We have all seen stunning examples of underwater photos and videos. But other than buying an underwater housing and jumping into the water, there are some things you need to know before you start underwater shooting. In this video, Benny from Aputure shares seven things you must know before your first underwater project.
Before everything else, there are two things that are an absolute must. First, you will need a camera housing if you’re gonna shoot underwater. And second, don’t start shooting and applying these tips if you don’t have any diving experience, a trained professional to assist you, and a controlled environment. Okay, now that you have everything you need, let’s dive in.
1. Practice first
No matter if you’re going to shoot in a lake, an ocean or a swimming pool, you need to practice in a pool first. This includes testing your underwater housing and making sure that it’s sealed properly. But also, this includes testing what your scene will look like before you actually start shooting it.
2. Keep rollin’
Unlike shooting on land, you won’t be able to communicate that much with the crew. It all comes down to previous planning, so keep rolling to get the coverage you didn’t even plan on using. If you stop shooting, there’s a risk of missing out.
3. Maintain focus
When shooting underwater, you should rely on manual focus. Autofocus may struggle, especially in murky water. Shoot at a deeper aperture to make it easier to maintain focus. Also, you might need to use a wider lens than you would use on the ground because of the difference in the index of diffraction underwater.
4. Keep the color
The deeper you go, the less color you’ll get, and the first color to disappear is red. Keep this in mind and consider getting a red filter. If you’re shooting with multiple cameras, make sure to shoot in flat formats so it’s easier to match colors in post.
5. White balance
If you’re using only ambient light, rely on setting the white balance manually. Here’s a handy trick Benny shares: oftentimes, sand is white enough to work for you as white card.
6. Use a tripod
Although this depends on what you’re going for, there are situations when tripod will make your life easier. If you can’t reach the bottom of the body of water, you can extend the tripod legs out and use it as a handheld stabilizer. Alternatively, you can extend the leg towards yourself and rest the tripod on your chest. If you can reach the bottom, you can set up the tripod as you would on the ground. It’s a great way to shoot the underwater life discretely, without you scaring the animals away.
7. Use lights
The deeper you go, the less light you’ll have. And if you plan to shoot at 10 feet or deeper – you’ll need a light. Keep in mind that this takes some practice and that safety comes first.
Do you have any experience in shooting underwater? Any tips to share? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
[Underwater Filmmaking 101: 7 Cinematic Techniques via No Film School]
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