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Dave Abbott

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Dave Abbott (@liquid_action_films) is a DoP and producer specializing in natural history and adventure travel documentaries and destination media. He has a passion for the underwater world and showing people what the planet has to offer us. Through Dave's work, he has maintained a strong commitment to preserving the integrity of a story and its characters.

Q: What made you want to become a photographer and videographer? 

A:  A passion for wildlife and for travel to wild and remote places around the world, and sharing interesting visual stories.  When I see anything cool, beautiful or interesting I want to film it!




Q: How and why are you using Lume Cubes in your work?

A:  Where to start! I use Lume Cubes because they are so compact I can easily take 3 or 4 of them with me everywhere, yet they are super bright, have a ton of useful accessories and they let me get way more creative with my lighting - even when I am working somewhere remote. 

How do I use Lume Cubes? In so many ways! I use them as 'off-board lighting' which gives a more natural lighting effect than on-camera lights, on my drone for lighting up scenes from above; as on-camera interview lights; for backlighting objects; additional underwater lighting, highlighting product shots, - even as a headlamp for caving!  I also make good use of the color filters to add effects, and the barn doors and snoots to custom shape light and for shooting macro subjects.




Q: Who are you inspired by? 

A:  As I do a lot of wildlife filming, cameramen like Doug Allan and Gavin Thurston (Blue Planet and Planet Earth) inspire me, - also creators like Peter McKinnon and photographers like Paul Nicklen.




Q: If you weren’t working to create underwater documentaries? What would you be instead?

A:  Actually I do a lot of filming on land and from the air as well as shooting underwater documentaries!  I couldn't imagine doing anything other than filmmaking, to be honest, - I love to capture amazing stories of nature, people and places and share those stories with others …its a job that incorporates adventure, travel, exploration, and meeting inspiring people, so may as well be poor doing something you love!




Q: If you could only shoot with ONE lens-type for the rest of your life, which would it be? Fisheye, wide-angle, prime, zoom, macro, or a telephoto lens?

A:  That's a tough question!  I go through phases of favoring each of those lenses ... if I absolutely had to choose one, it would be a close-focus wide-angle,  - I like to try and capture a subject so that it is the main focus of the shot, but also reveal something about its setting. Underwater and especially when shooting sharks, the rule is to get super close and shoot wide, so that would work!




Q: What is your go-to camera?

A: For my own projects I currently use a Panasonic Lumix GH5 - it's an incredible powerhouse camera with a small form factor so is easy to travel with, unobtrusive to use, produces beautiful 4K 60P footage, sharp still-images, and leaves me room to take an underwater housing, several lenses and a drone  .. I really like the look of the new full-frame Lumix S1H though!



Q: Any advice for someone that would like to follow in your footsteps?

A: Be prepared to be patient but persistent, ignore the competition you think you have, do what you love, finish things and get them out there!



Q: What is your preferred editing software?

A: I use Adobe Premiere Pro for video editing and Photoshop for editing still- images, and sometimes Adobe Lightroom.




Q: What is the best part of your day? 

A: It depends on the day!  When I am shooting underwater it is that moment of slipping beneath the surface into a different world; - if I'm shooting on land it's waking up to a clear dawn with an exciting shoot to do; - if it's a travel day it's arriving in a new country, ..otherwise, it's sipping my first coffee of the day!




Q: Coffee or tea? 

A: Definitely coffee!!



Q: If you could have lunch with anyone (dead or alive) and pick their brain, who would it be?

A:  David Attenborough, no human who has ever lived has seen as much of the planet as he has!  I think lunch with Trevor Noah and/or Ricky Gervais would be pretty funny though :)


Q: What is your favorite thing about working in the water and creating documentaries? 

A:  Working in' and underwater you understand that the cliche of 'entering another world' is absolutely true; it is a way of stepping off the planet and into a world where you can move in 3-dimensions.  The attraction of creating documentaries is the reward of sharing fascinating or inspiring stories with beautiful cinematography and potentially making a difference along the way.




Q: Where is the next place that you want to shoot with Lume Cubes at and how would you use the Cubes? 

A:  Anywhere in the Arctic!  Greenland, Northern Canada /Alaska, or Scandinavia.  I have so many ideas in my head of how I would use Lume Cubes to illuminate ice, water, and dark winter landscapes, love that I can use Lume Cubes on my drones for aerial lighting too!  




Q: You have always been extremely active in biking and different physical challenges that have prepped you for being in extreme locations to get content, how do you stay in shape and stay calm during a stressful shoot? 

A: A lot of the shoots I do are pretty physical which I guess keeps you in shape on the job!  My film assignments usually involve trekking and climbing in the rough country all day with a pack full of camera equipment, and I have had some shots where I have had to kayak, dogsled or horse-ride for days just to get on location!   Underwater shoots mean lugging scuba tanks and heavy camera housings around, so that also keeps you fit. As far as stress goes, there are so many things that can go wrong on a shoot - from travel hold-ups to bad weather to uncooperative (or dangerous) wildlife, that you can't afford to let anything stress you out too much!