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Old March 15th, 2006, 08:42 PM   #1
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Underwater HD100

Ive never shot anything underwater so bear with me. Is there anything available to use my HD100 underwater? Ive read about these underwater housings, but I'm not sure if theyre camera specific or if there is a universal one or something. Do they have lights on them? Are they hard to find to rent?
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Old March 15th, 2006, 09:04 PM   #2
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I don't know if there's anything available for the HD100 YET. They usually become available later on and manuafacturers seem to take their time with it.
In terms of lights, you can get them with lights or you can buy lights separately and attach them to most depending on what you want to do.
They aren't very hard to find when available, most large camera shops will have a small selection, and it's a good idea to look at dive shops since they spcialize in that and will usually carry housing or will be able to get them. I've never been able to find one for rent, but you may have better luck depending on where you, but the problem is they are very camera specific and this may be why places don't have them for rent - everyone uses different cameras and different housings would be needed.
They're also really pricy, particularly the pro ones with many buttons and knobs, so be prepared to pay more than you did for your camera to get one. I do know that Gates rents housings directly if you need one, but they don't show one for your camera (maybe email and ask if there's one coming out). Their site is www.gateshousings.com.
hope this helps
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Old March 16th, 2006, 01:38 AM   #3
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Not yet. The HD100 is big and any housing will be big. There are also real issues with the lens, the wider and more expensive lens would be a must, the viewfinder is not ideal and the ergonomics are not really going to cut it underwater. I used the XL1 housing (Gates) and despite its great engineering the thing was a bit of a dog, rather like flying a kite only underwater. Apparently an italian company is going to release a 20 metre housing for the camera so let us wait and see.

The JVC site says that SCUBACAM (now run by Joe Dunton) are making a surface splash housing. These are generally only good for shallow water or surface work but that may be what you need. These housings are generally positively buoyant so you need to attach ballast.

With all UW setups a monitor makes life so much easier and again the Gates setups are fantastic, I don't know is they paln to make something for the JVC.

You could ask your local drysuit manufacturer to make you something with an optical flat in the front... might be cheaper to but a readymade though.

Good luck
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Old March 18th, 2006, 06:06 PM   #4
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Hi,
Taking any camera underwater is a costly, and risky, business. Believe me I do it for a living. I am not aware of any company that currently makes a dedicated housing for the HD100. It is a BIG camera to house and as someone already mentioned the market will be a potentially small, read unprofitable, one for housing manufacturers. Bear in mind that with HD able cameras you will also have to look at getting, and developing, an external HD monitor as the on board viewfinders will not allow for critical focus issues. I recently contacted Gates regarding their housing for the Panasonis AG HVX200 camera which, at this moment, doesn't have the necessary ancilliary housings for an external HD monitor. I also fielded the question regarding the development of a secoandary underslung enclosure to house either the FS100 FireStore or the Cineporter drives. The cost: $15k for the monitor housing and another $15k to develop the housing for the additional data storage unit. That would put the housing at circa $37,000!!!!! A LOT OF CASH IN ANYONE'S BOOKS.

The housing manufacturers, it stands to reason, only develop housings that appeal to popular camera units. Anything else takes lots of RnD and in direct correlation with that a LOT of cash to produce.

Cheers,
Mark Thorpe.
Underwater Cameraman,
Palau Island,
Western Pacific.
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Old March 18th, 2006, 06:28 PM   #5
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Perhaps the most important thing to appreciate is that the weight of the camera/housing combination in air must be a direct function of size - that follows directly from Archimedes and the need for it be very close to neutrally bouyant in the water. I've seen a housed Z1 and by the time lights are added to that it becomes quite a lump, and I wouldn't advise going even for that unless you are a fairly advanced diver. A housed HD100 would be even bigger (and far heavier), and the 5.5mm wide end of the lens would be a disadvantage compared to the Z1s 4.5mm.

Lights are used not so much as to illuminate the scene as to restore colour to the foreground at depth, letting the background go blue. The HC1/A1 seems to be becoming quite a favourite for underwater use - HD, but still quite small. You may get some ideas from http://www.fep.co.uk/
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Old March 18th, 2006, 06:28 PM   #6
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Old March 18th, 2006, 06:53 PM   #7
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Hi,
So far as underwater bouyancy is concerned you can add bouyancy tanks or flotation materials to any housing. This in turn obviously increases the bulk of the object you are pushing through the water. Increased bulk = increased effort = increased air consumption to feed oxygen to your muscles = less time in the water. For the more professioanl approaches taking these kinds of camera in the water are not for people wanting to go on regular dives and film whatever comes along.

Using pro cameras uses pretty much the same approach as terrestrial filming where the shoot is co-ordinated and focuses on a specific target. The scene is managed with lighting, tripods etc etc. These all cost money, read a LOT of money, if adapted for wet work.

Hope this helps,
Mark Thorpe.
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Old March 18th, 2006, 07:23 PM   #8
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Sounds like it would be cheaper to rent a camera and housing, depending on what you are shooting.
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Old March 18th, 2006, 09:20 PM   #9
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Hi Keith,
This is my job, I shoot for archives and stock footage so I have my own dedicated equipment etc. Mix that with the fact that, by choice, I live in one of the best dive locations in the World means that to rent would be non-cost effective. I have to work long and hard to be able to "keep up with the Jones' but in the end, for me, the job satisfaction keeps me going.

Cheers,
Mark.
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Old March 18th, 2006, 09:31 PM   #10
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I found the HD100 was quite Nativly waterproof... just go try it in the tub!

Jokes.
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Old March 19th, 2006, 12:05 AM   #11
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Mark, I kind have got that idea from the depth of your response. My reply was more for Ian, who can't get a housing for his current cam. It would be easier for him to rent, depending on what he is shooting. If he is doing a movie like that shark movie... it would be better to buy a different cam setup. If he is just doing some vacation diving shots, renting would be the way to go.
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Old March 19th, 2006, 01:32 AM   #12
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Hey Keith,
No worries. Just confirming my situation. I suggest that anyone considering shooting underwater do their homework on the real costs involved. Standard cameras do have relatively cost effective housings. As soon as you slap the dreaded "HD" initials on anything expect to pay for it. I strongly advise that anyone wanting to get into underwater shooting, without prior experience, start out with a standard miniDV setup and learn the ropes.

However the most important factor has still to be discussed. Your dive ability. You may well be a truly gifted filmmaker but if your dive skills are in question you really should think again. Good buoyancy and the utmost respect for the marine environment come way before any potential blockbuster plans to be the next Jacques Cousteau.

Cheers,
Mark.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 09:11 AM   #13
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Ditto to Marks comments regards dive ability, especially buoyancy control. Diving should be second nature before considering taking a camera down with you.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 05:02 AM   #14
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If you want to bring your hd 100 underwater, check EQUINOX, they produce hunderwater housings for any pro camera on the market. High quality. I'm dealing with an Italian Housing factory to try to have an aluminium one, wich i feel is the right material for a camera like that, which supposed to be used in documentaries. I'll post news if i'll be successfull.
By the way, bring the hd 100 underwater will defentely be a challeng for the dp/cameraman, not for a newbie!!!!!

Fabrizio Sciarra
Director of Photography
Underwater Cameraman
http://www.hdunderwaterfilming.com
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