The Benefits of Using a SplashBag Vs. Underwater Housing

Choosing the right camera equipment can make or break your day on set. When you add water to the mix, you must also consider how you are going to keep the equipment safe. This post delves into the advantages of utilizing Splash Bags and Underwater Housings, the differences between them, and when to use one over the other.

Understanding Splash Bags and Underwater Housings

Since cameras are not waterproof, we need a way to keep cameras safe on set when water is involved. Splash bags are used to cover a camera when there is exposure to water and splashes on set. They are great for shots that just break the surface. Underwater housings are used when the camera must be fully submerged in the water for long periods of time. Splash bags offer temporary protection and convenience whereas underwater housings offer more comprehensive camera protection and advanced shooting capabilities.

Splash Bag Benefits and Considerations

Splash bags have certain advantages that underwater housings do not:

  • Portability: Splash bags are made of polyurethane which makes them easy to handle and transport.

  • Efficiency and Ease of Use: Once the bag is tested for leaks on set, the camera slides into the bag, gets zipped up, and is ready to shoot. If the camera needs a lens change, you take the camera out, change lenses, and put it right back in. When you are done with the water scenes, you can take the camera out and continue shooting as normal.

  • Adaptability: Splash bags are less camera specific than housings since they fit different types of cameras inside.

  1. Cost-Effectiveness: Splash bags are the less expensive option when it comes to protecting your camera from water.

While Splash Bags have many benefits, there are a few main things to consider:

  • Fragility: Since splash bags are made of polyurethane, they must be handled with care. This means avoiding concrete or hard surfaces that can puncture the bag when not in use. If there are any sharp parts of the camera, putting the camera in and taking it out should be done with care.
  • Leaks: While all of our equipment is tested in our shop prior to your production date, the bag should be tested the day of without the camera inside. The zippers should be lubricated properly and the air release valve should be closed.
  • Depth: While some splash bags can be submerged underwater, they should not be underwater all day. We always suggest and recommend a hard case housing anytime submerging more than a couple of feet.
  • Lens Control: Since there are no controls on the splash bag, camera control must be done through remote lens control.

Underwater Housing Benefits and Considerations

There are many benefits that underwater housings provide:

  • Durability: Since housings are made from aluminum, they are more durable than splash bags. You won’t have to worry about puncturing a housing.
  • Protection: Housings are more secure and cannot leak in the same way a splash bag can. They can also be underwater for longer periods of time.
  • Depth: While the ASL Splash Bags are verified for 3-4 ft max, housings can typically shoot in depths past 100 ft.
  • Lens Control: Housings are specially designed for a specific camera with lens and camera controls on the outside of the housing (not including the Hydroflex).

Below are some points to consider prior to your production date:

  • Leaks: While housings are generally more secure against leaks, the seals and O rings must be checked and tested before going into the water with the camera. Inspect for dirt or cracks and make sure the O rings are in their proper position. When closing the latches on the housings, it is best to do all of them at the same time. If that is not possible, closing them in a criss-cross fashion is best.
  • Camera Specific: With the exception of the Hydroflex, a housing is generally camera specific. For example, you cannot put a RED V-Raptor into an ARRI Alexa 35 Housing. Instead, you would need a RED V-Raptor Housing.
  • Lens Control: The operator can have full focus, iris, and zoom control on the housing itself or a remote lens control can be used topside. Since wireless signals do not transmit underwater, external lens control must be wired. With the Hydroflex housing, there are no physical camera controls on the housing and thus camera control must be done topside through a lens control system.
  • Time: The camera must be stripped of all accessories before being set up inside the housing. If you need to change lenses, you have to:
    1. Release the vacuum seal from the housing in order to open it
    2. Work around the space constraints of the housing in order to change the
    3. Set the lens control gears back up
    4. Seal the housing by pumping out the air from inside (either with the provided
      electronic vacuum or manual pump).

Since time is the biggest limitation with housing, it’s best to have an extra
camera body on set that can reside in the housing all day.

Proper Maintenance and Care

Cleaning and drying are the best ways to ensure the longevity of splash bags and underwater housings. If you are shooting in salt water, rinse the gear with fresh water when you’re done and dry it as quickly as possible. Before opening a splash bag or housing, have a towel or compressed air nearby to dry any extra water that could drip onto the camera.

The Impact of Heat

Whether your camera is sealed in a splash bag or underwater housing, the heat from the camera recirculates inside, making the camera even hotter. If you’re shooting in cool water, the water outside of the housing will pull some of the heat out. It’s important to keep the sealed housings and splash bags out of the sun. When the cameras are not in use, unseal them away from the water in a shaded area to allow the heat to dissipate, if possible.

