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  • Writer's pictureKarl Whinnery

Filming underwater

I love filming underwater - it's challenging and still new enough to bring awe and accomplishment.

Last time I filmed underwater I rented a nauticam underwater housing for my Nikon D810. It worked great at home and then failed the day of - I wasn't able to access the buttons to control the camera. Boo! Thankfully I had a GoPro as a backup and that worked great. The GoPro footage isn't the best but it totally did the trick.

You can watch that video here:

So now I'm working on another video that needed some underwater shots. Daniel Miller brough these camera bags to my attention - totally reasonably priced and holy crap they work great.

So that's the camera bag. It has finger pockets on the lens and the top right you can access camera functions. Cool. And the BMPCC4K's touch screen works great through the plastic.


How do you film in a pool and make it not look like a pool? I bought 3 black sheets from Target then tied weights on them so they wouldn't just float.

We had two sheets on the wall and then a sheet on the floor. All had weights on them so they didn't move around as much. Plot twist - it's still a pain.


I also wanted to use a small aquarium I own - then we could run a video feed to a monitor and get more eyes on it. Also, scope out my sick shorts.

The hard part using the aquarium is keeping at the right water level - here it wanted to rise out. The pool was salty and buoyant.

The aquarium worked pretty good but my Black Magic Video Assist 7inch cut out so Freddy and the rest of the guys weren't able to monitor like we hoped.

We got some footage in shallow water with the aquarium and then moved on to using the camera bag. I wish I had borrowed James Sweet's CineEyes so we could have wireless transmitted video - that would have been nice. Here's a shot of me that Freddy took - my thumbs up is letting Riley know that I'm recording and set - it's the "I have a snorkel in my mouth" version of "ACTION!".

Communicating under water is difficult. We established some hand signs so it was easier.


We lit the pool with two ARRI 1k lights. They have a nice tungsten light and we put them on spot to pierce the water. Freddy handled lighting while I handled filming. I think it came out great.

I can't show much yet - but may even be too much....but yeah. It was rad and we got the shots we needed.

Questions? Happy to chat more.

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