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Member Since 25 May 2005
Offline Last Active May 20 2015 09:27 PM

#361329 A Touch of Bali

Posted by peterbkk on 19 May 2015 - 04:54 PM

Nice one Mike.
Some think that YouTube is currently giving better quality than Vimeo.

Hmmmmm. After reading your post here, I went and watched one of my videos on Vimeo. http://www.peterwalker.com/komodo.html

To me it appears to now have more compression artifacts than it used to when I first uploaded in mid-2014. Maybe it's my imagination but it does look like Vimeo either re-compressed it or their viewing engine is squeezing it on the fly to reduce bandwidth. It's not terrible and, IMHO, still slightly better than YouTube. But not as good as it used to be and not as good as I'd like it to be.


#361139 Nauticam Shogun Housing is here

Posted by peterbkk on 15 May 2015 - 03:40 PM

Wetpixel members are smart enough to see with their own eyes to determind whether a codec is good for 4K or not, they certainly don't need to be told what to believe!

Hi A.Y.,

Well said. You are right. I'm increasingly frustrated by some people in this forum who post opinions that are not based on experience or knowledge.

You know, when I first started learning and sharing on WetPixel Video a few years ago, we had many active members with deep experience and knowledge. I got some great advice. But most of those people are now gone. Why? Well, I have only discussed it with a couple of those departed people and they both said the same thing. They got pissed off by some of the newer members who have opinions but no experience or knowledge; People who just read something on the Internet and regurgitate it here. We see some examples in this thread. Sometimes I think it's going to drive me away too.

I urge everyone who posts here to think carefully before you post opinions, suppositions and unverified information. Do you really know something for a fact. Or just read it. It's OK to have opinions or even regurgitate what you've read. But declare it. Like, "I don't know for sure but I wonder if ..." Or, "I read this story by Xxxxxxx on website Yyyyyyyy and he said ..."

Think before you post.


#360844 Nauticam Shogun Housing is here

Posted by peterbkk on 06 May 2015 - 02:18 AM

It took a while for Nauticam to sort out a few issues but finally I received my Nauticam Shogun housing this week. I'm not going to write a full review.  I'll leave that to those better qualified.  But here are some photos and first impressions.  After a few days diving in Lembeh at the end of this month, I will give an update on how it performs in action.  


Of course, the Shogun monitor is great for seeing what you are shooting and being able to record ProRes HQ 422 10 bit video puts it into the realm of much more expensive systems.


Shogun Housing.JPG


Firstly, the NA-Shogun is big.  Needs to be big to allow room for the Shogun, a big Sony battery and some cooling fans.  This system is not for the casual videographer.  However, with bigness comes stability.  The addition of this housing, line astern from the camera housing, will definitely help overcome some of the "pitch" stability issues inherent in the "still" camera format when shooting handheld video.  It also adds a lot more mass (but not in-water weight) - great for stability.


Secondly, it is well-engineered.  All the housing functions are available, except the menu - but then you should not need to play with the Shogun menu underwater. The function buttons give you control over focus assist, histograms, etc.  The "overhead" mount bar give a lot of flexibility for positioning. The HDMI cable seems to be solid - if you are careful with aligning the plugs.  It includes a full leak detection and vacuum system.  The base plate provides many options for mounting legs for macro.  Note: the housing does not actually connect to the base plate.  The overhead arm holds the monitor housing.  The base plate stops the whole rig from falling over with the weight of the Shogun housing.  It's also for connecting legs.  (Once I have worked out my preferred viewing angle, I might add a rubber-stopper to the base plate to give the bottom of the Shogun housing something to rest on - not necessary but might stop any wobble through the arm.)




Thirdly, it took me a while to get it set up the first time. But that's probably my incompetence - it's been a while since I played with Meccano.  Now that I know how to do it, I can get it done in about 20 minutes.  But, of course, you only need to set it up once at the beginning of a dive trip - you can do everything you need to do inside the camera housing and the Shogun housing with them all connected together.


