This guide to filming spearfishing videos with your GoPro will give you some ideas about how to immediately begin making spearfishing videos that stand out from the crowd. The key differences I've noticed between spearfishing videos aren't the size of the fish or the desirability of the location. Nope, I think it's about the stoke of the creator and his/her ability to communicate it in a video. Here are a few ideas to partner up with your STOKE to make great spearfishing vids.
Have your camera, batteries, cards, housing, straps and accessories ready, clean and dry the night before. I like having 2 spare SD cards and 2 spare batteries along with a selfie stick and tripod together preferably in a hard case. If it's in one tough, waterproof case you can take it everywhere.
“Have your camera on you at all times (poo viz, long boat rides, on the beach, in the car) because you never know what special moment you might capture”
- Richard Leonard
You don't want your GoPro tilted back too far as you won't be able to see the speargun or your hands/speargun. Also don't have it tilted too far forward because when you duck your head a little to avoid eye contact with the fish, you still want to pick up the action. You also want a consistent angle so that it’s not too jarring for viewers when it changes from one clip to the next.
To get the camera angle right there is a simple method to use every time you strap your GoPro on. Adjust the camera to the correct angle using the palm of your hand against your mask and the GoPro. Feel when it's sitting flush. Practice this a few times beforehand and you’ll begin to know when you've got it right.
“Lick the lens to prevent/minimize the droplets that hang on the Supersuit housing or GoPro lens itself”
- Levi ‘Turbo’ Brown
The infamous GoPro One button mode
BEEP BEEP BEEP - it's on
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP- it's off
Go into preferences and change the default mode to Video. Make sure the beep volume is set High. Turn QuickCapture on and you are set to use one button mode. All you need to do is press the button before you dive and then after when you finish the dive.
Michael Takach also recommends giving a thumbs up or thumbs down before you hit the off button. This saves time when scrolling through clips later while editing.
“If you use the head strap GoPro mount, wrap part of it under your snorkel”
- Tim Mcdonald
To tell a story effectively you need a range of footage. It’s cool if you can capture the stalk, the surface, the duck dive, the shooter, the fish, the fight, landing the fish and displaying your catch. Not just the shot smashing the fish.
Here are a few ideas for a shot list of what you could use (mostly funny stuff because it’s my style):
- Packing the car/boat. Nodding your heads (in time) to Katy Perry. Dropping stuff. Handing stuff up to someone on the boat. Stashing Snakes lollies in the dashboard.
- Drive to the launch site. A sneaky stop at Maccas/Pie Shop/Petrol Station
- Get ready to dive. Gear up/Awkward wetsuit dance/holes in booties. Launch the boat
- Motor out to your dive spot/ Get ready on the boat to dive/Sunscreen/
- Water entry from a boat. Poor technique/kicked in the face by stray fin/leave weight belt behind
- Load up your gun/Breathe up/Duck dive/Dive down
- Settle on the reef or in mid-water
- The fish coming in/You positioned in the water
- You line up and shoot. Zoom in on just the trigger squeeze/slow mo of the shaft leaving the gun/the fishes eye roll/
- Head for the surface while the fish screams off/bulk shakas/paranoia about sharks
- Fight the fish/ float line in close/reel spooling/float being buried
- Land the fish/Iki Jime/Hand in gills/bleed the fish/unhooking the shaft/
- Display the fish/above and below shots/
- The drive back/sunburn/tired smiles/cleaning the boat/filleting the fish/
- Landscape shots/in super close/shots with lots of white space/Hyperlapse for interesting B-Roll/Drone footage
Borrow more ideas like these from YouTube vids that aren't just spearfishing. Inspiration for the filmmaker is everywhere:)
Inject yourself into your videos. Put your personality into the videos and you will enjoy it more and so will other people. I really like Daniel Manns style because he is relatable and shares the stoke and tips. Some guys like Brodie Moss project the lifestyle that millions of others want to live. Adam Stern also has an incredibly engaging style. All of these guys are original and inject their own personality and style into their vids.
Modelling (which is a classier type of copying) other well known/popular video makers can be a smart idea as well. They don’t have to be from the spearfishing Genre either.
“Poach ideas from other film-makers like I've done by following guys like Casey Niestad”
- Daniel Mann
I’m guilty of making vids without voice audio and now in hindsight, I think it was lazy. Music is great but most of the time the best vids have more than just looped songs.
Create a soundscape.
Take the time to film/capture the sound from all the extra B-Roll footage. You’ll need more than just the money shot for a good vid. This helps viewers capture the feeling of the actual experience and come along on the journey with us.
Lapel mics are fantastic for good audio and adding interviews and voice overs can make for compelling storytelling.
To make good spearfishing vids, you have to know who your audience is and think a bit like a director. What shots do you want? How can you help someone watching capture the feelings you have? For further research, check out Rules of Composition and Common Rules of Film-Makers. Finally model (don't copy) your videos off other video creators you admire because you don't have to learn everything the hard way!