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Thread: Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

  1. #1

    Default Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

    Hi everyone,

    Clearly a noob and a first time poster here I humbly apologize for any stupidity to come from my side.

    I recently purchased the GoPro HD HERO2, a very inexpensive camera which is becoming very popular among us divers which do not have thousands of dollars to spend on video equipment. Clearly it comes with shortcomings such as the focus issue but this is not the place for such a discussion and there are inexpensive fixes available. Rather I would like to ask and discuss with those among you with ideas and experience for video lighting with the intention to fit the budget of the GoPro (or any other underwater camera for that matter). As the camera uses a small sensor it produces amazing video with lots of available light but quickly goes to crap when it goes away. At depths greater than 100 feet/30 meters lights are needed (for macro, not much to do with the condition at greater distances).

    To be honest, if you bought a camera retailing for $299 including housing you are unlikely to look for lights which costs two or three times as much. Therefore I'd like to hear about suggestions for home made solutions which costs the same or preferably less than the camera itself. Ideally from people that are GoPro users themselves, but those might be rare here. As with all video lighting one cannot really use regular flash lights as these suffer from hotspots and tend to be of weak output. As added difficulty the GoPro has a max FOV of 120 degrees, thus needing a wide angle beam.

    I've looked around the forum and perhaps the strongest candidate I've found is this one:

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...ght-Relfectors

    If I will build the entire thing myself, something like this seem to be the easiest solution, perhaps with less output (this is close to 9000 lumen). Personally I have access to a place where I can get free material for canister, some types of batteries that I will use if possible, but for others that do not have this other solutions/suggestions might be more suitable. Other simpler and probably cheaper options would be to buy a cheap dive lamp on ebay such as:

    Ebay Item number: 280820687293

    And fit it with leds and driver equivalent to, say 2000 lumen. Fitting might be difficult, as well as heating. Ideally for the beam angle one would need to fit the leds a close to the glass as possible. Perhaps the easiest solution would be to buy a lamp as this:

    Ebay Item number: 330602749875

    And fit it with an aspheric lens and/or reflectors to deal with the hotspots and narrow angle of the flash light.

    This became a long post but any relatively inexpensive suggestions, ideas and thoughts would be highly appreciated! As I this camera becomes more and more common among divers more and more have to deal with lighting solutions.

    Cheers,

    Matt
    Last edited by Norm; 02-05-2012 at 01:13 PM. Reason: Ebay links removed

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* lucca brassi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

    Chechk this two backups on goodman handle ...there is also video

    http://light-for-me.com/ : http://light-for-me.com/index.php?op...d=19&Itemid=53



    DIY in that way ...

  3. #3

    Default Re: Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

    lucca brassi,

    Thanks I've seen that system before and it might well be the best value for money available, but as a already have a tray and flex arm setup I'm merely looking for lights, and therefore would be more interested in a dyi/modified setup. Also, I'm suspecting it would be more light for the buck...

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* 350xfire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

    Wow, that is actually pretty cool.
    Last edited by 350xfire; 02-06-2012 at 12:39 AM.
    http://tlslights.com/ your source for quality affordable dive lights, Mag-lite conversions and weapon lights. Now a Federal Firearms Dealer.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jaghetermattis View Post
    lucca brassi,

    Thanks I've seen that system before and it might well be the best value for money available, but as a already have a tray and flex arm setup I'm merely looking for lights, and therefore would be more interested in a dyi/modified setup. Also, I'm suspecting it would be more light for the buck...
    For what it's worth, most decent flashlights will take moderate depth if sealed in a ziploc bag*. My Quarks have gone swimming, though at some depth the pressure would press the clicky in. This would prevent turning the light back on, or back off; depending on planning. The window is likely to need reinforcement on large-bezel lights. How deep are you lighting?

    *Many don't need the bag, but it's nice insurance.
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

    well, he did mention 100ft/30m so I doubt the ziplock bag will work reliably.

    lucca brassi's suggestion seems nice. if you already have flexible arms and things, maybe the acrylic tube with metal insert could work. Packhorse copied his design from another post from lucca brassi iirc and is floating somewhere on the forum.

