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spectralsepia

resources for new uw videographers

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hi all,

i've been shooting video in a half-assed way for a few years now, and have just upgraded my system and would like to take this hobby a little bit more seriously in the future. do you have any recommendations for good resources to learn with? either excellent social media accounts for inspiration, online tutorials/guides/workshops/courses, books, anything. i'm specifically interested in composition, creating/editing scenes, and storytelling, but can benefit from information on technical things too. would love to hear what everybody uses to educate themselves and improve their work!

thanks in advance!

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There's not that much on UW video production online, compared to the mass of ressources for UW photo tutorials & tips (Wetpixel, Brett Durand, Alex Mustard....)

I find these video channels interesting:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCimkNOuckSK6gYoT2WSygqg/channels?view=49&shelf_id=4

Otherwise Behind the Mask offer basic video tutorials, and do create  high quality clips, pretty much in line with their background in commercial production (think funky music, action filled + cuts to keep the viewer in his seat, speed ramping and loads of the now unescapable drone shots), not really my personal cup of tea, but solid stuff:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCplA0OS3jhCjC3gK-5PdCMw

and

https://www.youtube.com/c/ReefPatrol

 Liquid Motion also does tutorials:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDV-tkOrJ2k&list=PL3sm7PuVBo0_0j_QkER0gDEc9_ZnYEIwb&index=3

Scubazoo: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjR4wpFRVrH85AObW2YqmAg

Otherwise good technical tips here: Interceptor121 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGa0iwNqQuL2Nr6QcehUf6w

and here: Matthias Lebo   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkzbAxfikgRLDf98pcyXeIQ

and here: DPG https://www.youtube.com/c/DivePhotoGuide

Quite a few real-life workshops as well if you dig around a little, though the more time-consuming nature of video production makes it harder to fit a workshop format...

Beyond UW, I find these worth a look into:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7gBcKzHKc0oOR5-XiWdlFQ
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0VID5nSIk6QDC65bHym7TQ
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4exYtWOlHd4mL-owyyA12w
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKyVN7fBTaQ3np4WOO7IK9A
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPf67c3vUrFlNOERwjHyR2w
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCiW5SSb88hl5zACG93WqQQ
https://www.youtube.com/c/mattih
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwmZiChSryoWQCZMIQezgTg

Most of video discussion online seems aimed aspiring youtubers, vloggers and other ubiquitous lifestyle content creators (along with the odd DP talking about professional productions and equipment), so it's a bit of a mixed bag, but there's good info to be gleaned in these corners as well, and a lot of trends (YouTubization?) have permeated the world of of UW video as well, with the standard drifting slowly but surely towards a set, almost canonical drone-shot-drone-shot-drone-shot + speed ramping and other effects synched to epic music.

Hope this helps a little, and looking forward to more info on the subject as well!

 

Edited by bghazzal
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thank you so much for all the ideas! gonna start working through these. any companies or individuals that have work you love? just watching other people’s footage gives me a ton of ideas at this newbie stage. 

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oops sorry, missed the first link with all the accounts you follow. super great info, thanks again!

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I would also recommend Matthias Lebo and Vanessa from the Behind the Mask group:

 

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22 hours ago, spectralsepia said:

hi all,

i've been shooting video in a half-assed way for a few years now, and have just upgraded my system and would like to take this hobby a little bit more seriously in the future. do you have any recommendations for good resources to learn with? either excellent social media accounts for inspiration, online tutorials/guides/workshops/courses, books, anything. i'm specifically interested in composition, creating/editing scenes, and storytelling, but can benefit from information on technical things too. would love to hear what everybody uses to educate themselves and improve their work!

thanks in advance!

I think you need to separate out two things

One is how to take underwater video, as with photography this is unfortunately a rather technical activity where you need to know how the equipment works in order to reduce the time you need to become proficient.

Second what is that you are trying to accomplish with your videos. This is a much larger issue than it seems because shooting a video needs to have some storyline to it otherwise you end up with a sequence of images that could have been just photograph

While underwater video used to be documentary style now there are people doing resorts and trips promos a lot. Though with the current context I guess that activity is near death

There are some decent technical resources out there including my blog which is probably the most technical you can find around this will give you a head start on the GH5 and kill the discussion about settings and lenses so you can focus on the art part

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thanks, ive found a lot of the technical resources and have a decent working knowledge of the technical aspects. im more interested in content on the artistic side. will check out your site though, thanks!

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3 minutes ago, spectralsepia said:

thanks, ive found a lot of the technical resources and have a decent working knowledge of the technical aspects.

A lot of people say that as the Dunning-Krueger syndrome is extremely wide spread in the underwater imaging world

Artistic resources are scarce better go and buy some books instead of web content

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im more interested in content on the artistic side.

