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Phuket Diving: Camera rolling, regulator in

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Diving: Camera rolling, regulator in | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Toweled dry and eating a pile of pancakes on Andaman Ocean Safaris’ boat, my dive buddy and I head to the upper cabin with lackluster enthusiasm to watch the video from the day’s dive. I had seen these sorts of videos before.

They usually came off as gimmicky and, let’s be honest, I had just been on the dive so I remembered what I saw and how it looked – but this time I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Henrik Konradsal’s video had me laughing before the divers finished suiting up, as a little playful editing made each awkward diver dance to the 1990s classic Mambo Number 5.

But it wasn’t until the camera went under water that Henrik’s magic took hold of everyone watching, and we were sold.

A blue spotted ray wafted from the sandy bottom, it’s colors vibrant against the blue water – it was all vastly more beautiful than I remembered it. I caught myself thinking, “I want to be on the that dive!” Yet, there I was on the television staring at a cuttlefish.

Almost all the exciting marine life spotted, some of which we had only heard about from other divers, was in the video. All this footage came from one camera, and one man, who had been able to not only shoot the approximately 20-minute video, but also to complete all the post production.

I had to find out how he did it.

Phuket Gazette: How do you incorporate the sense of discovery into your videos?


Henrik Konradsdal: I’m always looking for new things to put in the video. The more interesting fish and corals I find, the more interesting the video is going to be for the guests. So if I can see a leopard shark that’s going raise the value of my DVD, I shoot it.

PG: What are you looking for when you shoot the film?


HK: First of all, I want the nice shots. The shots that are going to make people say, “Wow, is that actually the dive we did?” I know where to go and I have my spots. I figure out which angle is good for a particular shot, try to go to my spot, do the shot I normally do and then I try to look for something special to see.

Instructors and Dive Masters know what I’m doing, so if they’ve seen something special they always point it out to me – “shark over there” or “octopus over here”. I find all the special things and people are sometimes surprised about how much I find. But I may only find half of it, while the instructors show me the rest. They, of course, want me to see whatever they saw, so that I can film it, and they can tell their customers later, “Oh, that’s the shark we saw.”

PG: Do you use any stock footage outside of the intro, where you are introducing the staff?


HK: Yeah, it happens. Sometimes I’ll see something and I’m not able to get a good shot of it. Then maybe I’ll have to use footage from a previous day or the day before that. But if it’s a day with bad visibility, I won’t suddenly put 20 meters visibility into the film. I mean I would use stock footage of bad visibility of the same fish, crab or whatever. But I try to use as little as possible.

PG: I was very impressed by the way the camera and you move through the water. What kind of camera angles do you look for when you are shooting?


HK: If I’m following the subject I try to be below it, shooting up, or at least on the same level. I try not to shoot from the top for the same reason you want to shoot a fish from the front. You actually want to see the fish, its expression and its face. You want to see how the fish interacts with the camera.

PG: It looked like you were working nonstop on the boat. How does that editing process work for you on the boat?


HK: My set up for the video is the same every day. I have the morning part; I have the funny part; I have the diving part; and the afternoon part. And in each section there is something I’m looking for. And I always know right away when I have it. So when I sit down to edit, I just go straight to that part. It saves me time, not having to look through everything.

PG: So if lunch is late you don’t get to eat, right?


HK: Yeah, as soon as I come out of the water from the first dive and start importing footage I need the food to be ready. I can start eating while the files are importing. As soon as my files are imported, I start editing.

PG: Are you able to jump to exactly where you want to be when editing?


HK: Yeah, and I try not to keep the camera rolling too much. I just shoot the film I need and then stop. For other videography projects you would continue filming a little bit longer, just in case, but I don’t have time for that because it’s going to take longer to import and longer to find the footage that I need.

PG: Earlier we were talking about how your videos look better than real life. The water looks clearer, the colors are a little sharper. How do you do that?


HK: I do some color editing. Underwater, I basically set up my white balance correctly. That’s how I get the blue effect. It doesn’t matter how green the water is. I want the water to be blue, so I do the white balance accordingly. Then, if I don’t think it’s blue enough, I add some blue during the edit and maybe take away some green. Most of the effects for the film I create underwater, with the angles. I have a bit of a wide-angle feature on the camera, so I can get a bit closer to the object and it will still fit inside the frame. On the TV it might look like I’m three meters away, but in reality I might be just a meter away. So that makes the water look clearer than it is.

