What We Do

Our Independent Documentary Film Production History

It’s probably best to begin our history of Macdonald Productions by letting you know where we are right now and what we do. As an independent producer of televised documentaries, it’s always been our mission and goal to document different types of marine life. This has included an extensive look at watersheds and aquatic resources. After spending many years filming and archiving high-definition footage, we have close to 1000 hours of video. Our experience provides us with the ability to produce different types of educational programming. We are a documentary theatrical films production company that takes pride in creating broadcast quality videos for promotional requirements. These are always designed to capture the best quality possible in underwater experiences when visiting some of the world’s top diving resort and diving vessels.

A Beginning for Documentary Television Film Production

Now that you know where we are right now and what we can do, let’s head back to 1981. This was our first major documentary film production. The job was to document the world’s largest ocean energy test platform, which was located off of the Kona Coast on the island of Hawaii. It’s known as OTEC-1 (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion).

This film is the only document we have that portrays the details of the project. The main purpose of OTEC was to discover a way to extract energy from the ocean. It involved the harvesting of pelagic fish as well as conducting aquaculture during the process.

During the time we spent in Hawaii, we were also involved in another project by Sea Grant. This project involved documenting a number of fish aggregation devices that were located throughout the Hawaiian islands chain. This state of Hawaii program provided us with another experience where we can hone our skills. By documenting both projects, it provided Macdonald with a background in ocean systems that have the capability of enhancing productivity for humans.

Work with Comcast Cablevision

In 1982, Macdonald returned back to the 48 states so that he could participate in producing, filming and hosting a series of 30 minute programs that were focused on action sports in Southern California. The series would include 10 episodes for Comcast Cablevision. The series was called “Coastal Focus,” and it depicted the excitement of participating in outside water sports such as scuba diving, surfing, outrigger canoe racing and ballooning. Bill’s work on this television documentary production highlighted his ability to capture the combination of aquatics and sports film.

Truth Aquatics Project

Macdonald Productions is also the documentary films production company that created the sports diving film “Diving California’s Channel Islands.” This production from 1983 uses a soundtrack from the vocal folk-rock supergroup Crosby, Stills and Nash to illustrate live-aboard diving in California’s Channel Islands, which are a chain of eight beautiful islands that are located about 20 miles off of the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Diving California’s Channel Islands is a corporate video created for Truth Aquatics. Thousands of copies have been in distribution to sport diving groups in the United States and overseas for a number of years. The program continued to have revisions and updates done when they were needed.

Crosby, Stills and Nash Musical Visual

In 1976, Macdonald was serving in the role of Marine Awareness director for the Cousteau Society. Jacques Cousteau assigned Macdonald the task of producing a visual program for the vocal rock group Crosby, Stills and Nash. By using various clips from the Cousteau Society film archives, Bill created a visual representation that would accompany the group’s hit song “Wind on the Water.”

Macdonald created this tribute by featuring film clips of whales and dolphins. The film was featured for over 30 years by the group during their live concerts. The visual representation that Macdonald created shows why these beautiful, gentle animals should be preserved and protected. The band would play their hit song on stage while the film rolled on a large screen above the stage. Millions of individuals have had the opportunity to watch this production via TV documentary production or during the band’s live concerts.

A Physical Disability Scuba Diving Broadcast Documentaries Production

In 1984, Bill produced the film “Freedom in Depth,” which focuses on scuba diving for the physically disabled. The production was hosted by oceanographic explorer and film producer Jean-Michel Cousteau who is the son of Jacques Cousteau. Freedom and Depth placed its focus on physically disabled individuals who discover the awesome ability to escape gravity by scuba diving and experiencing the buoyant properties that are associated with this type of aquatic adventure.

Work with The Cousteau Society

Macdonald had the opportunity to work with The Cousteau Society for over 30 years where he filmed many different events. He was a key team member of the Cousteau film and dive team through the years 1975 to 1980. Bill was able to work directly with Philippe Cousteau and learned a great deal about the philosophy of the Cousteau’s. He was also in the position of being an environmental spokesperson under the guidance of The Cousteau Society. Macdonald traveled around the United States and presented around 350 lectures to university students and faculty.

While he was serving in the role of Marine Awareness Coordinator, he participated in the Mediterranean Pollution study while sailing aboard Cousteau’s famous Calypso. They studied marine life and in later years, Macdonald shared their findings with The Cousteau Society lecture programs.

Burrud Productions

In 1988, Macdonald served in the position of associate producer for the film “Tarawa and Big Cats,” which was being produced by Burrud Productions. He was also involved in camerawork while filming was being done. In 1989, he took on the role of supervising producer and helped with the episode known as “Treasure of San Felipe.” This was a single episode that came from the full series of episodes, which were hosted by Philip-Michael Thomas who is known for his famous role as Detective Ricardo Tubbs in the Miami Vice TV series. Bill also served as an associate producer during the production of “Kokoweef Treasure.” Finally, he had a chance to participate in cave diving and cave exploration as an underwater cameraman. This was done for the episode known as “Secret of the Sacred Wells.”

Assistance with Resort Promotional Programs

Since 1982, Macdonald Productions has been busy specializing in documenting and promoting prime dive destinations that can be found throughout the world. These have included:

– Truth Aquatics located in California
– Hotel Cabo San Lucas located in Sipadan and Baja

We were also involved in numerous expeditions, which documented the diverse marine environment located throughout the Indo Pacific region. There were many different varieties of fascinating marine creatures that were documented. Many of them are rare species that don’t get recognized much. Examples of these creatures included the venomous snake blenny as well as the pygmy seahorse and the mimic octopus.

In 1994, we were involved in the film “Indonesian Safari,” which depicts the reef ecosystem and its fragility. In 1997, we created “Bizarre Critters of Sulawesi. The Garuda Indonesian Airlines and the Indonesian government used our film to illustrate diving in Indonesia.

In 1996, Bill and his wife Susan put together an impressive series of various film sequences. “Secrets of California Waters” depicted many different types of underwater creatures and events that most people will never encounter when diving. Animals like elephant seal harems and basking sharks were highlighted. They also filmed sea lion behavior and discovered many different locations that were secluded and seldom visited by man or woman. This occurred during a four-year period of videotaping different segments.

In 1999, Macdonald Productions created “More Secrets of California Waters.” One of the features of this film showed the kelp and why it is so important. Film footage was taken of sea creatures that ranged from small plankton to large inhabitants. This film was later commissioned by The Discovery Channel so that they could use different sections of its underwater footage for a one-hour film that discussed the Channel Islands National Park Marine sanctuary.

Synthetic Sea Presentations

Macdonald is also one of the independent film production companies that has had the opportunity to take part in documenting the vast amounts of marine debris that has built up in the oceans throughout the world. His signature film, which is known as “Synthetic Sea” eventually turned into a series. It went on to compete at the Santa Cruz Environment Festival where it won a top award for excellence. The film has been translated into both Japanese and Spanish languages.

For Television Documentary Production get in touch with us.