Help with filming underwater

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by lowey16, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. lowey16 macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2009
    In my short film I've got a fight that happens underwater. Will it look alright shooting from above the water in a pool? (I don't really trust a homemade camera housing and i don't wanna shell out $$$ for a professional one) If it will definitely look dodgy, does anyone have any other ideas about how to do it?
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Have you looked for any pools that have viewing windows below the water?

  3. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.
  4. Pixellated macrumors 65816

    Apr 1, 2008
    You can get waterproof sealable bags.... put it in aroung 3 of them and you'll be fine.
  5. Chaos123x macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2008
    Rental, or pay a cameraman who owns one to shoot for that day.

    Just put a ad on craigslist.

    Unless you know of a pool with a glass cut out like they have for the polar bears at the zoo.

    I would not swim with polar bears though.
  6. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2006
    Several people have suggested you go to a pool that has a window, I wanted to say that alot of highschools have pools with this, so you might try there.
  7. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    you may be able to shoot from above the water if you use a polarizing filter, but it would look soooo much better through a window. At the very least, make something like a small glass bottom boat to shoot through to eliminate the ripples (it only needs to be slightly larger than the camera).
  8. idea_hamster macrumors 65816


    Jul 11, 2003
    NYC, or thereabouts
    Just get a soft housing -- they are not too expensive and are designed to protect the camera down to about 10m/33' (perfect for a pool).

    For about $250 up front minus whatever you can get for it on eBay after you're done, your UW shot will be about 1,000,000x better. :D

    Also, consider looking used on eBay....
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I own a housed video camera. Yes they are expensive, to much for just one use. But you can rent housed video cameras. There is a place around here in Los Angeles that rents them. The cost is not all that much either.

    But, be warned, you will need time to learn to shoot in the water. Scuba is the way to go but you will need training and some months of experience.

    Some of the issues to watch out for are (1) Color balance. If you cut the footage from the housed camera with footage from other cameras or the same housed camera but from different depths you will run into "color continuity" problems, some times so bad you can not balance it out in post. But at shallow depths you will be OK with out CC filters (2) Lighting. Light falls off very quickly in the water. You will just have to work it out. (3) keeping the camera aimed and in focus. "Stuff Moves", the shots are very hard to set up. but you can use a weighted tripod. (4) If not in a swimming pool or tropical location it will be cold. Actors will need to work quickly, get out and warm up and then an hour later more takes. Camera man can wear a wetsuit and weight belt.

    You will need at least one assistant in the water doing nothing but watching ready to help. Unless it is a pool then he ca stand on the side.

    Your best bet is to hire some one who knows what they are doing and has their own equipment. If this is a truly amateur film, then ask around. Lots of people have and use under water cameras and might be happy to help. If you are near Redondo Beach, CA ask me.

    You can rent top quality equipment for that price. Those soft housings are a pain to use. The water pressure, even at 6 feet of depth presses the bag onto the controls making then hard to use. A goo housing will have controls on the exterior of the housing suitable foe use even with gloved hands.
  10. lowey16 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2009
    I've had a thought. What if I made a periscope and used that?
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    It would be VERY hard to use. If the camera is three feet away from the end of the scope the glass plate window would need to be two feet wide. You would have to push a large volume of air under the water and require a large 100+ pound ballast weight and the weight would need to be adjusted each time you changed depth. It takes about 65 pounds to sink a cubic foot of air space. A glass plate that large would need to be very strong. The large front surface mirrors would cost more than a true under water housing. Just rent a camera.

    Look at the web page below. The camera system I own is the Top Dawg near the bottom of the page. It works very well and is easy to use. You can use it all day for only $100.
  12. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    I know its probably a different scale but here is a music video we made at school. The end minute was filmed in the water.

    There were some underwater clips filmed with a friends handheld photo camera so the quality was awful but the effect of being underwater was much better than the same clips we filmed from above the water.

    There is also a lot of reflection on the waters surface and it is hard to get a good shot.

    Even if its bad quality I would recommend filming underwater as the shots are a lot more satisfying!

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