Exploring the Depths: Capturing the Wonders of the Underwater World

How to Make Videos Under the Sea

Learn more about the world’s oceans and the animals that live in them. Find out about the differences between motile and sessile organisms, and how to identify them.

Meet Clownfish, real life relatives to Nemo from the movie Finding Nemo! Learn more about these fun creatures and how they served as the inspiration for this film.

1. Underwater Photography

There’s something magical about capturing the underwater world on film. Underwater photography combines art, science, and adventure — and it’s one of the most rewarding things you can do on a dive.

Whether you’re photographing a creature in isolation, documenting interactions between marine life, or capturing formations and elements of underwater landscapes, good underwater photography requires knowledge and skill. It’s important to always prioritize safety and respect the marine environment — never harass or stress out marine life just for a good picture!

It’s also important to be comfortable shooting in manual mode — using automatic modes can only get you so far. Finally, don’t forget to use strobes; they help to distribute light and reduce backscatter. This will allow you to capture sharp details and bring color back into your pictures.

2. Underwater Videography

Underwater videography is a specialised field, and it takes time to build your skills. When you’re just starting out, be prepared to work for free or for little compensation, but this is how you can gain exposure and build your reputation as a videographer.

When filming underwater, it’s important to be patient and stay calm. Move slowly and deliberately, so you don’t scare marine life or kick up dust, which will ruin the clarity of your footage.

You may also want to invest in a stabilizer, which will help improve the quality of your footage. This includes hand-held gimbals and tripods. In addition, you can use filters to enhance the colour of your footage. You’ll also need a light or lights to illuminate the subject.

3. Underwater Sounds

The ocean is filled with sounds, created by natural sources such as breaking waves, rain and marine life, as well as human-made (anthropogenic) ones like ships and seismic surveys. Sound travels through the water by alternating compressions and rarefactions.

Researchers use underwater microphones, called hydrophones, to monitor the ocean’s aural landscape. They are revealing new ocean species and helping to monitor the effects of environmental changes on marine life. Clicks and whistles of whales and other animals are part of a symphony of sounds that make up the marine soundscape, but these natural sounds may be drowned out by a cacophony of human-made noise. Noise pollution from propeller cavitation, ship engines and sonar used to search for oil or gas can cause hearing loss, disrupt mate selection and inflict physiological stress on marine mammals.

4. Underwater Music

Music has long been a catalyst for the human imagination. Underwater videos of musicians playing their music under the sea can be both mesmerizing and emotionally stirring.

The Danish interdisciplinary group AquaSonic creates unique underwater musical compositions, using custom-made instruments and a distinct vocal technique. Five performers submerge themselves inside glass water tanks to play and sing. Each instrument has its own water-resistant bell, and the ensemble plays them simultaneously to produce an eerily melodic and powerfully resonant sound.

Each year, music enthusiasts gather in Looe Key for the Underwater Music Festival. Participants swim among the reefs of Florida’s coral Keys to rock out to tunes piped undersea, while marine life and costumed mermaids provide visuals.

This music video, starring freedivers Guillaume Nery and Alice Modolo, is an absolute stunner. It combines beautiful cinematography and emotive music to convey the fragility of the reef and the importance of protecting it.

5. Underwater Scenery

While underwater photography may be the most popular way to capture marine life, you can also use video to highlight underwater scenes and landscapes. Depending on your editing goals, you can add a narrator or other sound to help tell your story and make it more engaging.

Aim for a logical sequence of clips that tell your story, and don’t forget to include text overlaid on the video or helpful transitions between shots. These small details will give your viewers a sense of what the video is about and make it more enjoyable to watch.

Aim for sharp and clear footage, boosting contrast and clarity to make dark and light areas more distinct. Try using a warm filter to counterbalance the natural blue color of the water and add vibrancy to your underwater images.

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