Learn Center: Shooting Video Underwater

All current Olympus cameras that have underwater housings available now also have the capability of shooting underwater video. They shoot high-definition video in 720p resolution. The quality of the video is breathtaking and adds a whole new dimension to your underwater shooting. Shooting underwater still photography and video with one device — What could be better than that?

Preview of a sample video taken with the E-PL1

This video was taken in Grand Cayman using the E-PL1. Shot in natural light using no external lights or filtration. Custom white balance was performed at depth. As you can see, I stayed as still and quiet as possible and let the fish come in and out of my frame.

As you have learned from taking still pictures underwater, you experience color loss in your photos when taking pictures at depth. Since water absorbs light and turns it into heat, the red color channel is lost in this process. It is very important when shooting video that you take the proper steps to correct the color from looking too blue. When using a point and shoot camera like the STYLUS TOUGH-8010, you can either correct your color balance by using a red filter on the front of the housing or adding external video lights that will bring your subject back up to the normal color temperature. If you are using a camera, like the E-PL1 use the custom white balance feature that allows you to save the white balance setting based on your shooting environment. Remember to take your custom white balance reading at depth as it does you no good to get it set in 15 feet of water, if you will be shooting the video in 70 feet of water.

Preview of a sample video taken with the E-PL1

Also shot in Grand Cayman with the E-PL1. Natural light with a custom white balance was used here as well. Nice storytelling, with smooth footage of the still photography team at work.

Always remember to get close to your subjects and with video you want to hold the camera as steady as you can. Try and control the movement of the camera using your diving and buoyancy skills and remember that if you are going to pan and zoom to do it slowly. You don’t want to make the audience “seasick” with motion.

Shoot up, as this will create more dramatic footage as you will include the light that is coming through the surface of the water. When shooting fish, be patient and quiet as the fish will start to ignore you so you can get natural looking shots.

Practice, Practice, Practice. Do not keep starting and stopping the camera. It is better to keep rolling the footage and have it appear to be smooth. You can always take out the unwanted parts with simple video editing software. Have fun!

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