Underwater video

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Oceans Below Video Training and Production Updates…

Sunday, 08 June 2014 12:31

As we’re gearing up for a busy summer season, the staff and trainees at Oceans Below Koh Tao are settling into our new offices and are busy with various projects and courses. Angelina, from Greece, just completed her BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer course with Pro Video Trainer, Simon. She’s now on her 2 week Documentary filmmaking internship. She’s chosen to do her final project on barracudas and we’ve been out on a hunt for them recently. On today’s dive we also ran across one of our local Hawksbill sea turtles!

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Meanwhile, Xavi has finished a collaborative, creative, common film called “Hydro”. It is a beautiful underwater film made with footage from 56 underwater filmmakers and 15 musicians. My contributions include footage of the Whalesharks of Koh Tao, UV night diving, some of the weird and wonderful creatures of the Lembeh Strait and a lot more. The film will premiere in Alicante’s Film Festival on the 30th of May and will be submitted to many more film festivals to come.

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I also recently filmed Gene Girardeau’s Finathon! Gene was helping to raise awareness of the problem of shark finning by doing a sponsored swim across 43 kilometers of open water from the island of Koh Phangan to Koh Tao. The PADI Project Aware organization was the main sponsor. I was there to document the attempt and put together this short movie which we showed a few nights ago at the Hacienda.

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And finally, Alex, a Dive Instructor from Switzerland, has finished his Documentary internship about coral spawning. He definitely got some great footage! His short film has been sent to be viewed at the Thailand Dive Exposition (TDEX) in Bangkok. Alex also made a short, creative piece about the HTMS Sattakut wreck on Koh Tao. It turned out fantastic! You can watch it here…
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Oceans Below Koh Tao- New office, New courses, New Productions

Written by Administrator

Thursday, 01 May 2014 11:02

Koh Tao Oceans Below has undergone quite a few changes since the beginning of 2014. First, we constructed a new custom built, air-conditioned editing studio. Our new office is situated in between Mae Haad and Sairee and is easily accessible from the Main Road. Best of all, we’re just a one minute walk from the nicest part of Sairee Beach and are more easily able to head down for a quick afternoon shake while watching Koh Tao’s amazing sunsets! Oceans-below-SaIree-Office
New Sairee Beach Office
We are also happy to announce our new collaboration with Master Divers in Mae Haad. One of Koh Tao’s original dive centers, Master Divers has also undergone many new changes and have some of the nicest dive facilities on the island. From now on you can find our Oceans Below staff and students on the Master Divers as well as the Scuba Junction dive boats! This allows our students better access to all the best dive sites for the BSAC Professional Underwater Video Courses and Internships.
At the beginning of April, we welcomed Vanessa, the director of a production company in Germany, who signed up for our UV Night Dive Video course. Instructor Jacques and myself made sure Vanessa went home with some spectacular UV footage. We are still waiting for her final film to come out and will post it here shortly.

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On production level, we recently worked with Emakina Productions, a Belgian company, on a shoot for the European Community. This is now in post production and will be coming out shortly. Cedric and Bernard from Emakina flew over to make a short movie to raise awareness of the threats our oceans are facing due to pollution, over-fishing and rising temperatures.

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Bernard and Cedric on the video shoot for the European Community documentary about the state of the seas
Some of our spectacular whaleshark footage will also be featured soon in a production called “Wildest Indochina” which will be broadcast on the Discovery Channel. In other news, the juvenile blacktip reef sharks are back on patrol off of Aow Leuk Beach providing some excellent photo ops… blacktip-oceans-below-at-aow-leuk-tao
And finally, we recently re-shot the PADI Go Dive and Go Pro promos to cater to the Chinese market. We worked with the lovely Team China from Crystal Divers. Thanks to all the talent and their efforts, we came up with 2 new good looking promos which you can see here!

 

Filming Great Whites in Isla Guadalupe, Mexico

Thursday, 12 September 2013 14:28

On the 2nd of August I took a break from teaching the BSAC Pro Underwater Video courses at Oceans Below and, once more, packed my heavy Sony EX1R camera, Gates Housing with my new Phantom wide-angle dome port and a lot of neoprene to go on a thrilling trip to Guadalupe Island in Mexico. It’s long been a goal of mine to film the most impressive creature in the ocean- The Great White Shark!

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Close-up with a Great White

After a long trip from Koh Tao via Bangkok, Shanghai, San Francisco, San Diego and Ensenada, we finally boarded the Nautilus Explorer for a 22 hour sail to Isla Guadalupe. It wasn’t easy with all the camera equipment but it proved to be worth the effort. Guadalupe Island hosts one of the most prolific populations of Great Whites on the planet. The water temperature was 21 degrees and the visibility was 20-30 meters on most of the dives. And, thankfully, the “Whiteys” came to play!

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While in the States, Shark Week showed numerous graphic shows designed to scare the daylights out of people, the truth about sharks is that they are a magnificent, inquisitive animal which pose little risk to humans. That said, we were diving in a cage! But being in the water with and filming these majestic creatures was amazing.

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Professional Underwater Videographer, Elisabeth, taking a peek outside the cage

On the 3 days of diving, I did 15 cage dives of 45 minutes each and was never let down. I was able to film at least one Great White Shark and often filmed two or three. They are curious animals and were very interested in checking us out, oftentimes even bumping our cage! It was an absolute thrill! I was able to collect some great stock footage and I made this short video.

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Pro-Underwater-videographer-cage diving

We’ll be looking for new destinations to feed our shark habit and can’t wait to see them again in the future!

 

Oceans Below and PADI Join Forces!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013 10:16

In April, Oceans Below Koh Tao’s production team was approached by PADI Director of Marketing, Danny Dwyer, and asked to produce 2 promotional videos for distribution throughout the world. So in May, Lisa, Jahawi and I stuck our heads together and came up with some concepts for a PADI Go Dive and a PADI Go Pro Video.

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On location with the Oceans Below Production team and PADI

The first one we filmed and edited was the PADI Go Pro promotional video. The objective was to put together a movie which would get people excited and enthusiastic about the lifestyle of a PADI Dive Instructor and to show how gratifying it can be to work in the dive industry. For this production we focused on PADI Dive Instructor, Krista, who did an amazing job! We put together a little slice-of-life movie about what she does in the course of her workday. With PADI Regional Manager, Tim Hunt, taking care of all of our production needs and the support of various dive centers on the island, we produced a video that has been well-received by the PADI team as well as the membership! Watch the PADI Go Pro production here…

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PADI promo photo shoot with a whaleshark!

In the Go Dive promo video, we showcased a PADI Open Water student as she made her way through the training. We focused on the excitement and adventure of the course and the beauty of the underwater world. The music for both films was composed by Oceans Below Videographer and sound man, Jahawi, while Lisa and I took care of the filming and editing of the videos. Have a look here at the Go Dive video…

We shot the underwater portion of the videos between Aow Leuk and Sail Rock and were lucky enough to be able to include our encounter with a whaleshark!

It was a really fun assignment and hopefully the first of many that we will be able to shoot for this great training organization. Special thanks to Tim Hunt, Danny Dwyer and the many PADI members who were involved in the project!

 

On the Sea with Badjao- Oceans Below Film Shoot

Written by lisa

Wednesday, 22 May 2013 10:31

I’m happy to be back on Koh Tao after an amazing film shoot in Borneo! I recently had an opportunity to film the underwater portions of a new movie called On the Sea with Badjao. Directed by Eliza Kubarska, I filmed one of the most interesting things I have ever seen.

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The film crew of On the Sea with Badjao, Borneo

The movie is about the Badjao ‘sea gypsies’ which inhabit many of the islands around Borneo and throughout SE Asia. The movie documents the lives of these water-going sea gypsies. I directed my camera’s focus on Alexan, who plumbs the depths connected to a compressor from above by a long rubber hose. Alexan is teaching his young nephew, Sari, how to become a compressor diver. It goes without saying, that this kind of diving is quite dangerous. The two are out on the sea by day, hunting for fish and collecting seacucumbers. Watching this extraordinary hunter go through his daily tasks gave me a very special feeling. We were able to capture on film a fast-disappearing culture which relies on the sea for survival, perhaps more so than any other.

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Lisa and Alexan, underwater in Borneo

Having chosen the life of a professional diver, I had a natural affinity towards the friendly Badjao. Though our equipment and dive objectives were vastly different, as always, it was nice to spend time with someone with respect for the underwater world. Choosing a life aquatic rather than a job in the office, or in his case a resort kitchen, connected us.

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Alexan, in his element

The whole team supporting Eliza and producer, Monika Braid, was amazing to work with. Together we overcame quite a few logistical difficulties to get get the necessary shots for the movie. The film will be broadcast on German national TV and plans are ongoing to make a cinema version.

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Pro Underwater Video trainee, Lukas, back on Koh Tao

Meanwhile, I am back on Koh Tao and have begun a new course with Lukas. He is doing his BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer course. Funny enough, Lukas is from Borneo, originally. We’ve had some really nice dives already. Including one with a very friendly porcupine puffer, who happily posed for the camera. Southwest Pinnacle was full of barracudas and gave Lukas another good chance to collect great footage for his showreel. Looking forward to that!

 

Oceans Below Pro Underwater Video Training Update…

Monday, 06 May 2013 15:51

On the 16th of April, we welcomed Saaya and Livio to Oceans Below. They are on their BSAC Professional Underwater Video course. Livio is a PADI Divemaster from Belgium and Saaya, a PADI Instructor from Japan and the US. Livio has been working as a Divemaster on Koh Tao at Coral Grand Divers and is also a passionate Freediver.

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Professional Underwater Videographer Intern, Saaya

I met Saaya when she was managing/instructing at Eco Divers in Manado, Indonesia when I was there for a filming and diving holiday. Both Livio and Saaya are very talented and made some great movies which we’ll upload to our youtube page soon. I am sure we will see and hear more about their video career in the future.

Vicky and Hava are finishing up their documentary internship. For the first time ever, we will get to see a Mockumentary. Vicky decided to do something completely different using Adobe After Effects animations, so we are really looking forward to the result! Hava is torn between either making a documentary about Batfish or about Pelagics coming to the coral reefs.

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Marbled Snake Eel…

Lisa came back from her documentary shoot in Borneo for the film On the Sea with Badjao. She will update us soon about her experience.

Peruvian Jimena signed up for a “dry” video course and is now learning to shoot topside with a DSLR. For her first project she choose a very interesting topic. When she finishes her short documenatry we will know all about Probiotics!

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We have taken all students and staff again on a UV night dive with Ties from UV Dive Koh Tao. Hiba and I were filming while the rest of the team was enjoying their first experience equipped with a vizor on the mask and a blue light. We came back with some nice footage of a Hermit Crab glowing in the dark. Check out our short documentary about UV Night Diving, here. Soon we will let you know all the details about the UV night diving filming course. Watch this space…

 

Oceans Below Koh Tao Training and Production Update…

Wednesday, 03 April 2013 10:03

After a few weeks of night diving and editing our short documentary about Fluoro/UV diving, we finally wrapped it up and are very happy with the result. It’s been sent to the Asian Dive Exposition Film Festival– Voice of the Ocean. The whole Oceans Below team is eager to find out what they think about it!

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Devil Scorpionfish in the sand

On another note, my movie “Blue”, filmed mainly in the waters around Koh Tao, won 2nd place in the PAF TAchov film festival in March. Watch it here.

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Meanwhile, Lisa has been teaching the BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer course to Dan and Amanda, a lovely couple from Canada. They came to Koh Tao 2 months ago to begin their dive training with Crystal Divers, and jumped straight onto the underwater video course with Oceans Below. Dan has begun his Documentary Internship on the island’s Triggerfish and Amanda is making a short film about the weird and wonderful life to be found in the sand.

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Pro Underwater Video Trainee, Chris

South African, Chris finished his BSAC Pro Video Course and Internship last week. We’ve been lucky with the fantastic dive conditions on Koh Tao. Chris came with a final project in mind before he even arrived. He’s been learning about how to make budgets, put together a trailer, and he’s even gotten an intro on the use of Adobe After Effects during his internship. Together with the Oceans Below team, he put together a proposal for a TV series about diving South East Asia for a South African network. We anxiously await news that it will be picked up!

Hiba has been our 1st UV night diving video trainee. She did a great job on her project! Watch the result here. We put together a program which results in a further certification and lots more practice with the camera and equipment on the UV night dives. We will be tweaking it and posting it very soon. Many of our ex-trainees are already interested…

Lisa left Koh Tao yesterday to film the underwater portion of a documentary about the ‘sea gypsies’ in Borneo. Equipped with the EX1R camera and Gates housing, she’ll film the Badjao fisherman freediving and compressor diving in the waters around Sipadan. This project has been financed by a German production company and is due to be released later in the year. We can’t wait to see the end result!
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Oceans Below Pro Videographer Trainer, Lisa

And last but not least we welcomed Hava and Vicky who begin their BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer training today!

 

Mesmerized on Koh Tao by UV Night Dives!

Written by Administrator

Wednesday, 13 March 2013 16:17

Oceans Below has started a new collaboration with UV Dive Koh Tao! Owners Ties and Shirley introduced ultra violet (or fluo) night dives to Koh Tao over 2 years ago and have recently asked Oceans Below to make a promotional video to literally help people see Koh Tao ‘in a new light’.

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Equipped for night dives with special filters over their masks and blue lights, divers now can descend into the darkness and witness an eerie panorama of corals and fish that, in fact, glow in the dark. Beautiful colours appear from everywhere. Things that, in the light of day, may seem mundane such as a goatfish or brain coral, become stunningly beautiful under the beam of the blue light as they reflect back a fluorescent array of colours.

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The dives are fantastic, but equipping our video cameras and educating ourselves on how to shoot was an altogether new challenge. Those things that don’t luminesce under the lights are invisible- such as the sea urchins which are quite active at night! More than a few small punctures were gathered in the making of our first UV night videos! In time, we got the hang of it and now, the whole Oceans Below office is hooked! Check out a sample here…

Our logical next step has been to develop a course for students so they can get a great new filming experience. Thanks to UV Dive Koh Tao we were able to quickly put it together and are now completing the course with Pro Underwater Video Trainee, Hiba. She started training on normal night dives in order to get the feel of how to use lights and shoot at night and will soon progress to the UV filters and blue lights.

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And because this is such a new and exciting way to film, we’ve decided to make it the subject of our newest documentary!

In other exciting news, Oceans Below Video Trainer Lisa will be going to Borneo to film the underwater scenes of a documentary about the Badjao ‘Sea Gypsies’. The shoot is coming up soon, but the documentary will air at the end of the year.

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David and Jackie have decided to extend their internship and are busy filming Scuba Junction’s student and fun diver videos. Nicky has just finished his great ‘Dry Project’ about Muay Thai training on Koh Tao and is now working on his final project.

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Chris just started his BSAC Professional Underwater Video Course and became instantly hooked on macro filming. Waiting in the wings are Dan and Amanda who are due to begin the pro course with us soon. So all-in-all, it’s been fairly busy at the Oceans Below office on Koh Tao!

 

Mesmerized on Koh Tao by UV Night Dives!

Written by Administrator

Wednesday, 13 March 2013 16:17

Oceans Below has started a new collaboration with UV Dive Koh Tao! Owners Ties and Shirley introduced ultra violet (or fluo) night dives to Koh Tao over 2 years ago and have recently asked Oceans Below to make a promotional video to literally help people see Koh Tao ‘in a new light’.

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Equipped for night dives with special filters over their masks and blue lights, divers now can descend into the darkness and witness an eerie panorama of corals and fish that, in fact, glow in the dark. Beautiful colours appear from everywhere. Things that, in the light of day, may seem mundane such as a goatfish or brain coral, become stunningly beautiful under the beam of the blue light as they reflect back a fluorescent array of colours.

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The dives are fantastic, but equipping our video cameras and educating ourselves on how to shoot was an altogether new challenge. Those things that don’t luminesce under the lights are invisible- such as the sea urchins which are quite active at night! More than a few small punctures were gathered in the making of our first UV night videos! In time, we got the hang of it and now, the whole Oceans Below office is hooked! Check out a sample here…

Our logical next step has been to develop a course for students so they can get a great new filming experience. Thanks to UV Dive Koh Tao we were able to quickly put it together and are now completing the course with Pro Underwater Video Trainee, Hiba. She started training on normal night dives in order to get the feel of how to use lights and shoot at night and will soon progress to the UV filters and blue lights.

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And because this is such a new and exciting way to film, we’ve decided to make it the subject of our newest documentary!

In other exciting news, Oceans Below Video Trainer Lisa will be going to Borneo to film the underwater scenes of a documentary about the Badjao ‘Sea Gypsies’. The shoot is coming up soon, but the documentary will air at the end of the year.

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David and Jackie have decided to extend their internship and are busy filming Scuba Junction’s student and fun diver videos. Nicky has just finished his great ‘Dry Project’ about Muay Thai training on Koh Tao and is now working on his final project.

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Chris just started his BSAC Professional Underwater Video Course and became instantly hooked on macro filming. Waiting in the wings are Dan and Amanda who are due to begin the pro course with us soon. So all-in-all, it’s been fairly busy at the Oceans Below office on Koh Tao!

 

Macro Enthusiasts Surround the Koh Tao Oceans Below Headquarters!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013 12:39

On the 2nd of February, I started teaching a new BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer course with Jackie from Switzerland and Hiba from Lebanon. Right from the start, both girls were incredibly passionate and very much into macro shooting!

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Jackie has been diving on Koh Tao as a Divemaster at Coral Grand Divers for awhile before doing a 3 month stint as a volunteer at the Koh Tao Animal Clinic. Hiba came to us as an Advanced Open Water diver and had to do some dive training before starting the Pro Video course.

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Hawksbill turtle…

On the first day of the course, I took them to Japanese Gardens to practice traveling shots. We were lucky enough to film a lionfish, a flounder and a swimming Persian carpet flatworm. Both girls came back with beautiful footage and their first movies wowed the Oceans Below staff! Check out Jackie’s Showreel here… http://youtu.be/QD_J3Ttfo1E

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Professional Underwater Video Trainee, Jackie

Halfway through the course Jackie and Hiba became true macro lovers. We spent an afternoon at Twins filming extreme close up shots of nudibranchs, crocodile fish, Durban Dancers and other small critters. Again the movies look amazing.

Matt and David finished their documentaries which will be on our Youtube channel soon. Matt took on a sailing job and will be traveling from Phuket to the Maldives, via Madagascar and then back to South Africa.

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Hiba is working on her Underwater Documentary about Corals and Jackie will join David for a Student Filming Internship to be taught by Jahawi.

Oceans Below also welcomes Nicky into the circle of students. He is an IT Specialist from Denmark and a very passionate diver. An encounter with a Hawksbill turtle just made Nicky’s day!

 

Oceans Below Pro Underwater Video Training Update- January 31st

Written by lisa

Thursday, 31 January 2013 10:53

I’m back on the rock and back into teaching mode! After a little break back home for Christmas, I’m very happy to be filming and diving on Koh Tao. Matt and David have started their BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer course and are currently working on their showreels.

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Koh Tao Pro Video Intern, Matt, and a Giant Barracuda

We had some lovely dives around the island already. On our last expedition out into the sandy area, we encountered a little burrfish and a pipefish. We also encountered a great Barracuda and a school of batfish which performed for the students’ cameras while diving on the reef.

