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Recommended Camera Settings

This page is devoted to helping you with camera settings to capture fluorescence video and or still shots.  One thing you will learn very quickly is that fluo photography can be very challenging compared to "normal" underwater shooting.  This is because the fluorescence effect is so diminutive or dim.  Underwater camera work can be challenging enough without throwing this into the mix.  It takes a fair amount to "tinkering" and practice to get consistently good shots and video.

One thing you will learn is that there is no "correct" or "proper" way to do fluo photography.  There are of course things that apply no matter what the environment or equipments you are using but ask ten professionals what is best and you will get eleven answers.

This page will be a "living document" of suggested settings we receive from customers and staff personnel who have done the trials to see what works.  You can then use these suggestions to hopefully get you close to good results from your very first foray out.  If you have suggestions that you would like to share - please send them in.  Use the Contact Us link and we will publish your suggestions on this page with full attribution to you.

Protect Your Photos From Being Stolen

Below is a very good link on how to deal with people who steal your images.   This has been a problem for us at FireDiveGear.com.   We have had manufacturers from all over the world post our images as their own on websites, product brochures and promotional literature and even product packaging!  Perhaps their hardware doesn't perform as well as ours so they need to use our images to sell their products?

This is a well written blog post on this topic.

http://www.whoishostingthis.com/blog/2016/01/27/images-stolen/

First up is a series of suggestions for the Go Pro Hero 4 camera.  The GP cameras are without a doubt, the hottest selling POV (point of view) cameras in the world.  GP makes a very fine product and we don't need to expound upon that fact.  However, it's a very tough camera to use for fluo photography and video.  Below is what Bill from Snake River Prototyping (SRP) uses for his recommended configuration and settings.

Go Pro Hero 4

Configuration:

SRP Blurfix 55mm adapter
FireDiveGear 55mm Threaded Barrier Filter
SRP Tray
2 each FireDiveGear MiniBlueFlame Torches
Settings:

2.7k 30fps
Protune ON, Go Pro Color
Spot Meter ON
ISO 1600
White Balance OFF
CAM raw

From: Erik in Marsa Shagra Egypt - More GoPro Suggestions:

To my experience, the capacity of a GoPro to take pictures is rubbish.  Clear example is the photo of the hermit crab (in color).  What the GoPro is good at, is taking movies.  I never (except accidently) take pictures, always movies.  Afterwards I use the free software GoPro Studio to export a single frame as a picture.  Advantage is that I can still choose the best frame sitting lazily on my couch and that it takes me much less time to capture what I see.  Disadvante is that the exported picture never has the high quality of a decent photo camera.  But it's good enough for a laptop screen, or putting it online.

In Egypt I shot with the following settings (I have a GoPro Hero4 Black) :

Mode : Video

Resolution : 2.7K

Frames per Second : 50

Field of view : Medium

Low light : off

Spot meter : off

Protune : on

White balance : Auto

Color : Flat

ISO Limit : 1600

Sharpness : High

EV Compensation : 0

In the beginning I choose for "Low Light : on" for night dives, but I constantly forgot to change the setting, so I have the impression that this doesn't really make much difference.  I did notice that some daylight movies are too bright.  Maybe the setting was still on "Low light : on".  Either way, again, this doesn't really matter since "exposure" is easily adjusted with GoPro Studio. The settings also seem to be put back to default every time the battery is changed, or not... I have the impression it is not that constant in it's behavior.  Sometimes for example the setting to capture movies is automatically set back to taking pictures just by switching batteries, or because one has to switch between different modes with the same button with which to put the camera on.  If you forget this for a moment, you end up like me taking photo's thinking making a movie.

I also filmed with the 4K resolution, but then the maximum frames per second rate is only 25.  It provides a slightly sharper image, providing better quality when zooming in with GoPro Studio.

During day filming I use the "UR Pro CY" orange filter I bought from "Snake River Prototyping".

I did not change settings between day or nighttime filming.

GoPro Studio also has an easy "Protune" effect.  I tend to experiment with the different controls to get the best or most realistic effect (but I always limit it as much as possible, 'cause the danger to overdo it is high).

If the picture afterwards is still not ok, I exceptionally use Picasa to adjust a little more.  GoPro Studio has the disadvantage that the screen showing the movie is only half of the total screen.

Sometimes it's interesting to zoom in more than necessary, just to select the sharpest frame, and then zoom out again before exporting the frame as picture.

Just like with ordinary photo camera's it is best to keep the GoPro as immobile as possible relative to the subject being captured.  The GoPro tends to switch focus rapidly on different subjects in the frame.  This way one can find several frames which are not as sharp as desired, sometimes exactly the one with the best position of the subject.  This is why I prefer shooting with a lower resolution and higher frames per second. (2.7K at 50 fps instead of 4K at 25).

Further, I also have a LCD backpack installed, so that I have more or less an impression of what I'm filming.  Even then it is sometimes hard to see.  Disadvantage of this is that at the high resolution and fps, with the backpack, the battery lasts for about 1 hour, depending on how much is actually filmed of course.  But since few dives last much longer, that's not really a problem if one has enough batteries for a day or battery load time in between dives.  I typically make shots lasting from a few seconds to as long as necessary.

Lastly, never chase, even a little boxfish is too fast anyway.  The slower you go, the less scared the fish are and the better shots are made.

Best regards,

Erik

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