-maker Pawel Achtel has been awarded the Innovation Prize at the Studiodaily Prime Awards in Las Vegas, USA, for his underwater 3D film camera systems.

The Awards were announced during the esteemed National Association of Broadcasters Conference held in Las Vegas in April each year.


The six-day conference showcases the latest innovations in the film industry across a range of areas and attracts more than 100, 000 international guests annually.

This year, Achtel was honoured to be nominated twice out of 19 finalists for the award for best invention in film production.

“It’s an extraordinary honour,” says Achtel. “I’ve put hundreds of hours of work, and a lot of thought, into designing these new systems for filming underwater. None of the existing equipment did justice to the magic of the underwater world.”

Achtel’s innovations – DeepX and 3Deep – allow film-makers to film underwater with equipment that weights a fraction of what a typical underwater 3D camera rig would weigh – 20kg compared to the average 120kg.

His camera systems also feature lenses specifically designed for optical condition underwater and as a result, images from the systems are sharp enough to screen on the largest cinema screens in the world.

“I created these new housings so that I could make the best possible films underwater – trying to capture images of sea creatures that look astounding on the big screen,” said Achtel.

“That’s what I’m really passionate about. But to get such an award for this is something I never imagined!”

In a further honour, Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings has issued a statement to the press congratulating Achtel on his achievement.

“This is a wonderful achievement for a Tasmanian filmmaker who has dedicated his time to developing this innovative underwater camera system that produces outstanding 3D vision for film and television,” Ms Giddings said.

“Pawel was competing against inventions by multi-national companies including Sony and Canon, and came out the winner for cutting edge equipment developed at his workshop in Coles Bay on Tasmania’s East Coast.

“This international win will not only bring him worldwide attention, it will also generate interest in these exciting documentaries and shine another light on a rarely seen aspect of Tasmania’s natural beauty.

“The screen industry in Tasmania is the strongest it has ever been, with recent successes including Goddess, The Hunter and The First Fagan, driving investment to the state and creating jobs and training opportunities,” she said.