How do filmmakers shoot scenes where characters are underwater/drowning?

3693 how do filmmakers shoot scenes where characters are underwaterdrowning

Filmmakers face a unique set of challenges when filming scenes where characters are underwater or drowning. To achieve these shots, a combination of practical effects and visual effects is often employed.

One common practical effect used in underwater filming is the use of underwater housings for cameras. These housings are designed to protect the camera from the water and allow the camera operator to control the camera while submerged. Another practical effect that is used is the use of diving equipment for the actors and crew members who will be in the water. This includes wetsuits, scuba gear, and air tanks.

Visual effects also play a significant role in underwater scenes. Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is commonly used to enhance the underwater environment, such as adding schools of fish, plants, and other elements that are not present in the actual shoot. Additionally, green screens are often used in combination with CGI to create the illusion of characters being underwater.

The lighting used in underwater scenes is also a crucial factor. As light is absorbed by water, it is important to use powerful lights to illuminate the underwater environment and maintain the clarity of the shots. This is especially important in scenes where the characters are in motion, as the movement of the water can cause the shots to become blurry.

To ensure the safety of the actors and crew members during underwater shoots, safety protocols must be put in place. This includes having certified divemasters or lifeguards on set, having backup air supplies, and having a designated safety area for actors to rest and catch their breath.

Finally, it is essential to carefully plan and choreograph underwater scenes to ensure that the shots are captured effectively. This may involve using specialized equipment, such as underwater cameras, and coordinating the movements of the actors and crew members to achieve the desired shots.

In conclusion, filming scenes where characters are underwater or drowning requires a combination of practical effects, visual effects, lighting, safety protocols, and careful planning. By utilizing these techniques and tools, filmmakers can effectively bring these scenes to life and create stunning and believable underwater scenes.


  • “Underwater Filmmaking: A Beginner’s Guide.” Filmcrux, 29 June 2020,
  • “How to Make an Underwater Movie.” Vimeo,

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