Underwater Cinematography Courses

Underwater Cinematography Courses

Pawel Filming in Southern Australia

Join us at a worksop on Friday, 20 September 2013 at BandPro in Burbank...[more]

Underwater Cinematography Course, 2013

Course director: Pawel Achtel


Next venue: Hobart, Tasmania (date TBA)

Also: possible workshop at Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, USA (TBA)



Topics covered include:

Underwater optics

- advantages and limitations of flat ports, dome ports and submersible lenses;

- how to optimise your underwater optical system for best performance underwater;

- how to find the entrance pupil of the lens and align with the dome port;

- what lenses perform best and why;

- how to measure and improve underwater optics;

- how focus is affected by flat and dome ports and how to convert the scales;

- how to measure MTF values for underwater optics and why does it matter? 

Underwater lighting and colour

- understanding light and colour science underwater;

- colour balance, exposure, colour temperature and filters;

- what light is best (LED, HMI or tungsten) and when;

- how to place lights and how to achieve the desired look;

- how to consistently achieve great results.

Filming techniques

- shooting for television and shooting for large screen;

- how to achieve bright, vivid, colourful and crystal clear images in what divers commonly refer to as "poor visibility";

- how to achieve perfect focus? 

- framing, camera movements and shooting sequence work;

- how to get rock-steady, smooth, interesting and breath taking shots consistently.

Underwater Filming Safety

Pawel holds Certification Level IV in Occupational Health and Safety. He has made 5000+ dives, most with a cinema-grade camera in his hands. He has almost 20 years of experience shooting from the Equator to Antarctica and in some of most unhospitable and remote locations imaginable, mostly diving solo, often at night, sometimes in conditions that would scare the daylights out of you - all carefully planned and with safety coming first. He also designs, invents and tests equipment and trains special forces on using rebreathers and other, let's call them, "toys" that enhance their capabilities and safety in the water. He will share with you how to identify, assess and mitigate common risks, stay safe and capable in the water environment when diving with a camera.

Optional Course

Stereoscopic 3D Underwater

- how to set up your 3D rig;

- timecode sync, shutter sync and camera sync;

- converge or not and how;

- calculating depth budget underwater and how different it is from shooting on land;

- calculating and estimating Inter-Axial (IA) using foreground and background subjects;

- beam splitter or side-by-side - advantages and drawbacks of each method;

We can accommodate all levels from novice to a bubble blowing master geek and anything in between.

There will be as much advice and science as you like and lots of practical fun in the water.

The course is manufacturer agnostic. You can bring your own housing and I will provide a DeepX and 3Deep to play with to your heart's content.

You need to have at least open water certification if you want to get wet. We can organise diving gear and re-fills, including rebreathers.
The cost is $3,000 per person.

Please contact us for dates.

Copyright 2013 Pawel Achtel. All Rights Reserved.

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