Looks like I need to stop filming or just switch to a Go Pro.....
I am sure Jonathan Bird is a well respected underwater filmmaker. But for him to dump on an entire group of videographers is a bit juvenile. I will first off state, that I am very self critical of my own footage, and realize some of the short comings it has. But having said that, I think the quality DSLR's put out are excellent. And to be honest, I think 99% of the world would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a RED and Canon DSLR. Looking at Mr. Birds shots on his website, I believe I could get 95% of them with a DSLR. And on top of that, I could get some shots he couldn't....Not only that, but looking at his footage, I would have to say that I prefer the look of a DSLR compared to his. I am sure with his type of shooting, he has picked the right tool for the job he needs to do. But I don't get slamming everyone else who love to shoot with DSLR's.
Some of these are my opinion, but a few things stuck out to me....
- SLRs typically have lousy audio interfaces, minimal audio controls and substandard audio quality. Audio needs to be handled separately. - Last I checked you don't really need great Audio underwater. Sure topside interviews might miss it, but I don't think the majority of people do that. An Zoom H4N can do the trick....
The DSLR has awkward ergonomics for video. Again, you can work around it, but it’s a pain. - This is true....But guess what, ever think you need a smaller housing to fit into tight spots? I do all the time. A huge camera wouldn't work in a bunch of shots I've. To me this is a wash....And you can get a DSLR housing ergonomic...it just takes being creative.
SLRs have sensors designed for still photos, with 16+ megapixels. - Again, what he says is true....but today's technology is so good, that it is hard for anyone to tell the difference. Sure if you want to get technical, he may be right. But is this really noticeable in the end product? Again 99% of people won't know. Just go film!
Amateurs are now happy to shoot video with a GoPro or the video mode on their point and shoot because it’s small and convenient. Sure, the video is awful, but as they aren’t working for National Geographic, who cares? This statement kind of pisses me off. I don't shoot for NG, and I am not satisfied with a GoPro...He is demeaning anyone who doesn't shoot for NG, should be shooting a GoPro.
A large sensor on an underwater camera is great for light gathering but extremely hard to get in focus. Depth of field is working against you here. When you see your work on a large monitor, you will be shocked how much of it is totally out of focus. - Actually, with a Wide Angle lens its really easy to focus. My guess is some of his stuff if out of focus too....Macro is where is gets a little harder. I agree macro on a traditional video camera is easier...but I will stack my macro up against anyones. OF course his is more documentary, and mine is more artsy...again what are you going for?
One of the greatest gifts of underwater video cameras is the URPRO “flip filter” to selectively add or remove filtration for natural light white balancing. Again, this is my opinion against his, but personally I hate red filters. They don't seem natural at all to me. You can pick it out on any shot that uses them. I prefer a good ole' Manual White Balance with a DSLR. The picture in my opinion is much better.
Dedicated video cameras have par-focal zooms with macro. You can shoot everything from a nudibranch to a whale shark with the same rig on the same dive. The real question is how often do you do that? I tend to go on dives and have a plan with specific things I want to shoot. If I am in Lembeh, and a Manta swims by...oh well...I am there to shoot something specific. If I am socorro, I am not there to shoot nudibranchs..I can't even think of a specific dive, where I have really regretted a lens choice....Do you homework and you will have the right lens on.
Can you get decent underwater video from a DSLR? Sure, sometimes. If you are shooting video where color isn’t that important (or you have some big lights on the rig), there isn’t a lot of fine detail that will suffer from aliasing and moiré, and you get it in focus, it will look fine. But in the vast majority of situations, a video camera in a proper video housing will produce a superior image. - Naaa...color isn't important. This is a ridiculous statement. I have had Howard Hall compliment my films saying that he thought that the color I was getting out of my Canon was better than his RED EPIC...certainly you get other advantages out of the RED, but I thought that was a great compliment. Even if it didn't, for him to say that, to me tells me that the color is pretty good.
If you really want to shoot decent video, think seriously about a dedicated video camera in a dedicated video housing. - How about everyone just go out and shoot some video of some awesome stuff underwater!! Pick the right camera for you, and don't listen to people pigeon hole you into their opinions.
Video Cameras have a lot to offer, but so do DSLR's. DSLR's are cheaper for similar quality video, backup cameras are easy, smaller, easier to travel with, great optics, and certainly more flexible. Me personally, I am waiting to upgrade my Canon 5d Mark II, which by the way still produces awesome video!, with hopefully a new Canon DSLR that can shoot 4k at 30 fps. I think Canon WB's is fantastic, and their lens selection is second to none. Heck, if the sony a7s did internal 4k and could WB, I would buy that today.
To be honest, I read this article a few days ago, and it kind of made me angry. Stop telling people what they are doing is wrong, and just encourage people to pick up any camera they can get a hold of and start being creative! If thats a go pro, or a photographer with a dslr that might try video and end up loving it...great! But don't make people feel like they can't get great video unless you shoot what the "pros" do. BTW, there's more than a few pro's who shoot dslrs..
I guess you have to define "isn't good" . If you mean consistancy then no. If you mean the the Sony sensor is not providing good colour then that is not true. This is one sensor from Sony that is good for UW. The low light ability and full sensor readout definitely played a part. On the other hand It is difficult to get consistent UW back ground colour. Any UW video camera for that matter. Especially when combined with video lights.
