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Underwater Videography - Enabling Your Creativity

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Karo Villa's - Koh Tao Thailand

Whilst it could be said that we are biased,  and yes we are but recently we spent the most relaxed, peaceful, wonderful time up at Karo Villas' and cannot recommend it highly enough.

Located towards the south of Koh Tao, Thailand in the Gulf of Thailand these villas nestle in the hills just before Chalok Baan Khao and just after the turn off to Aow Luek at the South West of the island with complete privacy.

For hard core Sairee Beach side residents where the music is always on, the back packer crowd is jostling in the street and its pretty much always busy, (not that we mind it) but the peace and quiet offered to those staying at these up on these boutique hill side villas is makes the difference palpable. It took our breath away along with any stresses or cares we may have had.  With a view of two of Koh Tao's beautiful bays, and little in the way of either vehicle or foot traffic, the infinity pool is the ideal place to soak away the afternoon; or morning as you watch the sun rise.

The Villas are well thought out and provide all the mod cons, including,  air-con, fan, cooking facilities, hot water media players with a good selection of entertainment,  and the all important connections to the world via wifi and mobile phone.  Because of its location - as well as options for days when you don't want to drive or even if don't drive a taxi service is available for hire as well as access to delivery services for food when you don't want to cook or eat out.

Whilst we where there we took the opportunity to watch this spectacular sunrise and take a few pictures and as you can see even on a slightly cloudy day it is a wonder! Happy to give Karo Villas our strongest recommendations and hope you get to stay there sometime soon.

Serge - Pro Underwater Cinematography Course

[dropcap color="" boxed="no" boxed_radius="8px" class="" id=""]S[/dropcap] erge Dezutter, joined the FilmCo to undertake one of our larger training programmes, having come to us with no previous production experience but a solid DiveMaster Training from Davey Jones Locker, Koh Tao. Through out some ups and downs concerning his ability to dive we adjusted the focus a little and concentrated on what we could achieve. And o'my did he have some big ideas.

This fictional creation is a parody of a sporting event - which  he dreamt up the first ever World Underwater Bubblering Championships held right her on Koh Tao. Even with a few of the sound issues that we had we think that Serge has produced a fun film and has learnt an incredible amount in this short space of time.

[checklist icon="fa-dot-circle-o" iconcolor="#4f4f4f" circle="yes" circlecolor="#cccccc" size="medium" class="" id=""]
[li_item icon="fa-glass"]Congratulations Serge PADI Underwater Cinematographer[/li_item]
[li_item icon=""]We wish you all the best for your next adventure[/li_item]
[li_item icon="fa-music"]And know that you will have fun what ever you do[/li_item]

Documentary-Style Shooting

One of the most thrilling and frustrating elements of my job is filming documentary style. From 6:30am onwards the day moves at a rapid pace. As a documentary videographer, I need to be two steps of what is occurring in "real time" in order to control and frame my shots as efficiently and effectively as possible. Documentaries attempt to present a story as fluidly as possible, which will often obscure the fact that they are actually constructed products which result from excessive filming and careful editing. I frequently film the exact same shot repeatedly until I feel the shot was captured at the perfect moment (and as smoothly as possible with handheld panoramic shots). My old ballet teacher's advice reverberates in my ear, "Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect." It is a style of shooting that requires steady hands, a keen eye, and a lot of patience.

My documentary skills were particularly put to the test this past week, when filming my friend Pete's surprise  proposal to his girlfriend Jen -  underwater. A marriage proposal is a moment that only occurs once. There is no "cut" or "re-shoot" if something fails. So, I had to be prepared to shoot at a moment's notice and capture the romantic scene. Preparedness in a shoot of this style is everything. It is incredibly important to set up a schedule, check equipment in advance, bring back up gear if necessary, and enter with a "plan of attack." There is no room for error. However, there will always be elements (weather, humans, fishes, equipment) that are completely out of our control. Ah, the thrill of documentary filming!

I was fortunate. The weather was beautiful, the interviews went smoothly and the dive conditions were lovely. Everyone was agreeable and comfortable in front of a camera. The shots flowed with ease and I felt creative and excited to make a video different from my daily Open Water videos. The nerves and excitement of the group were palpable under the sea, as we eagerly explored a new dive site and awaited Pete's proposal. I fought my usual tendency to go off exploring and stuck close to the group, waiting for a sign from Pete. Finally, towards the end of the first dive, the moment happened. Pete got down on one knee and proposed marriage. Jen could not have been more surprised! My battery didn't die! The lighting was perfect! She said "Yes!" Though my stress was none compared to poor Pete's, I, too, breathed a sigh of relief that we had both completed our separate tasks successfully. It was a lovely day to be with friends and I was so happy to be able to capture this once in a life-time moment.


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Paramonacanthus japonicus

In my recent post about witnessing fishes "kissing", I vowed to create a database of lesser known species for divers who are as curious as myself about the fish we see and interact with everyday. The other day while diving at Junkyard, I saw a fish that I had never seen before. I asked the instructor Tommy as well as my coworkers at The Film Company but it was the first time that all of them had seen this fish before as well. After thoroughly examining my footage of this lovely little horned creature, I noticed physical features reminiscent of the filefish. I researched the fish online, eventually concluding that it does belong to the filefish family, scientifically referred to as Monacanthidae. What I discovered was a juvenile Japanese Leatherjacket (Paramonacanthus japonicus). It is also commonly referred to as the Hair-finned Filefish, Hair-finned Leatherjacket, Jade Filefish, Jade Leatherjacket, Cryptic Filefish, and the Cryptic Leatherjacket. It can be found between 12 and 56 meters, embracing the floor of the sea. It was quite difficult to film, as many filefish are, because of their paper-thin bodies and shy demeanor. Capturing the right angle in the right moment in the right lighting takes patience and perseverance. Unlike the strikingly vibrant Scribbled Filefish we commonly see in the Gulf of Thailand, the Japanese Leatherback may have gone unnoticed because it camouflages so excellently with the sand upon the ocean floor. Unfortunately, the visibility was poor this day which made it even harder to capture this elusive species. Footage to come!


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