Tailoring Solutions to Your Needs

Air Sea Land is the largest production and rental house for Professional Underwater camera gear in the North East, US. With our extensive knowledge of different models and brands, we can provide tailored options for filmmakers based on their project requirements. Whether it’s working within a certain budget or finding solutions to fit your specific case, we are happy to guide you to the best solution. You can check out our inventory here.

Our rental process can be done online or over the phone. We recommend:

  • Reading the manual of the equipment you are renting prior to booking it
  • Scheduling a check out day so we can assist you in set up and troubleshooting
  • Booking a tech who can assist you with the gear on set

If you encounter any issues with the equipment, or have general questions or concerns,
please do not hesitate to reach out!

If you’d like to learn more about the common challenges encountered in underwater shooting and practical solutions to ensure successful productions, check out our article here.

If you’re interested in the safety challenges encountered in underwater shooting and the key considerations when deciding to hire an expert, check out our article here.

Safety Precautions And Key Considerations When Shooting Underwater

Shooting underwater may seem simple on the surface, but diving deeper uncovers the many challenges experts face in this environment. From pacing and shot list to communicating underwater and handling equipment, precautions should be taken to ensure the well-being of the cast and crew. This post explores the safety challenges encountered in underwater shooting and provides key considerations when deciding to hire an expert.

The Importance of Safety in Underwater Shooting

While there are many challenges associated with this type of shooting, safety is one of the biggest priorities of an underwater camera operator. Below are some safety considerations to keep in mind:


Everything slows down when water is involved:

  • Normal tasks take longer to complete.
  • Direction takes longer to incorporate.
  • Shots take longer to shoot.

Preparing for this ahead of time greatly impacts a production’s success. Reducing the shot list and organizing it in an efficient manner is key.


Being immersed in a pool or open water for extensive periods of time can be dangerous. Fatigue must be considered while shooting underwater. A lifeguard is required to be on set. A safety diver accompanies the cast and crew in the water at all times. In open water, there are infinite variables to consider: bad weather, strong currents, reduced visibility, marine life, etc. Since the camera operator and safety diver understand the intricacies of the underwater environment, they are able to recognize the limits of everyone involved. They know when it’s time to stop and start again to protect the cast and crew.


The camera operator works closely with talent to fulfill the director’s needs. Breaking down direction into actions that are easier to accomplish in the water requires expertise and efficiency. Using an Underwater PA System helps with communication. This brings clarity to talent, allows for production to move at a steady pace, and reduces time spent in the water. To further streamline production, the camera operator uses hand signals to communicate with the camera technician above water. This enables the technician to quickly relay the status of the underwater environment to the rest of the crew.

Handling Equipment

Diver training and certification is required to use scuba gear for underwater shoots. If a camera operator attempts to shoot underwater without proper certifications, they are prohibited from using air from scuba tanks. They must hold their breath for extended periods of time and come to the surface after each shot. This not only slows production but also puts the cast and crew in jeopardy.

The Benefits Of Having An Expert On Set

There are many advantages of hiring experts who understand the ins and outs of shooting underwater. Among them are adaptability, efficiency, order, and trust.


Experts who are well acquainted with the challenges of underwater shooting are highly adaptable. While they have the foresight to know what will work before starting, they also know how to pivot if something is not going according to plan. Due to their experience, they are attuned to intricate details and can easily solve problems on set.


Ambition can lead to a filmmaker’s demise if they are inexperienced with the underwater environment. An overabundance of shots that are not feasible for the environment is dangerous for anyone in the water. An expert understands what shots are practical, how to prioritize and execute the shots, and how to achieve them in the least amount of time possible.


When an expert is present, the chaos that arises due to a lack of prioritization,execution, and time management disappears. Procedures are in place, steps are followed, time is used efficiently, and everyone does their best work.


Experts allow productions to run smoothly and create a safe environment for the cast
and crew.

The camera operator knows how to:

  • maneuver to get the desired shot
  • Safety Precautions And Key Considerations When Shooting Underwater4make talent feel comfortable in the water
  • communicate effectively to guide the production toward success

Exploring Depths Safely and Creatively: “On Duty” Case Study

In 2022, Air Sea Land had the privilege to work on a short film called “On Duty.” Boulder Crest Foundation” commissioned by Neymarc Visuals to develop a TV commercial and brand film to raise awareness about their post-traumatic growth programs, which help veterans, law enforcement officers, and first responders overcome post-traumatic stress through growth-focused programs.

As with all underwater shoots, we planned and prepared ahead of time.

On shooting day, we held a safety meeting, blacked out the pool quickly, set up PA systems for easy communication, and lit the set. We secured a light to the end of a jib to create the illusion of a moving sun. We established a safe set for the cast and crew by organizing equipment and cables meticulously.

