Diving Apo Reef: Taking JVC's Picsio FM1 underwater

Last month I did a hands on with the relatively new JVC + Ikelite bundle that goes for USD $246 on promotion. This month I actually had the chance to test it out beyond 10 feet. I did two dives out into Apo Reef, the second largest contiguous reef in the world, next to the Great Barrier. It was rather special really as I joined the local chapter of the WWF on a three day tour of the area. I took 85 different videos 10 seconders on a single charge and stitched them all into the video you see above. I must admit, whenever I watch this “next day edit” I can’t help but continue to be impressed. I had initially thought that the marketing dive video for the FM1 was really that — marketing. Guess what? What you see is what you get. It’s excellent.

FIrst off, the clarity. There’s no doubt about it. Although water visibility plays a huge factor in underwater recording, you’ll notice how different this video is, say with this one:

A LOT of blues. This is due to two other factors: the lack of an artificial light source and a color correction filter. The Picsio shoots in 1080p by default with no option within the camera to go lower (the 720p resolution you see here comes from an iMovie edit) and the casing adds a stock red filter which is used for diving in blue water. But more importantly, an artificial light source is needed to almost completely remove the blues and show off the true colors of the reef. To prove my point, check out 2:52 onwards with the species of clownfish. Anything outside the anemone is blueish.

Second, when shooting animals it doesn’t make sense to make use of the zoom function. Zooming in or out should be done between shoots as it gives viewers a headache in trying to follow the camera. It seems second nature to do that when shooting, but in post, it looks really bad.

I had some problems with the external buttons of the underwater case — the rubber stops on the other end didn’t seem to reach some of the buttons. Found out that with ease, the rubber can actually be removed. I inserted small balls of crumpled paper inside to extend the reach of each button.

For less than USD $1,000, the JVC FM1 + Ikelite case + V8 light delivers in everything except battery life. At full charge, you get about 30-45 minutes of recording done so it doesn’t make sense to have a card bigger than 4GB unless you don’t plan to delete your previous movies.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know

or Comment Below

Gaming Trailers

Got a tip?

Let us know