We are available for Underwater filming, underwater photography, underwater camera rental, aerial filming, drone pilot hire, Location scouting, fixer work, Film production in Palau, permits, accommodation in Palau, dive boat charters, aircraft charters, stock footage or just advice on where to dive.
The Republic of Palau continues to provide great opportunities for Media Production. I would like to share some of the highlights from the past year and our hopes for the future.
New media techniques and projects in Palau
Over the last 12 months we have continued to diversify our filming techniques. Aerial filming with Drones and Aircraft mounted action cams have provided great footage for our clients.
Exciting 6K B-roll from Time-lapse techniques have also added to production value.
We have embraced 360 VR and continue to develop this new and exciting form of media. Mosaic panoramas provide a new and artistic form in addition to producing very high resolution images for printing.
Underwater filming in Palau is still incredible. New behaviors and environments were documented in greater detail this past year. Our cameras can output 4K Raw footage. This means we get the very best colors possible in UHD.
Wildlife and conservation topics are still very close to our hearts. A large project on migratory shorebirds was completed in the Autumn. This milestone project raised local awareness for the need to protect certain coastal environments in Palau.
Plastic Pollution is an incredibly damaging aspect of our world in this century. This film was our first venture into raising awareness of this issue
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support into 2018.
Together we can make Lightning Strike Productions grow further and provide more innovative and educational media for Palau and Micronesia.
Stock Footage is often vital for a production to stay within budget and after 10 years of diving and filming in Palau we have accumulated a huge library of HD and UHD stock footage for just that purpose.
Previously in Palau, uploading at 3kb/s was about all we could hope for on a wobbly internet and this made sending any large files almost impossible. Palau now enjoys high speed internet from an undersea fibre optic cable and with this we have been uploading stock footage to our agents with unprecedented speed.
Are you thinking of filming on location in Palau? Are you looking for a reliable and professional camera operator somewhere like Palau?
We have been filming in Palau for over 10 years. In this time we have filmed everywhere, from the far north to the far south.
Palau has a huge variety of healthy and almost pristine ecosystems and as a result Palau provides a huge wealth of opportunities for stories. It’s visually stunning with tropical islands, coral reefs and plentiful iconic species.
There are numerous conservation stories available. Tuna Fisheries, Marine Sanctuary enforcement, Mangrove protection, near shore fishing migratory shorebirds, all important.
We have WW2 wrecks and their de-mining and recovery of remains. Extensive underwater caverns and of course the many marine lakes with their millions of Jellyfish.
Additionally the other side of the coin is also available. Stories on illegal fishing and the black market trade in protected species. The need to balance tourism and development with conservation. Tuna economics, Climate Change, Ocean acidification, renewable energy, coral bleaching….
There are stories waiting to be told and new technologies waiting to tell them with and since we are based in Palau we can start production quickly.
Lightning Strike Productions has also worked with numerous broadcast entities in Palau over the years. Clients include the BBC, CNN, Arte, Thalassa 3, ABC, Channel 9 Australia, Animal Planet and Discovery Channel. It’s also a regular contributor to online news media through it’s stringer services.
Our cameras, both underwater and drone mounted output Raw footage ensuring the very highest in 16 bit quality.
In addition, starting this year at Lightning Strike we are starting to do all of this with 360 VR .
For a run down of subjects and readily available portfolios and galleries please see here.
Palau Stock Footage library
As a result of filming here for over 10 years we have a huge stock footage library available. When we catalog media for reference here at Lightning Strikes, it’s often with keywords like: Environment, Sanctuary, UNESCO.
Almost all our work has something to do with the environment. Illegal fishing, underwater, coral reefs, sharks, Manta Rays, tourism, coral bleaching, global warming, tuna…..
In conclusion Lightning Strike Productions has the experience and the expertise to film any subject in Palau.
If there is any subject you can’t find or you would like to talk to us about licensing options or something specific please contact us.
Filming the Unique fish spawning aggregations in Palau is a challenge.
Who to dive with?
In March 2017 I accompanied the very experienced Dari Divers on a filming dive down to Peleliu to document the spawning aggregation of Sailfin Snapper. The schools at this time of year number in the tens of thousands. We did three dives and were able to witness some incredible numbers of fish. When you get the timing right expect to see lots of sharks and one of the most incredible natural displays in the animal kingdom.
During the day the huge school hangs out in a secluded part of the reef. This is about 1km away from the corner where they spawn. During the night before spawning they swim there and wait until dawn. At the turn of the tide and on an unseen signal, they commence their extraordinary spawning ritual.
The list is long and being added to all the time as new discoveries are being made, Check out Dari Divers and book your trip with them to ensure you get a front row seat to some of the most incredible and unique diving in the World.
Please check it out and see for yourselves. It lists hundreds of photographers from around the world and is a great resource for finding talented media producers in a huge variety of locations
Photography services for Palau and Micronesia
Please contact us for more information regarding our photographic services. We shoot everything from underwater wildlife to weddings, Aerials to Antennas, Wide to Macro, slow motion to time-lapse, RED to GoPro, 600mm lens to Virtual Reality…..
When it comes to Aerial Stock Footage companies that represent me and my work in Palau, I can be very picky about who I send material to. After all, I am sending them my artistic content and there needs to be both a level of trust and commitment to the future representation from them in their site design and business plan.
So it’s not often I can say that I have decided to sign up with a new agency and have them represent my Stock Content.
The resource for quality Aerial Stock Footage from Palau
Aerial Entertainment Studios though is one and my initial submissions have impressed them enough to add me to their Exclusive team of artists.
