Thirteen years ago, Nick Woodman founded GoPro after he became frustrated with the inability of conventional camera equipment and photographers to get good quality action shots of him surfing. Woodman spent the next 2 years working on his first camera, releasing the GoPro 35 mm “All-season Sports Camera” which used 35mm film in 2004.
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Fast forward to 2015 and it seems a GoPro camera is an essential part of every travelers Backpack. You can take photos and video footage of everything, from almost anywhere, without the risk of breaking or damaging your camera – perfect for adventurous travelers when backpacking the world.
The stock sixty metre housing that comes with the GoPro is perfect to record your diving memories here on Koh Tao, capable of capturing both video footage and snaps for you to show your family and friends when you get back home.
But what is the best way to get footage? Here are a few helpful hints and tips about for using your GoPro whilst diving and getting the best shots.
When you first take your GoPro underwater, I highly recommend doing so with just the housing. This is to make sure your GoPro does not have any leaks and floods. The first thing you should do is lubricate your O-Ring. This is a large rubber seal that fits inside the GoPro housing, forming a watertight seal when closed. Ensure there is no damage to the O ring, as well as applying a light amount of Lubricant.
I recommend filling the empty housing with tissue paper so you’re able to see any water damage that could occur and where it comes from. Once you have established the housings waterproof seals are secure- i.e there is no water entering the housing – then you are good to go.
Once you have finished diving for the day I recommend you wash and rinse your GoPro in fresh water, before leaving it to dry. Once dry, remove the GoPro to avoid any salt entering the system.
2. Use A Filter
For those of you that are PADI Advanced Open Water divers you will be able to remember back to one of the skills you performed on the PADI Deep Adventure Dive – comparing how colours look on the surface and then again at 30 metres.
Water is approximately 800 times denser than air, and this density absorbs light – quickly. As we descend deeper underwater, light is absorbed causing colours to fade – becoming dull and monotone. This also decreases contrast and image sharpness.
If you have ever tried to film underwater the colour of your video may look a little blue or green. To counter this we use a red filter. The red filter is there to add more red colour to the footage as red is the first colour to get absorbed – usually at depth of approximately ten metres.
Our in-house Professional Videography team, Crystal Images, fit their red filters after descending to around five metres. This allows them to get their surface and shallow water footage before descending a little and fitting the red filter to continue to film crisp, more realistic and bright images as they descend.
Having a steady hand is a big part of filming high quality video. As the GoPro is very small even the slightest movements will cause a shudder on your shots. I would recommend you buy yourself a tray and handle. Many people have selfie sticks but these won’t be much use underwater.
A tray is two handles with a mount in the middle. This help ensure your shots are more steady and adding a little more of a professional edge. Alternatively there are a variety of ‘helmet mounts and head straps available allowing you to fix the GoPro onto your head.
4. Improve Your Buoyancy
Taking a PADI Peak performance Buoyancy course will also help, perfecting your buoyancy skills, allowing you to hovers motionless in the water allowing you to be perfectly steady as you are taking your shots!
You will be able to take your camera diving once you have finished your PADI Open Water Course. PADI standards currently stipulate that during Open water training dives we are unable to let you take you GoPro with you.
For more information on mastering your buoyancy check out this article on Why is buoyancy control so important?
5. Improve Your Photography Skills
If you are looking at ways to improve your underwater Photography skills I would recommend the PADI Digital Underwater Photography specialty. This cool PADI Specialty course will teach you how to get some awesome shots of the underwater world.
Although you will not use a GoPro for the course you will be able to put into the practice the skills you learn with a GoPro afterwards. You will be taught correct techniques for taking photo’s as well as proper camera maintenance. We will also show you how to edit your material, afterwards to give it that more professional look.
If you have any good photos or videos that you would like to share with us, feel free to send them in to us at:
Author: Luke Smith (PADI MSDT #333122)