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ronscuba

What settings ? Lit foreground, silhouette background ?

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You've seen the photo's. Camera angled up, colorful coral totally lit in the foreground, diver silhouette and/or sun in the background.

 

What settings do I use on my camcorder ? Obviously I will use lights on the foreground, but what about the camcorder settings ? ND filter, exposure, shutter speed, etc. ?

 

Halogen lights or HID lights make a difference for this type of shot ?

 

I think a nice coral head totally lit with colors and the silhouette of a diver swimming by would make awesome footage.

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What camera, housing and port are you takling about Ron? There are a huge number of variables in the scenario but here's a stab at it:

 

CC fiter: Off (or your lights will turn the coral red)

 

White balance: Preferably manual white balance on something white illuminated by your lights at the same range as most of your coral will be. Alternatively see how automatic white balance goes, or even an "outdoor" preset.

 

Iris: I reckon about F7-F8 would be good for this. You want to avoid a large iris like F2 which will reduce the depth of field, or a very small iris like F11 which can give distortion.

 

Gain: 0dB (shouldn't need any gain if you're looking up towards the light)

 

ND filter: Normally off unless the camera is calling for it. You might bring it in before the camera calls for it if the iris gets really small, like smaller than F8. But bringing in the ND filter will widen the iris and so reduce the depth of field, which is not something you want if your coral and distant diver are both to be in focus. Looking towards a bright sun there's a good chance you'll need the ND filter.

 

Shutter speed: probably 1/50 if you're shooting 50i or 1/60 if you're shooting 1/50. If you have too much light and your iris gets to the really high numbers you could speed it up but like the ND filter that will widen the iris.

 

Lights: This depends on how much coral you want to illuminate. If you're looking twards a bright surface then you'll need a lot of light to keep up with it, otherwise the coral will just be dark. I think halogens would struggle. HID is normally much brighter than halogen and there are even brighter lighting technologies around now. Also bear in mind halogens are less matched to daylight and give out a redder light.

 

You may well need to blue up the water in post as it could come out a bit washed-out turquoise.

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I have an FX7 and the Gates housing, so I can access all the manual controls.

 

I was hoping I would need less powerful lights since the side of the coral I am illuminating is not being hit by the sunlight.

 

Also, is there a way using the shutter speed and/or the exposure to darken the background (the diver or sun), but still leave the coral in the foreground lit ?

Edited by ronscuba

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Ah Ron, you are opening a big bad pandora trying this shot... think of your wallet being destroyed for the new budget on those 15k lumen 400W jobs.

If you are trying to get those typical sunball with diver silhouette and foreground coral shots, you will need LOTS of light.

Remember strobes are mini-atom flash bombs, typically throwing about 15k lumens/sec out. One would expose to the background (surface) and use the lights to fill. I would suggest you use a red colored light to illuminate and WB to that. This way your water stays super blue and your foreground subject color is true.

DoF isn't going to be that big an issue if your diver is silhouetted. Video has gobs of DoF and diver won't be more than 40ft away.

It all depends on what shot you want, the principles are the same.

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OK, I'll give up on trying to get this shot.

 

How about regular silhouettes ? I don't want the big sun or light blob. I think I read the photog's suggesting upping the shutter speed to get the sunlight beams and less blob.

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OK, I'll give up on trying to get this shot.

 

How about regular silhouettes ? I don't want the big sun or light blob. I think I read the photog's suggesting upping the shutter speed to get the sunlight beams and less blob.

 

Hi Ron,

 

I does this on a regular basis, find it beautifull.

 

You can see some exsamples in this videclip: www.skawdiver.dk

 

I use Kowalski torches with dimmerswitch, which is superb. The dimmerswitch allows you to balance the light with the background.

 

When i makes these shots, I usually sets the camara (PD-170) on full auto (-but use focus-lock) , and that works perfect.

 

HCA

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Ron

Like I said, it depends on what kind of shot you want. What Hans has done works because he's over exposed the background, thus he has a blue blurry backgroun. Also the compression of that video doesn't help.

The FX7 does have good latitude so you can get something like this

post-1861-1188471866_thumb.jpg

 

This is just a screen grab from a MPEG2 DVD I have. I used ND2, f5.6, 1/250, 0 gain. I can't show you the rest of the frame but you get what you need to do to get the shot. Hans could do it with 50W Kowalskis, which give about 3000 lumens overall. But if you want a clear sunball (and let's clear it up now, video does crap sunballs), you need to stop down A LOT, thus you will need more light to illuminate the foreground. It also depends on how far your foreground subject is from the light source. It's all mathematically calculable.

It's doable. You just have to first find really good viz, the right time of day and the right coral feature.

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I use a halogen canister light. I usually use twin 50 watt bulbs, but I can switch to twin 100 watts if I have too. I guess I'll have to do some experimenting on my next trip.

 

I'll be doing a Caribbean liveaboard in Belize, which is suppossed to have some good wall dives and since it's a liveaboard, I'll be able to try different times of the day. Seems like having sunlight, but not the direct sunball in the frame might help.

 

You suggest using ND2, f5.6, 1/250, 0 gain to start ?

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I did a bit of experimenting with this the other day on the Liberty wreck in Tulamben. Unless you have lots of light I found the key to it is to do it on a dawn or dusk dive when the sun is low and not completely defeating your lights. Of course if you're diving a wall and the sun is low then the wall may well be hiding the sun, so you might want to try it in a location where the sun is in line with the wall.

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