Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Bunaken Island

Just got back from Bunaken Island in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Bunaken is part of a marine park and is renowned for it's wall diving. Here is a clip that shows the diversity of fish and coral to be seen.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Maldives 2014

We were in Maldives this year in January but it seems like a dream now. I made one video that was so huge it wasn't fit for normal consumption! We spent 16 nights on two liveaboards which I will describe later.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Palau's Sandy Paradise

Sandy Paradise is a great mix of sandy areas and coral formations. It was wonderful to swim with the fish. Check the video link below:


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sharks Attack

I always thought of sharks being the fiercest predators but learned that they are really secondary predators. That is, they wait for an initial kill by another fish/creature and then come in for the spoils. We kept seeing sharks swimming within schools of fish without the fish being upset in the least! Once a fish is injured however it is another story which you can see in the video clip below. This was taken in February 2013 in Palau. The dive site is Sandy Paradise.

Here is the same video on YouTube in HD.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Palau's German Channel

I took this video using the Sony PJ760V. Although there are some issues with the auto focus, it held up quite well considering the conditions. i.e. Multiple schools of fish and plankton everywhere. It seemed to only mess up when the particles in the water are over a certain size or come very close to the lens.



Sunday, June 2, 2013

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sony HDR-PJ760V

Finally got back to give an update on the Sony HDR-PJ760V. The camera gives incredible video quality at 1080p and 60 frames per second. The one issue I had with it is the autofocus. When any small bits of debris in the water came closer than the subject, the camera was prone to re-focus and ruin the shot. With my Ikelite case I can't access the focus settings so the only alternative was to fix the focus to about 6 feet before putting it in the case. The issue there is if you want to shoot any macro stuff. The camera comes with 96GB of disk space and uses AVCHD compression so you get hours of video before needing to dump the memory to computer. I ended up doing it each night since it would take hours to dump the entire 96GB at once.

When I got home I started to load my saved files onto my iMAC. I thought I had enough space byte wise at least, but kept running out of space. The issue is that when importing to Final Cut Pro, it converts the AVCHD format to the Apple codec. This has the result of increasing the size by ten times! I had to get a 4TB external drive to load my files! Actually it's only using about 2TB but that's a lot for a three week trip!

Will post a link to some video clips in the next couple of weeks.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Underwater Videography

I have spent the last few weeks trying to pick a Camcorder to use on our next dive trip. My budget is around $1200+ for the camera. Need to budget about the same for the housing. The Panasonic HC-X900M was eliminated since there wasn't a good housing for it. This left me with:

Canon HF G10
Sony HDR-PJ760V (or the CX version)

Everyone seems to give the Canon a good rating since it is a stripped down version of the AX10 which is a Prosumer model. You lose the XLR audio inputs and Infrared features plus a few buttons. It is also incredible for low light compared to anything else. See: www.camcorderinfo.com for a good review. On the other hand it can't do stills bigger than 2 meg so when underwater you would need another camera for that. Myself think that one camera is a lot to take with me so taking two would be insane!

I have looked at the Sony as well and it actually can go up to 60p whereas the Canon only does 60i. Also the Sony does 24Megapixel stills while taking video unless in 60p mode. It also has great stabilization since the whole lens block floats in the camera.

The issue I have making a choice is with light. I do not use lights when diving during the day. I like to take shots of coral formations (with creatures) so need to shoot this way to get the full colour in the shot. Also this minimizes the effect on the creatures. (I once read that a Seahorse goes blind after around 30 camera flashes.) This involves doing a manual (custom) light balance with the camera before starting shooting. You select this option on the camera and then do the calibration shot on a white slate. This compensates for the loss of red light at your depth. I typically will re-calibrate if I move up or down 5 feet.

So I have found my Canon G12 to be great for doing this. The full colour is there without the big awkward lights that many people have but don't need. I can do 10 Meg stills and 720p video. This works until around 50-60 feet with the G12. My previous FujiFilm camera could only calibrate until about 40 feet depth and wouldn't calibrate the video at all. So the question is "How do I relate my camera experience to buying a new Camcorder?"

Both cameras are good at low light. The comparison I saw is that the Sony was good up until dusk whereas the Canon could take video via moonlight. The question I have is how does this relate to how good the sensor is at capturing red light at depth. In the first 10 meters (30 feet) around 90% of the reds are filtered by the water. I guess what I was hoping is that someone would have tried them and reported it. Not the case so please respond to my urgent plea!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Komodo National Park - Horseshoe Bay

On the first day of diving Komodo National Park we visited Horseshoe Bay. I just went through the video footage and realized how great the diving was on that trip! I have posted the short video at:


Friday, September 14, 2012

Mantas of Makasar

On our last dive trip we went to Komodo National Park. The currents are incredibly strong as a result of the tides washing between the various islands from the Bali/Java sea into the greater Pacific ocean. At one point our boat, which could do 12 knots was going backwards in the current! The one morning we dove a site called Makasar Reef (Runway) which is known for it's Manta cleaning stations. I made a video of one hour dive in which we saw huge numbers of Mantas. The link to it is below: