The jungle is like moving particles. It triggers its own movement. It cracks. It snarls. It whistles. It squeaks. It twitters. Then it is dead silent for a moment. But just until the long cry of the spectacled owl breaks the silence and restarts the symphony. It hammers. It howls. It groans. It chirps.
The forest is alive. After a single step on the path into the dense woods visitors get the impression they would plunge into a sea of vines, ferns, mosses and bushes. In a sea of woods that are harder than that of the mahogany. In a sea of trees that witnessed centuries. You get the impression you enter a world of graceful beings that have been living here since the beginning of time. Beings that live in such a sophisticated symbiosis with the forest that they are way superior to the visitors and decide for themselves if they want to be seen by them or not.
In this beautiful but at the same time very harsh environment of the Papua-New Guinean jungle, the Paralenz Dive Camera had to survive a seven week roadtrip. It was a very important trip for us, the film crew of Behind the mask, and while some of the cameras’ competitors gave up on the mission rather quickly, the Paralenz did not mind the high humidity, the numerous flights and ship rides, and especially, the challenging dives that were going to greater depths in some cases as well.
The camera originally wasn’t even planned to be part of the filming setup, it was meant to function more like a backup and a test module for a magazine review we had planned. But after the competitor cameras bailed out on us, the Paralenz was in the game.
Personally, my mission is to take photos, so I use an action camera on top of my housing to create additional Behind-the-scenes-video-footage that often comes in handy when you want to get a different angle on the action or want to show the main camera man in action.
I had used a test model of the Paralenz camera before it was released to the market and before there were nice accessories available, like the one that were recently launched. So since back then I didn’t have the ball mount, I came up with my own way to fix the camera to the big aluminium underwater-housing of my DSLR photo camera. I used a mount of another action camera that is compatible with the Paralenz mount.
That in general is the biggest advantage of the Paralenz accessories. They are compatible with all the accessories for GoPro for example, which are the ones with the biggest variety on the market. In this case it was another manufacturer that had the possibility to use a screw at the bottom. I cut a screw for my desired length and could fix the camera to my housing instead of the ball in the middle on top. Nowadays its a little easier since you can use the Paralenz ball mount and just attach it to the ball of your housing (if you have one).
A very important factor of videography while doing photography with another camera is, that you need to be aware of your additional video camera angle. Make sure the Paralenz camera is not pointing downwards too much. If it does, you risk to have the sunshield of your domeport or the edge of your flat port in the frame. At the same time you do not want it to be leveled with the horizon because it sits high up on top of your housing and you could miss part of the action that is going on in front of your photo camera lens that you are taking photos of. So you need to find exactly the right angle – not too high, not too low.
The best position of your action camera lens would be equal to the lens you are takin photos with. So the solution is to bring it as far to the front as possible. You can do this in many ways. Use an additional ball mount in between and bring it together with a ball to ball connector. The more you bring it to the front and down towards your photo lens the better. But of course, be aware, that there is the angle of your photo lens too. So if you shoot with a super wide angle or fish eye lens, don’t bring the Paralenz too close to the domeport.
While shooting, of course you want to prioritize whatever is your main focus on. Let’s assume this would be taking photos. Have in mind, that if you want to turn your camera housing to frame your shot upright, your video footage will hardly be usable later. Of course you could turn the upright shot in post production and crop it to your 16:9 or 4:3 or whatever format the rest of your footage has, but you will probably miss the core nation of the shot and of course parts of the resolution of your footage.
Keep in mind whenever your videocamera is running. Photographers tend to just hold their camera upright and stable while taking their still shots, the rest of the time, while swimming for example, they let it rest lower, hold it sideways – basically just don’t worry about it anymore. When they see a shot, they pick it up and shoot. All the produced video footage while doing that is wasted. So either way swim with your camera like you would film with the DSLR or youse the snap function of your Paralenz to produce little video files whenever you have your camera upright.
If you want to use your Paralenz video footage later and mix it in post production with other footage, make sure you use the same frame rate and resolution like the footage you want to mix it with. The DCC can help to bring the colors back, but only if the footage you wanna mix it with will either way be in RAW and editable in color correction or will be produced with proper white balancing. If lighting is involved, try to use similar light sources.
The Paralenz succeeded the involuntary field test and came in very handy in the dense jungles of Papua. It will definitely be on the next trip as well.
This article was written by Timo Dersch – journalist, editor, and photographer. His clients are media production companies publishing stories about traveling and outdoor experiences. His focus lies on scuba diving and related destinations. He is a member of the creative circle “Behind the Mask”.
Want to know more about this beautiful country? Check out the “Papua New Guinea – the land of the unexpected” Facebook Page.