PG: What kind of advice do you have for a hobbyist or someone just starting underwater videography?


HK: Get to know your equipment before you get into the water. You need to know where the buttons are. Also, learn how to do white balance on your specific camera. I’ve never really had any success with the underwater mode, which many cameras have.

Really, the key to being an underwater photographer or videographer is your buoyancy. If you are new to diving, but you are an experienced photographer you’ll have problems. You need to learn to dive properly before being able to take good shots.

PG: So before we bring this to a close, what’s your favorite dive site to work on?


HK: I love Shark Point, which is beautiful. The tops of pinnacle two and pinnacle three are just amazing to film. There’s so much marine life and, on top of that, there are all the colors of the soft corals. I just can’t fail at shooting there [laughs].

Henrik shoots with a Sony cx550 in a Light and Motion Stingray G2+ housing. On the boat he uses iMovie editing software, but for more advanced editing he uses Final Cut Pro. He can be contacted at [email protected].

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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Phuket

Top 10 ways to save water at home

The Thaiger

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Top 10 ways to save water at home | The Thaiger

Hot weather and Thailand’s boom-or-bust water issues (floods in wet season and water shortages in the hot season) are a part of our life. And it’s predicted that there will be hotter hot seasons and wetter wet-seasons in the future. Even if we’re not sure what the future brings we should all be conscious of our water usage, be more self-sufficient and empower ourselves to do something positive to protect Thailand’s precious water reserves.

Here are a few ideas that may help you become more water-wise…

• Shower with a bucket. Don’t let all that water pour down the drain and stick a bucket next to you whilst you shower. The plants will be grateful for an extra drink on hot days and save you using the hose sometimes. Whilst you’re at it, cut your 5 minute shower down to three minutes. Really, you can sing somewhere else! And, really, do we absolutely have to have four showers a day? No. A fresh spray of the deodorant and a fresh shirt will be perfectly OK during water shortages. For couples, well, shower together!

• Leave the water running whilst brushing your teeth? Try turning it off until you want to rinse out your mouth. All that useable water flowing down the basic drain whilst you’re brushing isn’t making your teeth any whiter! Same when you’re washing your hands or washing your hair. Turn off the tap whilst you’re doing all the scrubbing. These little habits could end up saving tens of litres every time you do these common tasks.

Top 10 ways to save water at home | News by The Thaiger

• Boiling pasta? Rice? Eggs? Once the left-over water has cooled use it to water your indoor or outdoor plants. Just make sure the water has cooled first!

• Washing the car at a car wash is more efficient than doing it yourself at home. Car wash businesses recycle a lot of their water. Even better, drive around with a dirty car now and then – it’s not hurting you or the car and will save water by delaying your car wash.

Top 10 ways to save water at home | News by The Thaiger

• Lawns use lots of water and daily watering during the hot season can soak up hundreds of litres of valuable. Letting your lawn go brown, be assured it will come back in the wet season. And long-term, landscape accordingly with water wise ground covers, succulents, and other plants that thrive in drought conditions. Lawns may be a luxury we can’t afford in these water-conscious times.

• Only run the dishwasher when it’s full. Even better wash the dishes by hand. Dishwashing machines are notable water wasters. Grab you partner or a friend and have a chat or a laugh for the five minutes it will take you to wash the dishes by hand. You could save up to 50-100 litres of water! And fill up the sink once and do all the washing together without leaving the water running all the time.

Top 10 ways to save water at home | News by The Thaiger

• Whilst it hasn’t been a worry in the past, our useable potable water supplies around Thailand are becoming an issue that won’t be fixed immediately. Consider installing a simple rain catchment system. They can be cheap or expensive and should be considered if you’re building a new house as an integral part of the design. Your roof is an amazing water-catcher. Use it.

• Flush the toilet less often and with less water. Most modern toilets have a half-flush option and there are other tricks to reducing the re-fill in your toilet’s cistern – putting a brick into your cistern is one way (gently!).

• Water the plants early in the morning. You’ll need less water, since cooler morning temperatures mean less evaporation. It’s not a great idea to water in the evenings, since this can promote mould growth in the humid Thai weather and hot evenings. And you really don’t need to water the driveway. It’s not growing. No one is going to walk past your house and compliment you on your sparkling clean drive-way.

