Watching the quick GoPro video in a swimming pool got me thinking...
I'd like to light a scene that takes place underwater mostly.
Is it a matter of throwing enough light focused on the water?
Does color temperature matter or change for that set up?
Are there underwater instruments to use?
Any other advice anyone can offer? I'd like to get close the first time and experiment with what works, instead of re-inventing the wheel.
Thanks in advance...
Praise to the COW
Let me be up front about this. I've NOT shot (moving) film or or video underwater. But I have literally hundreds of hours, as well as a fair amount of published work, of U/W still photography.
So here's a few thoughts:
- Clear, blue water (my personal favorite) absolutely affects color temperature more than you would ever imagine. I don't remember the exact filtration formula, but I believe it's about a full stop or more of red for every 25 to 30 feet -- and not just down, 20 to 30 feet horizontally too, if you are providing a light source. Depth also affects the rest of the spectrum, but not as much as it does red.
- That's why a common technique is to use your lighting for the foreground to provide some color and let things in the distance go blu-ish. The trick here becomes metering well enough, and having enough experience with your instruments, that you find a natural looking balance between the two. This is helped greatly by the fact that the majority of U/W photography is done with very wide lenses.
- Yes there are U/W lights. They are NOT inexpensive and when flooded can be ruined or cost a great deal to repair. I have no personal experience with this, but for a constant light source consider LEDs. Lots of light, not much power drawn and virtually no heat to melt the housing which would make them able to go underwater. However, I may be completely off base here as you're talking about a camera in the hundreds of dollars and I'm talking about a lighting solution that would easily be in the thousands, per unit. So perhaps what you just want to do is get a red filter and/or color correct after the fact.
-And finally… let me pause here while I get out my soap box… the only way to be a SAFE underwater videographer is to be a VERY EXPERIENCED diver. Cameras and lights can be very distracting so you damn well better be a very good diver -- WITH A BUDDY watching and helping you -- to be safe. Not to put to fine a point on this but dumb mistakes can cripple or even kill you working in that environment. Pool practice can help with developing your camera skills but a fair amount of open water diving WITHOUT a camera, before you do so with a camera, is an EXCELLENT idea.
That is great advice. Particularly safety. Even though I'm planning for a relatively small pool, safety should always be a concern. I'm usually overly safe when it comes to locations, but hadn't given pools any extra consideration.
Praise to the COW
One more detail and strong reason NOT to use Scuba gear without proper training and legitimate certification.
If you took a lung full of air, held your breath, swam to the bottom of a 10 foot deep pool, swam to the surface and let out the breath you'd been holding you'd be fine, right?
Let's say instead of holding your breath you go down 10 feet breathing from a scuba tank and regulator. At ten feet you take a breath off the tank and, instead of exhaling on the way up, you swim to the surface holding your breath. Once you reach the surface the lung full of air from ten feet under is now 1.33 lung's full of air and could quite possibly create an embolism -- a bursting of blood vessels in your lungs. IN 10 FEET OF WATER, perhaps less, YOU COULD CREATE A LIFE-THREATENING MEDICAL CONDITION JUST FROM NOT OBEYING THE LAWS OF PHYSICS.
Sorry for being pedantic, but this stuff is serious and amateurs, unlike many other methods of experimenting or just playing around, can easily injure or kill themselves.