Underwater 2017-09-20T19:30:04+00:00


As well as documentary production Liquid Action Films can also provide for all your underwater cinematography needs, whether natural history documentary or creative ad campaign.

Dave has 2 decades of experience shooting in challenging underwater environments around the world, from shipwrecks to mid-ocean blue-water dives, caverns to offshore islands, in cold, temperate, and tropical locations.  Specializing in 4K and High Definition broadcast acquisition as well as still-photography, he is extremely passionate about sharing the underwater world with others.

Twenty years behind the camera, a degree in marine biology and thousands of hours immersion in the aquatic environment gives him a solid understanding of marine life behaviour and the complexities of filming underwater…whether it be for documentary, commercial or feature film.  This translates into the ability to safely deal with difficult working conditions, capture subtle light and colour underwater, and pull together fascinating behavioral sequences of hard-to-film marine life.

Over the course of his career Dave has filmed stories on Great White sharks, Orca, Crocodiles, Nautilus, Giant Cuttlefish spawning, shipwrecks, Manta rays, Giant freshwater eels, Giant Pacific octopus, Marine reserves, Scientific research expeditions, rebreather diving, freediving records, Giant squid dissections and more, for both LAF projects and major broadcast clients all over the world.


  • OSH certified Media Diver, NZ CoC, 2500+ filming dives worldwide
  • Certified to Instructor level
  • Nitrox certified
  • Poseidon closed-circuit rebreather trained
  • DAN 02 Oxygen Provider and First-Aid trained
  • Experienced in use of Underwater comms/ full face masks
  • Experienced Dive Supervisor for multi-day projects – overseeing dive team safety and logistics in diverse locations
  • BSc and Dip in Marine science & Ecology – excellent applied knowledge of marine life, particularly NZ marine species
  • Holder of a 5-year (renewable) Marine Mammal Filming permit, valid to 2018, [only a few issued in NZ]
  • ILM Commercial skippers ticket



2500+ filming dives worldwide filming everything from from crocodiles to Great White sharks.

Most types of underwater filming; mid-ocean blue-water diving on tethers in 3000M of water (mid Pacific), cavern diving [400M penetration], night diving, sea and river drift-diving, wreck penetration, shark cage diving, deep diving (to 65M).

Extended expedition diving, open-cage shark diving, pole-cam filming, bait-cam rigging etc, closed-circuit rebreather diving, Nitrox diving, drysuit diving, freediving, subtidal scientific surveying, .

Dive environments worked include: cold water kelp forests, tropical coral reefs, mangrove estuaries, harbor and wharf diving, freshwater and saltwater caverns, offshore islands and reefs, lagoon passes, mid-ocean etc.



Worldwide..  Papua New Guinea, Palau, Yap, Philippines, Sulawesi, Bali, Komodo, the Coral Sea, Great Barrier Reef, South Australia and Tasmania, Canada, [mid] Pacific Ocean, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, New Caledonia, and all over NZ from the Kermadecs to Stewart Island.

New Zealand:  The Kermadec Islands, Three Kings, Northland to Southland inclusive, Stewart Island, Fiordland, The Chatham Islands, most of the mainland’s offshore islands – The Poor Knights/ Great Barrier Island/ White Island/ Kapiti Island etc.


With a home-base in New Zealand we have an extensive network of contacts and resources around the country to arrange on-water shoot logistics, from suitable vessels, specialist crew and science talent, to the best timing and season for your shoot. We are able to assemble personnel and equipment, solve permitting and access issues, and maximize time out in the field shooting the sequences you need, – helping you achieve your filming goals successfully and cost-effectively while meeting all safety requirements.

If you are working to a tight budget, a cost-effective alternative to flying in crew and equipment with the time and expense that entails, is to have our experienced underwater DoP shoot the specific sequences you need.


We have the resources and specialist crew on-hand to direct and shoot underwater productions of any type, whether broadcast documentary, environmental media or TV commercial.

We can provide underwater cameraman/DoP, underwater lighting, safety divers, technical divers, surface supervisors, in-water talent, scientific talent, production-stills, dive vessels, location scouting and expertise, and all shoot logistics.

If you are new to underwater production, we can help you understand the physiological considerations and limitations imposed by working underwater and the extra filming possibilities achievable in a 3-dimensional environment, and steer you through the logistics of underwater production.


The underwater world is a fantastic medium for communicating concepts in a fresh new way, … engaging with your target audience via a world of spectacular colour, light, and form; – stunning backdrops, weird and beautiful creatures, fine detail and silky-smooth three-dimensional motion.

There is huge and largely untapped potential to create impactful television commercials in this ‘new’ medium, and as an experienced and creative underwater DoP, Dave can bring another dimension to your next ad campaign.

Dave Abbott on winter underwater shoot, NZ, Liquid Action films