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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 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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BSAC launch #DiscoverUKdiving video competition

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BSAC is launching a new video competition which aims to get the diving community sharing and discussing the highlights of UK diving to inspire others to give it a try and discover it for themselves.

They are inviting you to share short UK diving or snorkelling videos – tagged #DiscoverUKdiving or #DiscoverUKsnorkelling – to be in with a chance of winning a Fourth Element Hydra Neoprene Drysuit worth £999 (or an alternative non-diving suit if a snorkeller wins). There are other prizes up for grabs too, with a Fourth Element duffel bag going to second place and a year’s BSAC membership for third.

The #DiscoverUKdiving video competition aims to get the diving community talking about the highlights of UK diving and/or BSAC club life by sharing short videos to surprise and inspire others to discover it for themselves.

BSAC is looking for videos that show an exciting moment, unique insight or anything that exemplifies why diving in the UK is so much fun and can encourage others to take up UK diving. People will be invited to vote for the entries they find most inspiring on the competition gallery website.

BSAC CEO Mary Tetley said: “We want to show others who haven’t experienced UK diving why we love it so much, and we need your help! Use your phone, GoPro or pretty much anything to share a short video that encapsulates why you love diving in the UK. Ideally, showing off UK diving the BSAC way!”

The competition will be open for entries until midnight on Monday 30 November.

The videos can be either be above water (e.g. a RIB ride out to a dive site), below water (e.g. exploring a wreck with your buddy) or a combination of both. Each video should be short (no longer than 15 seconds) and you can enter up to three videos. The winner will be the entry that receives the most votes. Voting will remain open for a further week and close on Monday 7 December. The winners will be announced the week of 14 December, good luck!

Full terms and conditions, including how to enter as well as how to vote on your favourite video can be found here.

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Henley Spiers: Black & White Photography at the September NUPG meeting (Watch Video)

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The September NUPG meeting saw Henley Spiers take to the virtual stage. Henley decided to divide the evening into two topic areas for discussion: Black and White Photography and Pelagic Encounters – his two biggest passions in underwater photography at the moment.  Henley showed off his stunning black and white images to the NUPG audience, talking about why he selected each image to convert to monochrome and was generous enough to share the photoshop techniques with the group too. He then went on to wow the group with images from the deep blue sea, with some simply stunning pelagic encounters. 

As always, the NUPG members also had a chance to show off some of their images in the monthly competition. This month’s theme was “Invertebrates” and it saw a range of ideas and images from the group.

The winning shot of a sea lion was taken by Maggie Russell

The runner-up was by John Spencer

Third place was taken by Justin Beevor

The next meeting was held on Monday 12th October, a talk from Simon Rogerson: Difficulties with Sharks. Check back soon for the video!

For more information about the NUPG please visit the website by clicking here.

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