13. Let’s make an underwater movie
If you can dive in a spectacular dive spot with a camera in your hand, try to shoot an exciting video.
Nowadays plenty of divers use different underwater cameras and many of them share their movies. Some of these are better, and if you keep in mind some basic rules, your movie can be one of the liked ones.
The underwater filming starts on the surface. It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you use, first learn its functions, features. The tiny action cameras have cool wide angle lenses so they won’t be good for super macro shots. This will limit the possible subject of your movie.
As we are manufacturing the Spark Action Light diving and video lights, it’s not surprising we recommend using lamps underwater. Without them you simply can’t make nice shots. Sometimes the more powerful video lights work better, sometimes the features of a multifunctional diving lights are more useful which has spot, video and maybe UV mode – the choice is yours.
To talk about planning your movie: you have to find out what will be your main subject. Certainly there can be sudden encounters under water, but usually we suspect what will be the most intetesting thing to see. The experienced underwater photographers and videographers always learn about the specific spots before diving. They read about the most spectacular parts of a wreck, they try to find information about the flora and fauna and where to find the different species.
Practically, you should write a script even if you are a recretational underwater filmmaker. You imagine your whole movie so you will know what kind of shots do you need. And if you write a script it will be easier to remember. If your main subject will be a wreck, you will know what kind of external shots will you need and which parts of the hull you will explore. And you will know where you need lights as well. You can make a movie about a specific dive spot or a rare animal. If you have a main subject, your goal should be making shots of that during the dive.
It’s very important to keep in mind you have to be a careful diver regardless of your subject. Only skilled and experienced divers can be good underwater videographers. If somebody can’t be neutrally buoyant will stir up the sediment. Those who forget to check their air consumption while making a video will face a dangerous situation. So choose a reliable buddy, and maybe he or she can be your model too. But if you ask anybody to be in your video tell about your plans on the surface so he will know where will you go, what is your main subject and what do you ask from hím.
When you make the shots don’t forget the script. To make editing easier, leave a few seconds in the beginning and in the end of all shots. Your moves with the camera should be slow and calm. Try to make shots from different angles and distances to make the movie more spectacular. If you are not sure a specific shot is good enough let’s make it again. It’s better to spend another minute there than be disappointed later.
Altough we emphasized the importance of planning, certainly there can be a nice surprise anytime under water. So be prepared to react fast and forget your script whenever you see something exciting.
Learn to use your diving lights. The Spark Action Light products offer a wide range of features so you have to read the manual carefully if you want to use them. Sometimes you need only a spot light, sometimes you choose the powerful video mode, and you can use the blue or red LEDs. Use your creativity! And don’t forget the UV mode when you make shots during a night dive. So try to use the special features of your camera and lights.
When you sort out your shots, choose only the really good and spectacular ones which you can edit. As the viewers are not too patient nowadays, your movie’s length should be between 1-4 minutes. So first you have to be honest with your shots, and when you finish a draft edit you can show it to your friends who you trust, and can modify it, if they have good ideas.
You have to learn your editing software. You won’t need the most difficult high end softwares with fancy tricks but the one you are familiar with. When you make your movie you can insert shots which show how much you and your buddies enjoyed the dive. But if you use shots only about waving and happily divers this will be intetesting only to your friends.
Don’t try make 30-40 minute long documentaries if you don’t have a plenty of spectacular shots. But you can use surface shots, maps or archive photos in wreck even in a short movie.
You can listen to the opinions, the helpful words will help you to make a better movie next time. Don’t be disappointed if you couldn’t make the movie you imagined. You have to be a more experienced diver and videographer, listen to the experts and you will learn a lot. But don’t care about the teasing. Don’t compare your movie to those which you can watch in the TV. Anyway, many of professional filmmakers started as recreational divers.
And what is the most important? Enjoy diving even if you have a camera with you! You are exploring in a wonderful underwater environment and if you can share your best underwater moments by your movie, you should be satisfied. If your movie would be better than you expected it was worth taking your camera under water.
You can learn more about the Spark Lights diving and video lights in our online store: https://sparklights.eu/.