Underwater Videography

Underwater Videography Course in Koh Tao

Wanna Shoot Some Fish? – Underwater Videography

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Have you ever wondered why the video of your uncle on vacation was so loooooong and boooooring? Let’s face it, a shot of a crab found on the beach, the bus ride to the village market, the kids playing in the sea, your auntie sun bathing by the pool while reading Marie-Claire sequence and repeat doesn’t make for an hour of interesting holiday video, does it?

Ten minutes of the highlights of the trip would more than suffice!


What your uncle probably wasn’t aware of is that you can tell the same visual story more efficiently by learning two basic skills:

  • Learn how to make a good underwater shot (steady and with good screen composition)
  • Learn how to edit a movie.

No need to be a Spielberg or Tarantino! These are the two basic things to do in order to give your video a nice flow, tell a good story and thus keep people interested and hungry for more! We all are (or have been) like our uncle at some point in our life!

We all have some sort of device which allows us to shoot pictures and videos of moments we deem interesting and we all have access to social media to instantly show them to our families and friends. Lucky us! Lucky them!

Underwater Filming

Underwater videos can be excruciatingly boring for several reasons.

  • It’s UNDERWATER so things move slower.
  • Sometimes nothing happens… Remember your uncle’s video? Does this really need to be shown to the world? I don’t think so. Solution: CUT IT !
  • You’re surrounded by water, so your movements are going to be different than on land. Who wants to watch a shaky video?
  • Underwater also means that the light is different so the colours are going to be different when you shoot.


Taking the Underwater Video course will teach you how to make interesting videos of your best shots and allows you to share the wonders of the Ocean with the world!

This course is divided into two parts: underwater filming and video editing on computer.


Like Yoga Underwater

You will first focus on your underwater skills. You will learn to dive with an underwater camera in your hands, which means extra buoyancy to account for. You may have to review how many weights you need. As a good and respectful diver you also don’t want to use corals to support yourself.


Mastering neutral buoyancy is going to be crucial in order to get steady shots and avoid crashing into things every 5 seconds! You also want steady shots so you will need to use your breathing rather than your fins in order to play with your buoyancy. Concentration and patience required!


As the course progresses you will learn different camera movements and learn to play with your buoyancy. This may come with experience but the more you dive, the better you get! This is why we generally recommend to be at least a Rescue Diver with a minimum of 50 logged dives so you are already comfortable in the water.


You will also learn about the different kind of shots you can do (long, middle, close) in order to keep your shots varied and the viewer interested in your story.

You will learn to follow a subject which is easy if it’s a sea slug, not so easy if it’s a parrotfish. How to place it in your screen depending on what story you want to tell. You will also become more observant of your environment, anticipating what a fish may do and get ready for a cool shot on time.

Good knowledge of the underwater world can be helpful for that.

Colour Me Confused

As a certified diver you would have learnt and observed that the colours are not the same underwater than on dryland. This is due to having less light as you go deeper and deeper.


The first colour to disappear is red and this is why you will always remember to put the red filter on the camera as you descend. It will add some of the missing red to your video. You will also discover how to “white balance” your camera. This will prevent the colours in your shots looking too cold and unnatural and making these colours more realistic (saving you time at the editing stage!).


You will learn about shot composition too. It’s not all about filming a fish in the blue in the middle of the shot from different angles. That will quickly turn boring! Adding some background/foreground to a shot makes it more relevant and interesting, and truly reflects the beauty of the ocean.


Now you are done with your filming, ready to piece your shots together and create a cool video out of it! You will be shown an editing program called Adobe Premiere Pro.


This program is very daunting at first because of the complicated layout and the many menus…but you will be guided through the basic ones which will allow you to edit your little movie.

Step 1 – Let The Selection Begin!

You would have been told to keep your shots underwater short (around 4 seconds). As it turns out, the human brain tends to switch off after 4 seconds of watching the same thing, so it’s not only about selecting the shots you like and discard the ones you don’t, it’s also about cutting and trimming the good shots to keep the interesting part in and the unnecessary part out!

Step 2 – Reorganise Your Shots

You may be super lucky and have the perfect chronological sequence ready, but if you want to tell a good story and keep the pace interesting you may want to shuffle things a bit.

Step 3 – Throw In Some Effects

You might want to add some effects which will give your video a softer transition when going from a shot to another. Cross Dissolve and Dip to Black are the most common use in movies. That will make your video more watchable. Use it like punctuation is used in a book.

Step 4 – Music Please!

Choose some music that will go with your video and learn to beat match. Beat match is when you place the transition from one shot to another onto the beat of a song, giving it more rhythm and a more natural pace.

Step 5 – Correct These Colours!

Thanks to our smartphones, we are all pretty much aware that we can easily improve a picture with basic tools. It’s the same for videos!


Hopefully you did not forget the red filter or to white balance your camera while filming, which is a big step forward to save yourself time editing! However depending on the source of the light your shots may need a little bit of a boost.

You will learn to give your fish and corals their true colours, playing with the colour spectrum and contrast/brightness in order for your subject to ‘pop’.

Step 6 – Save and Show Off!

Render and export and save your movie file. Then show it to everyone!

With experience you will learn to plan the editing of the movie as you are diving. Maybe passing onto some subjects to save yourself the time to select and sort the shots you have taken when editing. You will become a beat master regardless of the song you pick!

White balance will become second nature and you will instinctively know where to place yourself when shooting a subject in order to create interesting shots.

In Conclusion

You will probably never want to dive without a camera ever again and will make a point of sharing your passion of the ocean world with others!

Eventually, if you don’t have any other videographer buddies to dive with, you will feel the need to take the self-reliant course where you will learn to dive on your own safely. Then it will just be you, your camera, your pony tank and, if you wish, 45 minutes of filming one clownfish in its anemone, guilt-free! Wouldn’t that be amazing?


Underwater videography is addictive if you like the ocean world and want to show it to everyone, even those far away!

And bonus point – you will never be compared to your weird uncle and his boring vacation videos but more to Jacques-Yves Cousteau! Not bad, eh?

AuthorCrystal Images


Crystal Dive Koh Tao

7/1 Moo 2
Tambon Ko Tao
Koh Tao
Surat Thani

E-mail: info@crystaldive.com

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