May I ask what do you mean by artistic side ? Artistic side can mean many things from image composition, color grading, scripted and visual storytelling that have their roots in regular (i.e. terrestrial) filmmaking techniques with also some inherent differences related to the U/W environment.   

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i mean exactly all those things. im looking for sources of inspiration for all of those different categories, so yes definitely interested in resources from the terrestrial world. i've contacted my filmmaker friends on land about this too, but was hoping there would be underwater-specific content about creating beautiful underwater stories. in terms of creative technique, i think blue planet ii is the best camera work ive ever seen, and i was wondering if there were accounts for people doing work with similar levels of artistry in the community that aren't famous, or if there are videos or tutorials on developing these qualities.

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Speaking of Blue Planet, here are some interviews of cameraman Roger Munns, talking about shooting for Blue Planet:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rgPZ-Y-XXE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W29cFd4y5g8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL1qhGlM88E

——————

And here are some interviews with Roger Horrocks on Blue Planet II’s cinematography:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sA0UKdWroYY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rA5pDkQa6fE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yhmjl5BYIUE


I love the images in the blue planet series, but must say that I also find the colour grading choices in BP2 more than a little odd at times, and have grown a bit weary of the ever present foley track / sound effects.... Same goes for the dramatisation and music, a little little over the top to my taste - defintely part of the current climate though.

 I wish there was a chance to see some of this  footage in a rawer form, as it’s absolutely fantastic in itself….


—————
To develop my previous post, here are some other works/videographers that I find interesting for different reasons, and might interest you:
 

Bubblevision - Nick Hope’s work

Saturation, beautiful macro piece:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-noK9UVWTk

His classic Reef Life of the Andaman Sea

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ncUVddkK3Q

Murky Secrets:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJMZ6reOB0E

and more here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAeADQLk_FCfXNF9wu3ti8w

The soundtrack is borderline hipster-retro nowadays ;)

———————

Ocean Vizion Emeric Benhalassa, has really nice macro work :
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6m4oo0knxpgLE0DC7EjtHA/videos

————————

Same goes for OceanShutter / Dustin Adamson

https://www.youtube.com/c/OceanShutter/videos
https://vimeo.com/dustinadamson

———

And Simon at NAD Lembeh
https://www.youtube.com/c/Nad-lembeh/videos

————

 Eunjae im
https://www.youtube.com/c/EunJaeIm/videos

————

Kay Burn Lim
https://vimeo.com/kayburn

———

Sea Dragon films
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6r1733mhs-Fj7wYisJEUeQ/videos

——————

This looks promising, Ocean Souls the film:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SghklxQ2nag

————

Gombessa/ Laurent Ballestra
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChRWuH603te9pYd5hxlJvyA/videos
https://vimeo.com/168526737
https://vimeo.com/user96965216


—————

Pelagic Life / Jeronimo Prietro

Paramount Pelagic
https://vimeo.com/45038806

Mexico Pelagico
https://vimeo.com/102278225

Spring Sea
https://vimeo.com/124788033

and here
https://www.youtube.com/user/jeroprieto/videos

————————

Simon Spear
https://www.youtube.com/user/simonspear/videos
https://vimeo.com/viewfromtheblue
———————

Undersea Productions:
https://www.youtube.com/c/UnderseaProductions/videos

————————————

Pall Sigurdsson
https://www.youtube.com/c/PallSigurdsson/videos

———————

Davide De Benedictis
https://www.youtube.com/c/DavideDeBenedictis/videos

————————

Sea Dragons
https://vimeo.com/seadragons

———————

Global Dive Media
https://vimeo.com/globaldivemedia

————————

Lucas Vaime, Mike Weitch and the Underwater Tribe

https://vimeo.com/user72613668
https://www.youtube.com/c/Underwatertribe/videos

——————

Nannette Van Antwerp:

https://vimeo.com/nannettev

————————

Miru Kim
https://vimeo.com/psymiru
———————

Guillaume Nery and Julie Gautier (films engloutis), on the storytelling, cinematic front

One breath around the world:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnvQggy3Ezw

Ama
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdBuDg7mrT8

Making of Ama:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI85pzpki1M

and loads more here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDwZ2iVPnmtjH0LTjDnWHTg

https://vimeo.com/user28010126

—————

Behind The Mask, as previously mentioned
https://www.youtube.com/c/BehindtheMask/videos
https://vimeo.com/divestories

Reef Patrol / Vanessa Cara-Kerr
https://www.youtube.com/c/ReefPatrol/videos


—————————

Bug Dreamer / Marcelo Johan Ogata
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDAff3CfzyT2aMA9RvLlCpQ

————————

Flowave Films / Sonja Geier (former videographer on Mermaid, now also collaborating with Behind the Mask, really great vids)
https://www.youtube.com/user/flowavefilms/videos
----------------

