August 2018 Video Contest Winner and Review



Winner: Shark diving Bahamas – Bartosz Sykus

Winning Video:

What a month for entries! Eighteen in all and a pleasure to watch every one of them. The overall standard seems to rise every month. More videos this month from Italy and Spain and on this note I would just like to mention that, to my shame, I don’t speak much of either and so the precise meaning of any narration is lost on me. If at all possible could any future entries have an English introduction and narration. It is not essential, but it would help.

Such a variety of films, from full documentary style to music videos. Wonderful! As usual I have commented on each film so please read each of them in case there is useful information there for you.

Let’s take a look at this month’s entries:

Egypt / Wreck: SS Thistlegorm – Luis Ricardo Branco

Watch Luis’ video here.

Well done for doing the research. Really good to have the history of the wreck. It makes the video far more poignant. You certainly covered the wreck with nice shots. It is one of the better war time wrecks for diving and photography. The music didn’t quite work for me though, as it was a bit to bright for the sombre feel of the war time images.

Ischia suggestioni mediterranee (Ischia Mediterranean suggestions)- Alberto Cassanelli

Watch Alberto’s video here.

Once again, good to see a written intro to the video. It really does give a greater meaning to the film.

For those who do not speak Italian a rough google translation of the intro is “The beauties of the Mediterranean seen from the wings of the island of Ischia. But mare nostrum in difficult times like these is less and less a cradle of civilization. In my opinion beauty freedom and dignity are closely related and I would like to continue to admire these extraordinary sea beds, hoping that our ancient sea returns to be what history gives us, a cradle of civilization and not an immense cemetery. in the video some suggestions on the topic.”

Lovely music opening to the film with a great establishing shot of the area. Sadly I do not speak Italian so I have little idea of what the narrator is saying. I am no doubt missing the finer points of the narrative but I feel I got the gist of it. The story flowed together nicely and was all well shot with good clear and steady images, especially the underwater which had good lighting.

Reportage dalle Medas – Alberto Cassanelli

Watch Alberto’s video here.

Another from Alberto in Italian, so here is the translation.

“Reportage from the Medas. Reportage from the Medas Islands a singular and very particular marine park of our Mediterranean Costa Brava Spain, from which we could draw some useful ideas also for our reality.”

Sadly once again I cannot understand the narration which is a shame as it looks to be a very informative film. The overall structure of the video is very professional as is the camera work and editing. Love the music. The underwater clips are excellent and the Giant Grouper is a true star.

Ethereal creatures – Puccio Distefano

Watch Puccio’s video here.

Ctenophores and tunicates are truly extraordinary. You have done well to film these so well. Music is very fitting to compliment the images. Although the video is clear and sharp, the overall quality is a little flat in contrast and desaturated in colour. Have a think about lighting a little more from the side. Also try dropping the exposure in post and boosting the contrast a little. Just might give a little more depth to the subject.

Secrets of the night – Jose Carlos Rando Lara

Watch Jose’s video here.

For those who don’t speak Spanish, here is a translation of the written intro to the film. “offers a dark but alternative universe, full of life and details in which we can see colours and delicate creatures, beauty that we do not know, hidden under the moon and revealed by the sea every night.”

Excellent beginning to the film. The music, the half hidden moon, the octopus. Wonderful to watch. The animals action and the speed of the camera moves are in perfect harmony with the music which makes the whole film flow with grace. The quality of the images is perfect. Sharp, well framed, well lit and very steady.

Sunset/Night Diving in S. Caterina (Le) Italy – Nanni Bassetti

Watch Nanni’s video here.

Good to have an establishing shot to show where the diving location is. The film had a good adventure feel to it but at times the music was a little to powerful for the action taking place. Nice editing and you did well to keep the pace going.

Underwater Vol. 1 – A journey into scuba diving – Nanni Bassetti

Watch Nanni’s video here.

Thanks for the written intro. Makes a big difference to know what the film is intended to portray. Nice concept for the film and the music fitted it well although the abrupt ending to the first music piece was a little disturbing. Perhaps it could have faded slowly of have been mixed and blended with the new incoming track. Same with the third track. But overall the video had a good feel to it.

Underwater – Vol. 2 Sea life – Nanni Bassetti

Watch Nanni’s video here.