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Pro Video Intern, David

Matt has joined us from the West coast of Thailand where he has been working as an underwater videographer and PADI Dive Instructor on Koh Phi Phi. He came to Oceans Below to get his professional license as a videographer and to learn more about his craft. From here he’ll be heading to the Mediterranean Sea where he has a job lined up working as a videographer on a private yacht!

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Batfish at Chumpon Pinnacle

As a film school graduate, David has a lot of knowledge about film and has come to learn the art of underwater videography. He completed an internship with the BBC prior to coming to Koh Tao. His background with film and his experience with editing has been a tremendous help for him throughout this course. David really wants to learn more about the use of After Effects and we expect to be getting a very special Dry Project due to this curiosity.

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Pipefish at Japanese Gardens

The guys will be starting their Pro Underwater Video Internship soon and we look forward to the next few weeks and the completion of their underwater documentaries. Look out for them online soon!

 

Oceans Below Begins a New Season on Koh Tao!

Friday, 28 December 2012 13:50

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After our big adventure at Celebes Dive Resort on Borneo in September and October, Oceans Below has re-opened the Koh Tao office again for an exciting new season!

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Koh Tao Triggerfish on whip coral

This month, South Africans Jolande and Jacques started their BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer course with us. They’ve been very lucky with the stunning conditions we have right now on Koh Tao. We’re talking 29 degrees in the water and 15 to 20 meters visibility underneath! There are many Whalesharks around, and we look forward to filming some during the course.

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Pro Underwater Video Trainee, Jacques

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Koh Tao Batfish

Meanwhile, Lisa finished editing our fun video from Pom Pom Island! Between teaching the Pro Video courses, we found time to play around while filming the resort staff and customers. Check out our Gangnam Style song here…

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Pro Underwater Video Trainee, Jolande

Trainee Aya has returned to Koh Tao, as well, to continue her Divemaster training with Crystal Divers and to finish her Underwater Documentary Internship with Oceans Below. Since we saw turtles on most dives in Borneo, Aya decided to make a short documentary about the Turtles around Pom Pom.

Slowly everything is returning back to normal, and so it’s time to make new plans again for 2013! Borneo is definitely on the books and we are looking into yet another amazing dive destination to teach some courses. Watch this space!

 

Oceans Below Underwater Video Trainers Win Best of Show, Two First Place Prizes in International Film Competition!

Written by Administrator

Wednesday, 07 November 2012 07:36

Last year at this time, we were celebrating Elisabeth’s huge haul of Best of Show, 1 first and 1 second place finish in the Australasia International Film Shoot-Out. Yesterday we got great news about the results from this year’s shoot-out. And again, the Pro Underwater Video Trainers from Oceans Below did us proud!

Lisa Strohmayer won Best of Show and the Creative Video category with her spectacular video, Nocturnal. In addition, she won won a 2nd place prize for her other submission into the competition, Secret Society. Click on the below screenshots to view the winning videos.

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Last year’s over-all winner, Elisabeth Lauwerys, had to settle for a 1st place finish for her movie, Blue, in the Narrated Video category and a second place in Creative Video for her film, The Hunt.

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The rules of the contest stipulate that all filming be done over the month of September (no stock footage) and the movies must be no more than 5 minutes long. Luckily, the trainers had some stunning diving during the month. Elisabeth spent half the month on Koh Tao, teaching the BSAC Pro Underwater Video Courses with the massive Bull Sharks which have returned. Later, she was diving in Yap, Micronesia with the Manta Rays and Reef Sharks. And Lisa was setting up an Oceans Below satellite office on Pom Pom Island in Borneo. So, she also had some fantastic diving along the rich reefs over there.

Lisa’s prizes include a 7 day liveaboard to the Maldives with Vista Liveaboards, a Mares Icon Dive Computer and an Aunoc Dive Light. Elisabeth has won an 8 day dive holiday to Lissenung Resort, Papua New Guinea and an Aunoc dive light. Both Lisa and Elisabath will be enjoying some downtime before returning to Koh Tao to start the next high season over here with their 1st BSAC Pro HD Underwater Videographer Course on the 16th of December. Great job ladies!!!!!!!

Special thanks to Koh Tao Scuba Junction, Goodtime Adventures, Yap Divers and Manta Ray Bay Resort, Celebes Dive Resort, Kevin MacLeod and Jahawi Bertolli…

 

Oceans Below BSAC Pro Underwater Video courses in Borneo!

Saturday, 20 October 2012 10:57

In September, Oceans Below Pro Underwater Video Instructor, Lisa, set off to Pom Pom Island in Borneo to set up shop for Oceans Below. We are very grateful for the amazing opportunity Celebes Beach Resort is offering us. While we escape the Koh Tao monsoon season, we’ll be filming macro marine life and sea turtles in the sun!

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Pom Pom Island, Borneo

Our first BSAC Pro Underwater Videographer Trainee on Borneo was a Koh Tao Divemaster named Vera. She was able to finish up the course about 2 weeks ago. View her showreel here.

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Nudibranch

Meanwhile, I arrived to the island a week ago and started the BSAC Pro course with Aya who just finished up her dive training with Crystal Divers on Koh Tao. Just three days into the course and Aya is already producing great turtle footage! We will soon be uploading some of her movies.

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Professional Underwater Videographer Intern, Aya

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Intern, FeFe and Pro Video Trainer, Lisa

Lisa is halfway through the BSAC Underwater Video course with Fefe, an Italian Dive Instructor who works at the resort next door. He will soon be switching from teaching courses to working as the resort’s underwater videographer!

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Fefe, Lisa, Elisabeth and Aya on Pom Pom Island, Borneo

The diving is beautiful here! We’re seeing loads of turtles here on every dive. There’s a huge variety of fascinating critters like frogfish, leaf scorpionfish, ghost pipefish and lots of Nudibranchs. A true divers’ island with little else to do but swim and dive, we’re always in the water. I’m sure we’ll be returning here again, so we’ll keep you informed!

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View from the Celebes Beach Resort, Pom Pom Island

 

Koh Tao Oceans Below High Season Updates!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012 14:38

August and September have been great months for our BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer Interns! The visibility on all of our local dive sites has been amazing and there has been a fantastic selection of marine life around including turtles, bullsharks and all manner of schooling fish!

Students Manolo, from Spain, and Gerry, from Italy, were lucky enough to do their BSAC Professional Underwater Video course and Internship in some of Koh Tao’s best weather of the year. Check out Gerry’s short documentary about Groupers and their behavior on the reef here.

Manolo’s mission was to capture the amazing relationship between Goby and Shrimp in the sands around the island. He did a great job, especially considering how much patience is required to catch the shrimp alone!

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Gabby came to Oceans Below from Australia and had to catch up on some diving first to be ready for her Underwater Video adventure. By the time she started her course here at Oceans Below she was already familiar with Koh Tao’s dive sites and couldn’t wait to engage in a new activity. Gabby stayed on to complete her Underwater Documentary Filmmaker internship. It turned out great and we’re very impressed! Check it out here.

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Matt, a passionate Freediver from the US wanted to learn the art of underwater video so he can film his freedive students in the future. He is finishing his SSI Freediving Instructor course with Blue Immersion right now. The combination of these two skills will get him a long way. We wish him all the best in his next job as an engineer on a private yacht where he’ll be sailing, freediving and filming from Borneo to Papua New Guinea!

Staff member Jahawi has started to head the freediving way as well. After his training with Apnea Total he is now filming their Freediving courses and absolutely loving it! Early nights and hard freedive training schedules are going to keep him on the straight and narrow!

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Tom and Lucia were our latest BSAC Professionals. We had some great dives together and both of them showcased a natural knack for underwater videography from Day 1. Tom’s showreel is a true masterpiece. Check it out here http://youtu.be/xIJ1eCz46qA

Meanwhile, Video Trainer Lisa has set up a temporary Oceans Below shop in Borneo and is getting ready to start teaching our first BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer at Celebes Dive Resort. Vera, a Divemaster from Koh Tao will get that honour, but we have a full schedule of trainees heading out to Pom Pom island for some great diving and training. Soon, I’ll be joining them for a month- can’t wait!!!

 

Oceans Below to Take a New Borneo Adventure!

Written by lisa

Sunday, 29 July 2012 08:57

Though we’re still in our high season on Koh Tao, a few of our Pro Video Trainers are already looking forward to a new adventure! Pro Underwater Videographer Instructors, Elisabeth and Lisa, will temporarily shift work to Malaysia to teach all our Underwater Video Courses and Internships. For the months of October and November they’ll take a few cameras, housings and computers to beautiful Pom Pom Island.

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Pom Pom Island, Borneo

Located on the northeastern tip of Borneo in the Celebes Sea, Pom Pom Island is known for its pristine diving around the island of Sipadan. These islands are famous for macro shooting and their abundance of green turtles. This is going to be a great location for teaching Videographer Courses!

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Leaf Scorpionfish

Celebes Beach Resort on Pom Pom Island will be our host for three months. The resort is very active in coral and turtle conservation. Projects with local scientists to monitor turtle populations and plant corals around the island are just some of the things the resort is involved in. These will make for great topics for the ‘dry project’ in our BSAC Professional Underwater Video Course! The resort also coordinates with Sea Shepard in an effort to protect sharks around the area.

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Turtle, Pom Pom Island

All of our Oceans Below courses will be available on the Island. We are looking forward to good visibility, amazing macro dives around Pom Pom, and a couple of meetings with the big pelagics at Sipadan. For more information on prices and courses, please e-mail us.

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Ornate Ghost Pipefish, Pom Pom Island

 

Oceans Below Welcomes a New Staff Videographer

Written by Lisa

Wednesday, 11 July 2012 22:27

At the beginning of July, Oceans Below welcomed Jahawi, our newest staff member to the Sairee video office! Jahawi just finished his student internship with Elisabeth, his Divemaster training with Koh Tao Scuba Junction, and is now filming open water courses. He will be based at our Buddha View Dive Resort office in Chalok Baan Khao and will also do some work with Seashell Divers on Sairee Beach. We are so happy to have him on the team!

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Professional Underwater Video Trainee, Chris

The high season has hit the Koh Tao Oceans Below office. At the beginning of the month, 3 new students began their BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer course. Chris came to us from England as a professional editor for the BBC. He already knows a lot about film and proved to have a good eye for composition. We had to catch him up with his dive training and camera work, but nevertheless he’s surprised us with some very good footage.

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Nudibranch, Koh Tao

Joey and Zak have just completed their Divemaster Training at Scuba Junction and are both very enthusiastic about diving, filming and the chance to capture marine life on film. Joey was diving in the Philippines prior to starting his course and came back with the video bug. Zak writes and composes his own songs. For his dry project, he has chosen to do a music video to one of them.

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Moral

The macro madness continues as we go exploring areas away from the busy dive sites. The crew returns daily with amazing underwater HD video shots and big grins on their faces. Filming conditions are fantastic on Koh Tao at the moment. We have been treated to some great visibility and many cool encounters with schools of barracudas and our resident turtles.

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Professional Underwater Video Trainee, Zak

The office is full of energy and the video trainees are having a great time on their internships. We look forward to seeing the dry projects and showreels of Chris, Joey and Zak and will be posting them on our youtube channel soon!

 

Oceans Below’s Field Trip to The Perhentian Islands

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 12:52

At the beginning of May, Oceans Below welcomed commercial diver Adam from Australia, who came to Koh Tao not only to become a BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer, but also to improve his freediving skills. Adam got some great shots of Grouper behavior for his documentary, so hopefully we will be able to share the final piece soon!

Jahawi, a music composer and DJ from Nairobi, finished his amazing short underwater documentary about the “Sharks of Koh Tao”. We were lucky to film a Whaleshark on his first day of the Professional Underwater Videographer Internship. Then he spent many days freediving with the Blacktips in Shark Bay to get further amazing underwater footage. Jahawi composed the music for the movie himself. You can watch it here.

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Jahawi’s Whaleshark on Koh Tao!

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Xeno crab…

Professional photographer, Dave, and BSAC Instructor Trainer, Ginger, finished their BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer courses with 2 amazing showreels and dry projects. These trainees were also lucky enough to film a Whaleshark during their course. For the last few months we have had many sightings of Whalesharks on Koh Tao, and the Oceans Below staff and trainees were able to film them most every day! Hopefully, we will see them back next year on their migratory route!

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Hawksbill turtle…

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Pipefish- Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

After a busy start to the year, Lisa and I went on a well-deserved break to The Perhentian Islands to film some different marine life and the famous Sugar Wreck. Before Lisa joined the Oceans Below crew, she worked as a PADI Dive Instructor for Seahorse Divers- a great shop on Perhentian Basur (big island). It’s located right on the beach in Tuna Bay. We especially loved the dives on the Seahorse House Reef and The Channel for the small critters you can find there. Other favorites were Tokong Laut- the “Chumphon Pinnacle” of The Perhentians, and the Sugar wreck. With the abundance of marine life on these dive sites, it made it easy to capture the magic on film! We were able to shoot everything from the tiniest nudibranchs and shrimps to the Bamboo sharks hidden under the rocks.

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Koh Tao’s Professional Underwater Video Trainers, Elisabeth and Lisa on holiday in Malaysia…

We can’t thank Seahorse Divers enough for their hospitality and amazing time we had! Check out the highlights of our dives here.

 

Professional Underwater Video Internship Update…

Written by lisa

Wednesday, 09 May 2012 11:10

After celebrating the Thai New Year (Songkran) with a big water festival, we are nearing the end of Jahawi and Angelina’s Professional HD Underwater Videographer Internships. The visibility around Koh Tao’s dive sites has been stunning for the past six weeks or so, and the whalesharks have been visiting us almost every day! That should be a good omen for the coming Buddhist year (2556).

Our enthusiasm for the small things on the reef continues and is being passed on to Professional Underwater Videographer, Angelina. She completed her BSAC Pro Video Course last year and has returned to take part in the documentary filmmaker internship (Angelina’s documentary can be seen here). The busy lives of the cleaner wrasse and cleaner shrimp have captivated her. So, we’ve been off doing what we love best- spending our dives studying the habits of some of Koh Tao’s tinier creatures.

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Professional Underwater Videographer, Angelina

We also have a new BSAC Pro Video Trainee here in the Oceans Below Sairee office. Jahawi is a DJ and music producer from Kenya. He has already been touched by the video bug and can’t wait to start his documentary. He’ll get the chance to compose some music of his own for his movie!

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Professional Underwater Videographer, Jahawi

Elisabeth has been busy collecting some great footage of the smallest of our island’s nudibranchs. In the two weeks of scouting round the divesites for Corinna’s documentary, we were amazed how many different species we were able to find. So, we decided to make a little movie of our own which is being edited right now.

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And finally, we have been able to film loads of whalesharks in the past few weeks. As nobody is working on a whaleshark movie or project at the moment, Elisabeth put together a short film of what we have been seeing lately. Click here to enjoy it!

 

Oceans Below Video Trainers Win Another International Prize!

Written by lisa

Monday, 16 April 2012 10:36

The showreels of Orhiane and Corinna, high-lighting the very best of what’s been happening under water on Koh Tao, have been uploaded and can be seen Here! They have both been certified as BSAC Professional Underwater Videographers and are now completing their documentary internships.

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Nudibranch

Our passion for the macro world has infected Corinna who has chosen to make her documentary on nudibranchs. We are searching every inch of the reefs and sandy bottoms to find as many different species as we can. It’s often a challenge to scan a wall in search of tiny life with schools of barracudas swirling in a tornado or travellies chasing fuseliers in the blue behind your back!

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Corinna filming on her Pro Underwater Video course

While Corinna is focusing on macro filming, Orhiane has chosen to look at the bigger picture. Her stay on Koh Tao and newly-found passion for underwater videography as a result of her course with Oceans Below is going to be the topic of her documentary.

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Orhiane, Pro Underwater Video Intern

Meanwhile, we are expecting the results of the “Voice of the Ocean” film competition any day now. Elisabeth and I submitted our short movie Coral Suburbia for consideration. It was the same film which was awarded Second Place in the PAF Tachov International Underwater Film Festival in the Czech Republic last month. Let’s see what the next competition brings!

underwater koh tao, BSAC Pro, BSAC professional, video, underwater video, video internships, documentary internships, make documentary,macro filming,underwater videography, oceans below documentary, film competition, voice of the ocean, PAF tachov, international underwater, film festival…

 

Oceans Below Video Trainers Win Another International Prize!

Written by lisa

Monday, 16 April 2012 10:36

The showreels of Orhiane and Corinna, high-lighting the very best of what’s been happening under water on Koh Tao, have been uploaded and can be seen Here! They have both been certified as BSAC Professional Underwater Videographers and are now completing their documentary internships.

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Nudibranch

Our passion for the macro world has infected Corinna who has chosen to make her documentary on nudibranchs. We are searching every inch of the reefs and sandy bottoms to find as many different species as we can. It’s often a challenge to scan a wall in search of tiny life with schools of barracudas swirling in a tornado or travellies chasing fuseliers in the blue behind your back!

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Corinna filming on her Pro Underwater Video course

While Corinna is focusing on macro filming, Orhiane has chosen to look at the bigger picture. Her stay on Koh Tao and newly-found passion for underwater videography as a result of her course with Oceans Below is going to be the topic of her documentary.

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Orhiane, Pro Underwater Video Intern

Meanwhile, we are expecting the results of the “Voice of the Ocean” film competition any day now. Elisabeth and I submitted our short movie Coral Suburbia for consideration. It was the same film which was awarded Second Place in the PAF Tachov International Underwater Film Festival in the Czech Republic last month. Let’s see what the next competition brings!

underwater koh tao, BSAC Pro, BSAC professional, video, underwater video, video internships, documentary internships, make documentary,macro filming,underwater videography, oceans below documentary, film competition, voice of the ocean, PAF tachov, international underwater, film festival…

 

Oceans Below Video Trainers Win Another International Prize!

Written by lisa

Monday, 16 April 2012 10:36

The showreels of Orhiane and Corinna, high-lighting the very best of what’s been happening under water on Koh Tao, have been uploaded and can be seen Here! They have both been certified as BSAC Professional Underwater Videographers and are now completing their documentary internships.

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Nudibranch

Our passion for the macro world has infected Corinna who has chosen to make her documentary on nudibranchs. We are searching every inch of the reefs and sandy bottoms to find as many different species as we can. It’s often a challenge to scan a wall in search of tiny life with schools of barracudas swirling in a tornado or travellies chasing fuseliers in the blue behind your back!

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Corinna filming on her Pro Underwater Video course

While Corinna is focusing on macro filming, Orhiane has chosen to look at the bigger picture. Her stay on Koh Tao and newly-found passion for underwater videography as a result of her course with Oceans Below is going to be the topic of her documentary.

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Orhiane, Pro Underwater Video Intern

Meanwhile, we are expecting the results of the “Voice of the Ocean” film competition any day now. Elisabeth and I submitted our short movie “Coral Suburbia” for consideration. It was the same film which was awarded Second Place in the PAF Tachov International Underwater Film Festival in the Czech Republic last month. Let’s see what the next competition brings!

 

March Underwater Video Training Update, Koh Tao…

Monday, 26 March 2012 15:07

Congratulations to Tristan and Nick who finished their BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer Course and Internship at the beginning of this month! And welcome to Orhiane from France, and Corinna from Germany, our new BSAC Pro Video Trainees. Orhiane has been on Koh Tao over a month already PADI Rescue Diver and Divemaster courses at Crystal Divers. Corinna worked as a Divemaster in Oman and decided to swap the cold and murky waters for the warm and clear waters of Koh Tao.

