Meet Pauline, professional underwater camera(wo)man
I am Pauline, a swiss-french underwater cameraman! After completing my masters in journalism in a Political Sciences Institute in Grenoble, France, I worked as a journalist and video editor in Paris for a few years.
I then decided that this kind of life was not for me. After a very long brainstorming session, multiple trips around the globe brought me to Koh Tao, Thailand to complete an underwater videography course. That’s where everything started!
How did you start diving?
I have been diving since I was 6 years old. At that time, during the holidays, my dad would take me to 1-meter depth after his dives. Since then, I haven’t stopped. I passed all my certifications up to the Instructor course last year.
How did you start diving for a living ?
I always dreamt of combining my 2 passions: videography and diving. When I left Paris, I was already certified as a Divemaster, I just needed to get the necessary skills to film underwater and see what kind of future would open to me.
After my underwater video course, I found work pretty easily filming souvenir DVDs for open water students.
Slowly, I became the manager of the company while bringing my filming skills to the next level. Then I met Simon, an English underwater videography instructor working for another company.
After a year spent together, we decided to leave and start our own underwater videography and photography company. That’s how we landed in El Nido in the Philippines, a place we both fell in love with! And that’s also how Fisheye Underwater Productions started!
So what is Fisheye exactly?
Fisheye is an underwater video and photo production company so mainly we film underwater! In more detail: we do photo and video courses from beginner level to professional level. We shoot for TV shows and we do promotional shooting for dive centers, resorts… as well as shooting souvenir photos for the people who come diving in El Nido.
What’s your best underwater memory?
There are so many! To talk about one: recently we went with Simon in Raja Ampat, Indonesia where I spent the most amazing 90 minutes of my life underwater! We spent 5 minutes kneeling in the sand waiting and then oceanic manta rays swooped over the cleaning station and just over our heads, we stayed in the same spot until we had to surface, unfortunately our tanks only hold a certain amount.
At one point, I could count 12 mantas in front of me! It was totally incredible; they kept on coming and going. Absolutely mind-blowing!
What do you like in underwater videography?
There are a few different aspects of underwater videography that are appealing to me:
- It brings back the magic to random things. When we dive a lot, we can easily get spoilt and not really care about small things anymore like a clown fish for example. I have met some divers with thousand of dives that lost all their interest in “common” marine life. When we have a camera in our hands, we see things from a different perspective. We can notice new details that we never thought of before.
-Mastering the body and breathing: this is already one of the most important aspects of diving but with underwater videography it is taken to another level. The buoyancy skills of an underwater videographer needs to be really really good to be able to shoot smoothly and to get close to the animals and reefs without destroying anything.
-Raising awareness: I film underwater for myself and my enjoyment, but above all, I film to be able to share with others, show the people what hides under the surface, explain to them why it is important to preserve the ecosystem. Whilst sharing my passion with them, I hope every time that they watch my videos and photos they become aware of how lucky they are to have seen these animals and how carefully we need to be to look after the fragile reefs so we can enjoy seeing this marine life again and again.
What’s your favorite dive spot in El Nido?
They are definitely 2 of them:
- Paradise Beach is incredible for macro. The dive centers mainly use this dive site for courses to do confined skills because there is a lot of sand and it’s shallow but it’s also a site full of surprises! We can find seahorses, flamboyant cuttlefish, ghost pipe fish, frogfish… really really nice!
- South Miniloc: This dive site forms a point in a channel. There is a huge cabbage coral garden on it and lots of fish everywhere!
What would you recommend to become an underwater videographer?
First of all, you need a very good diving level. As I was saying before, mastering your buoyancy is the most important thing for underwater videography. Then you need practice and patience. A lot of practice and a lot of patience! It’s not because you buy the best camera on the market with the most expensive housing that you are an underwater videographer. It is the number of hours you spend underwater with a camera, the different conditions in which you film and your will!