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Tips for Successful Underwater Videography

By Daniel Deck
I will never forget the experience of capturing rare Dwarf Minke whales on video while scuba diving in Australias upper northern Great Barrier Reef. Dwarf Minke whales are approximately 30 feet long?the largest and probably the most beautiful animal I have ever seen in the water. They are also curious, so they try to come as close to you as they can. It was an exciting and enlightening experience to say the least.

I won the trip to Australia as part of the ?Best in Show-Video award from Beneath the Sea (www.beneaththesea.org), in their annual underwater video competition. My video, Aquatic Adventure in Florida, was also awarded the ?Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater Videography. Waterman, who has been at the forefront of scuba diving since 1936, is best known for his commercial films such as The Deep. The Stan Waterman Award is among the most prestigious honors that amateur underwater videographers can achieve.

Like many underwater filmmakers, Jacques Cousteau was my inspiration. He instilled in me a lifelong dream of diving and capturing the magic of what lies beneath the sea on video. I am an amateur videographer with aspirations of going pro. Ive been making movies for two years. Aquatic Adventure was the first work that I have entered in a contest, so it was a real honor for me to win. During production of Aquatic Adventure, I learned several techniques and tricks that helped me win the contest and also helped me become a better underwater videographer.

Become an Experienced Diver
This may sound obvious, but it is best to first become an experienced diver if you want to become successful at underwater videography. Neutral buoyancy, and slow, steady movement are most important. I have done about 2,000 dives since 1995?more than 400 of them with video equipment. The more you dive, the more comfortable you will become with your camera and all of its controls under water. You will also get a better eye for action and learn how to anticipate sea creatures behavior.

Obtain the Right Equipment
I shot Aquatic Adventure- on miniDV over a couple of years with a Sony TRV900 3CCD digital camera in a Light & Motion Industries Bluefin Pro video housing with HID lights, external video monitor, and full manual control backplate. I have three specialized lenses for the housing, a standard flatport, a super macro, and a 100 deg ultra wide angle.
The Bluefin Pro underwater camera housing with lights

I use a DVLine workstation with dual Pentium 3 processors, a Pinnacle DV 500 capture card and Adobe Premiere 6.0 and later Adobe Premiere 6.5 for the video and audio editing of Aquatic Adventure. I always take advantage of two 19-inch CRT monitors and a 13-inch NTSC monitor. I run Adobe Premiere in the two CRT monitors and then watch the video output on the NTSC monitor. I recommend a minimum of three monitors because it really helps me stay organized and more easily view my work in progress.

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Related Keywords:Underwater Videography, Dan Deck, Aquatic Adventures


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