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Magnificent shrimp flimed by Pro Video Trainer, Elisabeth

We have been filming some beautiful stuff over the past 2 mornings and today the girls are creating their first underwater film at the Ocean Below office in Sairee. We have had a sneak peak and it looks very promising! Tomorrow we start shooting macro at Aow Leuk. Shrimps and Nudibranchs will hopefully be up for posing!

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Pro Videographer Trainee, Orhiane

Over the past couple of days Lisa and I made a 5 minute movie we submitted to the 2012 Voice of the Ocean competition. We filmed mainly small stuff in the rubble just outside the reef, hence the name “Coral Suburbia”. At the Asian Dive Exposition (ADEX) in Singapore in April, judges from National Geographic will judge movies submitted from all over the world. We hope they enjoy watching ours as much as we enjoyed filming it!

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Three New BSAC Professional Underwater Videographers!

Written by Lisa

Wednesday, 15 February 2012 11:13

The Dry projects are done, the Show-reels have been completed and uploaded, see here, and Oceans Below’s three video trainees have been certified! Congratulations to Nancy, Simon and Yaya on becoming BSAC Professional Underwater Videographers!

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A tiny hermit crab found on one of our sites…

Yaya has returned to China to continue directing the Chinese travel show ‘World Traveller’. He enjoyed the course a lot and will soon return to complete his documentary internship. We look forward to seeing some amazing underwater footage in his show and can’t wait for his return!

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Nancy, a.k.a Ditzy, putting together her Crown of Thorns Documentary

Simon and Nancy are here to stay for another 2 weeks for their Underwater Documentary Internships. Simon chose to do his documentary on Barracudas and Nancy has chosen to document the impact and habits of the infamous Crown of Thorns Starfish. We can’t wait to see the end results!

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Pro Underwater Video Trainee, Nick, hard at work…

We also have a new student here at the Sairee office. Nick worked for a year in Fiji as a PADI Dive Instructor, mostly diving with sharks, and decided it was time to learn the art of underwater video so he can document his dives. Nick is loving his first days of the BSAC Professional Underwater Videography Course. He has already proven to be very creative and talented just a week into the course!

 

Oceans Below’s New TV and Music Projects!

Saturday, 04 February 2012 19:22

Koh Tao Oceans Below began 2012 by agreeing a new collaboration with the music label Aqualise. Headed by the talented Nicolas Bulostin, Aqualise is the very first record label in the world dedicated to protecting the oceans by creating awareness and donating to non-profit marine wildlife conservation and environmental organizations. Nicolas produces some amazing music and we create and edit underwater videos for it. Check out our latest product on http://www.aqualise.com/ or click here.

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Over the low season we also worked with BSAC Thailand and Man TV Thailand on a new series about scuba diving called Black Water. The aim of the show is to promote diving to the local Thais. We provided 80% of the underwater footage used in the show. Click here to view the first episode of Black Water by Man TV & BSAC Thailand.

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Here at Koh Tao Oceans Below, our pro video team is committed to helping promote awareness and protection of the environment which inspires us, and we’re proud to be partners with like-minded groups. We look forward to continue working with these and other conservation groups in the future…

 

Koh Tao BSAC Pro Video Course Update…

Tuesday, 24 January 2012 16:04

High season has fully kicked in for the Oceans Below video team at Sairee Beach! Pro Videographer Instructor, Lisa, and I are busy teaching our 3 new BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videographer students. On the 16th of January Yaya from China, and Simon and Nancy from the UK, started the course. Now, one week in, and all 3 seem to be naturals with a camera.

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Sawtooth Shrimp on Koh Tao

Simon, a professional photographer, worked in Australia for a year as a PADI Divemaster in Byron Bay before he decided to come to Thailand to learn the art of underwater video. He is currently working on his dry project about Koh Tao in time-lapse and has already filmed some amazing sunsets!

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Pro Underwater Video Trainee- Simon…

Nancy D’s creative and innovative brain has made us laugh many times. Her movies are definitely inspired by certain Disney movies! We’re entertained with her story lines of fish living happily ever after in each of her underwater movies.

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Pro Underwater Video Trainee- Nancy D(izzy)…

Yaya, a director for a travel show in China, is on Koh Tao this time to do the 2-week BSAC course but will hopefully come back to us to do his Documentary Internship. His computer skills are amazing and we have seen a couple of clever edits of his HD underwater footage already.

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Pro Underwater Video Trainee- Yaya…

Tomorrow morning Lisa and I have planned a little excursion for the trainees. We are going to hike up to Fraggle Rock, a stunning view point at the South of the island, before heading back to the office to finish their dry projects. In the coming days we will focus mainly on macro-shooting underwater and editing their show reels. We can’t wait to see the results!

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Oceans Below Pro Video Trainer Wins Australasia Underwater Video Shoot-Out!

Written by Administrator

Tuesday, 13 December 2011 10:49

While on holiday in Holland, Oceans Below Pro Underwater Underwater Video Trainer, Elisabeth, found out that one of her short movies won the top two prizes in the in the Australasia Underwater Video Shoot-Out! The rules required all video to be shot over an 8 day period between the 1st-10th of September (so, no stock footage), and that it be no longer than 5 minutes in length. Elisabeth’s movie- Secrets of the Sand (see here), gained the Best of Show award as well as the Best Narrated Movie award!

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Elisabeth filming a huge Green Sea Turtle in Bunaken, Indonesia

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Elisabeth was especially lucky to be able to film these Flamboyant Cuttlefish mating

It was a great way to welcome the low season on Koh Tao as she immediately cashed in the top prize- a 2 week stay at Eco Divers Resorts in Manado and Lembeh Island Sulawesi, Indonesia! She informs us that it was a magical two weeks of diving where she was able to capture some fantastic footage of some of the area’s incredible creatures. It seemed that she was lucky enough to gain HD underwater footage of Mimic Octopus mating as well as mating Flamboyant Cuttlefish! In addition, she informs us that she filmed Hairy Frogfish, Ambon Scorpionfish, Coconut (Veined) Octopus, a variety of Cockatoo Waspfish, seahorses and loads more…

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Filming in Bunaken, Indonesia

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Coconut Octopus at night in Lembeh

We’re so proud of the work she has done and look forward to seeing what she comes up with next. Special thanks to Christian, Cary and all the staff at Eco Divers!

It seems that she will soon be cashing in her second prize- a 10 day all expenses paid dive trip to Yap, Micronesia! Well done Elisabeth!

 

Notes from a New Professional Underwater Videographer…

Written by Administrator

Friday, 25 November 2011 18:01

Oceans Below Underwater Video Training Center recently had the pleasure of taking Eliza from Poland through her BSAC Professional Underwater Video training, 2 Documentary Internships and our Student Video Internship. Here she gives her thoughts on the training…

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“After successfully completing my Instructor Course on Koh Tao with Buddha View, I was looking for a new challenge. I decided to enroll in Oceans Below’s BSAC Professional Underwater Videography course and Documentary Internship. I had absolutely no idea of just how much I would learn; how many new skills I would gain- both underwater and at the computer; and how much fun I would have! I am thankful every day that I made this decision. I have met some truly inspirational people whose knowledge and passion for filming the underwater world is extensive.

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Newly certified Professional Underwater Videographer, Eliza

Every time I entered the water, camera in hand and instructor by my side, I felt the excitement of seeing the underwater world with fresh eyes. The editing was a challenge as I had very little knowledge of computers and no experience with Adobe Premiere Pro CS5. My instructor, Autumn, was helpful, knowledgeable and very patient. With her help I was able to write, film and edit my very own short documentary. She gave valuable feedback, making things that seemed like a mystery, clear and easy to understand.

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Pro Video Trainer, Autumn, with Eliza (right)

My time on Koh Tao has come to an end, and as I reflect on the last few months here, I am truly thankful for the knowledge I have gained, the passionate and enthusiastic people I have met, and the amazing time I have had both in and out of the water. I am unsure of what new adventures lie ahead of me but there are two things I am now certain of- I will NEVER again dive without a camera, and I will be back to Koh Tao to see my Oceans Below family again in the future!!!

Many thanks to Oceans Below, especially to Autumn for her much tested patience!!”

 

Koh Tao Pro Video Intern Films Whalesahark at Chumpon Pinnacle!

Written by autumn

Sunday, 09 October 2011 17:56

Barracuda Rock, at the south end of Chumphon Pinnacle, has always held a special place in the hearts of everyone at Oceans Below, and I’m no exception. On entering the water and descending, I inevitably find myself heading south with a feeling of anticipation. Every time I cross the sand and see the huge pinnacle appearing out of the blue, I am amazed at the hive of activity and inspired by the thought of the numerous great shots that can be captured there. The vast amount of fish species has always made it a phenomenal place to take our BSAC Professional Underwater Videography trainees.

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Whaleshark filmed by Eliza- Pro Underwater Video Trainee

A few days ago was no different. Whilst out on the Buddha View boat with Eliza, our latest budding Professional Underwater Videographer at Oceans Below, we were excited by the news of a whaleshark sighting. We entered the water only to find out from other divers that the majestic giant had disappeared into the blue. I decided we should head south in order for Eliza to get some good shots and resigned myself to the fact we had missed out. Upon arriving at Barracuda Rock we found it almost deserted of divers and Eliza settled in. She got some great footage of a group of Pickhandle Barracuda that was, unusually, hunting by day. A few moments later I happened to look up. Soaring towards us over the pinnacle was the elusive whaleshark! We spent 20 minutes cruising alongside the beautiful beast as it glided effortlessly around the pinnacle before it eventually went on its way.

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On the second dive we headed back to Barracuda Rock and came across a huge Malabar grouper hanging motionlessly in the current. It seemed unperturbed by our approach and let us get some stunning close-ups. The backdrop of barracuda cruising past the 1.5 meter fish gave the shots a dramatic effect. Eliza was ecstatic at capturing these majestic beasts on film and a good day was had by instructor and student alike.

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Malabar Grouper at Chumpon Pinnacle

Oceans Below is sad to see a valued member of staff leave us. We say goodbye to our youngest recruit of just eighteen! Ben began his BSAC Underwater Videography course and Student Filming Internship with us some months back. His talent and passion for filming the underwater world was evident from day one. Upon finishing the internship, he was immediately offered a full time position at Oceans below. He has excelled in all areas and been a pleasure to have on the team. Ben will be attending university in New Zealand. We all thank him for his fantastic work and wish him luck in the future!

 

September Pro Underwater Video Trainee Report…

Written by lisa

Thursday, 29 September 2011 10:49

September has nearly finished, bringing a bit of rain to Koh Tao, but there is nothing that can stop Oceans Below’s enthusiasm for underwater video. Our newly certified BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer, Jess, has found a passion in capturing the underwater world on camera. Her engaging personality on land and the big smiling eyes underwater make this course very enjoyable. Jess is picking up on the technical knowledge very fast, giving us a lot of time to be creative.

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Pro Underwater Videographer Trainee, Jess, with a turtle

Before going back to England to complete her final year in fashion school, Jess will complete her Underwater Documentary Internship on the schooling behavior of fish. It is the perfect time to work on this topic, as the divesites of Koh Tao are busy with fish! The Juvenille Trevallies are hunting around the reefs and giving us an excellent opportunity to get amazing underwater footage. Once back in the office we get quite geeky and stick our heads into the fishbooks to determine what we have seen, gaining further knowledge of the underwater world. We can’t wait to see Jess’ documentary when it is done!

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Chevron Barracudas of Koh Tao

One of our favorite divesites is Koh Tao’s newly-sunk wreck. The HTMS Sattakut is a great addition to the diving scene here on Koh Tao. Apart from being a superb sight underwater, after only a month on the seabed, the old navy ship has already attracted lots of new inhabitants. Giant puffer, Chevron Barracudas, Trevallies, numerous Snappers, a Whiptail Ray and even Lionfish have moved in.

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Jess in action on her Underwater Documentary Filmmaker Internship

While Jess is working on her project, a new student has started the BSAC Pro underwater videography course. PADI Instructor Tim is originally from Kenya, but has dived many places all over the world. He’s progressing nicely and can’t wait to do a documentary of his own!

 

Two Pro Underwater Video Courses Ongoing at Oceans Below Koh Tao!

Written by Administrator

Saturday, 17 September 2011 15:45

September has seen us take on a new BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer in our Oceans Below southside office at Buddha View Dive Resort. Eliza from Poland, who has just finished her Master Scuba Diver Trainer course at Buddha View, is enjoying the Koh Tao Professional Videography experience immensely. Her quirky sense of humor has made her a pleasure to teach, and she’s proven to be highly entertaining! She has a new-found passion for the smaller things in life and particularly excels in macro filming. The highlight of her course so far was a 190 minute dive at Mango Bay, a beautiful, shallow dive site on the North of Koh Tao, where she succeeded in getting numerous amazing shots of two seahorses and a scorpion fish.

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Pro Video Trainee, Eliza… getting a feel for the equipment

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Scorpionfish in Mango Bay…

Eliza is nearing the end of the BSAC underwater videography course. For her Documentary Internship, she plans to research, film & write about the symbiotic relationship between the different species of anemone and anemone fish that are found around our Koh Tao dive sites. I look forward to helping her produce something that she and the team at Oceans Below can be proud of.

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At our Sairee office, Lisa is just finishing up her first ever Pro Underwater Video course with Jess, a Divemaster who just joined us from Spain. Lisa tells us that her course is going smoothly and that she will soon be posting an update of her own.

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Eliza…

So, with new budding videographers and a new member to the Oceans Below teaching team, we are full steam ahead and enjoying every minute of underwater videography magic!!

 

A Letter from an Oceans Below Underwater Videographer…

Written by Jason

Thursday, 01 September 2011 14:20

Last summer Oceans Below welcomed Jason Rivard to begin his Professional Underwater Videographer course with us on Koh Tao. He quickly progressed into a fantastic videographer and was made a member of our team upon completion of his course. In no time, he became one of our most popular videographers with the many dive centers that we represent. His work ethic and drive pushed him to become an accomplished Freediver and he was soon able to work as the island’s first and only Freediving Videographer. Being exceptional at either of these skills is difficult. Excelling in both is virtually unheard of. In doing so, he effectively created a new position for himself at Oceans Below.

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He has since gone on to manage a dive center in the Maldives, but we think of him often. Though he learned a great deal from us while he was here, his enthusiasm, infectious spirit and undyingly positive attitude ensured that he taught us much more. We recently received the following e-mail from Jason…

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Life on Koh Tao with Oceans Below was pure awesome! During my ten months there, I learned the ways of a professional underwater videographer and put them into good use while both freediving and scuba diving. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and I have moved on to new challenges and adventures.

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Throughout the time I was on Koh Tao, the Oceans Below team took me under their wing and advanced my skills beyond what I thought possible. Their patience was great, and their love for filming, even greater. The team’s enthusiasm inspired me to create some great films during my time on the island, and the Koh Tao lifestyle was just an amazing experience.

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I must to give a special thanks to Autum for being the Oceans Below “Sweetheart” and my brownie munching partner. Aidy for his guru-like technical support, and especially to Elizabeth for taking me under her wing and offering her creative inspiration to all the films I’ve done. Thank you guys for everything, and keep on with the Oceans Below spirit!

Jason Rivard
BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer
PADI Dive Instructor
Freediver

 

Pro Underwater Video and Pro UW Video TRAINER Courses Under Way on Koh Tao!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011 10:56

August has been the perfect month for our new BSAC Pro Video trainees to gather some amazing underwater footage in the crystal clear waters of Koh Tao. As we come to the end of the 2 week Professional HD Underwater Videographer course, everyone is now working on their showreels.

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Pro Video Trainee, Jason…

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Jason, from the UK, has been working as a Divemaster on the island at Scuba Junction. He will soon head off to Australia to film the Great White Sharks. We are really excited for him and can’t wait to see his footage when he returns! He’ll be back to start his Documentary Filmmaker Internship next month. For the time being, he’ll have to make due with the marine life of Koh Tao.

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Resident Seahorse at Mango Bay…

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Marbled Snake Eel…

Mike and Luke started their course with Autumn. Mike is becoming a “macro” specialist and Luke is slowly wrapping his head around the Professional Editing program. They are both from The States. Mike from Wyoming is a professional in the field of topside videography, mainly filming his school’s football team. He is already seriously hooked to underwater filming! With his chatty personality Luke is a great guy to have at the Oceans Below office. We are impressed to see how fast this native Oklahoman’s underwater filming skills are improving.

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Pro Video Trainee, Mike…

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Whip Coral Crab…

And then, there is Lisa. An experienced Dive Instructor and Underwater Photographer, Lisa came to us last year to complete her Pro Video course and is now near the end of the BSAC Underwater Video Trainer Course! She’ll be joining the Oceans Below Staff as our 4th Pro Video Trainer and will begin her first course next month. We look forward to welcoming her to The Team!!!

 

Pro Underwater Video and Pro UW Video TRAINER Courses Under Way on Koh Tao!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011 10:56

August has been the perfect month for our new BSAC Pro Video trainees to gather some amazing underwater footage in the crystal clear waters of Koh Tao. As we come to the end of the 2 week Professional HD Underwater Videographer course, everyone is now working on their showreels.

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Pro Video Trainee, Jason…

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Jason, from the UK, has been working as a Divemaster on the island at Scuba Junction. He will soon head off to Australia to film the Great White Sharks. We are really excited for him and can’t wait to see his footage when he returns! He’ll be back to start his Documentary Filmmaker Internship next month. For the time being, he’ll have to make due with the marine life of Koh Tao.

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Resident Seahorse at Mango Bay…

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Marbled Snake Eel…

Mike and Luke started their course with Autumn. Mike is becoming a “macro” specialist and Luke is slowly wrapping his head around the Professional Editing program. They are both from The States. Mike from Wyoming is a professional in the field of topside videography, mainly filming his school’s football team. He is already seriously hooked to underwater filming! With his chatty personality Luke is a great guy to have at the Oceans Below office. We are impressed to see how fast this native Oklahoman’s underwater filming skills are improving.

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Pro Video Trainee, Mike…

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Whip Coral Crab…

And then, there is Lisa. An experienced Dive Instructor and Underwater Photographer, Lisa came to us last year to complete her Pro Video course and is now near the end of the BSAC Underwater Video Trainer Course! She’ll be joining the Oceans Below Staff as our 4th Pro Video Trainer and will begin her first course next month. We look forward to welcoming her to The Team!!!

 

Pro Underwater Video and Pro UW Video TRAINER Courses Under Way on Koh Tao!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011 10:56

August has been the perfect month for our new BSAC Pro Video trainees to gather some amazing underwater footage in the crystal clear waters of Koh Tao. As we come to the end of the 2 week Professional HD Underwater Videographer course, everyone is now working on their showreels.

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Pro Video Trainee, Jason…

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Jason, from the UK, has been working as a Divemaster on the island at Scuba Junction. He will soon head off to Australia to film the Great White Sharks. We are really excited for him and can’t wait to see his footage when he returns! He’ll be back to start his Documentary Filmmaker Internship next month. For the time being, he’ll have to make due with the marine life of Koh Tao.

