Work as a professional underwater cinematographer happened almost by accident for me. Right place at the right time I guess.
I was always a surfer and spent most of my waking hours in the water or chasing waves around the world with my friends. I was never as talented as these friends of mine so often took on the duty of ‘cameraman’ to document them surfing in these amazing places.
At the time, my ‘day job’ was working as a location sound recordist on films and tv commercials, working alongside some of the best cinematographers and directors in the world. They all knew what I did on my days off and one day someone suggested that they use me to film some underwater shots, seeing as I already knew how to swim with a camera!
What started off as a random opportunity became more and more frequent and there came a time when I decided I should treat it as a profession, get my diving certification and invest in the right camera gear and see where it takes me.
I can tell you, its taken me all over the world! I am not purely a scuba diving cameraman, as most often I will be shooting in pools, or in the surf or other, on the surface locations, however some of my best working experiences have involved some awesome scuba dives!
There is always plenty to learn in my job as well as very specialised pieces of equipment to use and many qualifications to attain. One bit of gear I cannot live without in my line of work is my Ocean Reef full face masks with comms unit. I use this system exclusively as I found it to be the simplest and reliable underwater comms system, and that kind of reliability is priceless when I am trying to talk to a director on the surface when we have a tight schedule to shoot.
Behind the scenes with Lee