Last year I started getting into video above and below the water. Getting the hang of editing and realizing that my PS camera in video mode wasn’t going to cut it, I hoped Santa would be kind.
For Christmas 2008 I was lucky enough to recieve a Sony HDR SR11 HD video camera. Since a housing was beyond my means, Chris Moore loaned me his universal Clear Cam housing.
The Clear Cam housings are a very simple design out of the UK. With no external controls you press record, close the housing, go diving and edit later.
Mr. Moore had already added a telescoping arm for my canister light head. I added some mini D rings to hang my canister from. The light arm works great for lowering the camera into hatches of wrecks and panning around.
One problem with the housing was that Chris didn’t have the mounting plate for the camera, so we had to wrap it in bubble wrap to stop from sloshing around inside the housing.
I carved some ridged foam down to size, creating a sabot, securing the camera on the top and bottom leaving the sides open. Covered with duct tape to keep the foam from breaking down and silver is way cooler than pink. 🙂
The open sides let me view the LCD through the housing. The screen will help me learn how to frame shots as I start out. In the future I will flip the LCD over so that it doesn’t chew up power. Although I have been getting well over an hour of recording time in 32deg F water.
I also created a port cover out of foam to protect this borrowed housing. I want to make sure that I give this housing back in the same condition I received it in. I took an old mouse pad, carved it up and hot glued it together. The fit turned out excellent. Cost, $0.
A few test dives and I quickly figured out that auto focus is the enemy. The Clear Cam guy recommends setting the focus to manual just under the infinity setting. I have done a few dives but have yet to have a good focus day. I keep forgetting to set the manual focus before putting the camera in the housing. Some promising footage was gotten even when I accidentally left the zoom in too narrow.
When everything is dialed in, focus, zoom, lighting, the results are crystal clear and super high resolution. I am very excited to be filming for the 2009 dive season.
Thanks to fellow OntarioDiving.com member Mark Templeton, I was able to procure a wide angle lense for my camera. With luck, it actually fits in the housing with only a few millimeters to spare. Time for another test dive.
Here are two photos taken with the camera comparing the stock lense. The wide angle shot is a but crappy because the flash didn’t go off and I brightened it. The quality of the new lense is superb.
I will post some wide angle, high deffinition underwater video soon!