The Marine Protected Area of Southern Misool in Raja Ampat is a model for the benefits of an active conservation effort. In this article, Brady Valashinas tells us about his short film Rangers of the Reef featuring stunning underwater footage shot on Nauticam.
What system did you use for the underwater scenes?
I used the Nauticam NA-GH4 housing with the Panasonic 7-14mm lens with the P714-F and P714-Z focus and zoom gears and N85 6" dome port.
Tell us about the project and why you chose Nauticam
When researching which cameras and housings we wanted to use for our project, I knew that we needed a system that was reliable, generally smaller in size, and more lightweight for ease of travel. Most of our budget went towards our round-trip travel to Raja Ampat, but even then we had to make sure we weren’t lugging around bags and bags of gear. We ended up choosing the Panasonic GH4 and its Nauticam housing (the NA-GH4) because this system perfectly fit our criteria. Luckily, my friend and fellow filmmaker, Nick Poole, had this system at home and we were able to borrow it for the duration of our trip.
To complete the NA-GH4 housing, we used the N85 6 inch wide-angle port with focus knobs to accommodate our Panasonic 7-14mm lens. To aid with focusing and zooming, we used the P714-F and P714-Z focus and zoom gears. We were able to fit this housing system, the GH4, a Canon 60D, a few extra lenses, and some audio gear into two and a half backpacks, leaving us just enough room for our bathing suits!
Once we were out on location, the Nauticam housing was more than perfect. We dove with it almost every day and it soon became an asset that we couldn’t live without. Finding gear that is reliable, easy to use, and lightweight is paramount for anyone looking to shoot in remote locations. It was definitely hard to return the Nauticam system back to Nick once we returned home!
About Brady Valashinas
Because I grew up in the sand of Manhattan Beach, California, I have always felt this deep connection with the ocean. It was my escape from the world and a constant reminder of how small and seemingly insignificant we are compared to our planet. I started diving in my own backyard and immediately felt that an entirely new world had opened up to me right before my eyes. It wasn’t until my junior year at Princeton University, when I was on a wildlife film course in Laikipia, Kenya, that I really thought about pursuing wildlife filmmaking as a career.
After graduating in 2014 and spending the next year in Thailand as a teaching fellow for the Princeton in Asia fellowship program, I moved to Bristol, UK to begin my Master’s in Wildlife Filmmaking at the University of the West of England. This master’s connected us, the students, with current and past BBC filmmakers who all worked on influential projects like Planet Earth, Planet Earth 2, and Frozen Planet, as well as many others. For my thesis project, I traveled to Raja Ampat, Indonesia to film the short Rangers of the Reef, a story about the incredible work that is being done at Misool Eco Resort to protect the marine landscape from human-caused destruction.
The filming experience was more than anything I could’ve imagined. The story of the rangers is more than inspiring and the team over at Misool Eco Resort is working harder than any other group I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Everyday they tirelessly work to create a haven where conservation comes first. I just hope we made them proud with the film, while also opening a few people’s eyes to the amazing conservation example being set over in Raja Ampat.
To see more of Brady's work: