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How do I get certified to become an underwater cameraman?


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#1 Andrew Crighton

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 01:30 AM

Hey fellas,

I'm a twenty-year old kid in film school right now. My long-term goal is to become a cinematographer, but more immediate goal is to become a working camera operator. I'm nowwhere near ready for joining any unions, but I heard somewhere that at least in terms of freelance work there's a huge benefit to becoming certified for underwater camera operating. I guess the certification allows you to get a lot more work since there aren't quite as many underwater camera operators out there. Is anyone familiar with the requirements it takes to become an underwater camera operator?

My only guess is that the first step is becoming SCUBA certified, but any advice would be great. Thanks guys

-AC
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 09:56 AM

Hey fellas,

I'm a twenty-year old kid in film school right now. My long-term goal is to become a cinematographer, but more immediate goal is to become a working camera operator. I'm nowwhere near ready for joining any unions, but I heard somewhere that at least in terms of freelance work there's a huge benefit to becoming certified for underwater camera operating. I guess the certification allows you to get a lot more work since there aren't quite as many underwater camera operators out there. Is anyone familiar with the requirements it takes to become an underwater camera operator?

My only guess is that the first step is becoming SCUBA certified, but any advice would be great. Thanks guys

-AC


You just need to be SCUBA certified and be a good camera op.
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#3 Richard Boddington

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 12:10 AM

Shooting underwater is not as hard as people insist that it is. I certified to dive, bought all the gear I needed, and went shooting. And I've shot some great underwater footage if I do say so myself :D

This inspite of all the dweebs who kept insisting it would take years to master it and shoot any thing sellable.

Everyone should dive, it's great.

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#4 Andrew Crighton

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 01:01 AM

thanks for the info. I think I should probably make sure I actually enjoy diving before I get certified though.
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#5 Richard Boddington

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 09:50 AM

Oh yes you should take a one day trial course, diving is not for every one.

If you do become an underwater cameraman you'll spend a lot of time underwater. I did four one hour shifts a day in a shark cage for a week shooting great whites a few years back.

The first few shifts are very exciting, after that putting the gear on and going under becomes a drag, so ya gotta love it. Can you tolerate the back of your mouth being bone dry for an hour and having no way to drink?

An hour under water is a long time. Can you overcome your natural fear of the open ocean? Man is pretty small out there, if a 17ft tiger shark shows up, are you ready for that?

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#6 Bob Hayes

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 11:47 AM

I guess the certification allows you to get a lot more work since there aren't quite as many underwater camera operators out there.


Yes but that means there are less jobs available. Most of the meaty underwater jobs are taken by a handful of really experienced divers. These are guys that spend 1000?s of hours underwater working and shooting. Pete Romano is an example http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0738943/

If you are interested in perusing underwater camerawork get certified and see if you like the sport. If you get excited and feel like working underwater is a career you might enjoy go out and buy a digital underwater camera and start shooting stills. Still hooked? Take an underwater video class and see if you enjoy working with the gear. Still hooked buy yourself an underwater video camera and start shooting. As you can see this root involves a lot of diving and purchase of some gear.

Shooting underwater is not as hard as people insist that it is.


If you are a fairly competent diver, and 20% of the people in the water aren?t, it isn?t that hard to shoot video underwater and get some nice pictures. Just like it isn?t that tough to buy a home video camera and go to Yellowstone and shoot pretty images. That is drastically different from working underwater in limited visibility and current. Composing shots and trying to communicate with hand signals to actors who got certified last week while the director sits in a boat 40? above your head screaming at a video monitor. And the producer doesn?t understand why a scene which ?should only have taken two hours to shoot? is already on day three. And guess what. You are the guy they are looking at too blame.

In short this is sort of a career that picks you not a cleaver loop hole into the industry.
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#7 Carter Coulombe

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 02:34 PM

Yes but that means there are less jobs available. Most of the meaty underwater jobs are taken by a handful of really experienced divers. These are guys that spend 1000?s of hours underwater working and shooting. Pete Romano is an example http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0738943/

If you are interested in perusing underwater camerawork get certified and see if you like the sport. If you get excited and feel like working underwater is a career you might enjoy go out and buy a digital underwater camera and start shooting stills. Still hooked? Take an underwater video class and see if you enjoy working with the gear. Still hooked buy yourself an underwater video camera and start shooting. As you can see this root involves a lot of diving and purchase of some gear.



If you are a fairly competent diver, and 20% of the people in the water aren?t, it isn?t that hard to shoot video underwater and get some nice pictures. Just like it isn?t that tough to buy a home video camera and go to Yellowstone and shoot pretty images. That is drastically different from working underwater in limited visibility and current. Composing shots and trying to communicate with hand signals to actors who got certified last week while the director sits in a boat 40? above your head screaming at a video monitor. And the producer doesn?t understand why a scene which ?should only have taken two hours to shoot? is already on day three. And guess what. You are the guy they are looking at too blame.

In short this is sort of a career that picks you not a cleaver loop hole into the industry.

 

Hey, sorry to hi-jack your thread, but I am also very interested in entering the world of underwater camera work. I did the whole film school thing and have been working as a camera assistant in LA for 3 years now. I am SCUBA certified and I love the ocean, I actually grew up in Hawaii so I really feel more comfortable in the water than out of it! I have been trying to find a way into the underwater industry for a few months ever since I worked on a shoot that had its own underwater unit. So fascinating! I was wondering if anyone (Bob Hayes?) could give me some advice on where to start? I am planning on going into Hydroflex this weekend to chat with some people there. I have also been contemplating selling my 7D and buying a 5D with an underwater housing...thoughts? Do 5D housings get rented very often?

 

Any help would be great.

 

I may start a new thread to get more exposure on this topic, fyi.


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Glidecam

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The Slider

Ritter Battery

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Technodolly