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Resident Seahorse at Mango Bay…

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Marbled Snake Eel…

Mike and Luke started their course with Autumn. Mike is becoming a “macro” specialist and Luke is slowly wrapping his head around the Professional Editing program. They are both from The States. Mike from Wyoming is a professional in the field of topside videography, mainly filming his school’s football team. He is already seriously hooked to underwater filming! With his chatty personality Luke is a great guy to have at the Oceans Below office. We are impressed to see how fast this native Oklahoman’s underwater filming skills are improving.

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Pro Video Trainee, Mike…

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Whip Coral Crab…

And then, there is Lisa. An experienced Dive Instructor and Underwater Photographer, Lisa came to us last year to complete her Pro Video course and is now near the end of the BSAC Underwater Video Trainer Course! She’ll be joining the Oceans Below Staff as our 4th Pro Video Trainer and will begin her first course next month. We look forward to welcoming her to The Team!!!

 

Koh Tao’s High Season is in Full Swing!

Tuesday, 02 August 2011 05:03

As Koh Tao’s summer rush has officially begun, both Oceans Below video offices are filled with buzzing students and staff. High season has started and the Pro HD Underwater Videographer Trainees and Trainers are taking advantage of the great weather and water conditions by filming most every day!

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Pro Video Trainee,Dom, face-to-face with a grouper.

For the past month we have been lucky with amazing visibility in the waters around Koh Tao. Our Open Water Videographers are making some spectacular videos for their customers. Internship trainees Emma, Dom and Jan have also filmed some great underwater footage for their show reels.

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Pro Video Trainee, Jan, hard at work.

BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer trainee, Jan, just completed his short documentary “Oceanic Love” in which he explains what we can do to conserve our oceans and specifically, what’s being done on Koh Tao.

Emma and Dom, our 2 newly certified professional underwater videographers, are nearly finished with their Open water Videographer Internship at Buddha View. Dom is itching to do his first job in a couple of days! Former BSAC pro video trainee Lisa came back to the island a couple of days ago to start her BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer Trainer course. After the one month course Lisa will join us as a Videographer Trainer at Oceans Below. She is already an accomplished photographer and we look forward to having her teach photography courses for us, as well!

Tomorrow will see the beginning of Darrin’s Pro HD Underwater Video course and we are all anxious to see what he can bring to the table. So far, this season is shaping up nicely for all the staff and students of Oceans Below!

 

Oceans Below Starts Koh Tao Pro Video Courses at Buddha View!

Monday, 11 July 2011 17:17

Last week our new office on the island’s south side at Budda View Dive Resort started a new Koh Tao pro video course! Autumn started off with Emma, an instructor who spends her evenings working behind the Buddha Bar, and Dom, another of the shop’s resident PADI Dive Instructors. From the moment we arrived, these two were very keen to get going with the BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videographer course.

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Koh Tao Video Trainee, Jan, at work…

The conditions in the waters around Koh Tao have been beautiful lately. Check out the recent video of Chumphon pinnacle on our youtube channel. Autumn, still fresh after her two months out of the water, is also rearing to go. This should be a fun packed month ahead for the students and instructors alike.

The PADI Open Water Course DVD’s for the tourists are keeping videographers John and Rudey very busy here at Buddha View. June, normally a quiet month on Koh Tao, has seen John out filming almost every day, with Rudey helping out when she’s not busy working with our Sairee beach dive shops. With videos selling like hotcakes, we can only imagine how it will be when the high season kicks in after the Full Moon Party next week.

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Professional Underwater Video Instructor, Autumn, with new trainees Dom and Emma

Meanwhile, the Sairee office is still rocking along with Jan and Nick finishing up their training and Darrin set to join us on the 15th. We’re enjoying the opportunity to purchase some new equipment to accommodate the recent partnership with Buddha View. With the second location, we’re also looking forward to being able to accept more people onto our Pro Underwater Video Internships.

We’ve also just heard the news that former trainee, Scott Goldhawk, has just been hired by the BBC as an Underwater Videographer! We take pride in knowing that we helped him on his way and will be sure to follow the next step of his career.

All the staff here at Oceans Below are eagerly awaiting the start of our next high season and anticipate some more fantastic underwater videos in the coming months

 

Oceans Below Starts Koh Tao Pro Video Courses at Buddha View!

Monday, 11 July 2011 17:17

Last week our new office on the island’s south side at Budda View Dive Resort started a new Koh Tao pro video course! Autumn started off with Emma, an instructor who spends her evenings working behind the Buddha Bar, and Dom, another of the shop’s resident PADI Dive Instructors. From the moment we arrived, these two were very keen to get going with the BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videographer course.

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Koh Tao Video Trainee, Jan, at work…

The conditions in the waters around Koh Tao have been beautiful lately. Check out the recent video of Chumphon pinnacle on our youtube channel. Autumn, still fresh after her two months out of the water, is also rearing to go. This should be a fun packed month ahead for the students and instructors alike.

The PADI Open Water Course DVD’s for the tourists are keeping videographers John and Rudey very busy here at Buddha View. June, normally a quiet month on Koh Tao, has seen John out filming almost every day, with Rudey helping out when she’s not busy working with our Sairee beach dive shops. With videos selling like hotcakes, we can only imagine how it will be when the high season kicks in after the Full Moon Party next week.

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Professional Underwater Video Instructor, Autumn, with new trainees Dom and Emma

Meanwhile, the Sairee office is still rocking along with Jan and Nick finishing up their training and Darrin set to join us on the 15th. We’re enjoying the opportunity to purchase some new equipment to accommodate the recent partnership with Buddha View. With the second location, we’re also looking forward to being able to accept more people onto our Pro Underwater Video Internships.

We’ve also just heard the news that former trainee, Scott Goldhawk, has just been hired by the BBC to develop new, wildlife documentaries! We take pride in knowing that we helped him on his way and will be sure to follow the next step of his career.

All the staff here at Oceans Below are eagerly awaiting the start of our next high season and anticipate some more fantastic underwater videos in the coming months

 

Oceans Below and Buddha View Dive Resort- Koh Tao Partners!!!

Written by autumn

Friday, 24 June 2011 03:38

Koh Tao Oceans Below is extremely happy and proud to announce a new partnership with Buddha View Dive Resort!! Buddha View, situated on the south of the island in Chalok Baan Kao, is one of the largest, most successful dive schools in Asia. With a huge influx of potential divers all year round & a constant buzz between staff & students, it is proving to be a great environment to set up Oceans Below’s 2nd office!

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Autumn and John learning new skills

After a hectic week of sawing, sanding, painting, hammering & drilling we have transformed what used to be Trigger Happy Dive Videos into a bright, fully-functional, video production facility. There have been many eyes watching the transformation and expansion with Buddha View staff checking out the progress and Oceans Below staff pitching in and helping make it happen. John has already started to film the open water courses and there has been huge interest in the BSAC Pro Underwater Videography course with many inquiries already. We will be running the BSAC Professional Underwater Videography courses, Documentary & Student Filming Internships & also the shorter 4 day Underwater Videography courses. We will also be providing PADI MSDT’s with the video specialty instructor. Elisabeth will run the Sairee office, teaching on the Scuba Junction boat & Aidy will be based at Buddha View with myself getting the best of both worlds and dividing my time between the two!

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Hanging with the BV staff…

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Aidy and Autumn at work in the new Buddha View location

With a prime location no more than 20 meters from the beach and Buddha View being a hive of activity, it promises to be a very fruitful and exciting year here at Oceans Below with a bigger demand for souvenir videos & many more courses to be taught in the future. Watch this space!!!

 

Oceans Below Says Goodbye to 4 New Professional Marine Videographers!

Written by autumn

Monday, 23 May 2011 18:38

It has been a particularly enjoyable time on Koh Tao over the last month with a great atmosphere between the staff and students. There have been many funny moments and lots of amazing footage filmed. The time has now come to say goodbye to Nader, Lisa, Joey & Pieter as they embark on new scuba diving adventures. We sent Koh Tao’s newly certified Pro Videographers on their way with a great Texas-Beer-Can Chicken and Rib barbecue at Elisabeth and Darius’ house. It was a great night of drinking and feasting on the rooftop balcony. Although we are sad to see them leave, we are also happy to welcome new students into the Oceans Below family.

Our newest trainees- Taylor, a graphic designer from San Francisco and CJ, a medic from Ontario- have been blessed with amazing conditions throughout the BSAC Professional Underwater Videography course and the Documentary Internship. Their dives at Chumporn Pinnacle have been their most memorable, with crystal-clear dive conditions and an abundance of fish to film. Huge schools of barracuda, mackerel, queen fish & trevally provided them with numerous amazing shots and footage they could be proud of.

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Koh Tao Pro Video Trainee, Taylor

Taylor’s ‘Best Of’ show reel is particularly impressive. Her eye for detail & good music choice has enabled her to create a very emotive piece. CJ’s obsession with nudibranches made it an easy choice when it came to her underwater documentary subject, “Nudibranches, Butterflies of the Sea”. She is well-versed on the topic and has produced a very informative piece. The films will be up on the Oceans Below You Tube page very soon. Check them out!!

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Koh Tao’s resident fish life…

Nick, fresh out of his Instructor Development Course with Darius, is our newest recruit and has approached the course with natural ease. He made an amazing film on just day two of his training and has been a pleasure to teach. He will take a short break and continue with his Underwater Documentary Internship.

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Pro Video Trainee, Nick “What, Me Worry?” Shallcross

Good luck to Nadar, Lisa, Joey & Pieter…Bon Voyage! A new chapter in the life of Oceans Below…more students and many more great shots lie ahead!

 

Oceans Below Pro Video Course Update

Written by autumn

Thursday, 05 May 2011 10:56

We see a great many people come through the doors of Oceans Below each year, and it’s always exciting to meet people who travel to Koh Tao from all over the world in pursuit of their dreams of becoming an underwater videographer. The Oceans Below/ BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videographer course seems to be growing in reputation and popularity as each day goes by! The 2-week Internship following the course is a great way to practice and apply the principles taught.

The office is currently filled with many budding, underwater filmmakers!! This group seems to get on together immensely and there is much camaraderie both in the office and on the boat. Amongst these characters is 18 year old Ben from Christchurch, New Zealand. He has amazed us with his mature attitude and genuine passion for everything aquatic. We have decided he can’t possibly leave and have given him an opportunity to become our freediving videographer to replace everyone’s favorite- Jason- who is now managing a dive resort in the Maldives.

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Pro Video Instructor Trainer, Elisabeth, with the Trainees at Fraggle Rock

Nader, an American film student & wedding videographer seems to have become part of the furniture around here and his creativity and understated charm makes working with him a real pleasure. His highlight was the six turtles he filmed during his BSAC Pro HD Underwater Video course & internship.

Austrian Lisa’s bubbly personality is going to be sorely missed when she leaves for the Perhentian Islands later this month to work as a PADI Dive Instructor. She has enjoyed every part of the course. The two days out on the Goodtimes Adventures speedboat, diving empty divesites with amazing visibility, was a major highlight and something she talks about incessantly!!

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Pro Video Intern Lisa filming a sea snake

Ross has taken it all in his stride and approached the course with a very laid back attitude. His studies in marine biology have served him well and his documentary on symbiosis, particularly the relationship between the anemone & the fish that inhabit it, is sure to amaze us!

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Pro Video Intern, Joey, films a whaleshark

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One of Koh Tao’s resident turtles

Joey & Pieter, friends from back home in Belgium, have been working as cameramen for many years, mailnly filming sporting events around Europe. They have been unbelievably lucky throughout the course, having had numerous encounters with whalesharks and turtles during their dives. They have put in many hours of editing time & have fastidiously researched in order to make amazing documentaries. Joey’s whaleshark documentary will be on our You Tube page soon..check it out!

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Inquisitive whaleshark

As well as producing many amazing student films, there has been much in the way of extra curricular activity. Oceans Below staff & students have enjoyed hikes up to the famous Koh Tao lookout, Fraggle Rock, for a heavenly sunset. We have enjoyed the return of the black tip sharks to the aptly named Shark Bay, where Elisabeth has taken them out for some snorkeling and photos. Last week we spent an evening at the Muay Thai fights watching people beat each other senseless. We’ve knocked back many sunset drinks at Fizz Lounge and the Buddha Bar. We spent an afternoon having a go on the flying trapeze and recently, we had a night out together for pizzas and bowling.

All in all an amazingly successful and enjoyable time here at Oceans Below!

 

Professional Video Trainees/ Underwater Video Instructors- Day Out!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011 14:57

Yesterday was the perfect day to take out all the Oceans Below BSAC Professional Underwater Video Trainees for a little exploration dive to find the seahorses at one of Koh Tao’s famous dive sites. The sun was out, the sky was blue and the surface of the sea was like a mirror at Twin Pinnacles.

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Professional Marine Video Trainee, Ben

Equipped with 5 Aquatica HD Wave housings and cameras, as well as 2 photo cameras, we jumped and quickly descended. There was a bit of a thermocline down to about 7 meters, but below that, the viz was amazing! We swam off the pinnacles over to the sand and fanned out to start our search for the seahorses. After a couple of minutes I tapped on my tank to let the marine videographers know the first one was found. Aidy immediately found another and we soon found three more! In all we managed to find seahorses in 5 different colours- red, blue, green, black and yellow!

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Professional Marine Video Trainee, Nader

Nader and Ben were on the last dive of the BSAC Professional Underwater Video course and were practicing their macro skills. After the dive Ben said that filming the seahorses was definitely one of the highlights of the course! Nader, who came to us from film school after having worked as a professional videographer, has just decided to return to Koh Tao to do his Underwater Documentary Filmmaker Internship and he’s already planning his final project about seahorses.

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We also spotted some pufferfish, a 1 cm devil scorpionfish and a juvenile silver sweetlips. It’s a great area to explore for macro shooting.

Tomorrow Nader and Ben will begin their Open Water Videographer Internship. I’m sure they will have lots of fun practicing their skills on Scuba Junction’s groups of Open Water students.

 

Filming North Atlantic Humpback Whales in the Dominican Republic!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011 06:53

On the 3rd of February I took a short leave from my Oceans Below duties on Koh Tao and packed my Sony EX1R camera, Gates Housing and my free diving fins to go on a wonderful trip to the Caribbean. My goal was to film the most amazing thing in the ocean- the Humpback Whale!

The trip took a bit longer than expected due to snow storms in Canada and North America. But after 3 days of airports, stress and stolen moments of sleep, I managed to get to Puerto Plata just in time!

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Elisabeth alone with two humpbacks

David Trescot, my fellow Oceans Below videographer, was waiting for me at the airport and we sped to the Aggressor Turks and Caicos II. Eager to get into the water, we started putting our film equipment together during the overnight trip to the Silver Banks which lies 110 km north of the shore amidst the Sanctuary for the Marine Mammals of the Dominican Republic. Every year from January through to April up to 5000 whales gather to calve, court and mate in the waters of the irregularly shaped 16 x 32km area with an average depth of 30 meters. And we were hoping film at least one of them!

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Humpbacks start the day with a few tail flaps

During the whale expedition, we sat many days for long hours on the lookout for a breaching whale, pec flap, a blow or any sign of whale activity. Once spotted we would approach very carefully and our guides would determine whether it was safe to get into the water with them. Whales involved in rowdy behaviour were left to work off their aggression! Resting or courting whales were the target of our cameras. The first couple of days were spent mostly in the water with resting whales who would come up every 15 to 18 minutes to breathe.

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Curious Humpback whale

On the surface there was loads of activity going on, as well. The whales would begin to breach at around 9:00am to shake themselves awake. There was communication between them with pec and tail slapping.

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Elisabeth with the always fashionable, Dave

And then one day when the wind dropped, we saw a cute couple quietly swimming next to each other. This was our chance! David jumped in and did a free dive down. While coming up, he stretched his arms and spun around to get the female’s attention…and it worked! We got to see a ‘Valentine’- a pairing! The female swam towards us, turned upside down, around and then swam all the way to the surface. We had her attention for more than 2 hours. Every now and again she popped her head out of the water just in front of us, as if she wanted to have a closer look. Every movement of our fins was immitated by her. As I tried to swim backwards while circling my fins, she slowly moved forwards with her pecs making the same motion! Meanwhile the male was still around and was desperately trying to get her attention and lure her away from us. When the sun started to set, we finally returned to the boat.

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Close encounter

What an amazing experience! With big grins on our faces we went back to the Aggressor for a hot shower and cocktails to celebrate this succesful encounter!

In the coming months, David and I will be editing our whale footage and will be posting clips on our youtube page. Watch this space!

 

Koh Tao Underwater- By Night!

Written by autumn

Saturday, 19 March 2011 03:09

Riann, from South Africa joined us a little over six weeks ago to start the BSAC Professional Underwater Videography course on Koh Tao. He embraced & enjoyed it tremendously, and seeing the panic in his eyes as he neared the end of the two week course, we all knew he was hooked! Since then he completed the Student Filming Internship AND the Underwater Documentary Internship and is now looking for yet more nuggets of knowledge from the teaching team here at Oceans Below!

For his marine documentary, Riann chose to focus on the differences in behavior of species on the reef during day & night. We rarely get out on night dives with students so it was a great opportunity to charge the lights and board the boat at sunset for a change of pace!

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A hermit crab getting active at night

The reef is such a wondrous and vibrant place during the day but filming it at night adds a different dimension altogether. Species such as the Porcupine Pufferfish & Blue-Spotted Stingray which are notorious for hiding in cracks & crevices during the day behave totally different during the night shift. As we entered the water armed with our Aquatica HD Wave housings & Nightrider Lights attached, we instantly found numerous rays out on the sand, feeding and swimming around & Pufferfish unprotected & unperturbed by our approach. We also noticed that the sea urchins, instead of being wedged securely in between rocks and coral as we find them during the day, they were out, moving along the sand in an almost uniform marching procession.

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A curious Blue-Spotted Stingray
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Sea Urchins on the move

We had a very successful & enjoyable dive and Riann managed to get some amazing shots for his documentary. Check out the Oceans Below You Tube page, “Exploring the Reef at Night”. I think it is safe to say that Riann has been hit right between the eyes & has fallen wholeheartedly in love with underwater videography!! Well done & good luck!!!

In other news, to celebrate a very busy beginning to the high season and great success with students and the films they have produced, the Oceans Below team went to Sunset View for drinks & dinner!!!

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After work, chilling…

 

High Season Hits Oceans Below, Koh Tao!

Written by autumn

Saturday, 05 March 2011 18:08

The Koh Tao sun is blazing with intensity, the water is a crystal playground teeming with life & the island is buzzing with sun kissed, high spirited divers….The high season here on Koh Tao is full swing! The change in gear is definitely noticeable here at Oceans Below with an “all hands on deck” attitude & the constant to-ing & fro-ing of staff & students alike.

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Koh Tao’s best side…

Our latest Underwater Video Internship students have been working hard and doing us proud! Chris has just finished his Documentary Internship in style with a stunning film about symbiosis & the different symbiotic relationships that occur on the reefs around Koh Tao. Considering the fact that before Chris started this course a month ago, he had never held a video camera or edited on any software, this is truly an amazing piece.

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Scribbled Filefish at Chumpon

Bart, after finishing his BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videography course & Riann, having just completed his Pro Video Internship are now also undertaking the challenge of documentary filmmaking. Both guys have come up with unique & interesting topics they want to base their documentaries on. With some expert filming, fastidious research & many hours spent editing on Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, we should see two more amazing underwater documentaries take shape in the very near future. Watch this space!

