Olympus TG-6 and Backscatter Macro Wide 4300 Video Light Demo Reel—How it Was Shot
4K underwater sample video footage captured with the Olympus TG-6 & Backscatter Macro Wide 4300 Video Light. Shot by Backscatter Photo Pro James Emery of Lembeh Resort. James Emery, manager of the Backscatter Authorized Photo Center at Lembeh Resort, recently shot an amazing demo reel with the Olympus TG-6 and the new Backscatter Macro Wide 4300 light. We sat down with James to talk about the gear he used to produce this demo reel, the camera techniques he used, along with a few pro tips on how to get great video out of the Olympus TG-6. Backscatter: First off, congratulations on placing in the 2021 Underwater Photographer of the Year Awards macro category for your awesome shot of the filefish and sea pen.James: Thank you, I am very proud to be part of an amazing collection of photographs. Peter Rowlands, one of the judges commented “For once, subtle is the name of the game” and this was my approach. For days I had this vision emphasizing the natural colors of a Sea pen using the soft pink color filter on the Backscatter Mini Flash MF-1. I expected to shoot a Porcelain Crab or a Shrimp but was surprised by this cute juvenile File Fish taking shelter. I took advantage of the opportunity and used another Backscatter Mini Flash MF-1 with the optical snoot to expose the File Fish so that it retained its natural colors, whilst leaving the Sea pen in pink. 2021 Underwater Photographer of the Year macro category award winning image by James Emery. Sony a7S III | Sony 90mm Lens | 1/250 | ISO 200 | ƒ22Backscatter: How did you find it working with the TG-6 when you’re used to professional level full-frame mirrorless cameras?James: The Olympus TG-6 is a favorite amongst underwater photographers and you can see why from the amazing images coming from the camera. Being a compact camera it has a few advantages over bigger rigs. The small size and lightweight not only make it easier to lug around, but they also allow you to work with the camera into tighter positions to get shots of those critters that you would not be able to shoot with a bigger rig. The camera has easy ‘set and forget’ settings so you can spend more time on getting the shot rather than constantly changing your settings. The zoom control was a pleasant feature compared to the Sony 90mm prime lens I usually use. I was able to get the classic wide, medium, and tight shot sequence very easily without moving the camera. Backscatter: How did you get the clips to be so stable?James: I use the Joby Gorillapod 3K, which is a small lightweight tripod, perfect for the Olympus TG-6. The flexible legs enable you to easily position the tripod, even on the most difficult of terrain, yet it still keeps the whole system compact without compromising the stability to get a good shot. Pro tip: remove your hands from the camera rig whilst filming to make sure no micro-movements are recorded. Backscatter: What lighting did you use?James: I used the Backscatter Macro Wide 4300 video lights. A great feature of the video lights is you can switch from a wide beam to a narrow macro beam. The versatility of this feature pared with the Olympus TG-6 zoom means you can light wide angle and macro on the same dive. For the majority of shots I only used one light, but certain shots, including the Coconut Octopus with eggs and backlit shots, I used two. Backscatter: Did you use any other special accessories to shoot this video?James: The Olympus TG-6 camera and Olympus PT-059 housing doesn’t need any other accessories like other compacts cameras do, to be able to get great macro. The Olympus TG-6 has a built-in Macro mode that will enable you to fill the frame with super macro subjects. One of the best things about the Backscatter Macro Wide 4300 is that you can attach the Backscatter Optical Snoot OS-1 for an even narrower beam. A snoot is an attachment that fits around your light source and will create a narrow beam of light. Photographers use this tool to highlight only the subject whilst leaving the rest in black. This helps critters stand out from an over wise messy and distracting background. Before, snooted video was difficult to execute, but this set up enables video shooters to finally achieve the snooted look with minimal effort and professional results. Being able to isolate your subject from a distracting background is a game-changer when it comes to muck diving and will ensure that the main focus of your video takes center stage. The other accessories I used were the Backscatter Color Filter System to create creative and interesting backgrounds. Backscatter: How did you do the color backgrounds? They look really cool.James: The color backgrounds are all achieved by using the Backscatter Color Filter System on the Backscatter Macro Wide 4300 video lights. They come in two sets a ‘Bold’ collection and ‘Pastel’ collection with 12 different colors to choose from. You can easily attach the Backscatter Color Filter System straight onto the Backscatter Macro Wide 4300 video light or even on the Optical Snoot OS-1. There are endless creative possibilities with this system but I found the best approach is to use them subtly to merely highlight your subject. Thinking of complementary colors, use one Backscatter Macro Wide 4300 video light to backlight a subject and choose the appropriate color to match. Backscatter: How did you control the exposure? It looks spot on.James: The great thing about the Olympus TG-6 is you can set your exposure settings once and then forget about it. Shooting video on the Olympus TG-6 will automatically go into ‘Programme mode’ which essentially means the camera will choose the Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. We can still adjust the exposure using the exposure compensation. For the majority of the subjects I use -0.7 stops, this will cut out most ambient light leaving your subject exposed by only the video lights and will help to boost the contrast and color saturation. I will even drop down to -1 stop if I am wanting to achieve a blacker background whilst snooting. Backscatter: If people want to come to Lembeh Resort and learn how to shoot a video like this, how do they sign up?James: You can contact Dan at Under Exposures. I provide custom-tailored courses for all levels from beginners to advanced techniques. RESERVE YOUR SPOT NOWABOUT THIS ARTICLE The test footage and still images from this review were shot in Lembeh and Mando, Indonesia by the manager of manager of the Backscatter Authorized Photo Center at Lembeh Resort, James Emery. Lembeh Resort is one of the top destinations in the world for underwater macro photography. The team at the Backscatter Authorized Photo Center at Lembeh Resort can get you set up with classes, private guided photo dives, and help with off camera lighting on your dive. Contact Dan Baldocchi at Underexposures to book a trip to Lembeh Resort and get your macro shooting skills dialed in with a class, or a private guided dive to get the best shots Lembeh has to offer.