Settings, filters, lights, shooting tips, editing, etc.
GoPro cameras, set in many ways to capture ephemeral moments underwater, have become incredibly popular among divers in recent years. Perch cameras, selfie poles, case attachments, handles, domes, dive arm pads, mask holders, harpoon rifle attachment and all kinds of accessories allow divers to capture what they see underwater and share their videos on the internet.
Let’s take a look at the basic functions of GoPro Hero cameras and how to shoot beautiful underwater videos.
Note: I have revised this article for the HERO5 Black but it is still valid for all GoPro models 3 and above.
How to start filming underwater?
Prepare the camera
You can practically film with your GoPro immediately out of his box. The first thing to do is to charge the battery. To do this, insert it into the camera and connect it to a USB socket using the supplied cable. You can also buy a GoPro Hero 5 dual battery charger (the GoPro Hero 3/4 version here: GoPro Hero 3/4 Dual Charger).
A note on the batteries: if you scuba dive and you like to shoot a lot of videos, expect to change the battery between each dive. If you dive for example three times a day, then it would surely be good to invest in three batteries (and a dual charger to quickly charge multiple batteries at once).
The camera is fully charged when the red charging button turns off. Insert the camera into its case, paying careful attention that there is no hair, fluff, dust, sand or other debris on the white gasket on the back of the case, or on the notch in which you place it on the case. If this seal is dirty, the case will take the water and drown your camera! If you have a HERO5, which is already waterproof up to 10m, you will have to turn (to the left) and remove the lens before putting your camera in the Super Suit case.
Start shooting underwater video
Turn on the camera by pressing the side button for two seconds and then release it (or the one on the front of the camera for the Hero4 and Hero3 / 3 +) and start recording by pressing the button on the top. To stop the video, press the same button. Small red LEDs will flash on the front and back of the case while you are filming.
For framing, it’s not complicated, you just have to point the camera in the right direction. If you have a built-in LCD (HERO5 Black, Hero4 Silver) or a GoPro LCD Touch Bacpac screen, you will be able to see the scene on the screen. Of course, the composition is greatly facilitated, especially when shooting smaller subjects. Please note that the more you use the screen, the faster your battery will discharge. By default, the GoPro screen turns off after one minute, whether you’re filming or not. If this bothers you (you can not use the screen when recording a video), you can adjust the timing in your camera settings.
Which video resolution to use?
By default, the GoPro HERO5 is set to a resolution of 1080p, for 60fps and a wide field of view. If this is the first time you use your camera, you should know that it is a very good report HD / fps and you can shoot in peace. More experienced users will be able to play with the video settings. They may choose 30fps to match other video recordings, or even faster frames per second to slow down editing videos for sharper slow motion scenes. They can also try higher resolutions (4K for example), which can show the video at this resolution or zoom / crop recording.
The thing to remember is that the higher your resolution and frame rate, the more constraints your computer will have when editing. Make sure you do not record your entire trip in 4K to realize that your laptop is not powerful enough to support this format.
When to use my red or magenta filters?
Filters are used in underwater videos to bring red light to the image, providing more color and contrast. The red filters bring red color in the blue water, while the magenta filters correspond to the green water.
When to use a video light and how to fix it
Video light can also be used to bring more color and contrast to your underwater recordings. These lights (some are very powerful) can only illuminate up to a few meters. It is better to use them on a big subject close to the camera (a reef, a bench of drinks, a shark, coral, etc).
To mount a video light, you first need to buy a base tray and handle for your case. The light is fixed either directly at the end of the handle, or with an extension arm and clamp clamps.
You can also use the lamp to counter shadows when taking still photos, as in the photo of the sea lion below.
See more underwater GoPro bindings.
How to create a time-lapse for a video dive?
I often hear people asking how to make a time-lapse video with their GoPro. If this software update is likely to come soon, it is not possible today. It is very easy to shoot images for a time-lapse with your GoPro but you have to create it for editing.
The most common way to do this is to record a series of images with the interval counter (on the HERO5, this is the fourth mode with a symbol representing a camera and a clock). Your GoPro HERO5 has several interval parameters accessible from the settings menu, and each will be useful for different time-lapses depending on the intensity of the action. For example, an interval of 0.5 seconds can be used to make a time lapse of the filling of a suitcase and an interval of 5 or 10 seconds for a sunset with moving clouds.
During editing, you can import this series of photos to make a video, a simple task in the Studio GoPro software.
Little tips for filming
If you do not use a tray with handles, make sure your phalanx does not appear in the image! Yes, I speak from experience.
Everyone loves macros, but your GoPro HERO5 will only produce a sharp image if you’re standing at least 30 cm away from the subject. To get closer, take a look at the filter pro pro red macro.
Try to hold your camera as still as possible. A sharp movement, tremors or vibrations in your video will give seasickness even to the strongest sailors. If you pan, make sure your movement is slow and smooth.
Do you want more tips? Read our 3 tips for making underwater GoPro videos.
And then ?
All photographers and videographers develop their own style over time. That’s why divers make the best underwater photos while using several accessories. Bluewater Photo has created a list of these GoPro accessories to make underwater videos to help you improve.
Above all, be careful while diving and have fun!