Location scouting for a new project: Over the first two weeks of June I was commissioned to find locations that fit in with a storyboard for a production due to be shot here for the Palau Visitors Authority.
I can’t divulge many details about the plot line right now of course only to say that it will be a tourism educational film to be shown on flights into Palau.
Filming took 6 days with crews from the US and Australia including local entities with a team from Lightning Strike providing Aerial Drone, Underwater and Behind the Scenes filming services.
Telling the story
Part of the storyboard has an Aerial pov, so I was happy to oblige with a few days of drone flying at some of the most photogenic sites in Palau.
This major production is now in the editing stage with the release date to be confirmed. When it is released it is going to cause a real stir as it will be the first of it’s kind. Watch this space and be sure to check back to see it’s progress!
Now that production is finished and the campaign has been rolled out, check this link to find out more about the Palau Pledge and see the finished film.
If you have a project in mind that needs locations in Palau check out these links.
Please feel free to contact us and we can discuss plans for pre-Production.
Underwater photography is a common art form these days with cameras readily available for reasonable prices. A large proportion of divers now have housed cameras ranging from a cell phone to the latest flagship behemoth “HMS Nikon”. Many also find enjoyment in attending an underwater photography workshop as part of their dive vacation.
Underwater photography is art with a physical challenge too. The best photographer on land could be terrible underwater if they’re not a competent diver.
Underwater photography should be fun
When everyone has a camera and is “happy” with what they’re doing it’s nice to be asked by someone to help them improve their shooting.
On this occasion my student wanted help across a range of subjects. Here’s a run down of things we covered:
….and camera basics
Many issues that lead to dissatisfaction in underwater photographers are down to the inherent intelligence of cameras. Especially with point and shoots and the more automatic varieties. What I mean is that cameras are often thinking too much and because they are mostly not designed with underwater photography in mind, they can make it more of a challenge to get the best shots out of them. Auto focus is a big one for this.
Dissecting what the camera is trying to do for you is the first step. Turning off “intelligent” facets of it’s character often requires reading the manual and a little experimentation. Get to know your camera.
Next comes the basic shutter speed/ aperture/ISO balancing knowledge that all photographers worth their salt should have a rudimentary understanding of. It’s not always available but being able to control them in the camera is so much more rewarding….. and challenging…. but that’s what I’m here for.
What will absolutely ruin a good underwater photography dive is when the housing doesn’t perform so I always advocate spending as much time as you can on preparation. All it takes is one o-ring or one connecting rod out of place and you have a camera that won’t work on the dive or worse is flooded. Be prepared.
After that we have the lighting and strobe positioning that is so important underwater. Correct or incorrect strobe use will make or break a shot, so developing the mindset of creating a studio and moving your lights within it and around your subject will reap great rewards.
Bespoke one on one workshops
Often the student photographer has a certain shot in mind or wants to improve on certain elements of underwater images in general. This time we were going for sun beams through the water as a background to our perfectly placed subject so we focused on that when possible.
Overall, it comes down to patience and practice, but with an hour of preparation and coaching before the dives we had the set up and basic operations down, after a few trial shots underwater on stationary objects we have a better feel for strobe power and ball park exposure settings. Then after that it’s about looking for subjects and having fun. A few over the shoulder views by me allows a real time feedback for the student and quick adjustments when necessary. Between dives a more in depth discussion as we review results.
Certainly a faster learning curve than the old slide film days………
Contact Lightning Strikes for availability of courses or workshops, individuals or groups are welcome.
For more underwater media articles follow this link
The effort to enforce Palau’s National Marine Sanctuary is stepping up a notch.
The worlds oceans are overfished to the point of species extinction and ecosystem collapse. It becomes increasingly important to prioritize sanctuaries and no take zones. Those that want to fish will do so illegally regardless of the laws in place. The Republic of Palau has continued to increase it’s capacity for Policing it’s EEZ and National Marine Sanctuary.
In my capacity as a media producer I can help document this effort to raise awareness.
In addition the photos I take of suspected illegal vessels can be used in court along with the GPS coordinates to convict illegal fishing boats.
Now with the latest surveillance operation concluded I thought I would share some photos of the aerial component.
Flying with Pacific Mission Aviation in a Beech Queen Air Excalibur, daily sorties go out and conduct searches over vast tracts of ocean within Palau’s EEZ. The patrol boats are in the area but cannot cover such a huge area in the same time.
Each flight lasts about 8-9 hours and does an expanding square pattern out from a central point determined by visibility and altitude. Alternatively a parallel search pattern is employed along the edge of the EEZ.
All eyes are pealed as we search
My job apart from being an observer is to provide documentary evidence so we employed GoPros attached to key parts of the aircraft.
Part of this media production is for promotion. Part of the remit was to include the aircraft in a shot with 3 patrol boats during a joint exercise. I proposed that we have a GoPro attached to the wing looking back at the aircraft and then have the plane fly just in front of the boats in formation.
We trialled it first with just the housings attached and found the sticky mounts were not strong enough when the aircraft descended in a dive……about 150Knots. The result…we lost both the housings. So we took to bolting the directly to the aircraft. This time around they survived and did so with minimal vibration and rolling shutter issues. We are continuing to develop this system to improve imagery with every sortie.
The above video shows how precisely the pilot maneuvered the plane for the promotional media. We set up a WiFi link to an iPad inside the plane so the pilot could see in real time the view from the camera. At one point the plane was close to 70 ft above the water doing over 100mph banking at 45 degrees…..quite a rush.
After the promotional flight, the three ships made way to different parts of the EEZ. Two apprehended illegal fishing boats loaded with illegally caught fish found and boarded.