Filming in the Banda Sea for Amazon Prime Video!


Filming in the Banda Sea for Amazon Prime!

I went filming the Banda Sea for my Amazon Prime fishing show! Imagine a place so far away, that it will take you ages to reach…. “Welcome to Doggy Island!”


Heaven in the middle of nowhere!

I was quite excited when this fishing expedition finally happened. After two years of Corona madness, we were finally able to travel to one of the most amazing spots in the world. In the middle of the Banda Sea lies a couple of uninhabited islands. So remote that it will take us 19 hours to reach with our mother ship. The goal of this expedition was to film another episode for our own Amazon Prime fishing show and I couldn’t wait to get there.


The long, long journey!

When I left Kenya, I did not realize yet how far I had to travel to reach this gem in the middle of the Ocean. It took me two days to reach our final airport in Indonesia and another 19 hours with our traditional Indonesian mothership to reach the first of three island chains. Our mothership was a 40 Meter long, traditional sailing vessel and it provided a perfect base for the next twelve days. We finally reached before dawn and the excitement was huge. And the fishermen dreams should become real as the fishing was hot like I have seen it rarely before.



New shoulder rig – Polar Pro Pivot!

This time I decided to take my new shoulder rig with me. As I anticipated a lot of pre-records, I needed a support which was not too big to travel but also stable enough to hold the RED V-Raptor. The shoulder rig did a good job and I could capture lots of live takes while the fishermen where casting poppers and stickbaits in search of the big GT and Dogtooth Tuna.


The only downfall of the Pivot Shoulder Rig is the uncomfortable shoulder pad. It is quite hard and can be very disturbing after some time. I helped myself with a small towel to get more comfort. I will definitely invest in an additional shoulder pad for future projects.



Getting the shots!

As the area is quite huge, I decided to bring my drone along. The DJI Mavic Pro is not the newest model anymore, but managed to capture some cool shots of the island chains and the mother ship. The footage upgraded the final film and also allowed the fishermen to get a better idea about the reef structure.


I also used my GoPro 9 with its pre-record function to capture some more strikes and I have to say, that the combination of the GoPro and the Raptor worked out really well. When it came to grading the footage it wasn’t too difficult to match the both different files.



What kit did I use?

As my main camera I used the RED V-Raptor 8k VV with an Irix 21mm cinema lens. The Polar Pro Basecamp Matt Box was used with the 6-9 variable ND filter. A follow focus and the Zacuto Kameleon EVF finalized the rig. As batteries I used the 150wH Bebob Micros. They lastet long enough for the morning and afternoon sessions. Runtime was around 2,5h per battery.


I did not use the monitor this time, giving me a longer battery runtime at the end. The Zacuto Kameleon EVF did a great job and made focus pulling very simple even in harsh light conditions. For sound I used a Sennheisser MKE600 microphone which was powered with the REDs phantom power. No issues on that side even with a relatively high input gain. As a 2nd camera I used a Sony Alpha IV and the GoPro 9.



Can’t wait to film again in the Banda Sea for Amazon Prime!

I am already looking forward to visit this small heaven next year. What would I do different? I would definitely upgrade the drone to a DJI Mavic 3 Classic for the next trip to the Banda Sea. As I found the image quality is not matching up with the RED anymore. So something I will consider upgrading next year. Other than that the kit used performed well. So no reason to change anything else.

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