  7. #7

    Default

    Hi Matt,

    What type of conditions are you diving in and what do you want to shoot?

    I've got a hero2 for too and agree that it quickly "goes to crap" as you put it without adequate light. I believe you should be aiming for about 4000 lumen minimum and 100 degrees of beam angle (or two lights of half that), and much more lumens in clear/bright water. One of these lights will just cover the h2's field of view with a flat lens mod when set to medium fov.

    The video lights I built that you linked to work very well but aren't exactly cheap at about $400 in parts each (in oz at least anyway) and a fair bit of work. FYI they output about 6000 lumens on high (not 9000 lm due to the current and colour temp I opted for), and I use two of them with the gopro and it's enough but only just in medium to dark conditions (approx 50m off Sydney).

    In my view the cheapest way to get max lumens at lowest price is to mod a commercial offering. A canister light is a good place to start as they usually have a battery large enough.

    What is your budget?

    What would you accept as minimum burn time?
    Regards,
    Damien Siviero
    http://damiensiviero.com

  8. #8

    Default Re: Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

    AnAppleSnail,

    Thanks - the ziplock bag does offer a very cheap and easy solution which I must say I would consider was it not for the typical narrow beam (and perhaps the difficulty to attach it properly to a flexible arm)

    Damien,

    Interesting to hear that you have a hero2 too! I've seen your videos and I'm very impressed! Do you have anything filmed by the hero2?

    I typically dive in warm tropical waters (I did my OW here in Sweden but I'm not a regular in these waters) and the next trip will probably be in Indonesia. Here the clarity differs, though the viz is often decent, say 15-25 m - I've only encountered really soupy waters along the south coast of papua and though this might be one destination this time around I doubt it. So generally clear tropical waters and not often deeper than 50 m as I'm not a tech diver.

    Though not primarily a makro-fan I've assumed that if I have to use lights I have to be fairly close to the subject. I love the big stuff but with insufficient light and 5+ m away...

    I realize that your setup is not exactly cheap but seemed like one of most ingenious constructions I've seen, if not the easiest to build. Thanks that is great to know - I really was clueless on how much output was needed for these cameras. Btw a stupid question probably but why more lumens in clear water?

    As I've never shot under water before I'm reluctant to shell out to much cash before knowing how much I will appreciate it. I love shooting stills on land and I love diving so I'm confident I will but I rather go with a simpler (read: less sofisticated) solution. Though I still need the lumens of course. On the positive side I have access to quite a lot of tools (even a lathe) and free material such as batteries, 10.8v Lithium power tool batteries and charger, therefore I think I might be able to make a canister similar to your setup, albeit simpler.

    I guess my budget would be around 200 dollars which seems little to get 2x2000 lumen or more, but given I only have to buy (well I think) leds, switches and o-rings, a heat sink if I cannot make one myself and maybe drivers (if I dont want an only on/off setup) I don't think this should be impossible. As I'm not a tech diver 1 hour burntime would actually be ok I think. I can switch batteries on surface if I don't make a sealed unit.

    Is it possible to wire a series of leds so that the accumulated voltage is equal to that of a battery and then just wire it to the battery?

    Thank you Damien and all others for taking your time! Must admit I'm a bit surprised!

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* DIWdiver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jaghetermattis View Post
    AnAppleSnail,

    Is it possible to wire a series of leds so that the accumulated voltage is equal to that of a battery and then just wire it to the battery?

    Thank you Damien and all others for taking your time! Must admit I'm a bit surprised!
    Yes, that's called 'direct drive'. It's used in a lot of really cheap lights and some others. Most of those $5.00 and less (even giveaway) lights use three AAA batteries connected directly to some LEDs.

    There are two big problems with direct drive, or 'DD' - LiIon batteries tend to overdrive LEDs at full charge, meaning the life can be severely shortened, and the light output begins to fall as soon as you turn it on, and continues to fall until you turn it off. The first problem can be corrected by adding a resistor in series, but then you have to have the right resistor. The second problem can't be solved without a driver. In some applications the limitations of direct drive are acceptable. In fact, for decades it was all we had for flashlights - a battery connected to a light bulb. Many DD lights take advantage (knowingly or not) of the inherent resistance of the batteries, connections, and LED to limit the current to levels that will not rapidly or instantly destroy the LED(s).