I have used the A7s for two trips now. For ambient light at the shallows with out video light AWB works. MWB also works well.
If you follow Peter's thread he did a sterling job with some UW light filters and the MBW will at least be more consistant with back ground colour:
I am hoping to get a prototype or full production housing for the Shogun. From top side tests this combo is really nice. You could practically shoot in total darkness with a lit match and the scene is still looked okay. Not many Camcorder or DSLR can do that like A7s yet.
Thanks David. I will be curious to see how the WB compares specifically to Canon. Which imo is pretty good at the MWB. It really is a shame. The Sony A7s looks to be a good camera, and with the shogun, eliminates the issue of internal 4k recording. I could live with the metabones adaptor to use the Canon glass I have. But the MWB is kind of a show stopper, as I am not a fan of wide angle with lights (if not needed).
How is the blue water banding on it?
I would like to stick with Canon, but they are not moving at the speed that I would like. A 1DC like dslr should have been released by now, and if there was one in the $3k range, I would buy one tomorrow. Rumors for a 4k from canon are out there....but you never know with them trying to protect their cinema line. I also like the full frame sensor. Which is why the sony is disappointing.
Which brings me to the GH4. Which looks like a capable camera, but I am still not sold on it. The video I have seen has been nice, but I wouldn't say it is better than what my old 5dII produces....I still prefer the looks of the canon. Heck, I think some canon footage looks better than RED footage. Of course alot has to do with post color grading etc...
Ha ha, now you got me curios, what sound would sea cucumber pooping like, squeaky, fart-y, popping...... I once saw a fish poop in mid air and the next fish went behind and eat up the poop...... makes me wonder if marine life are conscious about hygiene........ alright, I think too much
Oh, one last thing, how do you know when the sea cucumber is going to poop? It's not like it has some sort of expression to make (do they?) I think one of my videos lack is capturing unique/interesting behavior, and your videos have lots of them. It's hard to know and anticipate when they're going to do something or strike for food. My videos are mostly staring contest with fish before either one of us swim away. Being diving in a group (as small as 2 people per group), I can't just sit there and wait for things to happen most of the time because there are other divers behind me waiting to take photos.
I was referring to my sounds, laughing and cheering...not the sea cucumbers...lol. As for this shot, I actually caught it mid-poop. So I was a quick 15 second ordeal. Based on the poop that was below him, it appeared it was having a cleansing situation...
Behavior is very hard. And I'm not great at it either. Although, typically with macro shooting, I don't have an issue with having other divers around. Typically I let the photographers, normally my wife take the pictures first and then I do my thing. Places like Anilao, PNG or lembeh, we normailly have small groups, or even hire a private guide in some cases. For Macro, the guide is there to find critters, not babysit. I expect the same situation when I goto Bali in Sept.
Sometimes behavior I catch, I don't even see it until I review the video on the laptop. I try to leave the record on for a while, so that all the shakes from the camera and lights stop so that there isn't any movement in the camera. So that bodes well for capturing behavior as well.
The Kalinga Ornata Nudibranch eating the brittle stars that I captured, again, didn't even see it until I viewed it after the fact. In that case, I was behind the camera a few feet with a much brighter light trying to attract all the sea lice away from my shot....lol. I hate that crap!
In PNG I was with a mantis shrimp that had a big clutch of eggs, and I stayed with it quiet a while, it was only 15 feet deep. And eventually it started aerating his eggs. Pretty fascinating, and I got killer video of it. Stay tuned for 'Rolling in the Deep - Eastern Papua'!
Yes, Pontohi it is! Another nice shot. You weren't chasing it around, were ya??
I doubt she chased it. My wife isn't like that. Based on my experience filming them, they tended to jump from spot to spot, normally within a 12 inch radius. A lot of time they are in pairs, and when one leaves the other typically follows.
That Pygmy seahorse looks like a Severens! I didn't know that they were in Milne Bay. It doesn't look like a Pontohi, to me. The only place I've seen Severens is in Fiji.
I think you are right Allison. It looks like a Severens to me as well. The guides there just called it the Milne Bay Pygmy..lol. They were all over the place. Of course, I couldn't find any myself, but the guides showed us probably 50 during our stay. Very pretty species, although their background isn't as pretty as the traditional sea fan.
I wanted to share my latest episode in the 'Rolling in the Deep' series. This time taking a look at the critters in Milne Bay. PNG is a terrific destination, and Milne Bay is an area where it can offer both fantastic macro and wide angle photography.
As always comments are welcome. Let me know what you liked and didn't.
Wanted to share my latest underwater short video. I finally got some good footage of some emperor shrimp while I was in PNG. They are known to be fast and elusive to the videographer. So it was nice to have some cooperate.
As always, comments and constructive criticism, are certainly welcome.
I know nudibranchs are not everyone's cup of tea. But they really are beautiful animals especially when viewed up close. I tried to isolate them with lighting as much as possible to focus on the animal and the amazing colors and textures they have. I hope you enjoy it.
As always, comments and constructive criticism is always welcome. Always trying to improve.
I wanted to share my first video from our trip to Papua New Guinea. We stayed at Tawali and had the entire resort to ourselves for 12 days! it was really a fantastic spot and we really enjoyed both the diving and resort very much. While PNG is not exactly easy to get to, it should be on everyone's bucket list.
This is the first of a few videos that I will be making from the trip. Let me know what you think. I hope you enjoy it!