Underwater Cinematography Course NZCS

Last Saturday, we hosted the NZCS Underwater Cinematography Masterclass at our Auckland HQ. Fortunately, the rain cleared, and participants enjoyed a sunny day and a highly successful, informative course.

This unique masterclass was organised by the New Zealand Cinematographers Society and sponsored by Boxfish Robotics. The underwater cinematography course brought together experts with in-depth knowledge and experience across underwater commercial videography, diver health & safety, wildlife filmmaking and underwater robotics.

Keeping the workshop to a small group meant selected participants received constructive hands-on experience of underwater filmmaking equipment and techniques, including piloting the Boxfish Luna. Attendees from various industries made the most of this excellent opportunity to extend their knowledge and up-skill in relevant technology.

Murray Milne NZCS Teaching Course Participants
Murray Milne NZCS teaching masterclass participants. Also pictured is a Boxfish Luna.
Underwater Cinematography Course Participants, Presenters & Assistants at Boxfish Research HQ
Underwater cinematography presenters and participants at Boxfish Robotics HQ

Structure of the Underwater Cinematography Course

The one-day masterclass was broken into four modules exploring various aspects of underwater filmmaking. 

Module One – Underwater Filmmaking in Theory & Practice

Highly experienced Director of Photography and Cinematographer Murray Milne NZCS explored the use of underwater housings, the role of top-side support and tips on commercial videography in an underwater environment. This module also included a practical pool session where attendees tried various underwater rigs. Michael Paletta supported Murray as 1st Assistant Cameraman.

Module Two – Diver Safety for Underwater Cinematographers

Hamish Kerr, Director of Auckland commercial diving company Diveworx, covered everything underwater cinematographers need to know from a safety perspective. His presentation included dive safety, certification, underwater set construction and dive support for filming. 

Murray Milne With An Underwater Housing
Murray Milne NZCS showing an underwater camera housing during the masterclass
Hamish Kerr, Diveworx Presenting on Diver Safety in the Underwater Cinematography Course
Hamish Kerr, Diveworx presenting on diver safety and underwater cinematography

Module Three – Underwater Natural History Cinematography

Respected Director and Cinematographer Mike Bhana offered his perspective on underwater natural history cinematography, drawing on his vast resume of productions for US channels, including Discovery, Animal Planet and National Geographic. The presentation was a great insight into wildlife filmmaking equipment and techniques.

Module Four – Underwater Robotics and Filmmaking

Boxfish Robotics co-founder Craig Anderson introduced ROV technology for natural history filmmaking, including cameras, lighting, lenses and dome options. He highlighted the benefits of using robotics in extreme temperatures, for long shoots, and when diver safety is a concern. Craig also introduced the possibilities of new camera movements using underwater drones.

Mike Bhana Presenting on Underwater Wildlife Filmmaking
Mike Bhana presenting on underwater wildlife filmmaking
Boxfish Research Presenting at the NZCS Underwater Cinematography Course
Vera Bronza & Craig Anderson from Boxfish Robotics presenting at the masterclass

The masterclass then moved to the Boxfish pool to demo the Boxfish Luna underwater cinematography drone. Workshop participants loved the chance to trial the ROV for themselves. 

Underwater Cinematography Masterclass Participants in the Pool
Masterclass participants get experience with underwater videography equipment in the pool
Boxfish ROV Poolside at the Underwater Cinematography Course
Boxfish Luna cinematography drone poolside and ready for action

📷 Photos Credit: Ryan Watts, Boxfish Technical Sales Representative

Thank You to Everyone Involved

We thank all the masterclass participants, presenters and assistants, together with NZCS, for involving us in the underwater cinematography course. It was a great result! We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the New Zealand Cinematographers Society and its members.

Don’t forget to sign up for our mailing to be the first to find out what we have planned! If you are interested in participating in a similar online course on underwater cinematography, don’t hesitate to contact us via [email protected].