• The dog WILL survive without being washed every day, or week. Indeed our dogs used to survive perfectly well without being washed at all. If the family pooch does need a wash try and use some of the water you saved from the bucket in the shower and be careful not to leave the hose on whilst rubbing in the shampoo. As for the cat, it is genetically programmed to clean itself better than you could ever hope to. Leave the cat alone – it DOES NOT need to be washed.

Top 10 ways to save water at home | News by The Thaiger

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Business

Strong growth from key markets compensate for slight dip in Chinese tourists

The Thaiger

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Strong growth from key markets compensate for slight dip in Chinese tourists | The Thaiger

by Thanchanok Phobut | Senior Coordinator, Thailand

CBRE, international property consultants, believe that the Thai tourism market is still as resilient as ever.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports announced they are expecting more than 40 million tourists to visit Thailand this year, up from the record-breaking 38.3 million last year. According to the latest figures, the first two months of 2019 showed a 2.5% year-on-year growth in international tourist arrivals at 7.3 million, compared to 7.1 million the previous year.

In the first two months of 2019, the total number of Chinese tourist arrivals decreased slightly by 2.2% – 2.17 million in 2018 to 2.12 million this year. Chinese tourist arrivals in February, the month in which the Chinese New Year was celebrated this year, decreased by 12.3% year-on-year.

Other key feeder markets like Malaysia, India, Korea, and Japan showed double-digit growth in the first two months of 2019, with India having the highest growth at 20.1% year-on-year. Even though the combined number of tourists from these four feeder markets was smaller than that of the Chinese market alone, this positive trend could replace any loss of Chinese tourists. The challenge remains for Thailand to win back this biggest feeder market now that the most significant holiday for Chinese people has passed.

Bangkok still attracts tourists from around the world. The number of international tourist arrivals to Bangkok in the first two months of 2019 was 4.68 million, a 3% year-on-year growth. The development of a third runway in Suvarnabhumi International Airport, approved by the government on April 17, will strengthen Bangkok’s capacity to handle larger numbers of tourists in the future.

“In the first quarter of 2019, Rosewood Bangkok, a 159 key luxury hotel next to Phloen Chit BTS station, opened its doors to the public. This was one of Bangkok’s most highly-anticipated luxury hotel openings together with Capella Bangkok and Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River, both of which will open later this year, underpinning renewed interest in the riverside area and capitalising on recent developments outside of the hotel sector,” comments Mr. Atakawee Choosang, Head of Capital Markets – CBRE Hotels in Thailand.

CBRE believes that Bangkok will continue to be one of the top tourist destinations in the world with new luxury hotel openings, improving infrastructure, and attractions that appeal to a wide range of tourists.

Strong growth from key markets compensate for slight dip in Chinese tourists | News by The Thaiger

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Koh Samui

Raid on 18 foreign-owned Koh Samui hotels, owners arrested

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Raid on 18 foreign-owned Koh Samui hotels, owners arrested | The Thaiger

FILE PHOTO

Army, police and municipal officials have raided 18 hotels on Koh Samui claiming that they are illegally owned by foreigners. The hotels in questions are on a mountainside on the Gulf island, the second largest island in Thailand.

Officials carried out the search and raids on Chaweng Noi Mountain in Moo 6 village in Tambon Bophut  and found that 18 luxury mansions had been modified as hotels to cater to foreign tourists.

None of the 18 hotels were licensed and all are co-owned by businessmen from several countries, according to officials, including the UK, Germany, France, Russia, Belgium, Israel and Austria. Officials said the foreigners used Thais as nominees by stating their names as co-owners.

The inspection was carried out following complaints from licensed hotels that they had seen a large decrease in patrons after the new hotels began operating. Hoteliers said the new hotels had an unfair advantage because they were not paying the same taxes, or operating under the sale rules, as the licensed hotels.

Officials found the 18 hotels had proper land deeds but had not been registered as hotels.

Bophut police station took legal action against foreign executives of the four companies that were operating four of the 18 hotels. They have been charged with operating without a hotel license and working in a business – food and beverage – that is reserved for Thais.

Police said they will summon executives of the remaining 14 hotels to face charges. The executives are all living abroad.

SOURCE: The Nation

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