We have yet another new addition to the Oceans Below student crew. Warren is from the beautiful city of Sydney and already knows about the wonders of the ocean, his passion being surfing. He completed his PADI Divemaster in Bali a few months ago and is now ready for the slower-paced but equally exhilarating challenge of underwater filming. With quiet determination he is taking it all in his stride and promises to be yet another enthusiastic & successful marine video trainee.

Even with Oceans Below bursting at the seams & Aidy & I spending most of the day resembling headless chickens, we made the time to organize staff & student sunset drinks at Fizz, one of the many chilled, beachfront bars. With melodic tunes emanating from the speakers we watched the sun set whilst sipping ice cold drinks and chatting about the day’s events, highlights & truly funny moments here at Oceans Below, Koh Tao.

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The current Oceans Below Intern crew

Check out the Oceans Below Facebook & You Tube pages for more great student films!

A day in the life in paradise!!!

 

Oceans Below Completes the First Video Internship of 2011!

Written by autumn

Sunday, 06 February 2011 03:44

The beginning of the new year marked the start of a new Professional HD Underwater Videographer course with new, excited & enthusiastic students. Sara & Martin, a Swiss couple from the city of Basel arrived just before Christmas and had a week or two to settle in & get familiar with the island before I started cracking the whip! They are now coming to the end of their BSAC Videography Course and are in the process of completing their final “Best Of” project before they have a well earned day off and then take on their next challenge in the Documentary Filmmaking Internship.

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Whilst learning macro filming as part of their BSAC Professional Underwater Videography course they both developed a passion for the smaller things in life! They really enjoyed getting to grips with all the aspects of Macro filming including composition, position, zoom & focus. Even though it did get a little frustrating for them at times, they persisted until they got the perfect shot! For these reasons they have both decided on “Macro Life Around Koh Tao” as the subject for their Documentary Internship films.

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Professional Undewrwater Videographers, Martin and Sara

Both Sara & Martin are eager to learn & extremely attentive which has enabled them to improve in leaps & bounds since they first began the course. It has also made them an absolute pleasure to teach. Well done guys, keep up the good work!!

 

Notes from a Freediving Videographer…

Written by jason

Tuesday, 21 December 2010 19:18

Silence surrounds me with every dive into the blue. As I look through the eye of the camera, I can see a diver approaching from above, his moves graceful as he glides towards the deep. Touching twenty meters, he turns to me with a huge grin and begins his ascent back to the surface.

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Returning from the blue

It’s been nearly three months since I began filming freediving students on Koh Tao with Apnea Total, and it has literally taken my breath away! The feeling that one gets when dropping to twenty meters, holding position to get that perfect shot, and heading back towards air after a two minute breathhold dive is more than words can explain! I love the way freediving allows me to take shots at different angles and lengths to give my footage an artistic quality about it. This, along with filming students achieving impressive depths, is what drives me back again and again with enthusiasm and excitement!

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Jason in his element

Besides filming freedivers challenging themselves in the blue, I do get the odd encounter with some of the ocean’s bounty which creates an almost otherworldly feeling. On a recent trip, a graceful yet deadly Box Jellyfish cruised past our lines. With every encounter, they serve as a reminder of both the beauty and the danger of our ocean-going life. An array of reef fish also make appearances in my videos as they rush toward my camera lens to be in the spotlight, if only for a moment…

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Monica has a moment with a box jellyfish

Other than being in the water, I get to spend time in the studio editing the footage I’ve collected each day. This process fascinates me as I’m able to employ the skills I was taught by the Oceans Below team. Adding subtle yet impressive effects to my HD Underwater videos is something I love to surprise people with while they watch themselves in the big blue.

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Jason- Scuba Instructor, Video Trainer, Freedive Videographer…

Thankfully, the people at Oceans Below have uncovered ways to allow me to further my passions for teaching, filming and freediving. Our newest offering is a Freediving Videography Internship whereby people will learn underwater videography techniques adapted to breathhold diving. These interns will train with me and I so look forward to introducing people to my silent world. While my love for filming scuba divers will always be there, my main passion lies in leaving the tanks at home to film freedivers on a single breath.

One breath, one moment, caught on camera!

 

Oceans Below Koh Tao Moves to Fully Solid State Cameras…

Sunday, 19 December 2010 01:15

As usual at this time of year, Oceans Below is preparing for the season ahead by upgrading our stock of video equipment. We’ve acquired the newest models of HD video cameras and underwater housings for our students to learn underwater videography.

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In keeping with the latest technology, we are eliminating all internal moving components for capturing our HD underwater footage. Behind us are the days of DV tapes with dirty head issues; tape deck breakdowns caused by too many moving parts; and limited capture time. For 2011, we’ll be moving to solid state cameras across the board.

Last year we upgraded the cameras which were used on our underwater videography internships and daily video production to hard disc drive (HDD) technology. We chose the Sony XR range, including the XR 500, and XR 520, with both PAL and NTSC models.

We housed all these great cameras in the Aquatica HD Wave housings. Aquatica invited us to test the housings when they came onto the market, and they so impressed us that Oceans Below quickly became a distributor for Aquatica underwater video equipment! This camera and housing combination continues to serve us well on a daily basis.

For the coming year the Sony CX 550 will be joining our ranks. This fantastic camera, a few steps up from the XR 520, is part of a line which includes an HDD model- the XR 550. However, the CX 550 incorporates fully solid state technology. This means that there are no moving parts and virtually nothing can go wrong. They also handle environmental factors such as heat, damp and cold much better.

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In addition, we have also added a Sony EX1R broadcast quality camera with Gates housing. Also a solid state camera, this amazing professional model will be used for production filming, stock underwater footage, and our new Advanced Underwater Documentary Filmmaker course.

The arrival of all of this new equipment means that we must make room by selling last season’s models. We are able to offer the Sony XR 500 and 520 with Aquatica HD Wave housings either new or second-hand. The used ones have been training cameras that have, in most cases, only worked with us for a few months. All are meticulously maintained in-house, and are in perfect working order. Oceans Below upgrades the training cameras every 6-12 months so that we can offer only the latest technology to our students as they learn underwater video.

We also still have a couple of Sony PC350 cameras in Gates housings which we would be happy to offer to anyone interested. Though a few years old, these are great rigs for someone starting out, or perhaps, a new video company looking for a cheap and effective way to get their business off the ground. The cameras are all in great working order and have had new tape decks fitted in recent months. As we no longer use this model, they will be going cheap!

Come in or contact us if you’re interested in knowing more about any of our equipment.

 

Holiday’s Over. Now, Koh Tao’s High Season Kicks In!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 05:25

Darius and I just got back from a short diving trip to Sulawesi in Indonesia. The first five days were spent filming the magical creatures of The Straits of Lembeh. We stayed at Two Fish Resort where the managers were friends from Koh Tao. Helen completed her Dive Instructor course with Darius at Buddha View a few years ago, and her and Gizmo ensured that we had a great time diving in Indonesia.

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We were able to find Time Severino’s missing shorts…

The local dive guides were fantastic at spotting all of the water’s “weird creatures” and we were lucky enough to see Hairy Frogfish, Mimic Octopus, Wonderpus, a Blue-ringed Octopus, Pygmee Seahorses, Ambon Scorpionfish and loads more in the black sand of the Straits. Luckily, I brought my new Sony EX1R camera and Gates Housing and managed to get some great shots!

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Blue-ringed Octopus…

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Hairy Frogfish, fishing…

After a couple of days we travelled to Bunaken to stay at Living Colours Dive Resort. This was a great place tucked away in the mangroves. We had some great wall dives with the healthiest coral I’ve seen in ages and what must be the biggest green turtle on the planet! The owner, Jaako, was very accommodating and has asked Oceans Below to return soon to film a promotional video for them. Yet another two Koh Tao friends, Al and Annika, work at Living Colours and it was nice to catch up with them.

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Helen and Hd Underwater Video Trainer, Elisabeth…

Now we’re back to work and Autumn started a new BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videographer course on the 2nd of December. The second day in the water, the video trainees were already lucky enough to film their first turtle! We also hear that there have been numerous Whaleshark sightings. Hopefully, the guys will get a chance to film them during the video internships. We’re all looking forward to a great new season!

 

Shooting Thailand’s Similan Islands!

Written by autumn

Thursday, 02 December 2010 11:29

Throughout most of the year here on Koh Tao we see lots of travelers, backpackers & families navigate their way to our fine shores, mainly for the picturesque scenery, beachfront social scene and a general feeling of ‘getting away from it all’. However, due to the brief but ominous monsoon season during the month of November the general pace of the island slows and the number of tourists dwindles, giving those that work here a chance to ‘get away’ and go in search of yet more sunshine and more importantly, great diving.

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Clownfish

Recently, my partner Evan and I joined a liveaboard trip to the Similan & Surin Islands, just off the West Coast of Thailand. The visibility is renowned for being at it’s best around this time of year. The widely diverse array of healthy underwater life there makes it an amazing & exciting place to film. We booked our four day trip with West Coast Divers based in Phuket and, equipped with a Sony XR500 HD camera & an Aquatica HD Wave housing, we set off on our underwater adventure!

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Peacock Mantis Shrimp

We began each morning at 6am with a briefing about the dive site and conditions and then excitedly geared up and jumped in! Each dive was amazing in it’s own right. Some sights like Elephant Head Rock were deep, sloping off to well over 40 meters with lots of boulders and swim-throughs. Others, like East of Eden were filled with amazingly colored soft corals and a staggering variety of reef fish. My favorites were Anita’s Reef & Richelieu Rock. Both sites had an abundance of life and at times I found myself torn between what to film next! We saw everything from rays to mantis shrimps, seahorses, turtles, cuttle fish, giant eels and much more. Among the many unforgettable moments of the trip, one in particular stands out. The first dive of the third day was at Koh Tachai. We were nearing the end of the dive when I came across an octopus which, as soon as it saw me, fled back into it’s protective hole. After much patience the octopus emerged, flashing different colors and sat proudly on the coral which enabled me to get some beautiful shots.

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Octopus

So after a great trip, it’s back to work. I’m looking forward to starting the new season with Pete and John who are here to take our BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videographer course!

 

Flying High at Oceans Below & Scuba Junction!

Written by autumn

Saturday, 06 November 2010 16:14

As the monsoon is nearly upon us and the general pace of life here on Koh Tao starting to quieten, it gives those that live and work here a chance to get together, hang out and try something new. After a busy season of filming HD Underwater videos and teaching Professional Underwater Videographer Internships, Oceans Below teamed up with Scuba Junction for a staff and student day out. But this time instead of heading down to the depths, we decided to take a birds-eye view on life. We went trapezing!!!

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The day was a beautiful one and perfect for flying high on the trapeze. Everyone was so excited at the prospect of trying it out, some experienced, others not so much! Elisabeth demonstrated a basic routine with poise & ‘zen mastery’ and we all TRIED to follow her example! With adrenaline pumping we all took our turn at climbing up the ladder to the 10 meter high platform. Hands chalked & hearts racing we all attempted the seemingly crazy jumps, swings & tricks.

Everyone did amazingly in all aspects of the trapeze. Jason wowed us with an unbelievable catch on only his third jump and I stunned the crowd with a stinger of a face-plant on my very first attempt! Not to be beaten and with a little help from my newly acquired pixie wings, knees shaking, I climbed straight back up the ladder and redeemed myself with a tinker-bellesque swing and back flip!!

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Me in my Tinkerbell outfit after literally ‘flying’!

My scars have nearly disappeared (much to everyone’s disappointment!), but the amazing memories of the day still remain. It was a fitting day to end a very busy & successful season here at Oceans Below.

Thanks to Gemma at Flying Trapeze Adventures for her patience and pep talks & also to David Trescot who helped make the day happen.

 

Day out with the BSAC Pro Video Interns…

Written by john boy

Thursday, 28 October 2010 12:24

My day off from filming PADI Open Water students at Koh Tao Easy Divers was spent guiding our BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videography Interns for their macro video projects. I really enjoyed the longer dives and the opportunity to take underwater photos for Oceans Below and, of course, my personal collection.

Tom and Julian were using our Aquatica HD Wave housings, which by now they were familiar with. I took a digital stills camera and was careful with my flash so as not to ruin Tom and Julian’s videos. We met at 7.00 am at Koh Tao Scuba Junction and had a bite to eat and a cup of tea before heading off from Sairee Beach.

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Shot of the day at White Rock…

The plan was for 2 dives- one at Koh Nangyuan Pinnacle and one at my favourite spot, White Rock. Because we were shooting macro, close-ups of the hard corals where small crabs were hiding was an obvious start. We also focused our lenses on the large swim-through housing lots of sponges and anemones. Glass fish, soft bubble coral and colourful giant clams were also subjects which we spent time filming. We were helped along to the boat by a mild current which pushed us gently back into Japanese Gardens.

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Tom filming a hawksbill turtle

Our second dive at White Rock brought us a number of moray eels and sleeping blue-spotted ribbon-tail-rays. Other cool subjects we found were leather corals and gobies living with their partner shrimps in the sand. Ironically, towards the end of the dive, Tom and I spotted a hawksbill turtle gliding along looking for a feed! Not exactly a macro moment, but he was a small, younger turtle and he really made our day as we both got great shots of him. After an hour was up, we decided to do our safety stop and head back to the boat to check our images and choose our favourites.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable morning and a great dive to complete the BSAC Video internship on Koh Tao! Tom says he will miss me when he returns to the UK to dive the Scapa Flow. Sorry Tom- I prefer the tropical waters of the Gulf of Thailand, mate!

 

Day out with the BSAC Pro Video Interns…

Written by john boy

Thursday, 28 October 2010 12:24

My day off from filming PADI Open Water students at Koh Tao Easy Divers was spent guiding our BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videography Interns for their macro video projects. I really enjoyed the longer dives and the opportunity to take underwater photos for Oceans Below and, of course, my personal collection.

Tom and Julian were using our Aquatica HD Wave housings, which by now they were familiar with. I took a digital stills camera and was careful with my flash so as not to ruin Tom and Julian’s videos. We met at 7.00 am at Koh Tao Scuba Junction and had a bite to eat and a cup of tea before heading off from Sairee Beach.

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Shot of the day at White Rock…

The plan was for 2 dives- one at Koh Nangyuan Pinnacle and one at my favourite spot, White Rock. Because we were shooting macro, close-ups of the hard corals where small crabs were hiding was an obvious start. We also focused our lenses on the large swim-through housing lots of sponges and anemones. Glass fish, soft bubble coral and colourful giant clams were also subjects which we spent time filming. We were helped along to the boat by a mild current which pushed us gently back into Japanese Gardens.

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Tom filming a hawksbill turtle

Our second dive at White Rock brought us a number of moray eels and sleeping blue-spotted ribbon-tail-rays. Other cool subjects we found were leather corals and gobies living with their partner shrimps in the sand. Ironically, towards the end of the dive, Tom and I spotted a hawksbill turtle gliding along looking for a feed! Not exactly a macro moment, but he was a small, younger turtle and he really made our day as we both got great shots of him. After an hour was up, we decided to do our safety stop and head back to the boat to check our images and choose our favourites.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable morning and a great dive to complete the BSAC Video internship on Koh Tao! Tom says he will miss me when he returns to the UK to dive the Scapa Flow. Sorry Tom- I prefer the tropical waters of the Gulf of Thailand, mate!

 

The Oceans Below Team is out in Full Force with Scuba Junction!

Written by autumn

Thursday, 21 October 2010 17:22

The Oceans Below Team were out in full force yesterday morning on the Scuba Junction boat- all fully equipped for amazing underwater filming with an abundance of HD Underwater Cameras & Gates & Aquatica Housings. The weather on Koh Tao has been stunning the last few days and the filming has been excellent.

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Lucky, Julian, Autumn, Tom, Elisabeth and Erik and lots of cameras and housings…

Elisabeth took the opportunity to try out her brand new set-up which consists of a Sony EX1R camera and a monstrous Gates Housing. With the help of many hands (thanks Erik!) to get it in and out of the water, the first trip out was a success. I’m sure it weighs more than Liz herself! It was very exciting for all involved..imagine kids at Christmas!

We had an amazing group of students…

Lucky- professional photographer, just finished his BSAC Pro HD Underwater Videography Course
Tom- professional cameraman and cinematographer, coming to the end of his Underwater Documentary Internship
Julian- professional producer and director, also finishing up his Underwater Documentary Internship
And Erik- on the design team for Adobe Premiere Pro (the software that we videographers use daily), beginning his Advanced Broadcast Video course

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Pro HD Video Trainer, Autumn, and Instructor Trainer, Elisabeth…

We all enjoyed a dive at Chumporn followed by the icing on the cake- a 50 minute dive with a turtle at Twins. All the students were successful in getting amazing footage and everyone came up with huge smiles on their faces.

Yet another good day at the Oceans Below office!!

 

Oceans Below Koh Tao Joins up with Apnea Total!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010 07:22

The team from Oceans Below would like to officially welcome aboard Apnea Total as our new partner for Underwater Video productions on Koh Tao! Apnea Total has long been recognized as the Premier Freedive training school in the world, having certified more freedivers than any other facility on the planet. The owners, Monica and Eusebio, are highly respected in the field with numerous breathhold diving records to their names.

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Freedive Instructor Trainer, Monica, practicing technique…

A few weeks ago Apnea Total and Oceans Below joined force as a way to document their students’ progress on freediving courses and to promote the sport and their business. With a keen new Oceans Below staff member, Jason, looking to literally, jump in and lend a hand, we happily took up the challenge. Jason- already a highly-trained PADI Dive Instructor– had completed his training with Apnea Total a few years ago and after just a single day of review was executing breathhold dives to depths approaching 40 meters. He’s already made some fantastic freedive movies for sale to the students on the Apnea Total courses and we look forward to seeing him progress as a professional freedive videographer.

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Freediving in the Gulf of Thailand

All of Jason’s movies are filmed in HD Video while breathhold diving and he has a true penchant for capturing the grace and beauty of this amazing sport. The freedivers will be taking off the month of November to give the monsoon a miss, but we can’t wait to work with them again in December. Welcome aboard Apnea Total!

 

Oceans Below Koh Tao has One ‘Lucky’ Video Trainer!

Written by Autumn

Thursday, 14 October 2010 12:58

Upon my arrival back from a short trip to the Uk, I was blessed with yet another eager & enthusiastic pro video student. He’s from Slovenia and is called Srecko, which when translated into English means ‘Lucky’. And what an appropriate name, for we have been VERY lucky indeed!

Throughout the entire BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videographer course, we have enjoyed with very good visibility and a diverse array of underwater life that is amazing to film. One particular day that stands out is Day 3 of the course while diving with Scuba Junction at two of the most popular Koh Tao dive sites- Twins & White Rock.

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Lucky’s pufferfish…

Both sites are bursting at the seams with life and are an absolute adventure to film. Seemingly, as soon as Lucky began to film one shot, I was banging furiously on my tank in order to get his attention for yet more potentially great footage. The afternoon was topped off to perfection when, at the end of the second dive, we rounded a corner at the North end of White Rock and came face to face with the resident turtle. There resides a Hawksbill turtle that can quite often be found grazing on the bubble coral in the area. We spent over ten minutes alone with the turtle enabling us to take our time and get some spectacular, close up footage. The look in Lucky’s eyes at the end of that dive is the reason I love this job so much!

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Resident Hawksbill Turtle at White Rock…

Lucky has immersed himself wholeheartedly into the course and is improving in leaps and bounds every day. His background in photography has helped him understand the basics allowing him to shoot a number of fantastic shots.

