Filming in Belize for Ocean First Institute

Creating a Documentary and Promo Film for Scientific Mentors

ocean first institute new focus filmsOn a remote island covered with land crabs and coconuts is a tiny village and a research center.  Eco Mar is a research center run by Linda and John Searle.  They also run a dive shop as well as St. George’s Caye Research Station and Field School.

Research centers like this are all over the place, and I never knew anything like them existed – a place where budding scientists, hobby researchers and students can stay for a short time to contribute to the ongoing work in the area.  My experience of research these days is boiled down to video marketing stats.  There’s so much more out there though.  At Eco Mar, it’s about sea turtles, dolphins and manatees.

I was asked by Ocean First Institute to document the trip.  About 15 students (high school or just out of high school) led by Global Travel Alliance were joined by Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza of O.F.I. (Ocean First Institute) to learn about research on Conch fishing, Manatee habits, Sea Turtles and more.

There’s plenty to speak of about the scientific research, the importance of what they’re working on and the experience of being with the kids and the two organizations, however, I’ll leave that in the better hands of Dr. Mikki herself on her own article here: Research Expedition to Belize.

For this, however, I want to share the first installment of the video work, a promotional film / trailer to a longer documentary (date of release to be announced (fingers crossed)), as well as sharing a little of the behind the scenes of making the documentary and what it’s like filming in Belize.

The biggest challenge on this trip was doing underwater filming without scuba diving.  I could only snorkel which meant I had to free dive to get fairly steady shots and I’m not much a free diver.  I’m fine for the first few drops, but I begin to run out of breath and it’s all going to crap then.

I managed enough though to get what was needed.  Despite the water surface being choppy and my lung control being worse, I was still able to focus some long great shots on passing sharks, sea turtles and more stingrays than I can shake a stick at.

To see some more of the footage not yet making it past the cutting room floor, watch the video below.  This is from my personal daily vlog, the abraxi, and it covers more about my experience as well as a lot of the fun filming.

Behind the Scenes: Filming In Belize

I’m excited to get back to this country and enjoy a tad more down time and actually get to scuba dive.

Any questions on the experience (where else I stayed, what I shot on, etc.) write it below and I’ll respond soon.

matt abraxas new focus films~Matt Abraxas

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