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Home / Entertainment / Do you want to be a shark cinematographer? Joe Romeiro pointed the way

Do you want to be a shark cinematographer? Joe Romeiro pointed the way

(CNN) – Let’s say you’re willing to give up your ho-hum job and switch it over to an atypical, always dangerous, adrenaline pump type.

If that’s the case, then shark filming might be right for you. That is, if you agree with the possibility that a 1,400-pound tiger shark will occasionally steal your camera gear. Or a mako shark stalking you on a night dive.

All in one day working for Joe Romeiro, expert in filming about the shark. Over the past decade, his main focus has been on shooting some of the largest predatory marine animals in the world.

You name it, he filmed it. From the great white shark in Cuba to the tiger shark in the Bahamas and the hammerhead fish in the Galapagos Islands, it can be up to 20 feet long.

Joe Romeiro supports him and says he shot a tiger shark.

Joe Romeiro supports him and says he shot a tiger shark.

Mike Dornellas / Channel Discovery

This begs the question: Why does he swim towards the shark when most humans do the opposite?

Simple: Through years of careful research and direct knowledge, he knows that the rate of fatal attacks is extremely low. Sharks are simply not the cannibals that “Jaws” created them.

For Romeiro, the obsession started at the age of four when his family moved from the Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal, to America. He cannot speak English, so he mainly focuses on monster movies and natural historical movies without translation. Whenever the shark appeared on the screen, he was infatuated.

“Through it, I found my first heroes,” he recalls.

‘I try and change the way people see sharks’

In adulthood, a passion continues to build. It only makes sense to put this hobby into a career.

“I’ve been filming and diving all the time, and one day I have made the sane decision to just do it,” he said.

Romeiro has been certified by PADI, NAUI and SSI, 20 year old scuba diving schools.

He started filming sharks right away with a small camera, and after about 15 years, he perfected the impressive cinema system used to film Hollywood. Even though he followed the advice of his mentors along the way, he was a self-taught filmmaker.

Romeiro and his crew saw more than 10 mako sharks the day he got this photo.

Romeiro and his crew saw more than 10 mako sharks the day he took this photo.

Joe Romeiro

Finally, he snapped a really impressive picture of a shark’s pearly white and sent it to a producer at Discovery Channel’s Shark Week (August 9-16 this year). That opened up a number of opportunities and eventually led to him hosting and producing for Shark Week.

Fast forward a decade and his gear is now more expensive than the price of a new home and the Discovery Channel, BBC and National Geographic take him around the world to shoot everything from makos, sharks. The fastest in the world, to the gentle whale shark, can grow up to the length of a school bus.

“I try and change the way people see sharks through the photography and video I create,” he said. “It allows people to see how these sharks interact with me and how they behave in the wild.”

One thing’s for sure: It’s not your typical 9 to 5 job. While most people only think of sharks for a few weeks every summer, Romeiro has sharks on their brains. days of the week throughout the year.

When he doesn’t fly around the world shooting toothed creatures, he stays at home collecting shots on Rhode Island, brainstorming upcoming shows, sketching sharks and acting as Chief Operating Officer. of the Atlantic Shark Institute. All in the name of shark conservation.

A big hammer head at night

A big hammer head at night

Joe Romeiro

Overcoming dangerous encounters

Needless to say, Romeiro’s career path left him at a standstill.

“I’ve made a lot of close calls,” he said. “All of them are mine or someone else’s fault, but never a shark’s fault.”

For example, while diving at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas, a curious woman made him shoot. While he was distracted with some other tiger sharks, the curious female charged Romeiro’s head from above.

“Thankfully, I noticed the reactions on the faces of my fellow divers and I knew she was on top of me. I was able to push her away gently.”

In another shot, he is inside a fallen shark cage and is pulled behind a boat with him still inside.

Guadalupe Island is one of the best places to watch the great white shark, Romeiro said.

Guadalupe Island is one of the best places to watch the great white shark, Romeiro said.

Joe Romeiro

That said, his job is definitely not routine. And that is exactly how attractive it is.

Peaceful encounters, believe it or not, are the norm, though. Take for example when he took a hook out of a shark’s mouth and it flew at eye level as if to say thank you.

Or the first time he met Emma, ​​a famous tigress shark who frequented the Bahamas, for the first time. She is called a shark supermodel by Romeiro because she is ready for you to take a close-up shot.

“Once you see them long enough, you probably know that different individuals have different personalities,” he explains. “You can see a person, and it’s like seeing a friend.”

When it comes to the bizarre and amazing career he evokes, Romeiro says it’s a dream come true – and being able to educate people about his favorite marine animals is a bonus. more.

Equipment seriously

On any shark-shooting excursion, Romeiro’s accompanying gear includes: RED Weapon 8K digital camera, PhantomVEO, Canon 1DXII, Mavic Pro and GoPro.

“We use the same camera that you see in Hollywood movies,” he said. “Just inside a metal box, not waterproof.”

Safety precautions include his wife, Lauren Benoit, who is also a camera operator. They keep an eye on each other. In addition, there are always three injury kits on board with every conceivable safety gear, from ice to garland.

When it comes to mastering this art of spinning top-notch predators, Romeiro says it’s important that you keep your head turned. These are wild and therefore unpredictable.

Jamin Martinelli holds a tiger shark while Joe Romeiro shoots into the encounter.

Jamin Martinelli kept a tiger shark while Joe Romeiro shot into the encounter.

Michael Dornellas / Channel Discovery

Also, making sure your white balance is turned on is important. And of course, double-check to make sure your camera is turned on and on.

“Ten percent are there and 90 percent are ready,” he said. “There was a lot of scenes missed out because there was no camera within reach or not being turned and rolled.”

No matter what role you want to play – whether it’s an underwater cinematographer, top cameraman, audio technology, lighting technology, writer, producer, storyteller or editor – It is definitely a competitive field.

But for those persistent enough to make it a career, it can certainly be a rewarding reward. Romeiro’s best advice is never to give up.

“You just fail at things that you ultimately give up,” he said. “I’ve always believed that, and for me at least, it’s the truth.”

Do you cost anything?

During the non-pandemic, Romeiro and his wife led shark expeditions from their base in Rhode Island from June to October. They teach serious underwater photographers and cinematographers to own work.

Subject of photo: blue shark and mako. In the background: Emerald and clear blue water about 20 to 40 miles off the coast.

Don’t be surprised if you also catch a sunset, smooth hammerhead, tigers and sharks. If you’re lucky, maybe even a scarab, shark or great white shark. They even stumbled upon whale sharks.

They also lead expeditions in the Bahamas in search of tiger sharks, ocean whitehead fish and giant hammerhead fish. However, all these trips are currently suspended because of Covid-19. Check the website for updates.

The expeditions are $ 500 per person per day for a 12-hour day.

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