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A Guide to Underwater Wildlife Video & Editing: Part 7

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Underwater Video

Read Part 6 here.

A part serialisation of a book by Jeff Goodman

PART 7: Flat & Dome Ports

Having paid good money for your camera and housing, it would be a shame to now spoil your image quality with a cheap port.

The optical properties of your port are as important as the lens of your camera. A low quality port would be like putting the wrong pair of spectacles on a person, so although they could still see well enough, the images would be slightly soft or degraded.

Once again you usually get what you pay for. Often the problem of choosing your first port is solved for you by the housing manufacturer in that a particular housing and supplied port will be specially designed for optimum results with a particular camera and lens. It is always worth grilling the sales person that this is the case for the set-up you are interested in (In the semi-professional range of cameras and above, you can of course change camera lenses. It then becomes very important to use a compatible port).

No single port will cover all the types of filming you may like to do.

There are 3 main port types:

  1. The flat port which is mainly useful for macro work and good close ups.
  2. The standard dome port which covers most applications.
  3. The wide angle dome port for videoing ultra wide angle.
Underwater Video

Flat Port

Underwater Video

Dome Port

 

 

 

 

 

 

The flat or macro ports are great for filming close ups and macro but because of the refractive index effect as previously mentioned, this port will decrease the natural angle of coverage of the lens and so increase the apparent image size. These ports would not be the best for videoing large subjects such as whales or wrecks, especially if the water visibility is minimal and you have to get really close to see anything at all.

The standard dome port is a good option for covering a wide range of subjects and is probably the most widely used. These standard dome ports will compensate for the 1/3rd angle of coverage loss and restore your lens to normal coverage.

The wide angle port provides the maximum angle of coverage when used with a wide angle lens and is good for getting close to the subject but maintaining a wide perspective. These are particularly useful in temperate waters where the visibility may generally not be so clear. Many manufacturers of underwater housings put in a standard port by default.  More expensive housings will allow you to change ports which in effect is the same as changing lenses. Another option for some housings is to use a ‘wet’ wide angle adaptor which can be added to, or taken away from the flat port while still underwater. These ‘wet’ ports are very versatile but there is a small drop in quality when compared to a prime wide angle port.

Fisheye lens & port

Underwater VideoA fisheye lens and port give an even greater angle of coverage, but does so with a high degree of distortion. This will vary in degree from lens to lens. The effects can be quite dramatic and are usually better used with stills photography than video.

Zooming through a dome port

Not all dome ports, especially the cheaper ones, will facilitate a zoom and at the same time, keep focus. Auto focus can sometimes compensate for this but it is not guaranteed. And remember, if you do zoom in, then the depth of field will decrease. Generally zooming while actually filming can be very off-putting for an audience and so unless there is a very good reason for doing this then I would suggest you mainly use the function for re-sizing and framing your shot.

Scratched Ports

Underwater VideoA scratch or mark on your port can be a real pain. Scratches are more noticeable on glass ports than on Perspex ones. This is because Perspex or acrylic is roughly the same refractive index as sea water and so scratches are effectively filled by the water and visually removed. But with glass the refractive index is different and as light passes through a scratch it behaves differently from the rest of the port glass and becomes noticeable. Under normal front, side or top-lit situations, a scratch may not be noticed but may very quickly become apparent when back-lit. With glass I’m afraid it is time to change your port. With Perspex there is the opportunity to buff the port with ‘wet & dry’ to remove light scratches. This will take hours of patient work.

In short, take care of your ports. Glass is tougher than Perspex but is far more expensive. Your choice. If you can afford it, go for glass.

Condensation

Condensation and fogging in a housing can lead to missed shots and great frustration and, of course, it doesn’t become noticeable until you are underwater. The problem can occur when there is a slight amount of moisture in your housing and then that housing is put in the heat of direct sunlight. The moist air in the housing, upon being put into relatively cold water, will immediately condense on the thinnest and coldest part of that housing, which is going to be at the centre of the dome port.  It rarely happens with a flat port but it is not impossible. So, you jump in the water hoping for a great video session and all you get is foggy day shots. You can see the condensation right away, but just occasionally, if you are not paying attention and the amount of moisture is very slight, the effect will be to soften the focus of your image. You may think all this is obvious but be vigilant.

The solution is to make sure your camera and housing interior are thoroughly dry and you do not leave your rig out in the hot and direct sun at any time, especially while you are kitting up. Keep the housing shaded until you get in the water.

Next time we look at Colour Bars and Monitors.

Jeff Goodman is the Editor-at-Large for Scubaverse.com with responsibility for conservation and underwater videography. Jeff is an award-winning TV wildlife and underwater cameraman and film maker who lives in Cornwall, UK. With over 10,000 dives to his credit he has dived in many different environments around the world.

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Get up to 25% off your holiday in the Emperor Divers Autumn Sale

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Emperor Divers is offering some amazing Autumn savings across a whole range of liveaboard and daily diving holidays.

Among the highlights include 20% off selected sailings for the rest of 2022, early bird discounts for trips in 2023 and 2024 and a superb 25% off bookings for brand-new Emperor Harmoni.

There is also a 10% discount and extra free places for those booking charter sailings.

But time is of the essence as, not only do these offers sell out fast, the sale only runs until October 1st.

