Video camera usage Questions

Video camera usage Questions

Post by DIVEISLI » Mon, 22 Sep 1997 04:00:00


I took my Sony Tr-71 and new housing to Cozumel last Aug. Came home with
five hours of video to edit. I was very e***d, but was a little
disappointed in the colors. I filmed many of the beautiful Angel fish only
to review the tapes and find that they looked pretty plane. I used an
underwater filter (reddish/orange) colored like many recommended. Perhaps
there is something wrong with my usage. Here is my routine:

Prior to leaving the boat dock I turn the camera on (with filter already
in place). Put it into the housing and seal it up. After a few minutes of
non-usage the camera goes into power save mode. My housing has only one
control for start/stop. With this method I never have to open it back up
while on the boat. I like the safety factor of that.

I am wondering does the automatic white balance of this camera do anything
through the lens that is be messed up because I have the filter in place
when I turn it on?

I saw somewhere that a company sold two different underwater filters. One
for the Carribean and another for North American applications. Are they
very different?

I don't want to buy a $500+ video light. Does anyone have experience with
using dive lights for video applications?

We are returning to Cozumel next month and I hope to take some more
colorful videos this trip.
Any constructive recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Robert Brown

 
 
 

Video camera usage Questions

Post by Doug B » Mon, 22 Sep 1997 04:00:00

I think that the only way you will be happy with the results, is to use an
underwater light source. That is the only way you will get true to life
colors. I have never run video, but have used 35mm cameras underwater.  I
have experimented with different filters, and was never happy with the
color until I invested in an underwater strobe. I would check around the
dive shops and  photographic studios in your area. The more expensive items
can sometimes be rented. I needed an underwater metal detector and made a
few calls and, to my surprise, found one to rent. If you are near a larger
city, there are many photographic supply companies that will rent things
like this.

 
 
 

Video camera usage Questions

Post by DNickst » Tue, 23 Sep 1997 04:00:00

I have a Stingray system with dual lights and a built in filter.  The most
awsome colors are on night dives with the lights on.  During the day I
primarily  use the filter and the colors are adequate but not brilliant.
On occassion, if I am close enough to the subject, I use the lights during
the day (after retracting the filter).  The colors can be pretty brilliant.

Prior to the Stingray I used an Amphibico housing without lights.  The key
there was to use the filter but never shoot below 40 or 45 feet.  As long
as it was a sunny day the colors were pretty acceptable.

My favorite for color saturation..... night dives with lights.

 
 
 

Video camera usage Questions

Post by Tom Well » Tue, 23 Sep 1997 04:00:00

I'd try filming (ok - taping) without the filter. The last time I tried
this, I taped a bit with the filter, then a bit without; my housing
allows me to flip the filter in and out while underwater. Without
exception, the tape looked better without the filter. I use a Hi8 TR-81
camera.

I looked at the tape that evening on the TV at the bar, and found that I
didn't have _any_ footage that looked better with the filter.

I'm no expert. The evidence said to me to forget the filter.

The real trick is to tape nearer the surface where the light is better!

Hope this gives a clue.

Tom.

Quote:

> I took my Sony Tr-71 and new housing to Cozumel last Aug. Came home with
> five hours of video to edit. I was very e***d, but was a little
> disappointed in the colors. I filmed many of the beautiful Angel fish only
> to review the tapes and find that they looked pretty plane. I used an
> underwater filter (reddish/orange) colored like many recommended. Perhaps
> there is something wrong with my usage. Here is my routine:

> Prior to leaving the boat dock I turn the camera on (with filter already
> in place). Put it into the housing and seal it up. After a few minutes of
> non-usage the camera goes into power save mode. My housing has only one
> control for start/stop. With this method I never have to open it back up
> while on the boat. I like the safety factor of that.

> I am wondering does the automatic white balance of this camera do anything
> through the lens that is be messed up because I have the filter in place
> when I turn it on?

> I saw somewhere that a company sold two different underwater filters. One
> for the Carribean and another for North American applications. Are they
> very different?

> I don't want to buy a $500+ video light. Does anyone have experience with
> using dive lights for video applications?

> We are returning to Cozumel next month and I hope to take some more
> colorful videos this trip.
> Any constructive recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

> Thanks,
> Robert Brown

 
 
 

Video camera usage Questions

Post by Stephen M. Dod » Tue, 23 Sep 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

> I'd try filming (ok - taping) without the filter. The last time I tried
> this, I taped a bit with the filter, then a bit without; my housing
> allows me to flip the filter in and out while underwater. Without
> exception, the tape looked better without the filter. I use a Hi8 TR-81
> camera.

> I looked at the tape that evening on the TV at the bar, and found that I
> didn't have _any_ footage that looked better with the filter.

> I'm no expert. The evidence said to me to forget the filter.

> The real trick is to tape nearer the surface where the light is better!

> Hope this gives a clue.

> Tom.

I have shot a lot of underwater video.  Most with a filter.  Most can stand some
touch up color alterations in editing.  I use Speed Razor on a digital system
for that.Filters begin to improve things below 15-20 feet.  This is becasue of
the way water affects the red-yellow end of the spectrum first and blues last.
As you get deeper there is less and less red to begin with and less and less
available to your camera.  The same effect occurs with lights.  The light must
travel out to your subject and back to the camera and looses red and other warm
colors on the way.  A filter can hurt you above 15 feet.

Below 85 feet the colors all tend to fade to various tones of blue grey anyway.
Unless you bring your own light.  Color correction can help to 80 feet but tends
to just limit light below that point.

Larger objects such as sharks tend to blue-grey anyway.  Must be an adaptation.
Color seems more important to smaller life near to surface light.

I almost always use the filter for open shots below 20 feet.  When I get up
close to colorful objects with lights I may remove the filter.  Otherwise I keep
it on.  There is a sweet spot of from 3 to 8 feet with either filter or lights
beyond which you will not be able to controll lighting and color balance very
well.

The really great underwater shots tend to be done with staged lighting.   That
way you can place the lights and then move the camera without disturbing the
lights.  Of course this is out of the range of hand held taping.

Keep shhoting and looking at your stuff.  Try to work at different depths and
distances till you get a feel for what may happen.  But keep the filter most of
the time below 20 feet and above 80.

Steve

--
-
- Stephen M. Dodd
- New World Productions
- 541 754-7757; http://www.sdodd.com