Video Housing Bodge and WAL

Sony HDR SR11

Sony HDR SR11

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.  

Clear Cam Housing

Clear Cam Housing

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.

Clear Cam housing with telescoping light arm.

Clear Cam housing with telescoping light arm.

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.

Foam

Foam

Foam Cover

Foam Cover

D Rings

D Rings

Stock camera in housing

Stock camera in housing

Camera in Housing

Camera in Housing

 

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.

Wide Angle Lense

Wide Angle Lense

Lense on Camera

Lense on Camera

WAL in Housing

WAL in Housing

WAL In Housing

WAL In Housing

 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.

Stock Lense Angle

Stock Lense Angle

Wide Lense Angle

Wide Lense Angle

 I will post some wide angle, high deffinition underwater video soon!

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About Chris Phinney

An IWMS Systems Manager and part time student at McMaster University. Chris is studying anthropology, more specifically archaeology working towards his BA. Chris was formerly a dive shop manager and is factory trained in regulator and equipment service. Chris enjoys research and studying fine details.