Fourthly, unassembled, the GH4 in its housing / port and the Shogun in its housing, two video lights and their arms and some accessories all fit into a large carry-on size photo backpack.  No need to check it in.  If my checked luggage is delayed, I can still go diving and shoot, at least for a couple of hours.




The Shogun battery (Sony NP-970) lasts about 90 minutes of run time - maybe longer. There's space inside the housing to look at putting in an extended battery system for longer.   A 1Tb SSD holds 2 hours and 20 minutes of ProRes HQ 422 10 bit video.


This coming weekend I will test it in a pool (maybe my fish pond) and get the buoyancy and balance right.  I think that it needs a 1kg dive weight strapped under the rear of the rig - the Shogun housing is positively buoyant but the GH4 housing is slightly negative - together they still float.  A dive weight and a cable-tie should fix it.


Then it's off to Lembeh to see if it is worth the investment.  I'll keep you posted.






#360600 Does my color right? Nusa Penida WA shoot with GH4

Posted by peterbkk on 28 April 2015 - 09:23 PM

Hi all,


I played around with Premiere Pro color effect and I just love it. I think I'm bit carried away with the color, but with the vibrant color of the Nusa Penida underwater realm (shoot at Manta Point and Crystal Bay) I cannot help it but bump the saturation way too much.


As always, critics and comments besides the color and the camera shake are always welcome.


Thanks for watching,





Hi Bona,


Colour is very much a matter for personal taste.  Some people love to see the reds pushed to the max.  For me personally, i prefer to get the colour as close as what it looked like, to my eyes, underwater.  So, I would not have pushed the reds and the saturation as far as you did.  I call that look the tourist brochure colour space.


But, I repeat, it is personal choice and if that's the look you were aiming for, then you should be happy.




#360534 Nudibranch of Anilao in 4K - Panasonic LX100

Posted by peterbkk on 27 April 2015 - 05:33 PM

It's my first time shooting with the Panasonic LX100, Nauticam CMC-1, first time to Anilao and second time shooting macro. I'm starting to accept the result especially I only have around 150 dives under my belt. I found that the more dive experience I have, the more comfortable I feel about getting close, slow down to think and adjust my camera setting (not having a big group of divers lining up or selfish dive buddy would help too!


If you have 1080P display, watch in 1080P setting, then watch again with 4K setting, see if you can see the benefit of 4K. If you have 4K display, then of course watch it in 4K setting.


I output my final video to target of 80Mbps. A 8 minutes video is about 4.6Gb, it took about two hours to upload to Youtube and process. It's really hard for countries that do not have fast internet to provide 4K content. I don't know what's the final bitrate that Youtube produce, but if it's buffering right, the Youtube deliver quality is very close to my 4.6Gb mp4 sitting in my local hard drive.


Make sure you watch the whole thing!


As usual, suggestion, critique, comment are all welcome!




Hi Moses,


Good job. I enjoyed watching it.


I watched it through (on my iMac 5K) twice, firstly in 1080 then in 2160.  I can definitely see a difference.  Some of the finer details are more apparent - like the horizontal layers in the antenna.


The only improvement I could suggest would be to take another pass on the exposure and colour correction.  A couple of shots could use more contrast while lowering the overall exposure.  And a couple would look better with less green in the background - maybe some secondary colour correction to keep the subject as-is.




#360426 How important is underwater tripod?

Posted by peterbkk on 23 April 2015 - 02:32 PM

Hi all,
Would like to get an opinion in regards of underwater tripod. I'm thinking to purchase one for video both for WA shoot and macro.
I do have gorilla pod that can be used underwater but adjusting them is such a pain!
Considering the price - the proper one is expensive! - I do want to be sure it will help in getting a stable clip.
Thanks in advance!

Like most things in life, the answer is "it depends". :)

It depends on what you want to use it for.

For most WA shooting underwater, you don't need a tripod. For some scenes it might help but for others it will be a hindrance.