Well done Lucky!

 

BSAC Professional Underwater Videographers Begin Documentary Film-Making Internship

Thursday, 07 October 2010 18:06

A few days ago at Oceans Below, Koh Tao, we began our Documentary Film-Making Internship with Julian Andrade and Tom Mumford. Julian, a film director from Argentina, and Tom, a film and broadcast producer from the UK, started their pro underwater video training with us after doing some fun dives with Scuba Junction to get familiar with Koh Tao diving.

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Tom in his elelment…

Professionals as they are, they quickly picked up the various techniques for filming underwater! Their show reels have already been posted on our Youtube page. Check them out- http://www.youtube.com/user/OceansBelowKohTao.

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Julian first plays with a sunken motorbike- then plays with Photoshop…

Yesterday at Twins and White Rock, we were lucky enough to film some amazing small stuff as well as a seasnake, a hawksbill sea turtle and about 6 swimming stingrays. There will definitely be some usuable footage in there! During the Internship, Tom and Julian will each pick one species and make a short documentary about it. We’re looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

Clemens finished his BSAC Video course 2 weeks ago and as a happy customer, returned to Germany. He had somewhere around 600 dives before joining us at Oceans Below, and he had already been filming underwater for about 10 years. With our help his filming and editing skills improved vastly during the 2 weeks he was on Koh Tao for the Pro Video training. I am sure his dive buddies back home will be extremely impressed with his new style of underwater movies!

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A very happy Clemens in the studio…

 

Jason Settles into life as a Professional Underwater Videographer!

Written by Jason

Thursday, 02 September 2010 15:43

I can’t believe that I’ve already finished five Open Water Course videos since my paid video internship with Oceans Below began!

It feels like I just touched the tip of the iceberg of underwater video despite the immense ammount of knowledge that my Professional Underwater Video Trainers Aidy, Elizabeth and the brownie-loving Autumn have given me these past 6 weeks. Since I arrived on Koh Tao, I’ve felt right at home with the Oceans Below team who have extreme humor, patience and dedication (or obsession?) to underwater videography. I couldn’t be more happy working with anyone. Anywhere.

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Jason films his 1st-ever Whaleshark while working with us…

While doing my BSAC Pro HD Underwater Video course, I had the pleasure to film tons of little creatures such as gobies and tiny little shrimp, a variety of corals and lots of fish. The work involved with macro-videography is a time-consuming addiction you just can’t get enough of, and once you start you just can’t stop. On the flip side, I also had the good fortune of grabbing beautiful footage of a whaleshark that swam by Chumphon Pinnacle the other day. This was a mind blowing experience that I am still in shock of to this day! Going for a dive without a camera just isn’t the same anymore.

As for the island, what place could be more perfect than Koh Tao? To my surprise, you can do nearly anything and get everything here- ranging from finding Gruyere Cheese from Switzerland to taking Trapeze classes taught by world class artists just down the road from the Video Studio. You can also go to the depths of the ocean via scuba diving or rock-climb up to the scenic heights of Koh Tao. The food is scrumptious everywhere you go (especially the Looking Glass brownies, just ask Autumn about it!), the people are really friendly and the scenery is amazing. Good thing Oceans Below helped me get that 1-year visa so that I can enjoy my time here in paradise!

 

Oceans Below Koh Tao Welcomes New HD Videographer Intern!

Written by autumn

Tuesday, 24 August 2010 02:23

Once again, we at Oceans Below are blessed with a new, excited and enthusiastic student by the name of Angela Gallo from Montreal, Canada.

Angela arrived on Koh Tao around a month ago and has been in the process of completing her PADI Divemaster Course at Buddha View Dive Resort. She plans to continue on and join the Koh Tao Instructor Development Course (IDC) with Darius soon. But before that she wanted to pursue her passion in filming and editing.

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Angela quickly picking up the Adobe CS5 editing software.
..

She started with us here at Oceans Below only a couple of days ago but is already getting ‘into the swing of things!’ Her passion and enthusiasm makes her an enjoyable and rewarding student to work with and if the last few days are anything to go by, we are in for a very fun BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videographer course!

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Christmas tree coral at Aow Leuk to the south of Koh Tao

We got off to a very good start and enjoyed an afternoon at an amazing dive site called Aow Leuk at the Southern end of Koh Tao. This spot is particularly popular for PADI Open Water Courses with Instructors preferring the calm, shallow conditions for new divers. Angela loved this dive and managed to get many good shots of various types of coral and common coral fish including an amazing shot of a butterfly fish hiding in some stag horn coral. I am very impressed… continue the good work Angela!

 

New Oceans Below Underwater Video Training Office Operating at 100% Again!

Saturday, 21 August 2010 05:58

It’s been a crazy, fun-filled few weeks here at the Oceans Below offices. We managed to time it all just right and moved the entire operation to the new, picturesque premises in a single day. Moving was one thing- organizing the pile of computers, desks, chairs, cameras, boxes, and the odd student into something resembling an editing suit was another challenge. But everyone pitched in, staff and students alike, and now after a long week of organizing and tripping over each other, we are back to full strength. Now Autumn, Elisabeth and I are able to give our full attention to filming Koh Tao’s dive centers and teaching our BSAC underwater video trainees.

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The new Oceans Below offices on Koh Tao

Jason and Katie have recently completed the 2 week HD Underwater Video course and produced some great dry projects and show reels in the process. Both can be viewed on our Youtube Channel. They each went on to complete the student filming internship and they plan to stick around and do a bit of work over the next season. Jason has already begun working with us and Katie will complete her Divemaster course with Scuba Junction before returning to start work.

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Sachin- New Professional Underwater Videographer!

Sachin, a talented photographer from India, came to Koh Tao, Thailand to join us for the BSAC Pro HD Underwater Video course at the beginning of the month. A few days ago we went for a bit of an exploration dive north of No Name Pinnacle. I had not ventured in that direction before and was excited to see what was out there. I was surprised to find a large patch of coral where I was expecting only sand. We happened upon a few feather stars walking around, some pipe fish, and a small ray hiding in the sand. Sachin got a couple of shots of the ray before it decided it had enough of being a film star, and moved on. Yesterday, Sachin finished the BSAC Underwater Video course and is about to begin his Instructor Development Course (IDC) with Darius and Mark over at Buddha View. Good luck Sachin!

 

Adobe Premiere Pro and AVCHD- A Godsend to Koh Tao!

Monday, 26 July 2010 11:10

Last year, Koh Tao Oceans Below made the transition from filming our HD underwater video using DV tape cameras to our newest standard- HDD (hard disc drive)- filming HD video (1080i) in both NTSC and Pal (30/25fps).

Moving over to HDD cameras changed everything for us. It is a much more practical way to work in a busy office with cameras going out on the morning dives, coming back to the editing suite only to be prepped to go out again for the afternoon dives. We appreciate that we can now use the same camera day in day out, without having to worry about whether there’s enough space for the next staff member or underwater videographer internship trainee to record their HD underwater footage.

At the time of this article, our BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer training center has five new high-definition HDD cameras with Aquatica underwater video housings for student use. For us, HD tape cameras are a thing of the past. Gone are the days of constantly replacing tapes, sorting out dirty head issues, trouble-shooting tape deck malfunctions caused by so many moving parts, not to mention dealing with the limitation of a 60 min record time.

It seemed the only draw back with these new wonder cameras was the compression they use. AVCHD (Advanced Video Codec High Definition) was a codec that haunted us for some time. We searched high and low on the internet for an effective way to deal with it. No one seemed to know anything. There was just more questions.

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With the introduction of Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, we then had the ability to work with AVCHD- there were even a few plugins for CS3. But the problem was that yous eemed to need a super computer to work with it effectively. At Oceans Below we’re usually running 6/8 computers at a time, half of which are for the students to learn underwater video editing techniques. It was virtually a full time job upgrading these machines to handle the new formats that kept coming out.

One option we found was using a great little piece of software called ‘AVCHD upshift’ which converted the AVCHD/mts files to HDV/m2t,a much bigger file, but easier for the computers to handle. This was never going to be a longterm solution.

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The SOLUTION!

Finally, Adobe has released Premiere Pro CS5! This was developed with AVCHD in mind. With the addition of the new mercury engine, Premiere Pro CS5 can run multi-layered AVCHD tracks without a problem. You can even apply effects to these clips and watch them back straight away.

Thank you Adobe! Once again you’ve raised the bar and made life easier for all of us Pro Videographers on Koh Tao!

 

Koh Tao Oceans Below- Pro Videographer Course Update…

Friday, 23 July 2010 07:16

The two new Pro HD Underwater Video Trainees are shaping up nicely and the coral is quickly recovering!

Katie, from England, who’s been diving in the lakes of the UK to get her PADI Rescue certification so that she could enroll in our course, is settling in well. She’s proving to be a great diver which is helping her camera work come along in leaps and bounds in her first week on the course. Jason is a very experienced PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor from Canada and has also taken to the camera well. His shots are very smooth at this point in the course.

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Katie and Jason, on their Pro video internship…

We’ve been out diving a few times lately and it’s been great fun with these two. We’ve had a bit of wind come through the Gulf of Thailand recently which has stirred up the sea and reduced the visibility in the water. But July- October are usually our best diving months, so I’m sure it won’t be long until we see the return of our usual crystal clear flat seas, beautiful fish and the colourful corals which are typical of Koh Tao’s waters.

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Nudibranchs out at Twins…

Just as with all areas of Asia and Australia, Koh Tao did have a few weeks of unseasonably warm waters a few months ago resulting in some coral bleaching on our shallower dive sites. Thankfully, we’re seeing a very quick recovery as the temperatures have dropped back to the usual 29-30C. On the upside, we’re now able to get some fantastic photos with otherwise, unseen effects!

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Anemonefish- Thriving despite the coral bleaching….

We’re now at the point on the BSAC Video course where we focus on macro shooting. Jason and Katie have been able to film some really cool stuff lately, such as a tiny nudibranch out in the sand at Japanese Gardens, a really cute filefish and some Headshield Slugs at twins- which are quite rare on Koh Tao. Today we’ll be heading out again to practice camerawork for macro filming. That is unless, we happen upon the whaleshark which has been spotted a few times over the last couple of days…!
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Tiny filefish…

 

The Koh Tao Dream is Real at Oceans Below!!

Written by Autumn

Thursday, 22 July 2010 15:36

I never really believed people when they told me “I’ve found my passion, I was made to do this!” That is, not until my first dive with an HD Underwater Video camera in my hands…it was then that the penny dropped, the light bulb shone brightly, and I suddenly realised what they meant. That was five years ago and since then, I have experienced a phenomenon that seems to elude most people around the world, nowadays….LOVING my work!!

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Autumn- on her debut as a Professional Underwater Video Instructor Trainer at Oceans Below!

I worked as a PADI Open Water Videographer for The Film Company at Ban’s Diving Resort for a number of years. In this time I worked on a live-aboard boat on a trip to The Similan Islands which fired up my passion even more. But things really started coming together when I began working at Oceans Below earlier this year. The more time I spend here, the more I think it could quite possibly have been the best decision I’ve ever made! Aidy & Elisabeth’s passion and determination to deliver high quality, exciting HD Video courses has inspired me to work harder! They saw something in me and offered me a position as a BSAC Professional Underwater Videography Instructor. After numerous months of studying, I have now become a fully fledged BSAC Diving Instructor and Videography Instructor.

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Autumn with Pro Video Trainee, Doug, and Ocean’s Below Colleague, Jen

I look forward to a long and happy future working in Thailand alongside Aidy & Elisabeth and the rest of the team and helping them run their video internships here at Oceans Below….The dream is real!!

 

New Video Center and a New Pro Video Trainer!

Friday, 16 July 2010 08:19

It seems like not so long ago, I was writing articles about our office expansion in Koh Tao’s Sairee Plaza. Well, once again we find ourselves outgrowing our office space here and we’ve decided to construct our own custom building on some land the company owns on a hill behind Sairee Beach.

Only a month after making the decision, the building is looking like it will be finished soon! The new Oceans Below office will be built on three levels, with the top level set up for underwater camera/housing maintenance and prep area. We’ve also designed a kitchen area here for the staff and video trainees.

The next level will house the editing suite where they can all create and edit their HD underwater videos. This part of the office looks straight out onto an amazing banyan tree which has grown around a huge rock. The lowest level, near the entrance will be Elisabeth and my office which overlooks the tree to one side, and the other side up to the hills across the valley. It’s a stunning scene, sure to inspire the staff for some great Underwater videos! As you can imagine, we are quite anxious to get moved in.

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Tree of Inspiration…?

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The new office is taking shape…

This month also has seen the promotion of one of our staff members. Autumn, who has been filming the PADI and SSI open water courses for us, and before that she worked with the film company in Bans Dive Resort, was ready for a change in life and work. Conveniently, we were ready to train and take on another BSAC HD Underwater Video Instructor. We felt that Autumn had the qualities we look for in our trainers.

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Autumn, at work underwater.
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And in the office.

Over the last few months or so she committed to crossing over from PADI Divemaster to BSAC Diveleader, completed her BSAC Instructor course and has been diligently assisting on our Pro HD Video courses and internships. She’s definitely paid her dues and has worked hard for her reward. Since getting started, Autumn has proved to us time and time again that she was definitely the right choice for the job. Thanks Autumn, for all you hard work and dedication to the Oceans Below team!

So with a new instructor, a new office, and new cameras on the way, Oceans Below’s Pro HD Underwater Video School is getting set for the start of a great new season…

 

Oceans Below BSAC Pro HD Underwater Video Courses in Demand!

Saturday, 29 May 2010 08:16

The crew at Oceans Below have been so busy recently that we’ve found it hard to find time to update you with the news on all the Koh Tao Underwater Video trainees that have been coming through our doors lately. Our BSAC Professional HD Underwater Video course is gaining more attention each day and we’re filling up for this year and many spots are booked through 2011. There are still a few spaces available for this coming season, so anyone who’s interested should contact us for more information ASAP.

To update, Bruno and Peter finished their course and video internship and left last month. They worked well together and both had a great time. Their enthusiasm and attention to detail helped them to become great underwater videographers!

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Video Trainee, Peter…

Peter came with the intention of using his new Gates housing for the Canon FS10. Unfortunately, the housing had some teething problems, so he ended up completing the underwater video training with one of our Aquatica HD Wave housings for the Sony XR 520. We’ve got quite a few of these in stock at the moment for use on the courses.

Bruno completed his pro internship and is now working for the video team at Asia Divers on Koh Tao. Hope it all works out, Bruno!

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On the wreck at Japanese Garden…

We’ve also had Cedric and Dominique complete their BSAC Pro HD Underwater Video course, recently. They too did a great job. Dom, who completed her PADI Divemaster course a few years ago at Crystal Divers Koh Tao, is just in the later stages of her internship. She’s now on our the documentary filmmaking internship. For this she will be writing, filming and editing her own short documentary on marine life camouflage. She’s already filmed plenty- the only thing now is to try and glue her to an office chair and get the thing edited! What do you think Dom? Finished by June?

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Cedric came to us after finishing his PADI Divemaster course at Asia Divers and was with us only for the 2 week BSAC Professional HD Underwater Video course. He certainly left an impression on the office with his great dry project. For those who don’t know- during the course, students are asked to make a short dry project over two days. This allows them to learn more about the whole process of producing a film from concept to final product. Cedric already has some training in this area, and it really shows in his video. He chose to make a short film about the local Lady Boy Cabaret on Koh Tao. It was fantastic! Check it out on our YouTube channel.

 

Koh Tao Pro HD Videography Trainees Film Turtles!

Friday, 07 May 2010 07:56

The last few weeks on Koh Tao have been exceptionally good for diving with lots of amazing things to film for the new BSAC Professional HD Underwater Video trainees! Our newest, Cedric and Dominique, were lucky enough to film Eagle Rays on their first dive with a video camera in hand and a Hawksbill Turtle on their second.

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One of koh Tao’s resident Hawksbill turtles…

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New Pro Video Trainees Cedric and Dominique

Today they are sorting through a massive amount of footage to determine which will make their showreels. Cedric, who is doing his Divemaster course with Asia Divers on Koh Tao, told me that he saw my HD movie ‘From Dawn til Dusk” on the Seatran ferry last year as he left Koh Tao and decided there and then that he wanted to be a marine videographer. Now he’s back on the island with us at Oceans Below to realize that dream!

Dominique has returned to the island after completing her DM course with Crystal Divers, Koh Tao to join us for her Professional Video training and internship. The two of them are having a great time together and are well on their way to becoming great videographers. They each have big plans for the future. Cedric already has experience in documentary filmmaking, having produced a film about his mother’s escape from the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the ’70’s, and is now focusing on the underwater aspect of video. Dominique wants to stay awhile and get work on Koh Tao filming for one of the dive centers. A feat that she will undoubtedly succeed in. The 2 of them both have big video plans for the future!

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Declan filming an Eagle Ray

Steph left us a couple of days ago. She’s returning to school in the UK, but I have a feeling we’ll be seeing her again in the future. Steph made some great movies during her internship and has developed a fantastic underwater video showreel. Declan will be with us for another 2 weeks while he completes his internship. He has also been impressive with his movies and he keeps us entertained, as well.

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Steph, on the job…

Oceans Below has submitted the new BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videographer manual to the editor and it will be complete in a matter of days. Then it’s off to the printers. We are happy to be wrapping up this project so that the translators can start their work on it. BSAC Japan is anxious to have the manual and send Instructors Koh Tao to be trained in video by the crew of Oceans Below. We all look forward to the next step…

 

Oceans Below Congratulates Newly Certified BSAC Pro HD Underwater Videographers!

Sunday, 25 April 2010 07:22

The sunsets on Koh Tao have been breathtaking latel. So yesterday, Aidy and I organised a drink on the beach with the whole Oceans Below crew. Declan and Steph Have just finished the BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videographer training and will begin the 2-week internship. Today they are out practicing filming an Open Water Course at Scuba Junction, Koh Tao. We wish them the best of luck!

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The Team at Vibe Bar for sunset drinks…

We also would like to welcome Autumn to our team! She is now doing the 2-month Video Instructor Development Course. She will be ready to start teaching our BSAC Professional HD Video courses in July.

Mikeala and Riccardo have recently completed their underwater videography internship, and are still on standby for the occasional job until they leave the island.

Peter and Bruno are one week into the BSAC video training and are already loving it! They have been out 4 times with the HD cameras and have managed to come back with some amazing footage of the 2 Eagle Rays that are hanging out at Japanese Garden.

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Eric is still on his PADI Divemaster Course with Scuba Junction and will rejoin us soon to begin his internship. Meanwhile he has been very helpful with the BSAC photoshoot, the PADI photoshoot and the a job at the Island Muay Thai Training Camp which Oceans Below was commissioned to do. We want to keep hold of him as he is an absolutely brilliant photographer!

Also at Vibe bar for the sunset drinks, was the rest of the Oceans Below team- Jen, Jenny and Cat. They’ve been very busy taking care of the Open Water course student videos at Koh Tao Easy Divers, Simple Life Divers, Scuba Junction and Seashell.

 

Oceans Below Video Trainees Film Eagle Rays at Koh Nangyuan!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010 07:31

Yesterday morning, I took Mikaela and Riccardo out for the last two dives of their BSAC Professional HD Underwater Video course. It’s been great teaching these two! They get on really well together and are always good for a laugh. Both have shown great improvement over the last two weeks and their dry projects are looking like they will be up there with some of the best! I’ll be sure and post them on youtube.com once they have finished them off.