Production allowed us to lead, which resulted in a smooth production process, finishing ahead of schedule, a happy director, and wonderful final results.

Check out “On Duty” here

Charting New Depths

Safety Precautions And Key Considerations When Shooting Underwater5Prioritizing safety in the world of underwater shooting is paramount. Trusting in experts guarantees smooth, well-executed productions and creates a secure environment for all involved.

With over 30 years of experience, Air Sea Land offers efficiency, expertise, and specialized equipment, ensuring a confident navigation through the depths. If you need an expert for your next underwater project, we can help you overcome hurdles and ensure the success and safety of your production.

If you want to learn more about the common challenges that underwater operators face and best practices to be aware of, check out our article “Shooting Underwater: What To Know Before You Dive In.”

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for professional services or further assistance!

Capturing The Depths: Why Hire A Pro

Imagine captivating scenes that unlock the secrets of underwater artistry, capturing mesmerizing underwater footage, and leaving viewers breathless. Whether you’re producing a documentary, shooting a commercial, or working on a creative project, nothing compares to an experienced professional underwater videographer.

Underwater videography is a specialized skill that requires technical knowledge of state-of-the-art equipment, a strong understanding of underwater safety protocols, and the creative touch that will make your project shine. Their experienced eye for composition and storytelling will turn your footage into a visual masterpiece that resonates with viewers and leaves a lasting impression.

Experienced professional underwater videographers are not only equipped with cutting-edge underwater equipment, but they also understand the intricacies of these devices and can optimize their settings to achieve exceptional results. Moreover, their experience allows them to troubleshoot any equipment-related issues promptly, ensuring your shoot runs smoothly.

So, take the plunge and let the pros guide you to extraordinary depths beneath the surface.

Click here to Rent an Underwater Operator!

Several Important Reasons for Hiring a Professional Jib Operator

Capture your vision from new heights with a professional camera jib operator! When it comes to creating visually stunning and dynamic shots, the expertise of a skilled camera jib operator can make all the difference. From sweeping crane-like movements to smooth and precise tracking shots, a camera jib offers unparalleled versatility and creative possibilities. In this list, we will explore the top reasons why hiring a professional camera jib operator is essential for bringing your film, television, or event production to the next level. Get ready to elevate your visuals and immerse your audience in a captivating visual experience like never before!

Reasons for Hiring a Professional Jib Operator
  1. Expertise and Skill: Professional jib operators have specialized training and experience in operating jibs and camera cranes. They understand the intricacies of the equipment and know how to achieve smooth, precise camera movements, which can significantly enhance the overall production quality.
  2. Safety: Jib operations involve heavy and sometimes complex equipment, which can be potentially dangerous if mishandled. A professional jib operator is well-versed in safety protocols, minimizing the risk of accidents and ensuring the safety of the crew, talent, and equipment.
  3. Consistency: A professional jib operator can consistently deliver the desired camera movements, ensuring that every shot meets the director’s vision and maintains visual continuity throughout the production. This level of consistency can be challenging to achieve with inexperienced operators.
  1. Creativity and Artistry: Jib operators have a keen eye for capturing dynamic and visually engaging shots. Their ability to frame scenes creatively and make subtle adjustments in real-time can add an artistic touch to the production, elevating the overall storytelling.
  2. Time Efficiency: An experienced jib operator can set up and operate the jib efficiently, saving time during production. This efficiency is crucial in fast-paced environments like live events or time-sensitive shoots.
  3. Adaptability: Jib operators can adjust their techniques and camera movements to suit different shooting scenarios, whether it’s a dramatic film, a live event, a music video, or a commercial. Their versatility allows them to adapt to various production requirements seamlessly.
  1. Collaborative Skills: Jib operators are part of a larger production team and understand the importance of collaboration. They can communicate effectively with directors, cinematographers, and other crew members to ensure they achieve the intended shots.
  2. Professional Equipment Handling: Jib operators are familiar with the specific equipment used in jib operations and know how to maintain and handle it properly. This can prevent unnecessary wear and tear on expensive gear and minimize the risk of equipment malfunctions during a shoot.
  3. Problem Solving: On-set challenges and unexpected situations are common in the world of production. Professional jib operators are skilled problem solvers, quickly adapting to changing circumstances to keep the production running smoothly.
Overall, hiring a professional jib operator can significantly enhance the visual quality of a production, increase efficiency, and contribute to a safer working environment on set. Their expertise, creativity, and ability to collaborate effectively make them valuable assets to any studio or production team.

ASL Productions Jib Services

Shooting Underwater: What To Know Before You Dive In

Beneath the shimmering surface lies a filmmaker’s enigma: the underwater environment. Say goodbye to the ordinary rules of underwater shooting. From orchestrating complex shots ahead of time to communicating in entirely new ways, explore the challenges faced by underwater filmmakers and how they use their expertise to guide productions to success.