For most macro, a tripod is very important. If you are shooting bottom-dwelling creatures, a large Gorillapod is great. I think that the "Focus" model is the biggest. If you soak them well after diving, they will last a while. Easy to position. More difficult to keep still.

A tripod wth hard legs is necessary when you want to do macro above the bottom, like on a wall. But, here you will often have a challenge finding the best position to place the legs. The "hard leg" tripods are also a bit more fiddly to adjust the camera angle and position. But very stable.

In summary, there is no perfect answer. You need to work out what works best for you and then become familiar its use.


#360022 Potential solution to shaky video footage?

Posted by peterbkk on 14 April 2015 - 01:36 AM


Even though I have my GH4 as neutral as possible (and thanks to your tips on this) it still suffers from some jittering underwater if I pan etc.



Is the housing well-balanced?  Jittering can come from muscles countering balance issues. 


The other tip for panning is to point your body towards the end point of the pan and then swing your arms / camera towards the start point.  Start the shot still for a few seconds then pan so that your arms are moving into their natural alignment with your body rather than away from it.  Your muscles relax during the pan rather than tighten up.




#360010 Potential solution to shaky video footage?

Posted by peterbkk on 13 April 2015 - 04:52 PM


I've sent a message to them, asking why the need for Mic input and Video output (I presume for time syncing, can't understand why the mic input thou). 



Maybe they are writing some inaudible (to humans) sync sounds onto the audio track that their NLE plug-in can read.

#359685 Tracking focus with a GH4 in the NA-GH4

Posted by peterbkk on 06 April 2015 - 03:38 AM

I agree. The main missing points for me are similar

1. AutoISO in 'M' Movie Mode
2. Upper limit of AutoISO

And having access to exposure compensation also, so we can ETTR a little bit.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


And, regardless of whether shooting M, P, S or A mode, display both shutter speed and aperture in the monitor, regardless of whether it is selected by the user or the camera.

#359651 Tracking focus with a GH4 in the NA-GH4

Posted by peterbkk on 05 April 2015 - 06:13 AM

What peaking colour and level do you use for this type of work?


I have the level set to "low" and the colour set to "white".


It might be overkill.   This setting makes the in-focus subject look like it's covered in sparkling snow.  Very pretty!  :)


If I was using it all the time, I'd definitely tone it down.  But, I am only using this technique for close-up subjects that will move.  Keeping them in focus is the most critical success factor for the shot so I am happy to have bright sparkling snow covering the subject and on the ground around the subject.


I found that, with an octopus or cuttlefish on the dark Lembeh sand, not only could I see that the subject's eyes were in the middle of the focus-peaking "snow" zone, but I could see a path of snow along which the animal could move and stay in focus.




#359649 Tracking focus with a GH4 in the NA-GH4

Posted by peterbkk on 05 April 2015 - 05:59 AM

By the way I've also had little success shooting with auto-focus. Even if it looks like it's working well underwater, get the footage on the computer and you can see the nasty little shifts in focus while it hunts. I badly wish we could lock off focus during a shot.


Hi Nick,


Yes, both the auto-focus and auto-exposure show the GH4's still photo heritage.  


I recently panned upwards with the camera set for AE.  Looked OK at the time.  But, on the computer, I could see small step changes in the exposure as the scene panned from dark to light.  Not smooth.  Had to do a little keyframing in FCPX to hide the steps.


Now I always use AFL and AEL before starting to shoot.




#359636 Tracking focus with a GH4 in the NA-GH4

Posted by peterbkk on 04 April 2015 - 06:19 PM

Caveat: Maybe you all know about this technique and find this thread a bit "ho hum".  In which case, please ignore.  But, for me, it was an exciting breakthrough that improved my success rate shooting moving subjects.