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Eagle Rays at Koh Nangyuan

At long last we got a few days of much-needed rain on the island. The Oceans Below crew will take it easy for the next few days while we await the arrival of our next 2 students- Declan and Steph. Elisabeth will be back from a short break in Europe, so she will be fresh (once the jet lag passes) and ready to get them started.

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Mikaela and Riccardo are going to be starting on their student filming video internship after a few days rest. They’ll be trained on how to shoot souvenir DVD’s of PADI open water course students and they’ll be getting paid for it! Riccardo is also thinking of doing the Documentary Film-making internship. So. it seems, he’s going to be around for some time. He’s a great guy to have around the office!

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Mikeala and one of the Eagle Rays

Over the last weeks I have had some great luck with my still camera as I dive around with my students. About 2 weeks ago We were fortunate enough to dive with two Eagle rays and they’ve been hanging around ever since! This is hardly a common site on Koh Tao and we’ve really enjoyed their presence. I got a good shot of Mikaela as she swam to film one of the beautiful creatures. Fingers crossed that these two stick around for awhile- they’re great models for the video team on Koh Tao!.

 

Oceans Below Koh Tao- Firing on All Cylinders!

Sunday, 28 March 2010 06:32

Oceans Below has had a full plate in March with loads of activity and some great diving for the underwater video team to capture! David has just finished his BSAC Professional HD Underwater Video course and is busy working on resort videos as part of his video internship. Once he finishes up, we’ve secured a job for him at another video center on the island which films for Asia Divers and Island Dive Club. I’ve just now gotten a free minute as Dave’s out filming a PADI Open Water course at Scuba Junction, while Autumn, Cecile, Jenny, and Jen are out working at Simple Life Divers, Koh Tao Easy Divers, Seashell Divers and Siam Divers.

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Juvenile Harlequin Sweetlips

So, the office is going to be a hive of activity when they all get back from the morning dives!

Team Belgium- Cat and Elisabeth- are away on holiday until the end of the month, so we’ve been a bit stretched. Luckily, that means that the guys on their internships are able to get more experience and earn more money in the process!

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Banded Yellow-lipped Sea Krait

I’m busy teaching video editing this morning with our two new video trainees, Riccardo and Mikeala, and we’ll be out on the boat this afternoon. Both are quite experienced in the water, which helps a lot. They have also taken very quickly to the Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 & 4 editing software we use.

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Mikeala…

We’ve had the chance to film some great marine life on the first few training dives of the course, and the visibility’s been absolutely stunning for the last few months. I took the guys to find a Juvenile Harlequin Sweetlip at Green Rock which I’d spotted a few days earlier, and yesterday, Mikeala found us a Banded Yellow-lipped Sea Krait at Hin Pee Wee, a highly underrated dive site. I managed to get quite nice photos of both as they were busy filming.

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Riccardo…

Looking forward to Elisabeh’s return and a few well-earned days off!

 

Underwater Video Training in Thailand with the Adobe Bigwigs!

Sunday, 07 March 2010 14:27

February was a fantastic month for the full Oceans Below Team on Koh Tao! With so much going on, I’ve hardly gotten a free moment to write of the new events.

At the beginning of the month, new trainee David Trescot started his BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videographer course with us. David didn’t need much help with learning the Adobe Premiere Pro software as he was once the Sr. Director of Digital Video at Adobe Systems! More recently, he was on the Board of Directors at Total Training, Inc. So, as you can imagine, he already knew something about the program… and then some! But underwater video is a very different animal to surface shooting and editing, so we were able to point him in the right direction in lots of other areas.

Then as David was starting his Documentary Internship, an old friend of his, Erik Lundblade, arrived to start his pro video course. Erik used to work at Adobe as OEM Product Manager for Premiere and After Effects! He was joined by Kristian, a dive instructor from Norway. These two guys really got stuck into their course as we jetted around the island on the Good Time Adventures speed boat. They’ve both taken to the course well and have been a lot of fun to have around.training-hd-underwater-video-ADOBE
Kristian and Erik, pre-dive…

We’ve had a great time hosting the guys from Adobe with us at Oceans Below. Special thanks to Darius and his amazing Texas barbecue from the Oceans Below crew! We were even lucky enough to have Bill Hensler, VP of Dynamic Media at Adobe Systems, hanging out in the office when he wasn’t on his PADI Open Water course. Bill was nice enough to bring us a few new copies of the Premiere Pro software in anticipation of the new desktops we have on order. It’s good to know some of the guys behind the scenes of the software we love so much. Without the Adobe CS package this job would be a lot harder. But don’t just take our word for it, to see all of the possibilities of the program, just go and see the new hit movie Avatar!

Now David has gone back to the States, Erik is starting his PADI Divemaster course at Scuba Junction- Koh Tao, and Kristian is moving into the second week of his documentary internship.

March started with an intensive course for team Sweden. David & Mikael are on a tight schedule, so we’ve customized the program in order to get them through it in 10 days rather than the typical 14. The schedule has been tough, but they’ve proven to be naturals at it and they’ve impressed us all with their progress.

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Swedish Mikael at Twins

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Mikael and David…

Today we’ll be going out with Koh Tao Easy Divers for Mikael’s last day of filming. We’ll have our fingers crossed for something amazing to come along on his last two dives!

 

Professional Underwater Video Trainee Colby Starts Video Internship!

Written by Administrator

Sunday, 28 February 2010 19:48

Oceans Below video trainee Colby has finally completed his BSAC Professional HD Underwater Vidoegrapher course and begun his paid internship. As Colby will be around for a bit, we’ve customised his program so that he can continue to work on his documentary film-making techniques while also spending some time getting paid to film souvenir videos for the various dive shops on Koh Tao.

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Colby… a pro videographer in the making…

Once we’ve been able to get Colby on track, he’s surprised us with the quality of his shot-making and his creativity. For the next month or so, we’ll be looking forward to having him working with us and becoming part of the team while he simultaneously prepares for his Instructor Development Course (IDC) at Buddha View Dive Resort.

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Colby at work with the HD camera…

After the last few days of diving at Chumphon Pinnacle in the afternoons with the Good Time Adventures speed-boat and getting some really good shots of the Bull Sharks, we’re now able to focus on getting Colby up to speed with what the staff videographers on the Oceans Below team do to make a living in Thailand. Soon enough he’ll be going out on his own to produce customer movies. We all look forward to what’s gonna happen then!

 

Oceans Below Throws a Party!

Sunday, 21 February 2010 07:10

As a special thanks to all of our loyal Koh Tao dive centers and customers, Oceans Below organized a massive barbecue at Vibe Bar on Sairee Beach on the 17th. Attending were most of the staff and Divemaster trainees from Koh Tao Easy Divers, Simple Life Divers, Seashell Dive Resort and our newest dive partner- Scuba Junction.

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Massive Dave- always good value for money…

Dave and Therese cooked up burgers and sausages for 160 of Oceans Below’s closest friends and business partners and we all enjoyed a few cold drinks on a beautiful, warm February night on the beach. Also attending were the crews from Thailand Gap Internships, Good Time Adventures, BSAC Thailand and All for Diving who’ve been hugely supportive of Oceans Below over the years. The professional underwater videographers and HD video interns of our own shop rounded out the guest list.

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Therese- Everyone’s favorite barkeeper!

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The Crew from Good Time Adventures

A lot of individuals and companies have contributed to the amazing success of Oceans Below and we wanted to show our appreciation! The business of underwater video production in Thailand is never easy, always exciting, but without our network of dive schools, videographers and friends, we’d have a much harder time of it. Thanks again, Koh Tao, for your continued support!

 

Oceans Below Koh Tao Teams Up with Scuba Junction Dive Center!

Monday, 15 February 2010 09:59

At Oceans Below, we’re always on the look out for ways to improve our service and facilities. We have long been associated with first class dive resorts on Koh Tao such as Koh Tao Easy Divers, Sea Shell Divers, Siam Scuba, and Simple Life Dive Resort.

We have recently teamed up with Good Time Adventures who have a fantastic long-hulled speed boat that allows us to access any of Koh Tao’s dive sites in a matter of minutes, and to run trips at ‘off-hours’ when we’re sure to have the sites to ourselves. We’ve also joined ranks with ‘The Film Company’ operating out of Bans Dive Resort, and are now supplying them with videographers to film their resort videos. This is a great opportunity for our trainees to get paid work after our BSAC Professional HD Underwater Video Internship!

Now, we’re happy to announce our newest partnership on Koh Tao… Scuba Junction, who are one of Koh Tao’s oldest, most professional, and most recognized dive centres, teaching both PADI & SSI courses, will now be working together with Oceans Below! We’re looking forward to employing their staff and facilities in the training of our video students to get the prerequisite skills to join our courses. We’ll also be sending our staff out to film their students with an eye towards promoting the dive shop and allowing their students to leave with souvenir DVD’s of their dive experience on Koh Tao.

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The shop is conveniently located just a few minutes walk from the Oceans Below studio, and situated right in the middle of Sairee Beach.

So now, our videography staff and BSAC Underwater Video students can walk from Oceans Below to the beach, hop on the Scuba Junction long tail boat and get taken to their dive boat- The Manta Ray- in no time at all. Underwater Video training in Thailand couldn’t be easier!

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We REALLY look forward to working with Scuba Junction!

As a way of welcoming Scuba Junction into the fold, we’ll invite them and all of the staff from our existing dive centres for a big barbecue at Vibe Bar on Sairee Beach on the 17th! Welcome aboard!!!

 

Oceans Below Completes Underwater Photography Training in Thailand

Wednesday, 10 February 2010 06:30

At Oceans Below we’ve long been specializing in teaching Professional Underwater Video training in Thailand, focusing on the use of full manual controls on HD video cameras and underwater housings. Our trainees normally then progress on to an internship program. But we also teach underwater photography from time-to-time.

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A few days ago, one of our trainees found out he had to postpone his BSAC Pro HD Video course at short notice which allowed us an opportunity to fit in a 2 day underwater photography course. I ended up teaching to a lovely couple who had just finished their PADI Advanced Open Water course at Koh Tao Easy Divers. It was a pleasure to teach two people who were so interested in what they were doing. They listened and learned and got more and more hooked on underwater cameras and photography as the days passed. I find it really rewarding to see complete beginners develop so fast! Their results were fantastic- I think the results speak for themselves…

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Hard to believe- all thse photos were taken by relatively new divers after only 2 days of training with Oceans Below!

 

Oceans Below Koh Tao Teams up with The Film Company

Monday, 01 February 2010 16:38

One of the first questions we tend to get asked when a new student starts their BSAC Professional HD Underwater Video course is, “If I decide to do the customer filming internship as opposed to the documentary-style internship, will I be able to find work on the island afterwards?”

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How about this for a job…?

Up until now, Oceans Below has been doing well with finding work for our trainees. We do the best that we can to keep them busy at the many shops that we represent, but there’s oftentimes more applicants than jobs. We’ve been able to find fulltime positions for our trainees in dive centers such as Buddha View Dive Resort, Davy Jones Locker, Asia Divers, and Island Dive Club as well as the positions that we have with Scuba Junction, Easy Divers, Simple Life Divers and Seashell.

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This look like work to you?

But as of now, things should be even easier. Anyone who comes to do their underwater video training in Thailand with us and then chooses to do the paid vdo internship, will be welcome to film resort videos for The Film Company at one of Asia’s most successful dive centers.

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How do you reckon he deals with so much stress?

This is an amazing opportunity for our new interns to start making their investment back from the pro video course as soon as they have completed an internship with us, and to join the ranks of professional divers who have, quite possibly, one of the best jobs in the world!

We look forward to working closely with the crew from The Film Company in the future and we’re sure to see our new underwater videographers thrive…

 

Professional Cinematographer, Eike, Learns to Film the Underwater World!

Saturday, 23 January 2010 11:14

Oceans Below welcomed our newest BSAC Pro HD Video trainee, Eike recently. With an extended background in the German film industry including his latest award-winning project Hans Im Gluck, his experience with shot-making, sequencing and the editing programs is invaluable.

He came to us to seek further training in making the move to underwater filming and we’ve had a fantastic time with him so far. It seems that a Professional Underwater Video course in Thailand is also the perfect escape from a brutal European winter!

Eike’s a relatively inexperienced diver and is finding it a challenge to get himself in the right place at the right time, but his shot selection is fantastic and, as we’d expect, his camera work is faultless. His only complaint is that this work is difficult as it’s not possible to “direct fish”!

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Professional Cinematographer, Eike Zuleeg, learning to film underwater…

 

Jenny Completes her BSAC Pro HD Underwater Video Course on Koh Tao, Thailand!

Monday, 18 January 2010 06:30

Yesterday our video internship trainee, Jenny, wrapped up her BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videographer Course with one dive at Japanese Gardens and another at Twins. We had two fantastic dives and Jenny got some great footage of the seahorses to add to her her demo reel.

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Newly completed BSAC Pro HD Videographer, Jenny

Having completed her Divemaster course at Crystal Divers on Koh Tao, she already came to us as a great diver with a passion for the marine world, and now she’s developed an outstanding enthusiasm for underwater film-making!

Today she will begin her internship by filming a group of divers with Koh Tao Easy Divers. She’ll be on an extended internship whereby she will focus on documentary style marine filming part-time, while also on a paid internship and taking care of students.

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Seahorse at Twins

We’re excited to have Jenny join us as full time staff upon completion of her training. She’s planning on sticking around Oceans Below to get some experience working as an underwater videographer in Thailand and we anticipate that she’ll be a great addition to the team!

 

Sawadee Pee Mai (Happy New Year) from the Video Team at Oceans Below!

Sunday, 03 January 2010 12:17

Oceans Below Koh Tao starts the new year with lots of new projects! The BSAC Professional HD Underwater Video manual goes to print this month. We can’t wait to see the final product of all our efforts. Aidy did the graphics, I wrote all the text and Darius edited the whole manual! The photos for the BSAC photo shoot that Aidy and I took will soon be featured on big banners across the country to help promote their services. And the official launch of the new BSAC video course will be in March (though we’ve been conducting these programs for some time now).

On the 31st I took Alvin and Simon out for the last dives of their Pro Video Internship. We went to film the Bull Sharks at Chumphon Pinnacle. Away from the site, we found no less than 15 massive Bull Sharks swimming around us! Chris ‘The Boy’ from Koh Tao Easy Divers joined us with a still camera and we all got great underwater footage and photos!

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Alvin finished his showreel in the afternoon and left on the 1st to return to Sipadan where he works as a Divemaster. He’s planning on investing in an Aquatica HD Wave underwater video housing and a camera soon so that he can film the magnificent marine life off of Borneo. Simon will stick around for a few more days to complete his DM course with Crystal Divers. We’ll be sure to upload their work on youtube in the coming days for all to see!

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Big Bull Shark at Chumpon Pinnacle

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Hermit Crab at White Rock…

On New Years Eve most of the Oceans Below staff and trainees gathered together at Vibe for drinks until midnight before spreading out on the beach. Everyone had a great night and made resolutions to never drink again!

 

Simon and Alvin Wrap-up Their BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videographer Internship with Oceans Below!

Monday, 28 December 2009 16:03

Simon and Alvin, our pro video trainees, have just returned from filming the last of the HD underwater footage for their Koh Tao show reel. They spent the day focusing on the Bull Sharks at Chumphon Pinnacle and on the macro life at Twins and White Rock. They both chose to pursue the option of furthering their training by completing our documentary style film-making internship rather than choosing the paid internship while filming students. Over the past month, they’ve collected a vast amount of fantastic HD footage for their movie and we’ve all been having a hard time determining which are the best shots to include!

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Simon and Alvin filming nudes… er, nudis, rather…

Aidy and I have both had an absolute pleasure with Simon and Alvin (our Chipmunks!). Both of them are extremely passionate about diving and filming and they have proven to be excellent videographers. Alvin is going back to his job as a Divemaster in Sipadan, Malaysia and he hopes to return to Koh Tao next year to complete his Instructor Development Course (IDC) with Darius at Buddha View. Simon will return to Crystal Divers to complete his DM course before moving on to Australia where he will work as a Pro Underwater Videographer.

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Broadhead Flathead…

Guys, we both hope that you had as much fun as we did, and we wish you all the best in the future!

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Our December heroes, Simon and Alvin…

 

New BSAC Professional HD Underwater Video Trainees Film Turtles on First Dive!

Sunday, 20 December 2009 08:33

Today Lo (from Wales) and Terence (from England) started their course at Oceans Below. Lo has experience on the island having done her Divemaster course at Planet Scuba and has since become a PADI Instructor. She teaches in Abu Dhabi and is just over for 2 weeks to learn how to film underwater. Terence also knows Koh Tao as he finished his Divemaster course at Crystal Divers and is joining us from Singapore. They’ll both complete the 2 week BSAC Pro HD Underwater Video course and Terence will then get stuck into the professional videographer internship.

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Yellow Boxfish at Japanese Gardens

We did some dry training on land this morning so they could get familiar with the Aquatica HD Wave Housings, and in the afternoon we set sail on the Koh Tao Easy Divers boat. Simon started his Pro Video Internship today and joined us in spite of the fact that his fellow trainee, Alvin (the other Chipmunk!), is taking a short break.

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New Trainee, Lo

The first dive was at Japanese Gardens and I spotted a very cute, young, male hawksbill turtle. Simon was able to get some great shots and even the first-timers did pretty well! We practiced camera movements, positioning and manual white-balance on this dive.

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Simon and the turtle

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Shrimp (Scampi, maybe?)

For the second dive we went to Twins. The visibility was fantastic. Lo and Terence focused on sequencing, camera movement and positioning. We found a yellow boxfish that was posing nicely for the camera. Simon spotted some shrimps and practised the macro settings and manual focus. And, while on the safety stop with the new HD video trainees, Simon spotted yet another Hawksbill turtle- what a great start to the new course!

 

Oceans Below Koh Tao Does Photo Shoot for BSAC Thailand!

Saturday, 19 December 2009 12:35

Oceans Below has just been commissioned by BSAC Thailand to do a photo shoot for their new advertising campaign. On Tuesday we got started using our own Elisabeth and BSAC Professional HD Underwater Video trainee ‘Rudey’ to model some typical predive and postdive shots. We were asked to provide a handful of photos depicting scuba dive students and BSAC Instructors learning and teaching.

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Postdive shot from the BSAC shoot

Elisabeth has a bit of experience in modeling, but controlling Rudey was a bit more of a challenge! That said, the results were great and Kieron, head of BSAC Thailand was more than happy. We used the opportunity to take a few shots for our website, as well. If you have a look around the site you’ll see some of them. The following day we headed out to sea on the Simple Life Divers boat to shoot some underwater stuff. We started strong, but after a short time, the clouds rolled in and we had to call off the shoot. Now all that remains is to get out a few more times with some typical Koh Tao sunny weather and we’ll be able to finish the project.

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Shiny new equipment!

We’ll definitely find the time over the next few weeks though it will be hard as we have many new people coming for the Pro Video Internship. They may be surprised to find that they’ll be starring in our latest version of Koh Tao’s Next Top Model!

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Predive…

 

Oceans Below Throws a Party for Easy Divers!

