• Kieran Bown

Two Years in Mexico. The Birth of Panga & A New found Addiction for GoPro

I moved to Mexico in late 2012 to work as a SCUBA Instructor, I had recently left Fiji and wanted to keep diving and progressing in the marine industry

I was keen to keep documenting my travels and exploring what Mexico's underwater world had to offer. One of the first things that I managed to get my hands on in Mexico was a GoPro Hero 3 Silver from a travelling GoPro rep, we went diving a few times and ended up leaving me a camera to continue to shoot with.

Palenque Ruins, Mexico

In early 2013 GoPro was publishing daily, on their social media, user created content from all over the world. There were some great amateur & professional content coming out it was a great arena to be noticed as an up and coming video producer. It was something that caught my eye and made me really want to get a feature.

The first video that I created was "GoPro Vallarta 2013" and genuinely was my first ever attempt at putting together a bunch of footage I had shot along with a soundtrack. It features diving footage and clips from around Banderas Bay & Puerto Vallarta. I was continuing to grow the marine field and wanting to push the boundaries of what we could capture and create with GoPro Content.

It was a cool start and definitely an eye opener as to what could really be achieved in I studied and spent more time and effort with everything. We travelled to Chiapas, Guatemala & Belize over a 2 week period to complete both some land based and ocean adventures. The opportunity to get some more solid content was there and we seized the opportunity to put together some other videos. This was when "Belize Shark Dive" & "Down the Road" were filmed.

Diving in Belize was the first time we had dove in the Caribbean and Michelle's first introduction to diving with a large amount of sharks. We focused exclusively on getting as much footage of sharks as possible as this is something we didn't see a lot in Banderas Bay.

Down the Road - A video following our trip through Chiapas, Guatemala & Belize.

Those two videos were definitely another milestone in playing with transitions, shots and other elements of film making that an amateur GoPro user could achieve. However I now had one target and that was to make it as "GoPro Video of the Day" it was something that was achievable but would need to be thought out and include some epic content.

It was coming to the end of 2013 and that included some cool migrations that would bring lots of marine life to Banderas Bay. This meant an opportunity to shoot some local marine life and build up a bit of a catalogue of footage for the local waters. I decided to begin a Mini Series of Dive Videos from Banderas Bay. This starts with the first episode which shows lots of interesting marine life from the South of the Banderas Bay.

Finally after this video was created we had the break through idea that would secure us the spot of "GoPro video of the Day". Panga had now officially been formed and was hosting self generated content online, there was a pulse with which the Sea Lion Video was to grow.

Michelle Preciado, Johnny Madigan and myself directed & shot a video featuring rescued Sea Lions that are housed in a semi wild habitat in Banderas Bay. The Sea Lions would be cared for both in and out of the ocean and it gave us the opportunity to do something that had never been done before. Which was to strap a GoPro onto a Sea Lion. The footage captured GoPro's attention and earned us exposure and continued support in future projects.

Since the Sea Lion video we have produced even more successful videos but this collection of 5 videos are really where it all began and it was the success of the Sea Lion Video that gave us the confidence, exposure and understanding that it was all possible to keep driving forward.

By Kieran Bown

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