Dancing With Kavadis

Dancing With Kavadis

Picture is from a Still Capture of OM-D HD footage

Vel! Vel! The annual Thaipusam Festvial at Batu Caves Malaysia is a riot of colours, smells and sounds. With a million visitors there shoving and pushing, attempting a good video can be tricky. Having filmed the festival previously with equipment ranging from 16 / 35mm cine film cameras to a Digital Betacam, right down to the tiny LX-5, I know how difficult it is when there is a crowd at every turn.

Ideally, it is best to minimise your ‘equipment footprint’. Even the camera bag should be so small that no one will knock into it and shake the camera in the process. With the devotees in a trance and the heavy kavadis spinning freely, one would also need to duck and get out of the way in an instant.

Enter the new Olympus OM-D (EM-5)’s unique and very effective in-body 5-axis image stabilization (IBIS or I.S.). Used for the first time at Batu Caves, it allowed me to dance around the kavadi bearers, devotees and musicians with ease. This method of shooting gives viewers a special P.O.V. rarely seen in an unscripted, uncontrolled environment.

I really enjoyed the experience and freedom of filming without a cumbersome tripod, monopod, gyro stabilizer, counter-weight, chest, shoulder or body brace. All hand-held and gliding the cam with my body, arms and legs.

This is a ‘quick and dirty edit’ without syncing up the sounds from the H4N external audio recorder. View it in Full HD if your hardware and bandwidth supports it. Enjoy!

Filmed entirely with the Olympus OMD (EM5), Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm ultra-wide lens and the Olympus 12-50mm kit lens. Edited on Edius.

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