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Immerse Yourself With Whales, Dolphins and Freedivers In ‘The Click Effect’ Interactive Feature

Ever wondered what it’s like to dive among whales or dolphins? There’s a new interactive feature out in NY Times that attempts to make the watching experience as immersive as possible without getting wet.

“The Click Effect,” a produced by The New York Times and Annapurna Pictues, was directed by Sandy Smolan and written by James Nestor, author of “Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves.” It explores the story of the DareWin Project, featuring Frenchmen Fabrice Schnoller, an engineer with a biology degree, and freediver Fred Buyle and their effort to decode the “clicking” language of dolphins and whales.

To document those clicks, Schnoller and Buyle developed special cameras that could film in 360 degrees to give the viewer an immersive experience.

Buyle and Schnoller developed a special 360-degree underwater camera.
Buyle and Schnoller developed a special 360-degree underwater camera.

There’s even a “Making Of” documentary in which Buyle says:

“My life revolves around the ocean. I started freediving at around eight years old. The ocean brought me everything I have.”

Buyle: 'My life revolves around the ocean.'
Buyle: ‘My life revolves around the ocean.’

Nestor says:

“I had spent about two years writing about freediving from the outside, then started freediving myself. And really struggled with how to describe doing it. It took me a book to really figure that out.”

Nestor: 'It took me a book to really figure [freediving] out.'
Nestor: ‘It took me a book to really figure [freediving] out.’
Director Smolan says:

“One of the things that struck me about James’s book was the way in which Fred, Fabrice and James were trying to do something outside the normal system of academic research. And these guys just found that if they could get in the water and swim with them, the animals would approach them. And they had encounter after encounter after encounter, and they realized that they somehow wanted to document those encounters, but they also wanted to try to understand the language that these animals were speaking.”

Check out the “Making Of” video below, and to view the whole movie, go to The New York Times website.

The making of the Click Effect
John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.


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