    Drivers solve the first problem by controlling the current to the desired level. This control typically operates over a range of input voltages, meaning the current (and thus the light output) remains constant for a while. What happens as the batteries discharge depends on the driver, the LED, and the batteries. In some cases the light goes out suddenly. In some, you'll get some kind of flashing or other warning, in others the light output drops either gradually and continuously, or in steps. The amount of warning you get depends greatly on the driver, the LEDs and the batteries.

    Your buget seems low for 4000 lm, but it's not impossible if you DIY quite a bit. 2 SST-90s or 4 XM-Ls will give you about the light you want. The XM-Ls are cheaper, you could get them on stars for less than $10 each from DealExtreme (DX), or for better service, try LedSupply. KaiDomain (KD) also stock them. For wide flood beam, you don't need much for optics, maybe a shallow reflector from DX or KD. I can sell you drivers for $25 each, TaskLed (top notch) are pricier, DX or KD cheap. Remember, you don't get more than you pay for.

    If you just want to try something out, KD and DX have some XM-L lights that are remarkably cheap (ahem, I mean inexpensive) at $25 each. You could get around 4000 lm for around $100. Most aren't meant for diving, but $102 ($100 for lights and $2 for ziplocks) isn't an expensive foray into diving photography, even if it's just for lights. And there are some dive lights in that mix, though I'm sure at higher price.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jaghetermattis View Post
    AnAppleSnail,

    Damien,

    Interesting to hear that you have a hero2 too! I've seen your videos and I'm very impressed! Do you have anything filmed by the hero2?

    I typically dive in warm tropical waters (I did my OW here in Sweden but I'm not a regular in these waters) and the next trip will probably be in Indonesia. Here the clarity differs, though the viz is often decent, say 15-25 m - I've only encountered really soupy waters along the south coast of papua and though this might be one destination this time around I doubt it. So generally clear tropical waters and not often deeper than 50 m as I'm not a tech diver.

    Though not primarily a makro-fan I've assumed that if I have to use lights I have to be fairly close to the subject. I love the big stuff but with insufficient light and 5+ m away...

    I realize that your setup is not exactly cheap but seemed like one of most ingenious constructions I've seen, if not the easiest to build. Thanks that is great to know - I really was clueless on how much output was needed for these cameras. Btw a stupid question probably but why more lumens in clear water?

    As I've never shot under water before I'm reluctant to shell out to much cash before knowing how much I will appreciate it. I love shooting stills on land and I love diving so I'm confident I will but I rather go with a simpler (read: less sofisticated) solution. Though I still need the lumens of course. On the positive side I have access to quite a lot of tools (even a lathe) and free material such as batteries, 10.8v Lithium power tool batteries and charger, therefore I think I might be able to make a canister similar to your setup, albeit simpler.

    I guess my budget would be around 200 dollars which seems little to get 2x2000 lumen or more, but given I only have to buy (well I think) leds, switches and o-rings, a heat sink if I cannot make one myself and maybe drivers (if I dont want an only on/off setup) I don't think this should be impossible. As I'm not a tech diver 1 hour burntime would actually be ok I think. I can switch batteries on surface if I don't make a sealed unit.

    Is it possible to wire a series of leds so that the accumulated voltage is equal to that of a battery and then just wire it to the battery?

    Thank you Damien and all others for taking your time! Must admit I'm a bit surprised!
    I've not shot too much underwater with the Hero2 to be honest. I've got it for POV footage only and above water use. What I have shot underwater is pretty woeful and is centred around lighting and/or mounting tests with it on on a helmet or DPV. I'll see what I can dig up to give you an indication of exposure.

    In clear water, or more specifically brighter ambient lighting you'll need more lumens because your artificial light source will typically need to balance off against ambient. In low ambient light conditions (such as low vis or deep water) you camera's sensitivity to light will be increased via shutter/aperture/iso (done automatically by GoPro), so your artificial light will appear brighter (the reverse is true in light conditions).

