MyWorld was delighted to fund three places for enthusiastic and committed camera operators from underrepresented groups in the creative technologies industries on the recent two-day underwater filming training course delivered by Esprit.

All three-course attendees live and work in the Bristol Bath region and are associated with three different local studios or filming houses.

Handing over to the course participants, read on to find out more about their experience!

AR: “The course was incredible! I am so grateful to MyWorld for the opportunity to attend this course and upskill my understanding of underwater camera housings as well as their set up and maintenance. It was truly a dream come true, and really felt like a strong step-up for my skill sets.”

JR: “The course was fantastic, I learned so much, and I feel that I will be able to successfully operate and set-up the gates range in the future on shoots for both myself and UW camera operators.”

MF: “I absolutely loved the course, especially the hands-on experience with setting up underwater camera housings and using custom setups for cine lenses. The pool diving session took the learning to a whole new level, allowing me to capture various shot types and really put my skills to the test. It was a great experience to operate the cameras underwater and explore the possibilities of cinematography beneath the surface.”

What did you enjoy most about the course?

JR: “The most enjoyable part of the course, for me, was getting hands on experience in the water with the cameras and housing. Being able to see how they operate underwater, after building them they made us take responsibility for the rig and trusted us in our own work.”

MF: “One highlight was learning to troubleshoot the custom Deep Weapon housing with the V-Raptor conversion, which added a whole new layer of technical expertise to my repertoire. Additionally, I gained valuable insights into trimming the housings for neutral buoyancy, a crucial skill when navigating the underwater environment. Learning these techniques not only expanded my knowledge but also equipped me with the practical know-how to handle challenging situations beneath the surface.”

Tell us a bit about what you learnt?

AS: “I learnt how to assemble, disassemble, and troubleshoot most of the commonly used UW housings for natural history productions. I also learned quite a lot about colour theory and optics- and what to consider in terms of kit needed to best capture the imagery/shot you’re after. I really appreciated having a special guest, Christina Karliczeck, explain how all these elements influence her work as an UW DoP- it gave a really good practical application to the course.”

What did you enjoy the least?

AS: “I wished we had more time!”

JR: “There was nothing I didn’t enjoy about this course.”

How do you think undertaking this course will impact you?

AR: “This course has had a massive impact on my career trajectory. A huge benefit of attending the course was meeting the brilliant staff at Esprit, and forming working relationships with the staff as well as the other students on the course. I intend to keep in touch with everyone to continue practicing and building on the skills and theory I’ve learnt. I can confidently assemble and disassemble multiple Gates housings including the Pro Explorer, the Deep Weapon, and Deep Komodo. I know the mechanics of the housings and have a very good idea of where to start when troubleshooting on location. I also know the best ways to maintain and protect the housings, so they are able to perform optimally and last longer. From a theory perspective I understand the basics of how imagery, colour, and light are affected underwater- and what to consider when selecting a camera and lens and accessories. I am eager to work with the housings more and practice more skills underwater so I can become a more confident diver, who can multitask underwater with a camera.”

MF: “This course has been instrumental in sharpening my technical knowledge, providing me with the confidence to adeptly set up and test GATES housings. The hands-on experience and in-depth insights gained have not only expanded my skill set but have also empowered me to tackle the intricacies of working with GATES housings with a newfound assurance. It’s a significant step forward in my journey towards becoming a proficient and confident camera professional.”

JR: “I met a lot of great people who were fountains of knowledge when it came to any questions I had about the housings and cameras, and I would 100% recommend the course to anybody who is thinking about attending in the future. The time in the water using the housings was fantastic. I can’t think of any other examples where you would be able to experience this without the course, without renting the kit yourself – which would be quite costly.”

MyWorld had a fantastic number of applications in response to our expression of interest for funded places on this course. Given the huge demand and high impact that this intense training course has had on our awardees, we expect to be able to fund more places at a future underwater filming course for people from underrepresented groups in 2024.