A Guide to Underwater Wildlife Video & Editing: Part 4

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Read Part 3 here.

A part serialisation of a book by Jeff Goodman

PART 4: Tool Kits & Spares – Housing Buoyancy

Tool Kits & Spares

Many housings these days require minimal servicing. But I can strongly recommend that before you go on any trip you make yourself up a set of tools that will fit every nut, bolt and screw on your housing. If possible also assemble a set of spare items such as o-rings, filters, electronics board and a port etc.

The larger and more expensive the housing, the more the need for spares and tools to keep it running. The small compact housings are pretty well service free.  It’s always good to use the power of the internet and benefit from other peoples experiences. Search a few blogs and see what others have elected to put in their spares box.

Housing Buoyancy

Just one more thought on housings and that is their buoyancy underwater. Ideally for me, a housing with camera should be just about neutrally buoyant.  A housing that is on the heavy side (negatively buoyant) will after a very short time become tiring to hold steady, while at the same time trying to maintain your own neutral buoyancy. The same applies if the housing is too light (positively buoyant) as it will continually try to pull your arms and you to the surface. After a few minutes even a slight pull can prove to be unnecessarily tiresome.

Most moulded metal housings are pretty well spot on with the intended camera inside. Generic type housings, especially the acrylic ones, that are able to house numerous camera types, will need careful adjustment. Small lead weights are either added or taken away from the housing to make it perfectly neutral.

The position of those weights is also crucial. If all the weight is either on the front or the back of the housing then your wrists and arms will have a tiring time trying to hold the camera on the horizontal. Make sure the weights are evenly distributed so that tilting the housing up or down is a one finger manoeuvre requiring very little effort.

Salt and Fresh Water Buoyancy

Of course all this is well and good if you are always diving in the same type of water. You may have a perfectly balanced housing for diving in the ocean but as soon as you take it into freshwater, (lake or river) then the housing will immediately be heavy (approx 2.5%) due to the fact that fresh water is far less dense than salt water. So don’t get caught out, make this factor part of your dive planning and preparation.

Next time we look at a generic camera and housing in the camcorder range.

Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman is the Conservation editor and also the Underwater Videography Editor for Scubaverse.com. Jeff is an award winning TV wildlife and underwater cameraman and film maker. With over 10,000 dives to his credit he has dived in many different environments around the world.

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