Capturing images underwater is definitely one of the more interesting challenges in photography and videography. Apparently specialized equipment is necessary to undertake this activity. But one can also improvise and save his budget.
- Acquire everything needed for the project. Purchase an insulated water jug that's big enough to accommodate a camcorder. It is highly important that you bring your camcorder with you when purchasing this item to make sure it's the correct size. Next is to acquire a 24"x48" sheet of clear break and weather-resistant acrylic plastic such as Plexiglas. Have a tube of hybrid marine sealant, a roll of Teflon tape, a 2" flare PVC plumbing fitting with the other end that can be screwed in, Velcro, two pieces of door handles - preferably stainless steel, a pair of 5" metal hose clamps, something heavy and flexible that can be easily molded, such as ankle weights, to serve as sea ballast weights to keep the camcorder housing from floating. Meanwhile, several tools are needed for the project. These are clamps, a power drill and various sizes of bits, a cap from an empty spray paint can and hole saw.
- Make sure the jug won't leak. Test the water jug to see if it will leak. Tightly replace its cap and submerge it in a pool or big enough bucket while it's being held down by something heavy. Leave it for about an hour to see if water will seep through. If the sides leak, seal the threaded part of the jug with Teflon tape.
- Cut the clear plastic. Cut the acrylic plastic into a circle. Use the cap from the can of spent spray paint as a guide. Make sure you do not scratch the acrylic plastic.
- Make necessary markings on the water jug prior to cutting. Put the camcorder lens first into the water jug and mark the inner bottom part of the jug where the camcorder's edges are. Cut through the water jug's base markings using a hole saw. Put the camcorder inside the water jug once more to check if the hole you made is sufficient for the lens. Once certain, position the PVC plumbing fitting into the water jug by gently screwing it in the hole.
- Apply the hybrid marine sealant. First is to put on the hybrid marine sealant on the insides of the PVC plumbing fitting. Repeat the process for the outer part of the PVC fitting. Next, attach the lens made of acrylic glass onto the contraption. It would be a good idea to put something heavy on the acrylic plastic to serve as a weight for a better sealant setting. Make sure you carefully spread over the sealant to avoid smearing it on other areas. Leave the whole thing for at least a day to dry completely.
- See if water will seep through. Once you're certain that the sealant is thoroughly dried, check to see if the contraption you made won't leak. Repeat Step 2 for this purpose.
- Make the camcorder housing handles. Secure the two stainless steel door handles onto the outside part of the water jug using the metal hose clamps.
- Place the camcorder inside. With the hook side facing up, position the Velcro into the water jug with some adhesive. This will help secure the camcorder in place. Next, wrap the camcorder with Velcro, but this time with the fuzzy side facing outwards. Place the camcorder inside the newly-made camcorder housing. Put in some ballast weights so that the whole contraption does not float up the water during use. Ballast weights also help keep the camera from wobbling inside making it more stable and secure.
With your camcorder safe in its housing, you can now take it underwater to shoot marine life or landscapes. Take note though that the water blocks most of the above ground natural light which may leave your images grayish. Underwater photographers usually solve this by coming up really close to their subject.