PshpdDSC_0049Deeppro GoPro Domed Hero Housing x1920 P1050037

I’ll share here some of my experience and opinions on how to get the best underwater video from of your GoPro camera and DeepPro housing… or any underwater camera and housing for that matter…

Some suggestions about Using Underwater Video lights:

To Use Filters on your Camera versus Adding Video Lights?
Having bright video lights will greatly improve your video color and contrast, more so than filters on the camera can accomplish. When using video lights there is no need for adding Color Correcting (CC) filters to the camera.

Contrary to perception, filters on the camera do not add any more warm colors to your image. They simply remove the complementary colors, and only make a color balance change to the light entering the camera lens. For example, a blue water warming filter REMOVES excess blue .. it does not add any more red to the image. So by adding a CC filter to your camera you are REMOVING light energy to your sensor and will lose a f stop or two of exposure. Often we are already dealing with low ambient light situation so why add a filter which takes away one or two more f Stops of exposure?

When in doubt, keep things simple: just bring the sun with you to the bottom… in the form of video lights. You’ll obtain brighter images with more contrast with more vibrant colors.

Now, if you don’t have video lights, then yes, CC filters will help your video look more natural and remove some excessive blue cast, but CC filters only work in shallow waters where there is still some red light wave lenghts present. Once you go past about 50 feet, CC filters begin to have less benefit.

Bring the Sun With You for Best Results
I always recommend that you purchase the BRIGHTEST lights that you can afford.  Regardless of the type of camera, GoPro or Red, good VIDEO lights will make your video look much better.

If you dive in dirty dark green waters or clear bright tropical waters, the main purpose of taking video lights along is to “bring down the sun” to the bottom and restore lost warm colors that was absorbed by the water.  Reds and oranges are gone fast in the shallow as their wave lenghts are quickly absorbed by the water in 25 feet or less.

Contrary to the common perception, in warm tropical waters you will need THE BRIGHTEST lights possible in order to balance the video light with the strong background ambient lighting.  In dark waters, you still need high intensity and especially if using a GoPro camera. Although they have made great improvements to the GoPro sensor there is still sensor noise at low light levels. Adding as much light as possible is always the best results especially when using a small sensor camera like the GoPro.

FYI, true underwater video lights are designed to have a wide, even beam. A normal dive light typically has a hot spot or very narrow beam and is usually only adequate for extreme macro work.

Battery Considerations
Second, I recommend that you shop for a video light that has a replaceable battery and buy extra. This will come in handy on multi-tank dive trips. You can swap out batteries between dives to insure you will have plenty of power during the dive.  Plus batteries will degrade over time. A light with a replaceable battery will allow you in the future to replace the batteries yourself you can keep lights working for many years.  If you purchase a light with built in batteries, in a few years when the batteries fail, you have a problem. The manufacturer may not support replacing the cells in the future.

Backscatter Management: 2 Narrow lights Are Better than One Wide
Backscatter is when when the video light hits the small particles suspended in the water and reflects many small white “snow” spots back towards the light source. Its like trying to take a still photo using a flash in a snowstorm. It will ruin your images with lots of white spots.

Learning how to minimize backscatter is an important skill and will greatly improve the look of your video.

The solution is to move your light away from the camera lens, aim it at the subject at an angle and not parallel to the lens. The harsh backscatter then reflects towards the light source not to your lens and will be minimized. This is why divers put the lights on long arms to move the light away from the lens. There is an art to managing this and takes practice and experimentation, and adjustments on the fly while diving.

Side lighting introduces shadows and uneven exposure so you may need two or more  lights to balance the lighting. I have discovered through experience filming in dirty water that I get better looking video with less backscatter if I use two or three video lights on long arms away set away from the lens instead of one very wide angle video light closer in.

BigBlue Dive Lights Dealer

Deeppro Systems is an authorized seller of the Bigblue line of underwater dive and video lights. The Bigblue video lights are ideal to use with our DeepPro GoPro underwater camera housing. These units are compact sized, self contained with no external battery pods. They are solidly made from aluminum and hard anodized, and feature long burn times, have a wide even beam perfect for video and have replaceable batteries handy so you can swap batteries between dives.

All lights ship with a charger, a ball mount, and a color temp warming flip filter which warms the light from appx. 6500K to appx. 5500K.

Some of the newer BigBlue video lights have a “Warm” color mode, where you can switch from the blueish 6500K light to a 5500K warmer color light.

These lights are priced right too through DeepPro Systems as we sell the lights separately and as part of a “Bundle package” with our housings. If you purchase a bundled package you will save money compared to purchasing the lights and housing separately.

Take a look at our online store for pricing and to place any orders or email us for any custom combination at  sales@deepprosystems.com

Sample Videos using Lights
Most all of our videos shown on our website have been taken with the use of underwater video lights. Take a look at our video page to see how great adding light will make your video’s look. I’ve used no CC filters on the camera in any of these videos. I do however typically install the warming filter on the light.