Prepare for a bit of controversy—can underwater video lights truly double as effective tools for underwater photography? Absolutely. Like many of you, I find myself frequently capturing both underwater photos and videos on the same dive.
With nearly eight years of experience shooting underwater content, I've developed a strong aversion to the gear struggle. My equipment arsenal includes an array of strobes and video lights. There are instances when I venture underwater with a setup featuring two strobes and two video lights, and let me tell you, it's quite a hassle. Our time underwater is limited, and for clients seeking both photo and video content from a single dive, tinkering with gear and lights can squander precious minutes.
Underwater photographers face unique challenges—depth, air currents, fatigue, swell, and the unpredictable presence of other divers or wildlife. Time is of the essence, and swapping between strobes and video lights can result in missed opportunities. This raises a crucial question: can the same light source be used for both photo and video content underwater? My unequivocal answer is yes.
Over the past two years, I've exclusively employed Orca Torch D950V underwater video lights for all my hybrid photo and video shoots, completely sidelining my strobes. While these video lights may not match the technical specifications of strobes for photography, the freedom they offer has allowed me to focus more on composition and engaging with wildlife.
By using the same light source, particularly these Orca Torch D950V lights, I've spent more time capturing the essence of the moment without worrying about gear adjustments. Shooting stills with video lights demands robust ones, and the 10,500 lumens each from these Orca Torch lights have proven more than sufficient for outstanding results.
You might have noticed numerous close-focus wide-angle shots in the photos I've shared. These shots, captured with super wide-angle lenses up close to the subject, usually involve using strobes at about half power. In such scenarios, using video lights doesn't significantly differ in results. The process of exposing shots with strobes or video lights remains the same, with the camera adjusting for the background and the lights illuminating the foreground.
While strobes may technically produce a brighter result, the constant switching between photo and video lights can lead to sacrifices in composition, approach, time underwater, or even the accurate positioning of lights on a rig. In my experience, as someone whose primary business is filmmaking, these Orca Torch lights offer the best of both worlds without compromising any essential aspects.
I understand this perspective may challenge conventional practices, but having opted for these video lights in most of my hybrid shoots over the last two years, I've achieved better results than expected. If you're seeking camera or lighting advice, drop a comment below, and I'll do my best to assist you.