Cinematic Underwater Footage with Osmo Action

By DJI -2019-11-08
Cinematic Underwater Footage with Osmo Action

I began taking underwater videos 2015 and have accumulated quite a few videos as well as shooting skills. Osmo Action has become a regular companion for shooting underwater due to its incredible camera performance and waterproof and portable design. Here I would like to share my experience diving and creating with Osmo Action.

Master Your Camera

The following features of Osmo Action are very useful when shooting underwater. Once you get familiar with these functions, you will be able to create great footage with ease.

1.Dual Screens

Dual Screens is my favorite feature. You can quickly switch between the front and back screens. It is very useful when shooting, and can help you capture new perspectives and angles easily.

There are three ways to switch between the two screens. Double-tap the back screen with two fingers, press and hold the QS button, or use the voice control feature. Among the three options, the QS button is used the most frequently underwater.

2. HDR Video

In extreme or backlit lighting conditions, use HDR Video to capture unique lighting or subtle details. However, although HDR Video supports shooting 30/fps video at all resolutions, it does not support RockSteady.

3.Various Shooting Modes

When diving, press the QS button on the side of the camera to quickly switch between different shooting modes, such as Video, Photo, HDR Video, and Slow Motion. You can set and save specific configurations as a custom mode, and use it again in the future without needing to reset the settings.

Preparations and Accessories

1.Upgrade the Firmware

The night before filming, I always connect Osmo Action to DJI Mimo to check if the firmware version is the latest. New official versions are released from time to time to improve performance. In the latest update, for example, Hyperlapse has been added. Update to the firmware version to the latest so you don’t miss any new functions!

2.Battery

Fully charge Osmo Action in advance so you can shoot whenever you want. You can also charge it with a power bank on the go. Before entering the water, make sure the battery latch is securely locked with no orange tabs showing, otherwise water could enter the battery compartment.

3.Memory Card

It is extremely important to format the memory card in Osmo Action. I would recommend the SanDisk U3 TF card. SanDisk is almost always my first choice, no matter which device I’m using.

4.Waterproof Case

Osmo Action is waterproof to a depth of 11 meters. If you do free diving or scuba diving, I would strongly recommend the official waterproof case and anti-fog inserts to shoot at depths up to 60 meters. Before using, check that the front, back, and interior of the camera cover of the waterproof case are clean, and the sealing ring is free of debris.

5.Floating Handle

Osmo Action is heavier with the waterproof case. It is a good idea to bring along a floating handle to avoid Osmo Action sinking in the sea.

6.Extension Rod

A selfie stick allows you to see composition more clearly. DJI’s official Extension Rod is recommended.

Setup

1.How to Use the Osmo Action Waterproof Case

Before using the Osmo Action Waterproof Case:

  • Make sure the lens is clean before inserting Osmo Action into the case
  • Make sure the battery release latch is properly locked.
  • After mounting the camera into the waterproof case, insert an anti-fog insert between the power button and the shutter/record button of the camera
  • After locking the back cover of the case, restart the camera, and confirm every button is fully functional before diving.

2. Camera Settings

If you are a professional with plans for post-processing, I recommend you use the following settings:

Set the frame rate to 4K/60fps, enable RockSteady, and select D-Cinelike. This setting ensures stable 4K footage for composition, feasibility for slow motion, and larger space for color grading in post-processing.

For users who only edit footage on mobile phones, here are my suggestions:

Set the camera to 1080p/24fps, enable RockSteady, and set the color mode to Normal. These settings ensure incredible 1080p image quality that looks decent enough on most online platforms while maintaining a file small enough to ensure video length.

3.Other Settings

  • Set screen brightness to the highest level
  • Disable auto screen lock
  • Set white balance to Underwater AWB
  • Turn on Grid
Osmo Action photo

Shooting Guide

Composition is a vital technique when using Osmo Action, especially when you are underwater where framing a picture is nearly impossible. So, I will provide some suggestions.

To record a beautiful underwater video by utilizing natural light, you need to understand the specifications of the lens first. Osmo Action features a wide-angle lens with a FOV of 145o and an aperture of f/2.8, which means more details can be captured at a relatively close range. Due to this, there’s no need to worry about framing or composition because the lens will record as much content as you want it to.

The basic idea is to know the location, subject, and composition before you start shooting. This is especially helpful when trying to capture moving subjects, for example, free divers. I suggest diving into the water and planning the shot in advance. When you’re ready, guide your subject to the planned location and begin shooting. When shooting a video underwater, capture wider angles so the natural sunlight entering from the surface can be captured giving your footage a greater sense of depth.

Many photos and videos shot by divers are either green or blue, without any other colors. This is because in deeper waters below 10 m, red light is absorbed by the sea. Without red, the image will only be green or blue. That is why using light is the most important technique to capture an excellent underwater video or photo. The light can be natural or artificial, but since it is more expensive to use artificial light, I recommend shooting at depths of 3-5 m, which is the best range for natural light underwater.

Try to use a frame rate of no less than 60fps when recording underwater. Due to a complex environment (underwater currents will have an impact on your footage), shaking can still occur even when RockSteady is enabled, and the normal 30fps framerate will only make the footage blurrier. However, with 60fps or higher frame rates, such as 1080p/120fps and 1080p/240fps, you can also create slow-motion or high-speed motion videos in post-processing, perfect for capturing a whale leaping into the air.

When recording the moment someone dives into the sea, I highly suggest using slow motion. In post-processing, you can also slow down the playback speed to create a super cool slow-motion video.

That’s all the advice I can give about using Osmo Action when diving. Hopefully you will find it helpful!

Osmo Action Underwater Video:

https://www.skypixel.com/videos/jessea-d8e89472-63ff-4472-b5df-9186a84c6cb5?utm_source=copied&utm_medium=PCWeb&utm_campaign=share&sp=0

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