Benham Bank Expedition 2016

by marco | 3rd October 2016

The expedition team composed of marine scientists from the University of the Philippines, Marine Science Institue, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources,  and Oceana Philippines explored the Philippines newest territory: Benham Rise. The joint expedition on board the BFAR research vessel M/V DA-BFAR is giving us our first in depth look at the ecosystem of the shallowest part of the Philippines’ extended continental shelf – The Benham Bank.

This short video is a teaser for the longer documentary we are producing for Oceana Philippines:

Karl Harwood and Miko Zuleta were task to capture Benham Bank’s ecosystem underwater. Karl mostly in still images and Miko using a GH4 for underwater video. A single dive would take them down for about 180-200 minutes, with as little as 20 minutes bottom time to film. Karl and Miko have spent more time diving Benham Bank than any other human to this date as they had to maximise their dives to capture this extraordinary ecosystem with their cameras. The technical dive team of the Philippine NAVY and Coastguard collected the samples for the scientists.

Technical Divers get ready to film. Karl Hurwood left in black and Miko-Zuleta right in red. Photo: Oceana by Marco D. Biemann

Technical Divers get ready to film. Karl Hurwood left in black and Miko-Zuleta right in red. Photo: Oceana by Marco D. Biemann

 

For the first time a Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle (ROV) has been used extensively to observe and sample the ecosystem of the Benham Bank. Chief ROV pilot was no other than ROV pioneer Lance Horn, who has helmed over 1,700 ROV dives in his 31 year long career at the Undersea Vehicle Program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW).

Operations Director and Chief ROV Pilot Lance Horn is guiding the deployment of the ROV. Photo: Oceana by Marco D. Biemann

Operations Director and Chief ROV Pilot Lance Horn is guiding the deployment of the ROV. Photo: Oceana by Marco D. Biemann

 

Space on the ship was limited so we had to reduce the two RED camera systems to it’s bare essentials. Still we brought 2 RED bodies, set of f1.4 primes and full range of f2.8 zooms covering these focal lengths: 11-16mm, 17-55mm, 70-200mm, Sachtler Tripod SB18 on low 3-stage CF-legs and Sachtler SB8 on low 3-stage Manfrotto aluminium legs as backup. Sennheier Audio gear, Tiffin 4×4 glass filters, matte box, all had place – dry and safe – in 4 Pelican cases, 2 Stromcases and 2 tripod flight container. To operate the RED Dragon for an entire day, 496GB of REDMag’s was used and backed up every night using a USB-Bus powered HDD-array of 12 TerraByte.

Miko Zuleta organising the film gear on board.

Miko Zuleta organising the film gear on board.

To be continued…

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