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Underwater Videography - Enabling Your Creativity

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HD Visa Runs Thailand

As an e-pat living in Thailand the dread and horror that fills me each time I realise I have to do a visa-run, and yes I still have to do them, leaves me cold and clammy!

One solution to this dreadful experience that I have found is Herbert's Visa Run's. These highly organised and well connected trips provide the unhappy visa runner with a quick clean solution to their visa needs

Whether you need a short stay visa or a longer stay visa this service originating from Koh Samui, can get you what you need efficiently.

The service offers the short stay visa run, or border bounce, enabling those on tourist visas who just need to extend their stay by a few days. And the more comprehensive New Visa application service.

The border bounce service is similar to other offerings by other companies, but what really makes this company stand out is the New Visa service.

The service to Malaysia takes an amazing 42hrs from pick up in Donsak to return to Koh Samui, and deals with applications for new visa's ideal for those making applications for Non B's or paying tourist visa's. Each step of your journey is organised for you and as long as YOU provide the CORRECT paperwork, the application process is a breeze.

For more information please go to www.hdvisa-thailand.com

Book from Koh Tao call +66 (0) 860279684

from Koh Samui call 077 420 747

Filmed on Save Koh Tao Festival

Community is something that is very important on a small island like Koh Tao, and the Save Koh Tao Festival is one opportunity where we all get to come together and celebrate all that is good about island life and share our joy at being here.

 

Working together islanders under the leader ship of Save Koh Tao bring together this annual two day long extravaganza, raising money and awareness about issues which affect our island.

 

My contribution, whilst small and insignificant in the greater scheme of efforts that go to help the conservation of our little piece of paradise, is to share the things that I can do, to help promote awareness in a fun and visual way, for me this is through film and dance.

 

The team of "dancers" who come together to from Ban's Diving Resort and Sunshine Divers - some of whom are "veterans" of this annual performance - do so to draw peoples attention to the great work that is being done by Save Koh Tao.

 

I have to say, when you're sitting at the side of the stage waiting for the music to start and the lights to come up, your heart is in your throat and your wondering if it's your going to remember the steps or fall flat on your face or just plain throw up, some of the logic and reasoning behind throwing yourself on stage in front of thousands of your peers disappears in the adrenalin rush! I even got nervous again as I watched the footage back for the first time as I began to edit this piece!

 

This is also my tribute to the dancers and their dedication to training, discipline and the fun they brought to this event and for sharing their time for such a good cause.

 

Whilst a big part of the experience is of course the shows and party which physically brings together the community. The sense of working together for a common good is what really reflects that spirit.

 

Save Koh Tao work year round to bring together local businesses, government agencies and visitors to the island to support environmental programs, working to reduce rubbish and waste, preserve and protect the natural resources, to promote sustainable development and share knowledge and information which supports the islands cultural an environmental stability.

 

The festival is a culmination and celebration of all the hard work and effort through out the year and features, lectures, demonstrations on sustainable transportation, waste management, forest and reef restoration, as well as  turtle and clam releases.

 

Please find out more about all excellent programmes that Save Koh Tao manage by visit www.savekohtao.com and www.marineconservationkohtao.com

 

Preparing to film with the fish - Jeani Oosthuyzen

The life of an underwater videographer is an unpredictable and challenging one as we attempt to capture what are essentially undirected, spontaneous moments. Specifically, the task of filming an Open-Water course as an underwater filmmaker on Koh Tao is filled with many variables and unforeseen challenges.

For any videographer or documentarian, being organized, on time, well prepared and fresh for your day is not all you can do to limit the number of difficulties you encounter but its a massive start.  Have no doubt something will go wrong at some point, it's like an unspoken law of the universe, there will be curve balls. But by taking control of the things that are within our control, and making peace and understanding the things we cannot control, we can avoid unnecessary problems and risks, and more often than not hit that curved ball right out of the park.

As a victim of my own personal chaos I write this with first hand experience of how as a videographer rushed equipment maintenance/assembly, poor time keeping and miscommunication can ruin that perfect shot, destroy a days work, or worse lead to costly damage to your equipment. So, in the truest sense of "learning from your mistakes" I have put together my formula to battle through my personal challenges of working in a paradise where the only constant is change, in the hopes that it informs your practice. Whether on land or underwater the principles I adhere to will change little, the context in which they may be applied will.

Always be ahead of schedule, this will not only allows you enough time to do proper equipment checks and ensure you have all the gear you need but that additional spare time you allowed can be your saviour when you encounter a flat tire, oversleep, misplace your keys or any other variable of the kinds of thing I am likely to do!!!. (In faster paced world than the one I currently inhabit, this might mean your train, is late, your stuck in traffic, the heel of your shoe broke) Planning your day and visualising what your needs and time constraints will be, can only help to ensure that you allow more time than you need.

Check your equipment thoroughly, then check it again. Have you planned for the shots that you need have you made contingency plans, do you have enough spare batteries and tapes/memory cards, chargers. In other words do you have the right equipment for the right job and have you ensured that it is all ready to be used at a moments notice? A dirty lens at the moment you want to capture a whale breaching out of the water is not good news!

Specific to underwater videography is the need to check that all your seals and o-rings are clean and flush, even the smallest breach can spell disaster for your shoot and your pocket, systematic checks should be built into your dive plan.

Learning  to roll with the punches is another key skill to master, on any shoot things are gonna change. When filming open waters the weather, logistics, power cuts, course size, instructor all change at a moments notice. The ability to stay level headed and more importantly to remain creative when things don't go quite to plan is the most important tool we have.

Know your limits. This is so important when diving, and with any other shoot. When diving with your camera and an undefined amount of ever changing and unpredictable students as your subject, we as underwater videographers need to be constantly aware of our surroundings depth, buoyancy control and light are just a few of the considerations we need to make not once, but a hundred times during each dive, not only to capture the best shot possible but to avoid the dangers of decompression sickness. Health and safety should always be paramount on any videography shoot.

Make sure you have a plan, and with that be flexible. By story-boarding our days or event, knowing your dives sites/location and the "creatures" that inhabit them we can begin to form our movies while still sunning on the boat. But as turtles move and tides change we often need to realize that both planning and the ability to "wing it" are equally important as we need to be ready for anything.

And lastly communicate, many people may assume being an underwater videographer is a rather solitary job as we dive, then edit with nothing but our own thoughts and music, it actually takes a team to get the job done, so ask for help when you need it!

Having learnt all these skills and so much more during my underwater film makers course with The Film Co, there are certain things in life that can only be absorbed through experience. No hand book could have prepared me for the months past while working on Koh Tao, these stressful, challenging, beautiful and breathtaking moments which ultimately have taught me what maybe the most important lesson of all is; who i am, what I'm capable of and of course, that you can't stop the rain, but you can pack an umbrella!

Jeani

"Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change - this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress."

Bruce Barton

Hunting for Cages - the fight to stop illegal fishing around Koh Tao

This clip is part of a wider story we are documenting. Locals from Koh Tao are working together with the Fisheries Department, Save Koh Tao and Local Government to prevent illegal fishing in protected areas around our island, here we see local divers taking actions to free fish caught in fishing cages. We are putting together a short documentary with the help of the local Thai community and musician Kevin Dunning from Canada to showcase the amazing community lead work.

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