Just about every camera nowadays has both a video and photo function, which provides us with a ton of opportunities for creatively capturing the underwater world. With so many options though, it can be a bit overwhelming when a unique underwater moment presents itself to you completely out of the blue. What do I do!? Should I film it or photograph it? As someone who spends a lot of time switching between video and photo, I’d like to share a few quick tips that have helped me decide whether I’m going to capture the moment with the camera’s video mode or the photo mode.
1. What is your ultimate goal?
If you know how to use editing software and plan to make a little highlight reel from your snorkeling adventure, then filming would be the way forward. Similarly, if your intent is to have a collection of photos to share with friends or to hang on your wall, you’d want to stick with the photo mode. This is a really important thing to think about as I know a lot of people who just film everything they see because in a lot of ways filming is easier and can be more gratifying at the moment, but then they find they don’t know how to edit videos or just don’t have the time to and then they end up with hours of footage just sitting on their hard drive.
2. A bit of Both
A lot of the underwater encounters we have can last for a while, which means you can do a bit of filming as well as photography. Remember to prioritize which of the two mediums is more important to you at the end of the day and start with that one.
3. Video for fleeting moments
I always keep my camera set to video mode when I don’t have anything in particular to point my camera at. The reason being is that should a manta or whale shark suddenly turn up and I have only a couple of moments to capture the encounter, video is the fastest and most efficient way to do so as you can essentially point and shoot.