Dive Video Jobs

Underwater videography is perhaps the most interesting of all the video employment opportunities. It is not an easy field to break into and it is highly challenging, but it can also be rewarding for those who are passionate about all things that reside underwater.

Divers Ascending Photo

It is a branch very closely related to, and in fact shares much of the same equipment and techniques with, underwater photography. In a sea shell, it encompasses filming anything that resides underwater; video can be produced during recreational diving, commercial or independent documentary or for movie-making purposes. They capture stills and video for use in reports, publications, and exhibits. There are also more and more hotels and tourist destinations hiring underwater videographers to accompany divers and take portraits of divers while they are underwater. However, it is more common for dive videographers to produce and edit underwater video for commercial distribution.

Work Environment

Though most underwater videography is done at sport-level in tropical or warm waters, working as an underwater videographer can be extremely dangerous in some cases. The most common danger in this work environment is that of task loading, a term that comes from scuba-diving. It refers to the fact that divers already have so many tasks that they are responsible for when completing a safe dive and that failure can occur when they try to do too much.

Divers who are learning underwater videography and videography students who are learning underwater videography, in addition to diving, represent especially high risks. The work environment also represents the regular risks often associated with diving.

At any rate, the work environment can vary slightly depending on what is being filmed and where. This form of diving job may require you to shoot stock footage of underwater organisms that live in very cold waters off the coast of South America or it may require you to film deep sea wreckage somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. First you will scout with a team of divers, or go on buddy dives, to find a location for filming and then you will prepare the necessary equipment to take with you when you dive.

Typically, most underwater videographers use specialized high-performance digital single-lens reflex camera in water housings because, while they are capable of shooting stills, they are also fine for shooting video. The stock footage is then edited into scenes and, if necessary, soundtrack or audio is recorded over the footage.

Typical Responsibilities

  • Producing, shooting and editing stock footage
  • Prepare audio-visual manuals
  • Maintain inventory of stock footage
  • Remain abreast of the technological advances in underwater videography equipment and filming techniques
  • Travel

Skills and Qualities

  • Diving: Most underwater videography schools do not accept students who have performed fewer than 50-100 dives. So, if you are interested in this field, get your diving certificate first.
  • A degree or certificate in video editing will be more helpful here, since video editing techniques and software are consistent across the board
  • Highly familiar with underwater photography and videography trends and techniques
  • Understanding of principles of light under water and ability to use natural and artifical light to produce high-quality video
  • Knowledgeable in Final Cut Pro, Photoshop and other video production or editing software

Getting Started

First things first; If you want to work as an underwater videographer, then you will need diving certification credentials.
Most underwater videography schools require that you obtain a diving certificate in order to be eligible to apply. A formal degree in video production may be helpful, but it is not necessary. Consider getting a training certificate in video-editing. This is because the equipment used in underwater videography is so specific, that you would be better off learning to use that equipment at specialized schools. Unfortunately, as of yet, there are no degrees awarded to the completion of underwater videography courses, only certificates. Fortunately, however, it is time and practice that can lead to excellence in this potentially rewarding career.

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