Wednesday, November 08, 2017

You Can't Swim And Film At The Same Time

... and do your filming any justice.

I picked up a couple of lessons learned from our recent scuba trip to the kelp beds off Point Loma. The first deals with safety.

We did two dives. Our first dive was our first one after over a year hiatus, so we were all rough. One of my sons said it took him 15 minutes to calm down, not from fear, but from unfamiliarity with the process. I took about 10 minutes. We kept in sight of each other and fell back into the rhythm of checking each other's status regularly pretty quickly until the very end.

When we decided to surface and go back to the boat, we didn't wait for each other. One went straight up and I followed. Looking back, I couldn't see the other as the water was a bit murky. The first made for the boat and I got caught in the middle, trying to make sure all three of us were safe. In the end, I decided I was too low on air to keep searching, so I went back to the boat as well. It ended well, thank God, but we all agreed to pick a leader before the next dive and keep in sight at all times.

On the second dive, I brought my camera, but we picked one of my sons as the leader. He had gone through his air the fastest on the first dive, so we figured it made sense to let him lead as he would probably be the first to need to return to the boat. That was fine for swimming around, but lousy for filming. When I found really cool scenes to shoot, I could only spend a few seconds on them before I had to swim to catch up to the others.

If someone is going to film, they need to lead. The others should resign themselves to hovering around the cameraman while he takes the time to get the shots he wants. That's not such a bad gig as there wasn't much difference in what you saw from place to place so swimming around wasn't that big of a deal.

Below is my favorite scene from the trip - a rocky outcropping with lots of fish. It also shows what it was like filming while trying to keep up with the squad. Enjoy!

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