My DIY GoPro Dive Rig

My DIY GoPro Dive Rig

After reviewing much of my footage from Cozumel, I came to the realization that I needed a much more stable setup for my camera.  It seems that the selfie stick that came in the cheap accessory pack seemed to twist quite a bit, and it was evident in the footage as well.  Well, I do some research, and it looks like most people use a tray that holds their GoPro and usually some underwater lights of sorts.  I also find out that these Camera Trays as they are called are quite expensive!  Many of them that include lights are usually priced starting at well above $400 for a tray and a pair of cheap lights!  Prices over $799 are not unheard of for a similar setup with better lights.

Well, I knew I could build my own.  They looked simple enough from any photo, it really was just a matter of finding the parts that I would build it with.

All of the components used to make my dive tray.
All of the components used to make my dive tray.

Grip to Grip is 12" at the furthest out. I can also put the grips 7" apart if I want to.
Grip to Grip is 12″ at the furthest out.  I can also put the grips 7″ apart if I want to.

Stainless Steel threaded rod and Stainless Steel nuts for grip spacers.
Stainless Steel threaded rod and Stainless Steel nuts for grip spacers.

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I had to drill out the end of the Snake River Prototyping locline holder from 1/4″ to fit 5/16″ Stainless Steel threaded rod.  Then used a nylock nut to hold it in place.

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1/2″ PVC fits perfectly inside my Oury ATV grips.

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Partially assembled handles, locline adapters on the right.

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When you install the nylock nuts, make sure you thread them all the way on.

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Otherwise they will not stick in place.  This one is in just far enough.

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Basic tray assembled with the arms bolted to the tray.  Stainless Steel washers seperate the grips from the aluminum tray.

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Mount the GoPro in the center of the tray.

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Using a 1/4-20 screw I attach my GoPro adapter.

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GoPro adapter in place.

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The dive lights are held in place by two O-Rings.

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Notice the lack of reflectors in the lights.  This provides a nice even dispersion, and no hot spots that I can see so far.

 

Cost Quantity Total Description
$9.95 1 $9.95 1 1/2″ x 1/4″ x 12″ Aluminum Flat Bar
 $14.95 1 $14.95 5/16″ x 24″ SS Threaded Rod
$0.55 4  $2.20 5/16″ SS Nylock Nuts
$0.35 4 $1.40 5/16″ SS Nuts
$0.40 2 $.80 SS Fender Washers
$9.99 1 $9.99 Pair of Oury grips
$1.99 1 $1.99 12″ of 1/2″ PVC
$45.00 1 $45.00 Loc-Line Arms with SRP Torch Mounts
$23.00 2 $46.00 2000 Lumen Cree XM-L2 Diving Video Flashlight (Chinese – bought on eBay)
$4.99 1 $4.99 SprayCan of Plasti-Dip
$0.25 1 $0.25 1/4″ Screw
$3.99 1 $3.99 GoPro Mount
$8.99 1 $8.99 4 PC 18650 Batteries & Charger

Dive Tray Grand Total (with lights!): $150.50

Anxious to see how the cheap eBay dive lights perform, but not too worried if they have issues as I have alternatives with me, and I did ok without lights in Cozumel.  The macro lenses will benefit most from the added lights, as would any night dives I do, so I hope they perform as expected. (supposed to be good to 100m and I don’t plan to dive that deep anytime soon, so we’ll see!)

Filters and Lenses

As I learned in Cozumel, filters can make a HUGE difference in the color rendering, especially at depths.  I had purchased the basic GoPro red dive filter, and it did its job well, but the GoPro is limited to wide shots and is not really good with Macro shots.  So I settled down and did some research on the options that are out there, and one option kept coming out on top.  The Flip 3.1 system appealed to me because of the ease of swapping between two filters with a TopFlip added, and I could choose what I would put in each filter location.  The ability to go from a macro lens to a dive filter with a simple flip made this setup a no-brainer.

The flip system has a 55mm adapter that you can thread a variety of dive filters on, as well as a +10 and a MacroMate closeup lenses.  The threaded filters allow you to stack them with the lenses, or you can just choose to use a poly dive filter based on the depth of your dive.

For my rig, I’ve chosen a small selection of lenses and filters, but tried to include all the possibilities I would encounter.

  • Flip 3.1 Shallow Underwater Color Correction Filter
  • Flip 3.1 Dive Underwater Color Correction Filter
  • Flip 3.1 Deep Underwater Color Correction Filter
  • 55MM Thread adapters (2)
  • 55MM +10 Macro lens  (for subjects 8″-12″ away)
  • 55MM MacroMate Mini (for subjects 3″ away)
  • GoPro Red Dive Filter

 

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