I’ve been using Insta360 cameras underwater for about two years now and I’ve been asked a lot of questions on how to make the most out of it. With that, here are my top Insta360 underwater shooting tips regardless of what camera you are using!
Why Insta360 for Underwater Videos?
Insta360 cameras produce an INSV file output that requires post-processing prior to sharing. I admit, the editing after shooting got me intimidated big time in the beginning as I got used to a ‘no brainer’ rendering with other action cameras. I used to just shoot and download the footage straight out of the camera then upload it right after. But with Insta360, I had to set keyframes which may require a lot of time and patience even before I could share it. I pushed through with it anyway and here are the reasons why.
After several months of shooting with it and setting keyframes, I realized how epic this could be as it taps my creativity. There were also lots of instances where the footages on other angles seemed better than what I intended to shoot. In fact, I was able to produce more than one post-processed video in a single INSV file.
The best thing that got me so into Insta360 cameras especially when used underwater is how its AI color corrects the footage magnificently. My time setting the keyframes which I have probably mastered hence taken a little of my time offsets my time and effort in editing the colors with a different video editing application.
In those years of trial and error, shooting and editing, I learned about these Insta360 Underwater shooting tips!
1. Use the Insta360 Dive Case
Though most Insta360 cameras have IPX8 feature that makes them waterproof up to 33 feet without the dive case, I would still highly suggest that you use this underwater protective case for some reasons. First, the footage is way better with the dive case as there is no refraction of images and footages. This makes the stitching of the sides and upper part seamless and gives you an ultra wide perspective. However, you have to do some reframing since the AI cannot stitch the bottom part of the dive case’s dome seamlessly. Hence, a full seamlessly stitched 360 footage cannot be guaranteed with the dive case.
Another reason is that, it guarantees your Insta360 camera’s safety from leaks. Though the camera is waterproof up to certain depths, leaks can still happen most especially if you’re not able to secure the lock and doors of the USB and memory card slot.
2. Shoot in the Highest Resolution Possible
Insta360 cameras like the RS, X2 and X3 allow you to shoot up to 5.7k in 30fps (frames per second). However, this resolution is not advisable for those who would like to edit the video with a slow motion effect. You may resort to shooting at 4k in 60fps if you wish to do so. Also, make sure that you are shooting in 360 and not in 150 even before you lock the camera in a dive case. Shooting in 150 would only guarantee you a horizontal, single lens mode output.
3. Shoot in Auto
The lighting outdoors especially underwater isn’t consistent. The deeper you go, the lesser light you get. By shooting in auto, the camera and its lens adjusts itself to the natural lighting. If you set it in manual, you won’t be easily able to adjust the setting especially if you’re using the dive case.
4. Angle the Camera
Tilt the camera at about 90° for selfie shot and 45° if you’re shooting someone else. Since the AI couldn’t stitch the bottom of the dive case, tilting it could hide the “unstitchable” part. The upper part though could be stitched well. Tilting the camera in such angles could hide the bottom or the dome which the AI can’t get rid off; but the catch? The stick shows when on selfie mode. You may see this one as a downside but wait till you see the footages shot with it compared to the ones shot without it.
Tilting it at 45° keeps your fellow diver in frame even after a duck dive (especially for freedivers) without him or her getting into the part of the camera that the ‘unstitchable’ part may obscure.
5. You Can Use the Invisible Selfie Stick Underwater
For a wider shot, you can always use the 120cm invisible selfie stick underwater, too. However, make sure that you’ll always rinse it with fresh water and dry it after use. In this way, the salt water won’t damage the stick. Take note that the invisible selfie stick sinks.
The Floating Hand Grip
If you worry about losing your Insta360 camera because the invisible selfie stick sinks, you may opt to use the Floating hand grip. This would keep your camera afloat and safe as it also comes with a lace that you can put around your wrist.
6. Achieving the Best Results
News flash: the factors that would let us achieve the best results when shooting with the Insta360 cameras underwater are beyond our control. These factors include the natural lighting and visibility. This combination would show you how good Insta360’s AI is in terms of automatically color correcting underwater footages. If you happen to dive and these factors are both present, keep shooting!
7. Use AquaVision 2.0
If the aforementioned factors are not present, don’t be disheartened. Insta360 ShotLab (mobile application) and the Insta360 Studio (desktop application) has this feature called AquaVision 2.0. This feature automatically corrects the color of an underwater video in just one click. It boost the reds and lower the greens in underwater footages. The good thing about its update is that, you may already adjust its intensity.
Insta360 Underwater Shooting Tips, In a Nutshell
These are just few of the basic yet most important Insta360 underwater shooting tips that you should know about. These would allow you to make the best out of your action cameras! If there’s anything else not in here that our fellow Insta360 users should know about, let us talk about it in the comments section!
Did this convince you to get your Insta360 camera for your underwater adventure today? Get your Insta360 RS, X2, X3 or Go2 through these links to get exciting freebies! You may also order your dive case and other accessories here.
Note: The photos in this blog are screenshots from my underwater footages shot on Insta360 X2 and X3. No further color correction nor color grading were done on these photos. These were shot in Palawan, Batangas, Ilocos Norte and Negros Oriental, Philippines.