Magic Filters For GoPro
GoPro and other small cameras are very popular for underwater video and still images. Their small size and simple controls make them a highly suitable system for underwater work either as you sole camera system, or bolted on top of a larger system. But if you have dived with a GoPro you will probably have discovered that all the footage was blue. To banish those blues (vimeo video link) you need a Magic Filter.
But don't take our word for it! Check out this video shot by Jim Decker of Backscatter that shows how GoPro footage is transformed when an Auto Magic Filter is added to the camera. See the video here (vimeo video link).
Most mini-cameras, such as the GoPro, do not have manual white balance, operating with only Auto white balance. This makes the Auto-Magic filter the ideal choice for available light shooting at shallower depths. Check out the footage in the Backscatter GoPro show reel below (which includes footage shot by Alex Mustard):
[Auto-Magic filter] [original Magic filter] [Greenwater Magic filter] [Instructional DVD] [Online Store]
Furthermore, the flexibility of the Auto-Magic in working with the cameras auto white balance means that many GoPro users are finding they get great colours when they use the Auto-Magic filter in combination with lights at any depth. See this footage (external link) from GoPro user Ken Kurtis, who was the first to contact us to tell us about using the filter with lights. Ken shot the sharks and mandarinfish with the filter and a light. The mantas were shot with just a filter.
The combination of lights and filter on the GoPro also work very well for still photography on the reef. To be convinced check out Joel Penner's article "Breaking The Rules" in Underwater Photography Magazine Issue 67.
There are many housings available for GoPro cameras. But please be aware that the standard GoPro housing, while waterproof, will not let the camera focus properly underwater.
The housing that we recommend is the one made by the underwater imaging experts at Backscatter. We had the chance to test this new housing in January 2012, while developing a bespoke Auto-Magic filter for it. Alex's footage from the Cayman Islands is in the promo above. The other good option is the GoPro dive housing.
On the Backscatter housing, the filter is held in place by a small o-ring and has a loop for a lanyard. It is a simple system that transforms the capabilities of the GoPro. This housing went on sale at the end of February 2012 and also allows other filters to be used (such as close up lenses).
You can learn more about this housing here on Backscatter's website.
In the summer of 2012 GoPro (finally) released their own 'dive' housing and in collaboration with Backscatter we have developed a flip Magic Filter for this housing. So if you have the GoPro dive housing you must check out the filter.
We don't sell the Backscatter housing or GoPro filters directly, they are only sold by retailers who sell the Backscatter housing. Here is an independant (customer) video showing the effects of using the filters above.
There are other mini-cams in addition to the GoPro, such as the popular Midland Range. These also come with standard housings that already have a flat port that allows them to focus underwater. This system makes them very suited to our standard internal mounting Auto-Magic filters, which can easily be cut and dropped into the front of the housing and are held in place by the camera. See the image below.