And more on the liveaboard videographer front:

Alex Lindbloom (former Mermaid, now Snorkel Venture + freelance)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmns9apOCEjFXL4xrjcbsZw/videos

Nu Parnupong (White/Blue Manta)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfsjW9S03chgdAQyJ-HT0Xw
https://vimeo.com/nuparnupong

Alex del Olmo (7 seas)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeKRSGD5pToQjDULp8mMhdA
https://vimeo.com/alexdelolmo

Solmar / Pelagic Fleet
https://www.youtube.com/c/SolmarVLiveaboard/videos

—————

Vintage diving footage here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb7OYKCBLAdonix1X-iLoOg/videos

 

Edited by bghazzal
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i mean exactly all those things. im looking for sources of inspiration for all of those different categories, so yes definitely interested in resources from the terrestrial world. i've contacted my filmmaker friends on land about this too, but was hoping there would be underwater-specific content about creating beautiful underwater stories. in terms of creative technique, i think blue planet ii is the best camera work ive ever seen, and i was wondering if there were accounts for people doing work with similar levels of artistry in the community that aren't famous, or if there are videos or tutorials on developing these qualities.

There some interesting books about filmmaking and image composition for video. My personal choice would go for "The Visual Story: Creating the visual structure of film, TV and digital media" and "The Filmmaker's Eye: Learning (and Breaking) the Rules of Cinematic Composition" . You'll get the basics with some good examples. 

About stories, it can be very wide, depending on the subject. Most people shoot and edit a summary of their vacation. Others try to bring a message. Then you have to specialize. If you like wrecks, making a film on wrecks may require a bit of investigation on the history of the wreck. If you want to do a wildlife film, then you also have to get some skills in finding and approaching the critters you want to show which might bring you into underwater macro videography.

 

 

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I see that other users have flooded you with great links and tips. I'll try to have my say.

There is practically nothing in underwater video that is not true for film or documentary in general. So any tutorial, course, book on these aspects also applies underwater. 

Surely underwater cinematography has its formats like other types of visual stories. That's why your request for sources of inspiration is a bit vague. The question is, what are your interests?

  • Are you interested in advertising for tour operators, resorts, liveaboard?
  • Are you an environmentalist committed to raising people's awareness about environmental issues?
  • Do you "simply" want to tell your diving adventures or your diving vacations?

Each of these sectors now has its own format (*) but we could say the same for terrestrial cinematography.
However, previous members have given you many examples for each of these formats.

Being Italian, I find myself much more in European storytelling. Years ago, starting from a very famous TV series that continues to bewilder us every year, I wrote a post in which I also talk about this dichotomy between US and European documentary storytelling:

 

 

 

Among the many links that have reported to you I recommend Laurent Ballesta. Given his young age, I think that in the not too distant future he could be considered as a communicator in the marine environment on a par with Cousteau or Attenborough. He  only has to close the linguistic gap. Apart from his films, that can be found on the web, copyright permitting,  take a look at his various blog style short videos. They are perfect examples of how to combine  nowadays beautiful images, scientific journalism and exploration.

Last but not least: from your profile I can see that you are in the Canaries. There you have Rafa Herrero, a long-time WP member. When I started filming underwater with his spectacular videos, he was the person who influenced me the most.

The rest is just a matter of skills in terms of mastery of the equipment. But even here I personally would give it a 20% importance. Just look at the categories of the various film competitions dedicated to smartphones or action cameras.  If you have something to say original it will certainly not be your equipment to prevent it. Now I don't want to belittle the commitment of the many people here (including me) who try to have "pixel perfect" images but the importance of the equipment depends on the purpose of your work, in other words your target. The Internet is full of people with frighteningly expensive equipment changed every year who have never filmed anything but their cat or test gears in the backyard. They too have their place in today's ecosystem.

 

(*) nothing prevents you from inventing your own format: BTM have practically invented a new format for the advertising of tour operators, resorts, liveaboard. Advertising somehow masked by environmental and wildlife themes. They are gifted with great skill and resources but lately IMHO they are victims of what I call "Harrison Ford syndrome" or prisoners of their role. I hope soon to see their long format not directly related to commercial actors.

Byeeee
 

Edited by Davide DB
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thank you so much for all the thoughts and insight davide. my request was intentionally broad because it doesnt seem like there are a lot of options for underwater-specific inspiration on the art side, so i didnt want anything to be excluded. also because i find it enriching and interesting to see a diversity of different types of communication and expression. even though i know i personally will never want to shoot high action for example, it's still interesting to me to see the way the creators choose to connect with the audience. so im interested in the creative process, even if the outcome is very different to what i would like to make. im the new phase where i want to consume as many different perspectives as possible while i try to develop my skills and a unique way of seeing things.

these recommendations were great and unfamiliar to me, thank you again!

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