Techniques & Precautions for Shooting Underwater Video

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1. Techniques To Use When You're in the Water.

The rear LCD display - especially the light - puts a high drain on the battery, so to get the maximum shooting time, keep the camera turned off until you need it. Another trick is to turn the rear LCD display off between shots. On my Sony T33 there's a button with a TV screen icon that toggles through different display modes. I use this if I want the camera ready for action. Don't forget that digital cameras will turn themselves off after an inactive period anyway.

When taking shots, here are a few tips:

- I recommend shooting no more than 5 seconds of a particular scene at a time unless there's something really cool happening.

- Digital cameras have no image stabilization, so make sure you're stable, neutrally buoyant and not breathing hard and fast when shooting.

- Avoid sudden, jerky or fast movements while filming (or be prepared to edit them out afterwards). Taking video should be like diving: gradual and unhurried.

- I find that using my breath to gradually change buoyancy helps give a slow, gradual panning action.

- Get shots of divers as well as the scenery & sealife. Mix close ups with more distant shots (look up every so often, too). Variety makes the videos more interesting to watch.

2. Back on the Surface.

While it will be tempting to show your latest Jacques Cousteau masterpiece to your fellow divers, resist the temptation until you're done with diving for the day. Playing back video will burn more of that precious battery & if possible, you'll want to avoid changing batteries, as this will mean going through the entire checklist again under a far less controlled environment! Trying to dry the case, remove the camera, change the battery, regrease the 'O' ring & sealing it up without getting any water or moisture in the case is a challenge, especially on small, crowded boats!

When you're done for the day, rinse the outside of the camera case out and dry it off thoroughly before opening it. If you're using it again the next day, you can seal it up with the dessicant inside, which helps preserve the dessicant.
Happy shooting and feel free to email me with questions.

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