Things You Must Know When Shooting Underwater

Hitcase Pro 5, iPhone 5s Accessories.

We have been shooting plenty of underwater videos with our Hitcase Pro 5 recently, especially during our trip to Cuba. (Watch out for our upcoming videos from there.)

Here are some tips from our experience that will keep you dialed in the next time you hit the water.

Getting Rid Of Water Drops On Lens

If you get tiny water specks on your Hitcase Pro lens the quickest way to clean it up is more water. It sounds counter intuitive but all you need to do is quickly dip the Hitcase in the water again or even lick it!

Do I Need Color Filters?

Nope. The iPhone 5s has good enough color correction that filters are not usually needed. Just let the camera set the color balance.

The Most Common Question Answered

One of the most common questions our tech support people get is “how do I focus underwater”? Without being cryptic, the honest answer is “it depends”.

Generally, auto focus works really well underwater but on occassion you will need to pre focus using touch focus. The Hitcase’s touchscreen cover does not translate touch underwater so we suggest you take a test shot beforehand. Simply go underwater and take a sample shot of your subject on autofocus then go back to the surface and verify. If autofocus doesn’t work, use Focus Lock – AF/AE Lock on a surface object or person about the same distance as  to what you are shooting underwater, focus will lock on that setting so you can shoot your target when you go back under.

The important thing is to pre determine what you’re shooting before you go underwater. Knowing and anticipating what you’re filming underwater beforehand is vitally important. Perhaps you want to focus on coral 8 feet away underneath but autofocus is locking onto fish swimming around it, simply go back up and Focus Lock, AF/ AE Lock. This requires you to hold your finger down on the screen until AF/AE Lock is displayed at the bottom of the screen. Just point your Hitcase at your hand, your buddy or boat from 8 feet away then go back down for your final shot.

Focus often depends on your activity, if you’re splashing around a lot as in sea kayaking the splashes on the Hitcase Pro will cause the iPhone to autofocus on the splash. If you set focus manually, it will remain focused on the distance you set.

Second Most Popular Question

After focus, our users’ second most popular question regarding watersport recording is “how do I start recording/taking footage under water?”.

We are actually surprised a lot of people don’t know the iPhone can start recording using either the – or + volume buttons. Our brushed metal button covers make it easy to start recording by touch.

NEVER NEVER NEVER DO THIS!

Never open your Hitcase until you’re on dry land! Salt water kills iPhones, there is no recovery from salt water if it gets into your iPhone! Resist the temptation to open the Hitcase during your watersport activity. Do not open it on your boat, do not open it on your kayak, do not open it on your surfboard, do not open it anywhere near the water Sam I am. You may get lucky and have a small possibility of recovery with freshwater but don’t do it. You could have sand on your hands, accidentally drip water from arm or a wave hits at the worst moment. There is no reason for you to open the Hitcase anyways, all versions of the Hitcase allows full use of your iPhone while remaining in it’s secure environment.

Get Outstanding Videos With Just A Few Tools

As covered in our previous article monopods are great low cost tools that should be in every sports videographer’s toolkit. Whether moving the camera further away from you or getting dramatic odd angle shots, monopods are versatile and easy to carry. The only caveat when shooting in water is to making sure your monopod is water safe. Some models use glue to hold the shafts together that dissolves in water and other units are made with metal that can corrode, the same with tripods underwater. Make sure the one you use is waterproof. You can see an example of a tripod in use underwater recording a swimmer coming towards the camera in the video above.

Our own ChestR is another useful mount for recording action sports. It is made from neoprene so it’s lightweight and waterproof. The patented 3 point harness makes it easy to put on and the 360 degree rotating mount lets you record in all sorts of angles hands free. You can be swimming and have your Hitcase pointed downwards or be kayaking and recording from your POV hands free. The uses are endless and limited only by your imagination with the ChestR mount. As if that isn’t enough all our mounts including the ChestR are compatible with all GoPro cameras.

Another handy item for your watersport go bag is the FloatR mount for Hitcase. It’s comfortable, waterproof and true to it’s namesake it floats. With it you can take your Hitcase deep underwater and it will float back to the surface. Use it to prevent losing your iPhone and Hitcase underwater.

Well, there you have it. Some tips and ideas to take your water sport videos to the next level. Let us know what you think or tell us your killer underwater shooting trick we totally missed in the comments below.

Why You Absolutely Need A Monopod For Your Action Videos

Hitcase Pro 5, iPhone 5s Accessories.

In our opinion, the hand held monopod is a must have accessory if you shoot action videos. It is the most bang for the buck item in our backpack for shoots. We love monopods and we’re going to tell you why. 

Wider POV

The monopod acts as an extension to your arm, broadening the viewing angle of whatever you’re shooting. Your arm can only extend so far, the monopod acts like a mini boom so you get more than just a shot of your face. The wider shot offered by the monopod allows more of the surroundings show up in your video.

Here is some example footage we shot at Whistler with a monopod and a Hitcase.

Wider Range of Motion

A monopod gives you shots you simply cannot get otherwise. You can go from high up to a super low angle in the same shot. For instance, with a camera on a monopod you can have a camera move that sweeps from the treads on a tire to the top of your helmet. The wider range of movement gives you a lot more recording options.

Doubles As A Camera Stand

In a pinch you can rest the handheld monopod on the ground as a floor standing stabilizer like a regular tripod.

Walk and Talk

Hand held monopods are perfect for doing hand held selfie videos in the field with you looking into the camera as you talk while walking, biking or doing other activities.

Plenty of Choices

Here are 4 monopods in our arsenal.

Go Pole

This plastic monopod comes in two variations, the GoPole Evo with a set length and the  GoPole Reach with adjustable length. Here you can see the Evo with our TubulR mount for mounting the Hitcase onto poles or bike crossbars. They come with compatible with GoPro® mounts on the end so you can use GoPros or our Hitcase Pro action iPhone case.

UK Pro

UK Pro 36XD Pole metal adjustable length monopods are one of our favorites; solidly built, twist to extend arms and a comfortable yet grippy handle.

Xsories

Xsories make all types of iPhone and camera accessories but the thing we’re interested in here is their Xshot monopod camera extender. The Xshot is not the toughest monopod in the bunch but of all the ones shown here, this is the only one that can fit into a pocket and is the lightest in the group. Xshot does not come with compatible with GoPro® mounts but you can use a tripod mount for your GoPro or the TiltR mount for Hitcase.

 

Bobber

The Bobber is designed to save your GoPro or Hitcase from sinking if dropped in water. The Bobber floats sticking straight up out of the water and the bright yellow color makes it easy to spot. An essential accessory for anyone using their camera in or near water.

Greater field of view, more exciting camera moves and more stable camera movement are all great reasons to get a monopod. With prices in the $35 to $75 range, the monopod is an affordable accessory that should be in every sports videographer’s bag.