Shooting underwater video can be one of the most rewarding additions to diving that you could ever hope to discover. It also can be one of the most difficult if you are not prepared to accept some of the brutal truths of videography. This time around, I would like to discuss some techniques that can save you enormous frustration and time when it's time to edit your production. One of the best ways to learn what to shoot is to first do cuts-only editing. This means no dissolves or special effects to get you around those shots that you don't know what to do with. In doing so, you will quickly run into something called a jump cut, which is a jarring cut between two scenes that can cause your audience to flinch. If your video is full of jump cuts, it's a sure sign that you were short on essential scenes.A simple way to increase your number of editable scenes is to shoot what I term ''neutral-subject-neutral.'' This technique will give you a minimum of three editing options from almost everything you shoot. It will also help you learn to shoot great establishing shots to ease your audience into new sequences.The method for learning to shoot ''neutral-subject-neutral'' shots is to begin on a neutral subject and then reveal, either using a tilt down or a pan, the actual subject you are filming. After holding the main subject in your shot for a brief period (no longer than a bored 12-year-old could stand), let it leave the frame, thus returning the scene to a neutral frame.A good example of this might relate to a video you are shooting about sharks and barracudas. You have lots of scenes of sharks from every angle, but you don't have any logical way to establish the barracuda within the same sequence. You can't simply ''jump'' to a shot of the barracuda, so what do you do? First you have to find a barracuda. When you do, don't point the camera at it and start shooting. Instead, find an interesting subject that is part of the setting and begin rolling tape. After about 10 seconds, carefully pan over to the barracuda swimming by. Now, travel with the barracuda for a stretch, ''tracking'' along with it. When you have a good piece on the barracuda, let it track out of the frame, thus returning your scene to neutral.You can use this technique on virtually every subject. Regardless of who is editing, they will love you for giving them the options that the neutral-subject-neutral technique will allow.
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