Archive for the ‘documentaries’ Category

Benham Bank Expedition 2016

Monday, October 3rd, 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…

After The Storm – A Shark’s Tail

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

On November 8th 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, the worlds most powerful storm, swept through a narrow corridor of the central part of the Philippines destroying everything in it’s path and killing thousands of people.

One place devastated by Haiyan was Malapascua, a small, beautiful tropical island just off the north coast of Cebu. Almost every timber framed house and tree were completely destroyed in the space of just a few hours, leaving the islands community stranded from aid and any form of communication for days to come.

Malapascua is world renowned in the scuba diving community for being the only place in the world where the Pelagic Thresher Shark can be seen virtually every day on a sunken Island, known as Monad Shoal, they rise from deep water in the early morning to be cleaned by small cleaner fish.

It is because of this phenomenon that Malapascua has been transformed over the last decade to become one of the top dive destinations of the Philippines. Thousands of divers come to Malapascua every year to see the Thresher Sharks and to experience the laid back feel of this picture perfect tropical paradise.

Traditionally Islanders would rely on fishing and agriculture for survival, but since tourism has become so popular, hundreds are now employed in Dive Centres, Resorts and transportation, giving a huge boost to the local economy and the opportunity to prosper.

Typhoon Haiyan threatened the islands very survival.

After the Storm – A Shark’s Tail is a story of a Dive Guide, Ronel, who works for Malapascua Exotic Beach and Dive Resort. Like so many other people on the Island, tourism supports him and his family, without his job as a dive guide he would have to leave the island to gain work elsewhere.

Typhoon Haiyan was so powerful it devastated the island, but what damage had been done to the reefs and would the sharks still come to Monad Shoal? The story follows Ronel and how the uncertainty to the islanders livelihood unravels as the reefs are explored after the storm.

Fortunately this is a story with a mostly happy ending as the storm did not damage all the reefs and the thresher sharks continue to come to Monad Shoal every day. What Malapascua needs now are the dive tourists to return.

After the storm – A Shark’s Tail has already won the following awards:

‘Special Jury Award’ during the 2014 Yosemite International Film Festival

“Best Short Documentary” in Cannes, France during the 2014 Cannes Short Film Festival

“Rising Star Award” in Toronto, Canada during the 2015 Canada International Film Festival


Watch the film in full here: AFTER THE STORM – A Shark’s Tail on Vimeo.


Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Animals: Beauty is best kept untamed. That is why we love shooting in the wild! From glaciers, to jungles, even deep underwater, we’ve filmed it all. The 3 P’s of wildlife filming are planing, patience and perseverance. When you mastered those you can capture almost any thing. Take a look.


People & Places

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Cultures. Stories. Faces. Everyone has a different way of seeing things. Everyone has a story. Observe life from another’s eyes. Experience the power of images from other cultures. Broaden your horizon.