Written by Administrator

Friday, 18 December 2009 00:19

A few days ago Oceans Below organized a celebration at Dragon Bar in Mae Haad for our staff, underwater video trainees and Koh Tao Easy Divers. As our regular venue for screening movies is undergoing remodeling, we wanted to introduce our people to the new place and to show our appreciation to our loyal partners at Easy Divers. We started early, took care of some snacks and Craig started us all off with his famous Dragonfly cocktails as a welcome drink.

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Underwater Video Staff Just warming up…

Though it’s been here for sometime, for some reason we haven’t been at Dragon Bar much lately and it was nice to be back. It’s easily the nicest, most cosmopolitan place on the island and we’re enjoying our new arrangement.

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Pro HD Video Interns Alvin and Simon (aka the Chipmunks)

Even Hiroshi showed up after some convincing. He’s just finishing up his Dive Instructor course and is studying hard for the PADI Instructor Exam. Longtime HD Underwater Videographer, Cecile, is also back on the island and we’ve gotten her filming open water movies straight away.

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The team…

All in all it was a great night thanks to Craig and all the great staff at Dragon Bar!

 

Oceans Below Welcomes BSAC Japan to Koh Tao!

Thursday, 10 December 2009 21:03

Oceans Below, turning Japanese? (I really think so…)

Back in September Aidy and I had a chance to meet with the head of BSAC Japan as they made their way to Koh Tao to strengthen ties with BSAC Thailand which is based on the island. They paid a special visit to our studio to discuss expanding our BSAC Professional HD Underwater Videographer course to The Land of the Rising Sun!

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They’ll be looking at not only translating our new training manual into Japanese, but also sending out some people from their office to train with us up to Pro Videographer Trainer level. We’ve just been sent a copy of the quarterly BSAC Japan magazine which describes their trip and announces their hopes of working together with BSAC Thailand and Oceans Below. The staff is really excited at the opportunity to be taking our show on the road!

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Does that say what I think it says…?

In other news, we’ve also been commissioned to do a photo shoot for Kieron and the guys at BSAC Thailand. They need some promotional shots and we’ll just be able to fit it into our schedule. We’ve also decided to do a fashion photography workshop as an added bonus for the guys on the current pro video course and internship and we’ll be using them as models for the shoot! We’ll give you a sneak peek of the results soon…

 

Oceans Below Video Interns Enjoy a Great Day of Filming!

Tuesday, 08 December 2009 11:22

Yesterday, I was out with two of our new BSAC Pro HD Underwater Video trainees, Alvin and Simon, for Day #5 of their course. We took advantage of some spectacular weather and dive conditions to join the crew from Koh Tao Easy Divers on the morning dives at Twins and White Rock. The visiblility seems to have cleared up with great conditions especially at White Rock. We focused mainly on manual white balance, manual focus and sequencing.

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Simon and Alvin post-dive…

The guys’ skills are really coming along and they are both showing themselves to be naturals with the Aquatica HD underwater housings in their hands. Alvin is a PADI Divemaster who has spent a long time working in Sipadan, off the island of Borneo, with thousands of dives under his belt. This shows in his camerawork. Simon, who is passionate about his filming, is currently completing his Divemaster course with Crystal Divers and already thinks like a pro- he’ll do anything for a good shot! Simon’s come over to Oceans Below to do a Professional HD Underwater Video internship and paired with Alvin, they are keeping Aidy and me on our toes.

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…at work in the studio…

The afternoon was spent in the office editing the footage from earlier in the day. The end result is pretty impressive from both Alvin and Simon (sadly, no Theodore- the third Chipmunk!).

Today, Aidy will take Simon and Alvin on 2 afternoon dives with Simple Life Divers to practice transition shots and macro shooting. We are looking forward to their edited movie tomorrow.

In other news, our professional underwater videographer Cecile is back after being away for 7 months! We welcomed her return by getting her in the water immediately where she filmed 6 Open Water students at Koh Tao Easy Divers with IDC Staff Instructor Chris ‘The Boy’.

 

Oceans Below Films Spotless Lionfish at Chumpon Pinnacle!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009 07:02

With such beautiful weather and great conditions for Koh Tao’s “monsoon season”, Aidy and I have decided to take the opportunity to get out diving as much as possible before the high season kicks in next month. We’re really enjoying filming underwater with the new Aquatica HD Wave housings and are lucky to be encountering some great subjects underwater.

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Spotless Lionfish…

Yesterday, we were out on the New Way Divers boat at Chumphon Pinnacle- one of Koh Tao’s favorite deep dive sites. The east side of the pinnacle was super-clear all the way to the bottom (34m). I spotted 1 big Bull Shark cruising the area, a Giant Trevally on the prowl, 2 feisty Malabar Groupers and the Spotless Firefish (or Lionfish) we were looking for! We definitely came back with some nice HD footage.

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If I call this Pleurobranchus forskalii, does that make me sound smart?

For the second dive we went to Twins for some more muck diving. While I was trying to get a good close up shot of the seahorses, Aidy came back to find me and showed me a Pleurobranchus forskalii. It seems that new marine life is showing up in these waters almost daily. Speaking on behalf of the Pro Video team at Oceans Below, I’d like to give a big “Welcome to Koh Tao!” to all our new immigrants…

 

Pro Underwater Team From Oceans Below Films Seahorses on Koh Tao!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009 15:46

Today Aidy and I went out on the Koh Tao Easy Divers boat to test our new Aquatica HD Wave housing. Last month we sold one of them to underwater video trainee Andrea, who was really impressed with this video system during her BSAC Professional Underwater Video Course. She’s now using it and working in Mozambique where she recently did a dive filming Whalesharks and Manta Rays together!

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A couple of days ago the new one arrived and after a thorough pressure test, I took it out to Twins and White Rock today and came back with some amazing High Definition macro shots of the
seahorses at Twins.

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Although it is November and supposed to be the monsoon season, we have had some beautiful
weather on Koh Tao- with flat seas and quite nice visibilty. Tomorrow we’ll be diving at Chumphon Pinnacle to shoot some HD footage of Bull Sharks and we heard there are 2 Lionfish hiding somewhere. As these are rare on Koh Tao, it will be fun to try find them. If we do we’ll be sure to post some photos!

 

Oceans Below HD Underwater Video Team Gears up for the High Season!

Monday, 16 November 2009 06:29

I’m just back on Koh Tao after a nice break on the other side of Thailand. My girlfriend, Delphine, and I took a short holiday over to Ao Nang on Thailand’s west coast. We decided to get a break before the start of the coming season which kicks off in December, and we also got a chance to visit our underwater videographer friends at Pirate Videos, Hilton and Anja.

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Mantis Peacock Shrimp…

We took one of the Aquatica HD Wave underwater video housings with us to get some shots. It was nice to get a change of scenery and dive in a different area. Unfortunately, the visibility wasn’t at its best on the one day we went out. But it was still great to see some of the interesting little critters which we don’t get to see on Koh Tao. I managed to bag some lovely macro shots of some porcelain crabs, and a mantis shrimp was kind enough to make an appearance before my lens. There was plenty more to be seen on the dives we did. But these were my favourite shots of the day. I do love diving in different places, but it’s always nice to get back to Koh Tao and the Oceans Below office. Now it’s time to update the computers and get them running their best, get the office ready, service the housings and prepare for the next batch of HD underwater video internship trainees that are arriving soon!

 

Oceans Below- Underwater Video Training Center Films MASSIVE Bullsharks on Koh Tao!

Monday, 19 October 2009 14:08

This morning Andrea, who has now long finished her BSAC Professional Underwater Video course as well as the full paid internship, went out diving with my girlfriend Delphine and me to Chumphon Pinnacle in search of the Bull Sharks.

Everything went to plan. We were diving off the the Koh Tao Easy Divers boat and reached the site bright and early. As we jumped in and dropped down over the main pinnacle, we slowly made our way along the west side of the site, swimming on to Barracuda Rock. Just as we came around the west end of the rock, straight in front of us were three big, female Bulls just circling. The biggest was close enough to 3 meters long! Beautiful! video-production-underwater-bullshark
Bull Sharks are back at Chumpon Pinnacle

Andrea has just bought an Aquatica Wave underwater housing for her camera and was lucky enough to have it pointing in the right direction as we moved closer. It was a great dive. I’m so happy to see these majestic creatures back in our waters. On the way back to Koh Tao, we stopped in at White Rock for the second dive. I was lucky enough to find a Jenkins Whip-ray that seemed to like nothing more than swimming around and performing for the camera. It was a perfect end to a great morning’s filming!

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Jenkins Whip-ray on White Rock

 

Oceans Below Underwater Video Productions Welcomes back the Bull Sharks!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009 08:47

The Pro Video team at Oceans Below is happy to announce the return of the Bull Sharks to the waters of Koh Tao. Darius, who’s been here for 11 years can remember a time when it was unheard of to see Bull Sharks around Thailand, but about 8 years ago, they suddenly showed up and have been around off-and-on periodically, since then. They move to deeper waters to breed, but the last time they were spotted was about a year and a half ago, leading some to think they may have been caught by fisherman to support the barbaric shark fin soup industry.

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Photo by Jenny O’Flanagan

Some of us were here when they initially came and we were involved in a big debate about whether they were, in fact, Bull Sharks. That debate was settled a few years back when pictures were submitted to a few different shark experts from around the world and it was confirmed.

Now they’re back and Open Water students, Divemasters, Instructors and of course the Videographers on Koh Tao are excited to get in the water at Chumpon Pinnacle. Filming these sleek bad boys underwater is a thrilling experience and we hope they stick around! They offer so much to our movies and the general mood around the video studio is lifted whenever we get some footage of these amazing creatures.

Hopefully, they’ll be here for awhile as we’ll be welcoming 4 new BSAC Professional Underwater Video Trainees in the month of December. So if you’re reading guys, get ready for some of the coolest, most heart-thumping dives ever during your internship!

 

Oceans Below Underwater Video Training- Update from Koh Tao

Monday, 05 October 2009 02:50

Aidy and I want to thank the many that replied to our post asking for help identifying the odd little fish that has turned up in the waters around Koh Tao! Yesterday, while out diving with Pro Underwater Video Trainee Andrea, we again stumbled upon the little guy- a juvenile Painted (a.k.a Silver) Sweetlips. This time he was spotted in Mango Bay, one of the most idyllic bays in the Gulf of Thailand, where recently we’ve found lots of Estuarian Seahorses, some very active Devil Scorpionfish and many other little creatures roaming the sand.

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A better photo of Koh Tao’s newest resident…

Since this time we knew what we were filming we tried to get good close up shots of the juvenile Silver Sweetlips.

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A longer term resident…

We were out with the new Sony AVCHD cameras and Aquatica underwater housings and worked especially on adjusting white balance, close up shots and manual focus. Pro Video Trainee, Andrea, has finished her BSAC Professional Underwater Videographer Course and started her Internship, but still enjoys the fun dives we do in between jobs to practise more filming in HD and getting the perfect shot. The divers on the island are looking forward to some better weather now that the effects of typhoon Ketsana seem to have dissipated and we’re back to blue skies and flat seas!

 

Oceans Below Underwater Video Training: Muck Diving in Koh Tao!

Thursday, 17 September 2009 14:54

As Andrea reaches the end of her BSAC Professional Underwater Video course and prepares herself for the Oceans Below video internship, I thought it would be nice for us to go out with the new HD underwater cameras a few more times so she can get some more practice with the close-up, macro shots. So we headed out on the Koh Tao Easy Divers boat, the Sea Hawk. Our destination for the day was Mango Bay and Twins, which are two of my favorite dive sites around Koh Tao for getting up close and personal with some of the little critters out in the sand.

We found three seahorses at Mango Bay, all different sizes, from about 2.5 cm up to 17 cm. Very cool! This was a great chance for Andrea to hone her skills with the manual focus, as it can be a bit tricky to master on such small animals.

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Checking out the quality of the new HD cameras at Koh Tao’s Mango Bay

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Shooting the shooter…

Then over at Twins we found another seahorse but went hunting for something else to film, as we’d filmed enough of them for one day. Settling down next to an anemone with a large family of saddleback clownfish living in it, I started to search in the sand around it.

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Aidy and his pipefish…

Unexpectedly, I spotted a devil scorpionfish, a young double-ended pipefish, two different kinds of shrimp, and a flounder. It was great to see so much life in such a small area. Andrea got on with filming the pipefish while I got some lovely close up shots of the flounders eyes, and some great footage of the shrimps.

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Flounder…checking me out!

We spent the whole dive lying in the sand with these little guys without another diver in sight. Another great day in “Amazing Thailand”!

 

Pro Underwater Video Trainee Course Report

Written by andrea

Wednesday, 09 September 2009 06:15

Oceans Below’s latest Pro Video trainee, Andrea, writes of her experiences only a week into her 2-week program. Afterwards, she’ll remain on Koh Tao to complete her internship where she’ll be filming in the various dive shops along with our full time staff…

Halfway, But More Than Half Full!

“Well, here I am less than half way through my Underwater Videography course and already yesterday I was able to film and edit an entire piece in one day! I can’t believe the arc of this learning curve! Fantastic!

I owe it all to the amazingly efficient tutelage of Aidy, who has whizzed me through the many different tried and true shots and shown me all the speediest ways to handle a professional edit. How great is it to be learning so many years of knowledge in such a short time? I’ll be up and running as a professional in no time! It is so inspiring to be learning from individuals who are so passionate about their craft. When I am out diving with Aidy, I can see how interested and excited he is about filming, he can barely wait to get back to the office to see what we managed to capture.
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Videographer filming a Videographer on the wreck at Tanote Bay!

This type of attitude is contagious, you can’t help but be excited about the whole process. It’s the coolest feeling to see a finished project and know that you did it. Wow!”

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Oceans Below Pro Underwater Video Internship News

Tuesday, 08 September 2009 09:26

Yesterday, I took Pro Underwater Video Trainee, Andrea, out diving for her third day of camera training.

She’s coming along superbly and will turn out to be a great Videographer. We joined the team from Koh Tao Easy Divers as we headed around the east side of Koh Tao to some of the less frequented dive sites- Hin Wong Pinnacle and Laem Thian. The marine life on this side of the island is a bit different and oftentimes we find that our film subjects are more of a challenge to capture until a videographer gets the the hang of it. But Andrea did great!

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Hin Wong’s shrimpfish filmed by Oceans Below Pro Video Intern, Andrea

We managed to find the shrimpfish that live at Hin Wong, which was nice as these bizarre little bottom feeders can be difficult to spot.For those who don’t know, shrimpfish are strange little fish that don’t swim in the conventional fashion. Instead, they choose to swim head down, tail up, always foraging. This allows them to hide very well among the whips corals that cover the area in which they live.

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Andrea in the cavern at Laem Thian…

For our second dive we set off for Laem Thian. Andrea and I were first in the waters to allow us to get to the swim throughs and caves before any other divers. Our plan worked and we had the caves to ourselves for most of the dive.

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…about to explore the swimthroughs

Andrea managed to get some great footage while swimming through the canyon and I got a few nice shots of her as she did so! All in all, a productive day of training and a beautiful morning of diving…

 

Pro Video Team from Oceans Below Win 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place in Koh Tao Photo Competition

Written by Administrator

Sunday, 06 September 2009 09:53

The Marine Conservation Branch of the local environmental action group, Save Koh Tao, recently held a photo competition open to all Koh Tao residents. The team from Oceans Below did exceptionally well with our Pro Video team winning the top 3 spots!

The photos will be printed in the upcoming issue of Sabai Jai magazine and the 2010 edition of the Save Koh Tao Calendar…

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Pro Video Trainer Aidy Kaye’s 3rd Place photo

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Pro Video Staff Angie Kerridge’s 2nd place entry

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And Aidy’s winning shot…

 

Oceans Below Welcomes Our Newest Underwater Video Internship Trainee- Andrea!

Saturday, 05 September 2009 06:57

Yesterday I took Andrea, our newest Pro Video Intern, out diving with Simple Life Divers to Japanese Gardens for her first two training dives with a camera. She took to it straight away. Andrea arrived on the island as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, and her diving experience really shows. She looked relaxed and in control of the camera right from the start.

Andrea was using one of our Gates housings, while I took one of our new Aquatica HD rigs to get some HD footage of her video course training. I was also able to pop off a couple of photos of Andrea filming over the corals.

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Video Intern Andrea at Japanese Gardens

The visibility was pretty good, and the sun was out. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon in Thailand!

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Pro Videographer in the making…

Today, Elisabeth went out for some fun dives with the rest of our trainees and interns to Sail Rock with another dive shop we film- New Way Diving. Sail Rock is a great site between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan and is considered by many as one of the best sites in the Gulf. They’ll be out all day, so Andrea can really get her teeth stuck into her first editing session. We just looked at her footage from yesterday, and it is really good for her first time out!

Lets hope Elisabeth and the others see something nice and get some great footage!

 

Turtle Heaven at Oceans Below Underwater Video Training Center, Koh Tao

Written by Gill

Friday, 04 September 2009 06:53

Last week I went out diving with Koh Tao Easy Divers to film on the final day of the PADI Open Water course. We went to Hin Pee Wee which is a fantastic dive site near to White Rock, just to the west of the island. It was in fact my first time diving at Hin Pee Wee. And what a great dive it was!

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Gill’s Big Green Turtle…

Towards the end of the dive, one of the open water students noticed a big turtle lying on the sand below us. It was a large Green Turtle who let me get in close to film him. I may have disturbed him from his mid-morning nap, but he was very relaxed and not in the slightest bit concerned with me. I got some lovely footage of the turtle, and just when we decided it was time to start heading back towards the buoyline, there was much commotion as the students pointed out a second turtle cruising through the water towards us. This one was a Hawksbill Turtle, which gets its name from the fact that its face is beaked. The green turtle in comparison has a rounder face, and is much deeper in the body, growing to a bigger size than the Hawksbill. The Hawksbill swam right past us and I followed it for a while and I managed to get some nice footage of him too. Just another wonderful morning in the Gulf of Thailand!

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…and the Hawksbill Turtle…

 

Oceans Below Underwater Video- Help Neded to Identify an Odd Fish!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009 15:42

A few days ago I was out filming a new promotional video for Koh Tao Easy Divers. I took Stuart- who’s finishing up his professional underwater videographer internship– along with me to try out Oceans Below’s newest toys, the Aquatica HD Wave video housings and Sony HDR-XR500 cameras. We had a nice dive at Japanese Gardens and then moved round to Twins.

After shooting a bunch of underwater shots for the video, we headed off into the sand just north of the dive site itself. We were in search of the sea horses that live out there, as they would be great subjects for a bit of close up HD macro work.

We found the sea horses and spent about 15 minutes filming them. We then swam off north to see what else we could find. After about 10 min of swimming over sand I spotted something moving quite strangely. On closer inspection it turned out to be a fish that I have never seen before. It was moving like a juv sweetlip- dancing around aimlessly- but the long fin on top of its head rules that out. It also did not stay in one spot like a sweetlips would instead flickering all about the place.

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Have you seen this fish?

I always love to see something new out there and this is definitely new to me. But I could use some help identifying this little guy. He was only about 10-12 cm or so and it was tough to catch a good close-up shot of him because he just wouldn’t sit still! These photos were also from the video camera we had out for a road test rather than the Canon G10’s that we use for photography, so the images are a bit grainy, but I’d love to hear from anyone who may have an idea.

Underwater Video Services & Training
Underwater videography courses and training in Koh Tao
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Contact Oceans Below underwater video on Koh Tao, Thailand