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How many lumens to film video in a cave with a GoPro?

Discussion in 'Cave Diving' started by CaveSloth, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. CaveSloth

    CaveSloth Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: The Deep South
    Is there a certain number of lumens from video lights beyond which would be overkill for using a GoPro Hero 7 Black in a cave environment?
  2. Manatee Diver

    Manatee Diver Manta Ray

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Tampa Bay, FL
    You need a lot of lights, and a lot of planning to place them. At least based on talking to cave video dudes.
    RayfromTX likes this.
  3. FreeFlyFreak

    FreeFlyFreak Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: California
  4. victorzamora

    victorzamora Solo Diver


    The problem with trying to give a recommendation is that it all depends on the size of the cave, the quality of the water, the composition/coloring of the walls of the cave, etc.

    Plus, there's the whole factor of lumens vs "lumens." So many light mfgs overestimate their light output by double or more. Others spike high and then tail off aggressively very shortly into the dive.
    tbone1004 likes this.
  5. rjack321

    rjack321 Captain

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, WA
    Whatever you are thinking, double it.
    StefinSB likes this.
  6. Bowers

    Bowers Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ohio
    In my limited practice ive found the basic solution is to place a few lights behind what you’re focussed on to illuminate the background and then a light at an angle that reduces splashback on your subject center. Even 1000 lumen lights can get you decent shots if done properly.
  7. Scuba Lawyer

    Scuba Lawyer Barracuda

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Laguna Beach, California
    I've always just used my generic canister cave light (no clue how many lumens) and my GoPro has produced beautiful results. Never have used a dedicated video light in a cave. My 2psi.
  8. Tripophobia

    Tripophobia Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Shanghai
  9. Jack Hammer

    Jack Hammer Solo Diver

    Generally the more the better with a GoPro. In places like Mexico or the Dominican Republic where the walls can be very bright you can get good results with a single low power light. In Missouri caves I need a lot of light due to there being few reflective surfaces. In Florida, generally more is better as you can turn the lights down for small or brighter areas. In larger passages a lot of light is needed to see the sides and top bottom.
  10. Bobby

    Bobby Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Charleston, SC
    My experience, working with videographers, have less Lumens on the camera compared to on the models. There are a lot of variables, as Victor mentioned, however having more Lumens off board has a lot better results. As far as how many we generally run with 5K's on camera and 10K's off however they are often turned down to suit the conditions. Our lights remain constant in Lumen output regardless of battery voltage, others don't.
    Jack Hammer likes this.

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