I have been using my Go Pro for almost two years now and I've noticed that the quality of my video's have improved over time. I'm still an amateur off course and I wouldn't even want it any other way. I just love to shoot some video and edit this into a short film to share with everyone else. During the last two years I've picked up some pointers which improved my filming qualities and which I want to share with you today. Maybe some of them can help you.
So what Go Pro are you using? I have an older version, the Go Pro 2. Besides some technical improvements, the latest model is a bit smaller and lighter than the model 2. Despite the model or version you are using, the tips below are for anyone to use.
The LCD screen is the first tip. Before I bought this screen I had no idea what I was filming. It's the same as shooting an arrow at a target blindfolded and hoping you'll hit your mark. In my case I usually missed. This all changed after the LCD screen. I could see what I was filming, which improved my skills dramatically. It also makes the filming in itself much more fun when you can see what you're filming.
Another item which improved my skills is an telescoping extension pole. It gives the advantage of better angles, getting closer to certain poisonous animals (think stone-, lion- or scorpionfish), you have the opportunity for selfies and last but not least it helps with your stability. Your video's will be less shaky.
I use the extension pole, but there are other variants. You have a head mount, this way you film exactly what your looking at and it keeps your hands free or you can go for a wrist mount. It all depends on what your comfortable with.
This one will sound cheesy, but in the end it's the most important one! Practice your buoyancy. If you have this under control it will improve the stability of your video's in vast amounts. No more shaky images or shocks to the screen.
A tip 3a is that in video editing software there is usually a option to stabilize your video. If you're not sure which video editing software to use, read this post about free available software. Also YouTube offers the option to reduce the shakiness of your video after uploading.
Don't shoot your whole dive in one go. This will create problems like:
- the file seize is to big for rendering in video editing software
- it takes way more time to find the good parts in your video
- there is a big change your battery won't last during the dive
I usually create short video's of what is interesting at the moment. Afterwards I sort out the video's I want to use and import these in the video editing software to create my movie.
Try to keep the sun in your back. I know this isn't always an option, but keep in mind that the sun creates a flare in your video. It's an overexposure and saturation of the color white. You can edit some of this in the video editing software, but as an amateur to editing I find it better to try to avoid it.
If you have the option of multiple dives on one location, you'll notice that video's shot during these and latter dives will be better then video's of the first dive. As you have a better understanding of the dive site itself it's easier to find the best angle for filming.
You can also always ask your guide to show you some of the better filming of photo locations during your dive. Especially with wrecks it can definitely be interesting to film from some distance before the close ups.
Use filters to add color back to you video's. As you probably already know (but that one not-diver reading this) the deeper you dive the more color fades away because of lesser sunlight. When diving in blue waters use the red filter and in green waters (Holland) you can use a magenta filter. Most time you'll need the filter from below a depth of around 6 meters.
These are just some tips I've learned the past two years. There are probably so many more ways to improve your video's. Sum them up in the comments and I'll add them to this post.