Underwater DSLR Video Capture


Needless to say, DSLRs and their newly found HD video capability are a hot topic nowadays but many of us used to traditional video/film cameras are finding the transition a little vexing. The problem is that for years we’ve been able to immerse ourselves within that snug, comfortable viewfinder and get on with the job at hand. All of a sudden we are having to use a fixed 3” LCD screen, which under the wrong conditions can be a little difficult to get on with. ‘Wrong conditions’ could mean very bright sunlight or having to use the camera at an odd angle, for example. Well there are numerous bolt-ons that help get around these problems but what if your particular wrong condition happens to be 40 metres under the sea in a raging current?
Like everyone else in the industry, underwater film makers are now looking at and using DSLRs for acquisition. The same benefits apply wherever you’re shooting: small size, amazing flexibility and a relatively small cost. Unlike the rest of us, the conditions for a submarine cameraman can be…well…extreme. Cold, dark, poor visibility, huge currents, these are just a few of the obstacles to overcome before you even get started. Peering through your mask and a column of murky water trying to pull focus on a small screen within a housing – hmmm, not much fun.
Another less anticipated problem is of a more technical nature. A DSLR’s LCD screen produces a small amount of heat. This is not something you’d notice whilst using the camera normally. However, enclose the camera in a waterproof housing and all of a sudden you have a problem. The heat is not dissipated and builds up causing the camera to shut down, sometimes within only a few minutes. This is not ideal, especially if you’re halfway through a groundbreaking, never-before-caught-on-film moment!
Because this is emerging technology there has been no solution…until now.
High end housing manufacturer, Gates Underwater Products, of San Diego, have modified an existing DSLR housing to accommodate a 4.3” LCD monitor with integral hood. This dedicated underwater monitor helps alleviate some of the problems mentioned earlier. Bigger and brighter with a poseable mount, all of sudden things have become much clearer.
The housing modified was a Canadian Aquatica to suit a Canon EOS 5D mkII and the monitor was a Gates EM43. Other housings may well be modifiable and the cost, including the monitor, is around £2,000 from Cameras Underwater, a small price to pay for in focus, useable footage.
For more information visit www.camerasunderwater.co.uk or call 01404 812 277.

Tags: dslr | underwater | cmaeras underwater | canon 5d | eos5d mkll | iss046 | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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