Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Playing with the new camera: Snorkeling HD video

I mentioned before that one of the biggest differences between the Housemate's underwater camera and my new Panasonic Lumix TS2 is that mine takes HD video. So how is this underwater HD video? Here is a collection of clips that I took snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. Unfortunately there's nothing exciting like on my last trip there, and I apologize for the shakiness of the cinematography--I blame it on the waves in this part of the bay, but I'm sure I can improve. Still, it's enough to get an idea of what the camera's underwater video looks like. (You should be able to watch it at 720p.)

First, the sound is weird. Maybe little tiny flows of water around the microphone, with particles of sand hitting the camera? I expected to hear me breathing, since that's the sound that I notice most while snorkeling, in addition to background water movement sounds. It's a bit annoying, but not too bad. I am impressed by the auto focus. There's one moment in one clip where I notice it trying to focus on a field of fish as I swing it to the right, but the rest looks pretty smooth. And the HD is a noticeable improvement over the other camera's video.

Next time I'll try not to jiggle the camera as much. Then all I'll need is to be attacked by a fish, and it'll be golden.

I've been posting all photos for the past two weeks (yes, I'm a bit obsessed with my new camera). I'll return to a little normal geekery soon.


Jim Brooks said...

Sound under water is a strange thing. In air, sound goes almost 800mph. At this speed your ears are far enough apart to triangulate a location. In water, sound goes almost 3500mph. Your ears have a much harder time locating the source of a sound underwater. So the little pops and clicks and stuff could be people making noises underwater almost anywhere in the bay.

Also fascinating:
The park ranger types at Hanauma told me that if you're super lucky, and a pod of whales decides to hang out in the deep water near the mouth of the bay, you can hear their song all the way where you snorkel.

Your video makes me miss snorkeling. :(

Eleni said...

What confused me was that the sounds the camera's microphone picked up (the pops and clicks) were different from what I was hearing at the time (my breathing through the snorkel, sometimes waves crashing). So the camera must be sensitive to something that my ears are not.

That would be so cool to hear whales singing while snorkeling. I understand some whales (at least humpbacks) can communicate over miles underwater, which is pretty amazing.

Which makes me think about Finding Nemo when Dory was speaking whale. Hilarious.

Sebastian said...

Whales used to communicate the length and breadth of EARTH! Something about the ultra low frequency. But now boat engines produce too much noise, which prevents them from communicating over long distances. (I forget where I read this... but I remember it being very interesting!)

Sounds like the camera's picking up very high frequencies. Don't know enough about human ears (under water) to guess at their frequency response :)

Eleni said...

The length of the Earth?! Wow, I'd hate to be swimming next to a whale when it sends out a call that's supposed to reach a whale in a different ocean.

Hmm, you're probably right about the frequency. I wish it picked up the sounds that I hear. Better for the memories and all. Oh well.