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First set up for Film Documentary "Free to Dive"

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Hi Guys,

My name is Julien. I'm a young scubadiver and freediver. I've got the Padi Advanced Level in Scuba and the level 1SSI in Freediving (equivalent to level 2 AIDA).
I decide to join your community cause I'm planning to make a film about "Freediving". I will go to Philippines on April 2016 for a month to film 4 begginers learning freediving and discovering the joy of being free underwater. We will mainly stay around 0m to 15-20m depth.
The concept is to show the freediving basics to the world, how close we are to the water environement and how easy and natural it is finally to freedive. Our main character is waterphobic and it will be intereting to follow her during her evolution.

For that I plan to film them underwater during their courses and their underwater explorations. Philippino flora and fauna are amazing and I need to get nice shots to seduce the public and make this movie professional.

I've got a Panasonic GH4 that I planned to use to shoot underwater. My only experience filming underwater was with a Gopro Camera.

Now I would need you to give me advices about my first real underwater set up.

The project from now is mainly auto financed ($3000-$4000).
So I need differents set up for different budgets in case I find financial partners.


The main 4 underwater housings are :

- Nauticam $2250 (http://www.backscatter.com/sku/na-17709.lasso)

I would prefer the Nauticam which seems better quality and really reliable.

What about the other ones? Can they do the job for a month recording underwater.

I owned the Sigma 18-35 1.8 with Metabones Speedbooster & the Tokina 11-16 2.8.

I plan to buy the Panasonic 12-35 2.8 which seems the best choice underwater (zoom, stabilisation, wide angle, large aperture).

Do you think it's better to use my existing lenses or buying the panasonic one ?

I heard the Dome Zen 170mm $999 (http://www.backscatter.com/sku/na-dp-170-n85.lasso) will do the job.

I read this great guide which helps me a lot to understand what I needed.(http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/beginners-guide-to-underwater-photography/)

I understood that I should buy 2 strobes cause of my video's needs.

What else to get a full package ready to film ?

Do you think it's better to invest in something smaller as a compact (Sony RX100) ?

I'm available if you need more informations and thanks in advance for your advices.

To be updated about the project (which will be in French and English), please like the Facebook page "Free to Dive" (more informations and official website soon).


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GH4 is an awesome camera, I own one and shoot a heap of 4k material with it, mainly in the corporate sphere.


For underwater I have a Nauticam housing, best engineering though that is not to take anything away from Aquatica, Ikelite.. fine with the advantage that you can watch the camera being flooded when you have a leak, lol...


Lenses for underwater, my suggestion would be the Panasonic 7-14, nice and wide so you can get in close without fisheye distortion. The wider the better.


Lighting: Strobes are for still photography not video, a good set (2) of led lights somewhere around 5ooo lumens each and daylight balance (5600-6000k) would be a good starting point, I am currently running 2 x 3000 lumen lights and want more power, particularly for clear water.


The combination of a panny 7-14 with 2 powerful lights should work well as you can get close to your subject and light efficiently.


Good luck

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Thanks guys for all your experienced advices. Finally the whole equipments is a bit over my budget. So I decided to "hire" someone in the project with a scuba-dive gear and all his video equipments.

I invite you to visit the official website : www.freetodive.com and follow us on www.facebook.com/freetodive

Scuba-dive & Freediving are sharing the same underwater love. So it would interest you and may even make you want to try if it's not done already !

A friend talked quiet well about her discover : http://www.chloewessling.com/blog/2015/12/12/from-tec-diver-to-free-diver-part-1

Thanks again for your support ! :)


Edited by JulienGranierFilms

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