With 30 years of experience shooting in all types of environments, from oceans in Alaska to pools in NYC, Air Sea Land is the largest rental house for Professional Underwater camera gear and Jimmy Jib rentals in the North East, US.

This post explores the common challenges encountered in underwater shooting and provides practical solutions to ensure successful productions.

There has been a growing popularity and demand for underwater shooting in the industry at large. More and more productions are shooting scenes underwater in order to bring their stories to life and enhance the experience for their audiences.

Whether you are thinking about including an underwater scene in your production or you’re familiar with the process, understanding the challenges involved in this specialized form of filmmaking and having an expert on set are paramount.

Most filmmaking happens on land. There is a common misconception that the same rules apply when shooting underwater. With new environments comes new rules. This change of environment impacts everything:

Pacing and Shot List

The pace of a normal set simply isn’t the same as an underwater set. Since most members of the cast and crew are working in an entirely different element than they are used to, normal tasks take longer. While it is common for on-land productions to have long shot lists, it is important to remember that time slows down underwater, as do movements.


On a normal set, the Director and Assistant Director can call out phrases such as “roll sound,” “roll camera,” “action,” “cut,” “reset” and the cast and crew can react immediately.

  • The sound department cuts audio
  • The Director of Photography stops shooting
  • The talent stop what they are doing and saying
  • Everyone can reset back to one

If your camera operator and talent are underwater, the phrases above do not garner such immediate response. If the director has notes, there is a delay here as well.


Buoyancy is an added challenge to underwater productions. A person in water will naturally float to the top. This makes talent’s job more difficult if the director wants them to perform specific actions, especially if they are inexperienced in underwater shooting. The underwater camera operator must control their own buoyancy and the buoyancy of the camera itself.


Underwater shooting can either take place in open water or a pool. It is very rare to have a large light in open water — instead, dive lights or flash lights are used. Lighting can become tricky if production needs the scene to look like it takes place in open water but the shooting location is a pool.


Visibility is dependent upon the shoot’s environment. In a pool, there are little to no issues. With open water, visibility can vary due to elements like the date, time, location, and weather. Prior to an open water shoot, it is important to:

  • select a proper location
  • select an ideal day
  • know the visibility ahead of time
  • test the water to ensure it meets safety requirements


Standard camera equipment is not waterproof. Proper underwater equipment is required for underwater shooting to avoid damaging the technology utilized on set.

While underwater filmmaking can have its challenges, there are practical solutions and best practices to implement to ensure success on set:

Pacing and Shot List

Thinking ahead and planning is necessary for productions to succeed. Since time slows down underwater, the shot list must be reduced down to prioritize the most important shots for the story. Shots then need to be organized in an order that is efficient.


Using an Underwater PA System helps maintain communication between the underwater camera operator and the crew above water. The camera operator can also use hand signals to communicate with the camera technician above water. This allows the technician to quickly translate the state of the underwater environment to the rest of the crew.


Controlling buoyancy is important in underwater shooting. Talent can hide lead shot bags in their pockets to help them sink or stay neutral. The camera operator wears a weighted belt to sink and uses a Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) to rise to the surface.


If production needs the scene to look like it takes place in open water but the shoot’s location is a pool, blacking out the pool is a solution. In order to achieve an empty abyss effect, specially designed underwater blacks are placed over the walls and floor of the pool.

If underwater blacks are used, the pool filters must be turned off in those specific areas. Otherwise, they can get sucked into the jets and the pool filter will burn out. Blacking out the pool takes time and should be taken into account in the production schedule.

When shooting underwater, it’s important to note that everything is tinted blue. You can overcome this by placing red filters in front of the lens, changing the white balance, and color correction in post production.


The use of Underwater Housings or Splash Bags is necessary to keep the camera dry underwater. If the camera needs maintenance, such as a battery change or new lens, the camera technician handles these changes above water. Since the camera technician makes sure the camera equipment is working up to standards, it is ideal for them to stay dry on set.


Understanding the distinct rules and adjustments needed for shooting in an underwater environment is essential for successful productions. Effectively managing the challenges above leads to remarkable visual experiences and unforgettable cinematic moments.

If you’re embarking on an underwater film project and are seeking professional assistance to tackle the unique challenges that come with it, Air Sea Land can help. Our expertise and specialized equipment can help you overcome the hurdles of underwater filming and ensure the success of your production.

Whether you need guidance in shot planning, communication solutions, buoyancy control, lighting techniques, or equipment recommendations, our team is here to support you every step of the way. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for professional services or further assistance.

Let’s dive in together and bring your vision to life!