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Under Water, Over Land
Tools & Techniques for Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife & Underwater Videography.


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Old February 16th, 2008, 01:35 PM   #16
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PADI Cert. 12 logged dives both in West Palm Beach and in Abaco, Bahamas

The lack of experience is due to college loans, lets face it, diving is expensive and so is DV. I must have good taste :D

I am a true Floridian and have been snorkeling and been involved in other various water sports since I was a small child. I have no experience filming and hope to change that very soon.

Dreaming of the blue...
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Old February 16th, 2008, 02:04 PM   #17
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Awesome Mary! Good to see another true Floridian in the mix. Rick - how is that housing for the Z1? Would you recommend it?

I've only filmed underwater once (well, a few times, over the course of one trip) and it was a ton of fun. Crazy show to work on, though. I prettymuch got handed an A1, an ewa-marine bag, and a snorkel and dropped offshore in Bimini and told to make the best of it. ;)

It seems rather addictive, I wish I had the proper housing for my Z1. I'm planning on getting my scuba cert this spring/summer. :)

C
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Old February 16th, 2008, 04:49 PM   #18
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A bit of advice wearing both my instructor hat and underwater videographer hat:

Perfect your buoyancy skills! The sooner, the better.

It isn't a very glamorous specialty but one of the most important. I never cease to be amazed of the number of seasoned divers who simply can't control their buoyancy.

Whenever I watch other people's underwater video, I can tell immediately whether they have good buoyancy skills or not. Shaky video due to arms and legs flapping about destroys it! Shooting video underwater requires mental focus on the shooting - especially control of the equipment. Buoyancy control should be second nature.

I always go beyond the training requirements for entry level certification by providing extra - and free - buoyancy skills development.

Also, allow yourself some camera-free dives otherwise you will miss out on much of what you are there to see!

Finally, diving with a video camera can make entry and exit a bit more challenging - be prepared for that.

John.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 06:16 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by John Miller View Post
Perfect your buoyancy skills!
I appreciate the advice! My one attempt at underwater videography earlier described was insanely challenging, and that was with a wee A1 and a snorkel. I'll definitely make sure to get some practice in before renting housings, traveling too far, or other such expenses!

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Old February 18th, 2008, 05:29 PM   #20
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Finally, diving with a video camera can make entry and exit a bit more challenging - be prepared for that.
I hear that! I'd prefer boat diving when shooting video, but I have captured some great footage from shore dives, and have at least one scar to prove it! Aluminum housings pack quite a punch when propelled by mother nature!
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Old February 18th, 2008, 06:45 PM   #21
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I hear that! I'd prefer boat diving when shooting video, but I have captured some great footage from shore dives, and have at least one scar to prove it! Aluminum housings pack quite a punch when propelled by mother nature!
Indeed! As do aluminum ladders on the backs of the larger 16+ dive pack boats.

I regularly dive out of Beaufort, NC. The diveshop I use has three boats - two 16+ dive pack and a small 6 pack. The larger ones are a nightmare for many reasons including trying to get back on board with camera in hand in a very modest sea (2 - 3') and crew that don't understand....

The 6 pack is a delight and the skipper understands the peculiarities of video divers. I only use this boat now. And it handles rougher seas much better.

BTW - the hardest dive of my life was a shore dive!
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Old February 29th, 2008, 08:12 PM   #22
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To be honest I've never heard of anyone diving without a BC. How do you attach the cylinder to yourself? Do you use some kind of wing design without the bladder fitted?
Hi Dave,
Sorry about the late reply, just haven't looked at this for a while.
In the late 60's early 70's we had inflatable collars such as the renowned "Fenzy'. they were worn separately from the tank. The tanks were fitted to a Back pack exactly the same as a modern buoyancy compensator but without the bladder. I wouldn't go without a buoyancy device in still water but in current it's a totally different scenario. All that gear causes immense drag and it wouldn't surprise me at all if it was the cause of fatalities due to exhaustion.
Many won't agree with that but it's the way I feel about it.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 10:07 AM   #23
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Underwater camera advice...

Hi all

I'm looking to buy a cheap (-ish?) video rig for underwater filming. I 'spose I'm looking at spending around USD1000 - 1500 for the whole rig - camera and housing. It'll need to be good to say 25 - 30 meters (100 feet). I wonder if anyone can tell me if such a thing exists?

I'm mostly a current affairs news and documentary guy, but I've done a bit of natural history filming in my native Africa. I was unit DoP on a five part production for Animal Planet a few months ago, shooting full HD; and I shot a (yet to be released) doc on efforts to stop the poaching of rhino in Zimbabwe.

