Diving in Culebra

Posted by Arlo on Feb 4, 2010 under Travel, Videos

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

Back in November, Oksana and I spent some time in Puerto Rico. While visiting one of the “Spanish Virgin Islands,” Culebra, we managed to fit in a two-tank dive with Aquatic Adventures. They took us out to Lana’s Cove and Carlos Rosario’s “The Wall.”

Oksana and I used the dives to experiment with a new underwater housing for her Panasonic Lumix TZ5. While not the best underwater gear, the whole setup is small, light, and travel-friendly. While the lack of a decent flash unit blurred practically every photo, it seemed to record decent video when we kept our movements smooth.

Because of a late start, our second outing unexpectedly turned into a night dive. I didn’t anticipate that the camera would be much use, but I brought it anyway. Glad I did.

On the boat, we met a couple, Michael and Kimberly, from Kansas who were enjoying their first few open water dives after getting certified. We had dinner with them afterwards at Mamacita’s. I mentioned that I’d pointed the camera in their direction a few times during the dives and I promised to send them a video clip or two once we got home. Well, I barely had two weeks back in Alaska before I left on a month-long Ecuador trip. Last week I finally got around to digging up those video clips…

It would have been so easy to simply compress those video clips and and send them off in an email. I was planning to do just that, but then I started playing around. Oh, let me add a little red back into that scene. This one could use a little contrast. Ooo! I had no idea image stabilization was that easy in After Effects…

Pretty soon I was deep into a full-fledged edit. And, truth to tell, it felt like work until I found the right soundtrack. Once I settled on some music, however, I had a ton of fun and raced through the rest of it.

Just for kicks, here’s a before-and-after video of a couple of the clips. This being the first time I’ve dived (so to speak) into image stabilization in post, I found out something pretty interesting: While I could sometimes smooth out a shaky image, I discovered that if the original movements caused the camera to record frames with some motion blur, no matter how smooth the resulting video, the final image would be stuck with the blurriness. We’re used to seeing a fast-moving video soften a little, but a smoothed-out clip can look pretty strange when a cluster of frames seems to go all blurry for no apparent reason…

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

Anyway, Michael? Kimberly? I hope you like your video.