EMPEROR FLEET OFFERS

SAVE up to 20% on SELECTED 2022 SAILINGS

Secure the last available spaces for 2022 with discounts of up to 20% across Emperor’s Red Sea and Maldives fleet. These do sell fast and are updated regularly, please visit the website to check sailings under offer throughout the sale period.

SAVE up to 25% on Emperor Harmoni 2023 & 2024 SAILINGS

Confirm your Emperor Harmoni 2023 or 2024 departure before 1st October and save up to 25%

  • Emperor Harmoni 7 nights from €2,470
  • Emperor Harmoni 9 nights from €3,175
  • Emperor Harmoni 12 nights from €4,230

Applicable on selected 2023 & 2024 departures. Cannot be combined with standard group free places.

BOOK EARLY & SAVE 10% on 2023 & 2024 SAILINGS

Confirm your 2023 or 2024 Red Sea or Maldives liveaboard before 1st October and save 10%

SAVE up to €230 – Best of Maldives

  • Emperor Explorer from €1,890
  • Emperor Serenity from €1,795
  • Emperor Virgo from €1,660
  • Emperor Leo from €1,750
  • Emperor Voyager from €1,480

SAVE up to €130 – Red Sea

  • Emperor Elite from €1,075
  • Emperor Superior from €1,030
  • Emperor Echo from €940

Applicable on all 2023 & 2024 departures excluding the following: Maldives February & March 2023 & 2024 and Red Sea October & November 2023 & 2024. Can be combined with standard group free places.

10% plus EXTRA FREE PLACES for CHARTERS

  • Raja Laut, Indonesia: 10% off pp plus 10 pay, 2 free.
  • Serenity, Maldives: 10% off pp plus 22 pay, 4 free.
  • Elite & Superior, Red Sea: 10% off pp plus 22 pay, 4 free.

Charter Extra Free Places apply to all 2023 and 2024 departures excluding Harmoni, Explorer, Maldives and Indonesia February & March and Red Sea October & November.

EMPEROR DAY DIVING OFFERS

5 days’ diving package for €250, plus free 12L nitrox and full equipment rental for only €60

Applicable on prepaid bookings only for either Sharm el Sheikh or Marsa Ghalib. Minimum 5 day package for all 2023 dates excluding October and November.

EMPEROR VALUE

LOW DEPOSIT 10% deposit for FIT bookings and for a limited time only, €1,200 deposit for group and charter bookings.

EXTRA 5% DISCOUNT on back-to-back departures Looking for a trip that is more than 7 days, then book 2 x 7 nights with an additional 5% discount (5% off each trip). You can choose to stay on different boats, different itineraries and even depart from different ports.

NO ADDED EXTRAS, FREE NITROX, & COMPLIMENTARY WINE Emperor’s inclusive liveaboard pricing means no added extras; the price you see is the price you pay. All Emperor Liveaboards includes park and port fees, fuel surcharges, all taxes, free Nitrox and a glass of wine with dinner on any Red Sea, Maldives or Indonesia liveaboard. Cheers!

OFFER TERMS & CONDITIONS

These offers are for promotional purposes and for use by Emperor Divers’ partners and form part of Emperor’s AUTUMN SALE.

All prices are quoted per person, based on guests sharing a twin berth cabin and are for promotional purposes only. There are limited places on each sailing under offer and are subject to availability. Offers and free group places cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount unless stated.

Valid on new bookings received and confirmed between 18th September to 1st October 2022.

Group bookings (6+), full and private charters: €1,200 non-refundable deposit within 7 days, 10% due 60 days after confirmation. 25% due 26 weeks prior to departure. Normal payment terms with balance due 56 days prior to departure and cancellation terms apply.

For more, visit www.emperordivers.com/autumn-sale-2022

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Gear Reviews

Gear Review: VL 4600PB Video & Blue Light from Bigblue (Watch Video)

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In a video shot exclusively for Scubaverse.com, Jeff Goodman reviews the VL 4600PB Video & Blue Light from Bigblue.

For more information, visit www.bigbluedivelights.com or email info@liquidsports.co.uk.

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Save up to 1/3 off a trip to Indonesia! Your chance to dive Bali, Komodo and Raja Ampat aboard the NEW luxury MY Emperor Harmoni for less! Launching in September 2022. Emperor Harmoni is Emperor Divers Indonesia’s brand new liveaboard. Built of Sulawesi Ironwood and offering a truly new experience to liveaboard holidays, experience a true sense of sailing the Indonesian seas in freedom, style, comfort and confidence with her two engines. Enjoy spacious diving and relaxation areas or relax with a massage on deck. Example price based on Bali departure to Komodo WAS £2900 / NOW from just £1995* per person based on sharing a twin luxury cabin including: 1 night in Bali before the boat departure with airport transfers One way flight from Labuan Bajo to Bali after the liveaboard with 20kgs baggage 7 nights onboard MY Emperor Harmoni with 3 meals a day, afternoon snacks, unlimited drinking water, tea & coffee All diving with guide, cylinders & weights, Marine Park & Port Fees Free Nitrox 1 cocktail party on a local island (weather allowing) Return airport transfers * Price excludes international flights, these can be quoted at the time of reservation Booking deadline: Subject to availability. Other Dates available - book before 30 September! Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk. More Less

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