I'm also a PADI Advanced open water diver; I dive mostly in Mozambique and South Africa, and here in Zimbabwe keep my bubbles flowing upward at Chinoyi Caves - an awesome dive site, by the way.

I shoot mostly on a JVC HD111 and a Sony DXCD-30 with a Beta back. So I'll be looking to get a new small camera, and a good waterproof housing.

Any advice would be much appreciated.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 01:54 PM   #24
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With your budget you will find it hard to get a complete configuration. In particular, you will almost certainly be unable to get lighting. On deeper dives, you will only be able to record monochrome footage - green or blue depending upon location.

Do you have any particular requirements? Is Hi8 okay? DV? Do you want to have control over the camcorder beyond simple on/off.

You might need to consider used equipment but that can carry an extra cost if you choose to get the housing inspected/serviced.

Finally - PAL or NTSC?
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Old March 7th, 2008, 06:19 PM   #25
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more info

Thanks for getting back to me, John.

I'm looking for kit that would let me experiment with underwater videography. Apart from a possible shoot with a buddy in Kenya later this year, i have no dive-related work on the horizon. Not much opportunity in Niger (next week) Germany (april) or Iraq (May)!

I would prefer DV, and would like to be able to shoot 16:9. I understand about the lights - that's something I could make a plan for, since I have mates here who do dam inspection diving and have good lights for that - so I'd be able to borrow those while I play around.

Which is the point, I suppose - I'm looking at learning a new technique, putting together the beginning of a new skills base, experimenting with another set of options. Hence the budget limit.

Maybe a more useful way of looking at this would be to re-phrase the question:

"What is the effective minimum budget I would need to get set up to shoot underwater video in 16:9 SD to a depth of 20 meters? And what would I get for that budget?"
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Old March 7th, 2008, 06:22 PM   #26
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PAL or NTSC

I shoot entirely in PAL. So that's what I'd be looking for. I'd prefer new, though good 2nd hand could make sense while i see if there's a future in this for me.

And I suppose the more control the better. It all depends on the budget/options matrix though.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 07:34 PM   #27
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Ikelite make inexpensive housings. I have used them since 1994 (as well as some other brands).

Here's an example:

http://www.ikelite.com/web_pages/sony_trv33.html

The nice thing about Ikelite's housings is that you can buy a lighting system later on (which I also have).

The challenge is to find a low-end miniDV camcorder and a matching housing since specific housings tend to fit only a few camcorders. i.e., there's quite a bit of homework required especially because new miniDV camcorders are becoming rather scarce and many housing manufacturers have discontinued their models (Ikelite is an exception).

Perhaps a new housing but a used camcorder would be a good route.

As far as 16:9 goes - if you want true 16:9 then your miniDV camcorder options decline rapidly. You may need to consider an HDV camcorder instead - again used. I recently got an HDR-HC1 for ~$1100 in mint condition. I'm about to buy yet another Ikelite housing for it.

Most "proper" housings are rated to 200ft or more.

Excluding lighting, I think you are looking at $2500 for a new housing and used camcorder with true 16:9 capability. If you could accept fake 16:9 (just letterboxed 4:3), that price may drop to $1500.

This excludes additional camcorder accessories - especially batteries.
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Old March 9th, 2008, 09:27 AM   #28
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Thanks

Hi John

Thanks very much for this advice. I actually have a couple of small mini DV camcorders that shoot letterboxed 16:9. I'll have a look at the Ikelite site and see if they make a housing for either of them.

I'm at Joburg airport on my way to the Sahara for two weeks, so this will wait for a while. But I'll let you know what I come up with in the end, and look forward to using this resource as I learn my way around underwater video work.

Thanks again for all you help. Best wishes

Rob Adams
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Old March 20th, 2008, 05:55 PM   #29
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For a cheap option have you checked out the Sanyo Xacti? Small and pretty inexpensive. Quality isn't fantastic but for the money I reckon it is pretty good.

I have also used Ikelite housing which are good, and there service is fantastic. I now use a Canon XHA1 in a GATES and that is stunning... but not cheap.

Jon
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 02:56 AM   #30
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Hi everyone. Im an SSI Dive Control Specialist Instructor and have been teaching scuba for 4 years. I make my living shooting, selling and instructing underwater video and photo, as well as teaching scuba.

I currently shoot the Panasonic HVX200, as well as a Sony EX1, and I have a RED coming very soon.

Im new to DVinfo, but many of you might have seen my posts on all the scuba boards (h2ophotopros).

I look forward to chatting with you all and perhaps getting in the water too!
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