    Your budget of $200 isn't much, but if you can source batteries, stock your most of the way there. Consider this:

    Head (make two of these if you want):
    3 * XML U2s (in series); $30
    1 * Task lFlex driver (run at 3000ma) - $25
    2 * Argo gland for canister/head - $15 (you could use the cheaper plastic ones if you want)
    4 * M3 screws - $5
    1 * oring - $1
    Alloy stock - free for you?

    Cable - $5
    5-6mm acrylic sheet for lens - $10

    Battery & Canister:

    10.8v Lithium battery - free for you?
    Delrin/PVC stock for canister - free for you?
    Canister switch/boot - $10/15
    1 * oring $1


    Single head + canister ~3000lm: $91 + 16 = $107
    Twin head + canister ~6000lm: $107 + $85 = < $200

    Limitations:

    1) The Taskled lFlex driver will burn off exces voltage as heat so isn't the most efficient. As voltage drops it will also dim the light on the tail end (higher capacity batteries will minimise this). Others might know of a better cheaper driver from DX, though my experience with random DX drivers hasn't been good.
    2) A single switch in canister will force both lights on at once, but you could go for head switches if you want.
    3) You get one power level only.
    Regards,
    Damien Siviero
    http://damiensiviero.com

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* lucca brassi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

    +1

    GoPro cameras are like ''backups'' not primary cameras , that's why I think there is no need to complicate too much with some big lights , big canisters...etc.

    It is fine that rig is balanced (direction) and in water neutral buoyancy small to.

    What I don't like on such small pack like GoPro is that shooting is not smoth , a lot of quick movement , it needs some a kind of stabilizers .
    On end of hends ; that it means 1m long handle or let's say 0,5 m non-extended with no mass inertia wich might dump vibrations , camera quick pick up that fuzzy movements. I hope you undersand me what i want to tell ;-) I think that this is point why is always mounted on something (helmet , scooter..)

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

    Hi

    as camera light i made two Mag Head sst90 with aspheric at widest, wired in serie, direct driven from a 2s Lithium battery.
    the setup draw around 10amp at start, without getting dead-blue(thank to copper), and quickly stabilize to 7-8amp

    i did not use the setup in real environement but, in pool, mag head with 44mm aspheric are heavy at the end of 48'' telescopic arms.
    I also notice the overlapping of the two aspheric in the picture. I'll give a try without aspheric.It will aslo give me a wider light. (current camera is not hd)

    edit:
    I'll give a try to the setup, and if light is sufficient (total darkness) i'll put a taskled H6CC in the recipe
    Last edited by SmokedCPU; 02-07-2012 at 08:57 AM.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* lucca brassi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

    I have noticed some interesting competition for GoPro http://www.actionpro.de/index_e.html

  14. #14

    Default Re: Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

    Quote Originally Posted by lucca brassi View Post
    I have noticed some interesting competition for GoPro http://www.actionpro.de/index_e.html
    The website did not show up in English.

    I also am crossing the path of what Video lights to get for the most bang for the buck. If money was not an object I would use the Sola4000's. HID would be fine for my cave diving but would like something that will turn down when I need it to for the rare times I dive in Salt Water. A buddy lets me use his homeaid 50watt HID but they are rather large since he use large ballasts and PVC. My camera is a Gopro 3 Black.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

    Quote Originally Posted by lucca brassi View Post

    What I don't like on such small pack like GoPro is that shooting is not smoth , a lot of quick movement , it needs some a kind of stabilizers ...)

    Put some plate under GoPro rig. Let' say about 25x5 inches and 3mm thick plastic "wing" will stabilize a lot.

    -J-

  16. #16
    Unenlightened
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    Default Re: Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

    I made my own rig which cost less than £200 inc the lights - 2x Xtar D06 800lm LED torches.

    Lesson learnt - you need flood not spot torches.

  17. #17
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Video Lighting suggestions for a GoPro HD HERO2 camera

    Can you take out the reflectors? If you can, then it will be much better for video... only prob is the reflector usually keeps the LED in place...

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