how to take a camcorder under water?

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by dh, May 28, 2005.

  1. dh

    dh Guest


    I haven't started scuba diving yet, but have been doing some
    snorkling. I have a Sony camcorder that I'd like to take down
    a few feet to record the fish. Can anyone suggest a good way
    of doing it?

    dh, May 28, 2005
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  2. dh

    PTRAVEL Guest

    For just a few feet, Ewa-Marine makes water-proof pouches for most
    camcorders. However, if you're scuba diving, and intend to go to any depth,
    you should get a full underwater housing. Ewa-Marine makes those as well.

    If you look around the internet, you can find plans for building your own
    housing. I made one that I used with my old Hi8 camcorder. It was made of
    commonly-available plumbing supplies -- I use PVC pipe, an end cap and a
    flange for the body, and got a piece of polycarbonate for the front port. I
    took the rig down at least 30 feet.
    PTRAVEL, May 28, 2005
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  3. dh

    David Gintz Guest

    Depends on whether you want it to work or not.... Just kidding.

    Many of the camcorders on the market can be outfitted with underwater
    housings. Check the camera vendor or Ikelite.
    David Gintz, May 28, 2005
  4. dh

    marks542004 Guest

    For very shallow depths there are camera pouches that are waterproof if
    properly sealed. (think big zip lock bag with a lens fitting.)

    For deeper waters, or to keep your camera really safe , you need a
    proper camera housing. Any good dive shop should be able to point you
    at a suitable housing. The more controls you can access generally the
    more expensive and the greater chance of leaks. The best housings I
    have seen have a hose to attach to your tank and pressurize the housing.
    marks542004, May 28, 2005
  5. dh

    Dillon Pyron Guest

    Thus spake [email protected] :
    How old is the camera? Sony makes housings for most of their cameras.
    Probably about the same price as something from, say, Ikelite. But if
    it's an older camera, eBay is your friend.

    Hauling a video camera is a pretty tough thing for snorkeling. It's
    either too bouyant or too negative. And, unless you're a super free
    diver, you won't have more than a few seconds to use it.
    Dillon Pyron, May 29, 2005
  6. dh

    dh Guest

    It's a fairly new camera...about 3 years old. I just want to use it
    near the surface, to get shots of the little fish who hang around
    when I'm in the water. I don't use my arms most of the time anyway,
    so I should be able to bob along using my feet and holding the
    camera, I believe.
    At the moment I'm trying to work something out using a ziplock
    freezer bag, and glueing it shut. I tried PVC cement so far, but it
    takes a real long time to dry. Maybe hot glue would work?
    dh, May 30, 2005
  7. dh

    Biz Guest

    Do it right or don't bother. Unless you don't mind trashing your camera
    because your rigged method failed and you soak your camera...

    Biz, May 30, 2005
  8. dh

    PTRAVEL Guest

    That's a real bad idea, unless you don't like your camera very much.

    For every 33 feet you descend (34 in fresh water), the pressure increases 1
    atmosphere. At fifteen feet or so you've added half an atmosphere of
    pressure, which is more than enough to find the smallest leak or pin-hole
    and force water through it into the bag.
    PTRAVEL, May 30, 2005
  9. I wouldn't even walk ankle-deep in the surf with a makeshift
    ziplock-bag around any of my camcorders. Especially in salt-
    water. Even if you could get a reliable seal, there is still the
    lens port to deal with.
    Richard Crowley, May 30, 2005
  10. The OP will probably be smart enough to do a test-run _without_ camera
    Silicon paste also comes in handy to close the gaps.


    Martin Heffels, May 30, 2005
  11. dh

    Mike Fields Guest

    Even if the bag has no leaks when you check it, the pressure will press
    it against some sharp point and make it leak. Look through the dive
    magazines -- they always have ads in the back for stuff like that -
    there are some inexpensive "zip lock" types (only heavier vinyl) with
    good closures on them. Stay shallow -- pressure is NOT your friend
    with a camera. If you get salt water in the camera, probably not
    even worth bringing it back out of the water.

    Mike Fields, May 31, 2005
  12. dh

    Toby Guest

    Sony Marine Packs are pretty abysmal housings, and way overpriced. You'd be
    better with any number of third party housings like the Stingray. But we're
    talking about housings that go down to 50 or 75 meters. Sony makes much more
    modest housings that are relatively cheap and go down to about 3m.

    Toby, May 31, 2005
  13. dh

    Dillon Pyron Guest

    Thus spake [email protected] :
    My wife's digital is 3 years old. That makes it almost an antique. I
    doubt that you'll find anyone who still has a housing for it. You may
    find one that's generic that will work quite well, however.
    Better to spend the money and get the Ewa Marine bag. It has a lens
    port and a very good seal.
    Dillon Pyron, May 31, 2005
  14. dh

    C.J.Patten Guest

    Buy a housing or EWA marine bag.

    I've used Ziploc bags for downhill ski footage where SNOW was the enemy but,
    to borrow from PTravel, snow isn't trying to crush your camera or inject it
    with salt water (which may as well be molten lava as far as
    micro-electronics are concerned)

    A properly designed enclosure is cheap insurance compared to a ruined
    C.J.Patten, May 31, 2005
  15. dh

    dh Guest

    I used a flashlight to start with.
    Maybe marine Goop...I'll give that a try next.
    dh, Jun 1, 2005
  16. dh

    dh Guest

    I've learned that just getting the whole bag beneth the surface
    does that. I wrapped the camera in plastic wrap several layers
    thick up to the lens, so the bag could get over an inch of water
    in it without hurting the camera imo, provided I got it out of there
    dh, Jun 1, 2005
  17. dh

    dh Guest

    By this time I'm about convinced that's what it will take if I'm going
    down more than a foot or two, since these thin bags appear to often
    have tiny holes in them right out of the box.
    It's not salt water. I probably wouldn't even try if it was.
    dh, Jun 1, 2005
  18. dh

    PTravel Guest

    PTravel, Jun 1, 2005
  19. dh

    PTravel Guest

    PTravel, Jun 1, 2005
  20. dh

    The DV Show Guest

    Bags leak no matter what. Protect your investment with the proper housing
    that fits your specific model of camera.
    ikelite is what I recommend- I use one!

    Brian Alves

    Listen to the new podcast
    for DV creators- The DV Show!

    The DV Show, Jun 2, 2005
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