The world of non-commercial film and A-V
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If your camerawork should win major prizes, you might decide to take things a stage further. However much diving you've done, if you want to go professional the first thing you'll need is an HSE commercial diving qualification.
The course used to be called the Part IV but is now known as HSE Scuba or Media Diver. Fort William in Scotland and Fort Bovisand on the south coast are the only two centres offering these courses, and they're not cheap.
Jeffrey Boswall, based in Bristol, runs excellent courses in wildlife TV programme-making. These vary from a weekend to three weeks and cover the whole process. Call 01275 853418.
The BBC's Natural History Unit, also in Bristol, runs an unpaid work experience programme from two to six weeks.
Finally, be persistent. If you hear of any camera-crews working anywhere near your area, make an effort to meet them. A willing pair of hands is always useful on land, and often under water too.
You might end up lugging camera gear around for months or even years, but one day it could be you behind the camera, taking the images at which millions of TV viewers will marvel.
[This article first appeared in 'Diver' magazine for August 2001 and is reproduced by kind permission of the author, who also supplied the opening illustration of herself filming dolphins and the one here where she and her trusty camera "Gizmo" are getting ready to work on a programme for the BBC Natural History Unit.]
Sue Daly is an underwater photographer and film-maker with a particular interest in marine biology. She lives on the Channel Island of Jersey. At Image 99 - the principal UK festival of underwater photography she took prizes for still and video work. She was awarded a Special British Gold Award. Her video Spring Underwater was Highly Commended. She has worked as an underwater camera person with several production companies including the BBC's Natural History Unit.
Visit her website to see samples of the pictures she has taken. (She has over 1,200 superb images for sale.) You can also get details of her highly-praised book Marine Life of the Channel Islands, which was published in August 1998. It costs £13.95 (sterling) and is available from Sue by mail.
SCUBA Training Agencies
PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors)
BSAC (British Sub Aqua Clubs)
NAUII (National Association of Underwater Instructors)
HSE Scuba or Media Diver Courses
A few of the many equipment suppliers