Panasonic GH4 in a Nauticam NA-GH4 housing with either the 7-14mm, 12-35mm (dome) or the PZ 14-42mm (flat port) shooting video of octopus, cuttlefish and squid in Lembeh.  I wanted to be able to shoot these critters "up close" and "on the move" but still keep them in sharp focus.




I don't trust any auto-focus tracking system and have not had reliable success using it with the GH4 underwater, especially in murky conditions.  I prefer to use AFL/AEL to lock in focus and exposure for the whole clip.  With the camera set to AFS and a small centre focus point, I lock in the focus on the eye of the critter at the start of the clip.  But, then the critter starts to move.  How do I ensure that the critter's eye stays firmly in the narrow depth of field?  Obviously I need to move the camera with the subject, keeping the distance between the critter's eye and the lens at the same distance.  But that's quite difficult, especially checking the focus with the small monitor on the back of the GH4.


Solution 1 (attach a better monitor):


Use a large monitor that has built-in focus peaking like the Shogun.  But, Nauticam have not yet released the Shogun housing.  And I need to get the footage now.


Solution 2 (flip on the GH4's focus peaking): 


Unfortunately, the GH4's focus peaking only works when the camera is set to manual focus (Panasonic: could this be fixed in a firmware update, please).  The lens / port combinations that I'm using don't have manual focus.


But (and here is my big breakthrough), the NA-GH4 housing has a MF-AFC-AFS switch in a convenient location.  


Here's what worked: Before diving, turn on focus peaking in the camera's menu and save it to your favourite UW custom setting.  Underwater, set the MF-AFC-AFS switch to AFS and use the rear lever to set AFL to get a sharp lock on the subject's eye.  Flip the MF-AFC-AFS switch to MF.  The lens stays at the same focus distance as locked in.  But now the subject is also covered with focus peaking dots.  As the subject moves, move the camera with the subject, ensuring that the focus peaking dots continue to flicker all around the subject's eyes.  


If it's not moving too fast (e.g. an octopus walking), I was able to keep the subject firmly in the plane of focus (9 times out of 10)...




#359534 How would you shoot this scene?

Posted by peterbkk on 02 April 2015 - 06:21 AM

I don't think a video light would make any different.


So, if you're in my situation, what would you do differently?



If you want more depth of field you need either a wider lens or a smaller aperture (larger f-stop number).


To get a smaller aperture for video (don't mess with the shutter speed) you need more light.  Turning up the ISO leads to graininess.  So, your best bet is a powerful video light system that covers all the subject and is somewhat balanced to the same colour temp as the ambient light.




#358916 GH4 - Nauticam Macro Lens/Port Thoughts

Posted by peterbkk on 17 March 2015 - 04:16 AM

Yes. The result being an IL stabilized 14-42 lens, with full zoom control. With the flip diopter you should have a slightly better setup as the Oly 12-50 is not stabilized and no other mid-zoom lenses allow for manual focus (behind a flat port).

I accidentally ended up in Raja Ampat with all my camera gear except the Nauticam lens gears for the 7-14mm and the 14-42PZ lenses. Focus was not a problem as I use the AFL lever for most shots anyway. For the 7-14mm, I just left it set at 8mm and that was fine for most WA shots. For the 14-42PZ lens in the flat port, I remembered this thread and set the Fn1 button to zoom control. Worked just fine for all the macro shots. Thanks guys!


#358713 Chariot of Fire - Fire Urchins with Coleman Shrimps, Zebra Crabs & Urchin...

Posted by peterbkk on 10 March 2015 - 12:11 AM

Could you do the acting for me Peter? ;)

Yes, but I bumped one of those beasties with my knee once so I know what to expect - it'll be expensive:

- Lead actor fee (I'd want top billing ahead of the shrimp and the prickly ball)
- Stunt man fee
- Speaking role fee (I get to yell "F%$k!" at least once)
- Danger money
- On site medical response team (in case I have an allergic reaction or a heart attack)
- Medical Fees
Total: $1M

So, if you can stump up the money, I'll shove my hand onto the fire urchin.