Tuesday, May 13, 2008

DVD Review Makes My Day

Some days just get off to a better start than others! A few weeks ago I received this email letter in my inbox. It was a good day! I think I'll read it again today!

April 25th 2008

Dear Mr. Tripp,

This letter is in regards to my experience of seeing your DVD, “The Underwater World of Saipan.” I am a filmmaker in Los Angeles, who recently spent time filming a documentary in Saipan. My work has been featured on HBO, Showtime, PBS, and IFC as well as in theaters and film festivals internationally. I first found your DVD while researching my film. At the time I knew very little of Saipan and stumbled on the DVD while searching for more information and images of Saipan (which are, unfortunately, very difficult to find). I ordered the DVD and was absolutely blown away: stunning imagery, a great soundtrack, and a really user friendly menu that allowed me to appreciate the different locales that Saipan has to offer.

After visiting Saipan for my film and having my cameraman (who is an avid diver) spend some time diving and filming underwater, I am so appreciative that I came across the DVD and was assured that Saipan would be a great place to film above and underwater. Now that I have learned more about Saipan and Micronesia, I am convinced that the region is the world’s best kept secret. Very few people I meet on the mainland United States know anything about the CNMI and if they do, it is only regarding the US military history here. I think this is a real tragedy because it is such a beautiful place and because it is a part of the United States is much easier to travel to than a lot of other scenic destinations. Products like “The Underwater World of Saipan” could change that—it is the kind of thing people interested in outdoor activities, nature photography, and exotic destinations will stumble on over the internet and definitely be moved to purchase.

“The Underwater World of Saipan” convinced me both of Saipan’s incredible diving and that it is a fun and easy place to visit and spend time doing outdoor activities. Your approach to the film was both enticing and informational and something that I have since shared with many people. Going underwater with you is a mesmerizing experience that is only made better by his astute choice of music and well-edited and produced delivery. I have not seen anything else that better represents Saipan. It is a great tool to attract people to Saipan and I think the rest of the CNMI would benefit if your work was expanded to cover the greater CNMI in a similar caliber.


Alexis Spraic
Bunim-Murray Productions

Thanks Alexis, you've made my day. How about you, do you have a copy of the DVD. Wish to share your comments?


Mike said...

Mike: I have your video and find three things commentworthy, two good and one quibble.

First, as a dive instructor, I've seen a lot of video because students always want me to look at their creations. THEIRS = Too bumpy, too "zoomy" and dull.

YOURS IS TECHNICALLY AMAZING. I appreciate the skill and effort that is so obvious in the finished product. You are a pro, and it shows.

The second comment is that, as an instructor who dives here all the time, you really captured the "feel" of each site. I could put together a clip of, say, Obyan and nobody would guess that's where it was shot. Your videos of each site actually represent what each site is like. This is most evident in your Grotto and Bonzai footage.

My only quibble is that you showed too much eel in one site. Was it Ice Cream or Dimple? Anyway, that's more style than anything, and people like eels, so I guess you know what you're doing.

AMAZING Video. Certainly anyone who is coming to the Pacific should buy one.

scubatripp said...

Thanks Mike!

As an instructor I really wanted to capture what it was like to do a dive at each site. I did not want it to be an unrealistic highlight reel!

As you know some days in the water you feel like everything is there, some days not so but in general our waters have something worth looking at on every dive. I'm glad you agree people should come away with a realistic expectation.

A lot of the credit for the technical aspects including the synchronization of music and editing go to the musician Ray Walsh and co producer Bill Reill. Without their effort it would not be as professional as it is!

As far as the eel comment the sequence you refer to is in the Ice Cream dive. This was a real struggle and one Bill and I debated for a long time. The clip in question is over 1 minute in length which is death by many standards as far as trying to keep your audience but, (and here's where I won out during the editing) this type of behavior rarely happens. In all my years of diving I've only seen a Moray do what it does with repeated attempts to swim after me on a handful of occasions. This was the only time I've been able to document it. If we had cut up that scene it really would have become any other eel shot. As it is now the "money" in the shot is in the length of time he "plays" with me.

The other interesting aspect of that sequence is the interaction of the Flagtail grouper and the eel. There is definitely something going on there!

Thanks again for your comments!

Anna said...

Nice site...
Continue escrevendo!

Anonymous said...

i buy and send this dvd to all family members off island or friends who have come visit here ever. everyone loves the film. will you do another one ever?

scubatripp said...

Thanks Anonymous!

Sounds like you're doing your part to help fund the next project! This DVD will not be the last. In fact I started laying out the menus for next one this week!

Do any of your off island friends and family dive?