Syllabus

Syllabus

Africa Media has developed a training syllabus consisting of direct tutorship, practical underwater expeditions and theoretical plus practical tuition for digital workflow and post-processing of your video. Read more about some of the things we cover below.

Syllabus Highlights

Working with talent

Being a successful underwater videographer will probably require you to work with human talent and bring humans into shots with underwater scenery and marine life. The program works extensively on teaching students how to work with talent, communicate underwater, and work in partnership to ensure humans seamlessly become part of the underwater world that you are showcasing.

Underwater lighting

The program utilises underwater lights to return colour (light) into the water enhance the visual impact of the underwater world, particularly when working at depth. Positioning, angling, and utilising the correct colour spectrum of lights is central to ensure a professional product.

Underwater audio

Audio plays a large role in any wildlife production including underwater. The program introduces students to creating underwater soundscapes, empowering humans to communicate underwater, and creating of inspiring and engaging narratives to overlay onto underwater scenes.

Storytelling

A great director once said: “Even if I have to shoot abstract shots to make a commercial I always have a script”. Conceptualizing the idea and putting in into paper is important before starting anything else. You have a base that from there you can add ideas during the shooting. It is really helpful to have the pictures in your head so you know what you are looking for during the shoot and not overshoot useless footage. Make sure you have what you need and then experiment to get some bonus treats.

Filming marine life

Much of the program will be working with techniques to capture professional-grade footage of the charismatic marine wildlife encountered at Aliwal Shoal or in Mozambique. Approaching marine life, picture composition, shot selection, shooting sequences, tracking versus holding still and much much more will all be covered in the program. The program is scattered with professional tips all the way through.

Interviews

Topside expert and character interviews are a critical part of any underwater videography production. The program teaches students interview topside techniques including question techniques; working with talent; lighting; audio and camera setups

Filming B-roll

Film productions require significant and professional B-roll (non subject) footage to ensure full sequences can be edited into engaging sequences. Topside and underwater scenics and cutaways form a large part of this B-roll, and can ensure a professional production.

Video editing

The quickest way to critique your video footage is to attempt to edit in into a viewable sequence. Editing skills are critical to a students developed as a underwater videographer. Our underwater program dedicates 4 days to learning editing (via adobe premier), then editing you footage into compelling and visually engaging underwater sequences.

Daily schedule

DAY 1

Orientation – arrival and welcome. Day spent ensuring paperwork is completed, living arrangements established and a familiarity tour of the local town/area. Technical tricks are scattered throughout. Each day is full of the practical application of techniques.

DAY 2

Equipment and maintenance – Day spent learning about equipment, how to maintain it, when and where equipment is used and some of the basic settings of the equipment.

DAY 3

Introduction SCUBA Dives – First SCUBA dive(s)without cameras, used to introduce the marine life you will encounter, and also to practice essential SCUBA diving skills necessary to be successful  (buoyancy, control, breathing).

DAY 4

Pool and rock pool videography incl. lighting techniques– Day spent using professional/prosumer grade cameras in a swimming and rock pool environment. Essential section to familiarise yourself with controls, camera setup and how to work with a large camera and artificial lights underwater.

DAY 5

Editing and Storytelling tutorials – Learn adobe premier via instructor assistance and video tutorials. Use your footage to start editing sequences. Afternoon to be dedicated to discussions on storytelling techniques and scripting.

DAY 6

Prosumer SCUBA dives – Double tank SCUBA dives using Gopro and light setup for video footage collecting. Focus on locating subjects, using lights, shot selection, and SCUBA controlNote: all double tank dives are subject to sea conditions and the safety of participants.

DAY 7

Prosumer SCUBA dives – Double tank SCUBA dives using Gopro and light setup for video footage collecting. Focus on locating subjects, using lights, shot selection, and SCUBA control.

DAY 8

Interview workshops – Onland lectures on working with human talent and the role of human talent in underwater films. Afternoon workshop on shooting broadcast quality interviews, including lighting, camera setup, audio and setting techniques.

DAY 9

B-Roll and Sequences – including scenics using drones, topside scenics, shooting over and under shots(pool and rockpool) and the variety of shots required to build a professional sequence.

DAY 10

Professional camera dives – Double tank dives using professional grade underwater camera setups with lights. These dives focus on collecting marine wildlife content,’b-roll’ in a variety of shots (closeup, medium, wide angle).

DAY 11

Professional camera dives – Double tank dive using professional grade underwater camera setups with lights. These dives focus on working with human talent and specifically ensuring humans can seamlessly enter into underwater sequences

DAY 12

Professional camera dives – Double tank dive using professional grade underwater camera setups with lights. These dives focus on the collection of marine wildlife footage and underwater scenics and a variety of underwater shots on subjects (medium, wide angle).

DAY 13

Editing – Use footage collected from all previous dives to produce engaging and compelling sequences of the underwater world, with overlaid expert interviews and B-roll. Critique session with the course instructor.

DAY 14

Estuarine (Mozambique) or Aquarium (South Africa) expedition  – Day to be spent using professional grade and prosumer grade cameras on a specialist trip to either the inshore estuary (Mozambique) or the open oceans thank at an Aquarium (South Africa).

DAY 15

Editing tutorials – Spend the day learning editing techniques

DAY 16

Professional camera dives – Double tank dives (if possible) using professional grade underwater camera setups with lights. Dive focus on collecting content of marine wildlife, b-roll in a variety of shots (closeup, medium, wide angle).

DAY 17

Professional camera dives – Double tank dives using professional grade underwater camera setups with lights. These two dives focus on collecting marine wildlife content, b-roll in a variety of shots (closeup, medium, wide angle).

DAY 18

Editing & Lectures –

DAY 19

Professional camera dives – Double tank dives using professional grade underwater camera setups with lights. These two dives focus on collecting marine wildlife content, b-roll in a variety of shots (closeup, medium, wide angle).

DAY 20

Career development & Portfolio – Morning to be spent on career development for aspiring wildlife underwater videographers, including the development of professional network, freelancer work, social media marketing, and career opportunities. The afternoon will be spent finalising your video portfolio and exporting prior to an evening showing of the group portfolios.

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