Tom had a vision in 1998 after he saw High Definition for the first time: he believed that it was the format of the future. He invested everything he had into the state-of-the-art Sony 700A, and first large-format Amphibico housing, built for that camera - and he began compiling footage.
At the time, top executives in the industry told Tom he was wasting his time shooting HD; they believed the format would die. But Tom’s vision proved clear and, as he predicted, HD did not die, but became a household phrase. As soon as it came out, Tom upgraded to the Sony F-900, then the Sony F-900R HD cameras and continued to build a well-shot, properly-lit, and carefully-logged stock library. After compiling over 500 hours of HD material, Tom sold his HD library to a private foundation.
Tom switched in 2009 to shoot in Ultra High Definition (UHD) with the RED ONE 4K digital cinema camera, and now films with the RED 8K system. The UHD library currently contains over 200 hours of logged material that is sold through the office and stock agencies.
Rather than diving on SCUBA, Tom uses CCR (closed circuit rebreather) technology when filming underwater. The very first rebreather Tom used was the Emerson, in 1964, with the US Naval Warfare Group, SEAL Team One, in Vietnam. Later, the US Fish and Wildlife Service certified Tom on the LARS-5 CCR so he could film a sea otter project. In the late 1990’s, Tom and Dennis Coffman, his second cameraman for 15 years, started using the US Navy CCR 15-5. Shortly thereafter, they were introduced to the British APValves Inspiration CCRs.
Long before these systems became popular with recreational divers, Tom and Dennis switched to the Inspiration (www.silentdiving.com). Tom brought 3 of these units - the very first to come into the USA. He later upgraded to the newly developed Evolution CCR, a smaller & lighter unit.
(The CCR units scrub carbon dioxide from exhaled breath and inject oxygen back into a closed circuit creating a breathing loop that eliminates noisy bubbles, minimizes decompression, and adds significant bottom time. Able to stay underwater several hours at a time while breathing silently offers many advantages, and gives Tom’s clients more bang for their buck!)
Specialized & reliable equipment is crucial for obtaining the best footage. Tom is often asked what he uses, so here's a link to Equipment & Supporting companies.