Hi Nanni. You certainly are enjoying your diving and and videography. As you progress, have a think about taking a bit longer over each shot you do. Consider the subject and the best angle to film it from. Then take your time and get the best image by holding the camera steady and getting as close as possible to the animals you are filming.

Big Respect – Jordi Regy Sibon

Watch Jorgi’s video here.

What a terrible wound and what a stunning animal. That was a really nice video. You did well to stay with it and get the complete variety of shots. Your music choice was perfect. You are right, we don’t generally respect nature. We mostly exploit it for entertainment or finance. We forget we are part of that nature too.

Aplysia Dactilomela – Puccio Distefano

Watch Puccio’s video here.

I really like this video. It concentrates on one species and I’m sure, is very educational and informative. Unfortunately I don’t speak Italian and so can’t understand the narrative. That apart, it is extremely well made with some excellent camera work. The close ups of Sea Hare and diver are particularly good. In this instance music was not necessary as the narration was complete beginning to end.

Scilla – Puccio Distefano

Watch Puccio’s video here.

The jelly fish opening with the music was lovely. The following mixture of wide angle, mid shots and close ups did not disappoint. Excellent steady swim shots over the corals.

Dive Bonaire – Thomas Hooker

Watch Thomas’ video here.

Hi Thomas. Nice opening but the second underwater shot had serious cropping on the left hand side. The solution would have been to zoom in in editing and get rid of the black edge. Generally if this does not work and there is a serious loss of quality then it is better to be decisive and take the image completely out. You are obviously very talented with the camera and have some lovely material in the video. However I felt there was too much there without the addition of some sort of narration. Even for the most professional film makers thirteen minutes of just images and music is a challenge. I would suggest picking only your best shots and cutting the film down. The diver alert message at the end was good and a stark warning to all who become complacent about diving.

Cayman Brac Diving – Thomas Hooker

Watch Thomas’ video here.

Once again lots of nice shots but overall just a little too long. Perhaps it would have been better to edit two or three shorter videos with a more definite theme. I did like the turtle edited with the tempo change of the music.

Seadragon Photography – Dean Spraakman (Seadragon Photography)

Watch Dean’s video here.

Good start with excellent images and music. The editing to the sound track was also well thought out. Just a note to say that one of the shots was out of focus and so worth removing as it detracted from the other sharp images. The cuttle fish were wonderful. You must have been thrilled to have seen and filmed them. Your camera work and lighting is excellent.

Shark & Yolanda Reef – Daniele Sorze

Watch Daniele’s video here.

Great start with the map and the dive briefing. The music worked well. What were the cetaceans? Were they False Killer Whales? The underwater reef shots were excellent with steady camera work and nice lighting and nice to see a few reveal shots from under the table corals. The dolphins at the end were a bonus.

Under Sipadan – Xeon KS

Watch Xeaon KS’ video here.

That was a very welcome change of pace. Fast images with fast music and fast editing which all worked really well together to produce an exciting dynamic video. Great to see so many fish in one shot. The overall length of the film was perfect.

Shark diving Bahamas – Bartosz Sykus

Watch Bartosz’s video here.

Powerful opening shot with the shark and then a good follow up with the aerial of Bimini. Like it. The establishing shots of divers and area were good and well worth making the effort to get. The underwater shots were faultless and dramatic. I’m not a great fan of feeding stations but it does show an obvious awareness and intelligence in the sharks interacting with the divers. Just as I had seen enough of the sharks and dramatic music you must have read my mind and changed the pace of the film with a serene ray. Perfect. The break in the film with a change of location and shark species worked well. The Tiger sharks were superb. Don’t think you could have got much closer!Well done for getting above all the action for the underwater aerials. When I first opened the video I noticed, with a slight feeling of dismay, that it was eleven minutes long but in the end I was captivated by the imagery. But most of all I was heartened to see you refrained from the classic ‘danger’ music and set the feel of the dive with a mystic track that gave a sense of awe and wonder. The two tiger sharks that seemed to buddy together were a real treat. What an amazing dive.

Una nuova stagione -Alberto Cassanelli

Watch Alberto’s video here.

Thanks Aslberto for the written intro. Here is the translation “A new season – End of May 2018 the incredible explosion of colors in the seabed of the protected marine area of ​​Tor Paterno 6 miles off Ostia Lido in Rome after a winter and a rainy and cool spring, a climatic situation overturned compared to last year”. I only wish I understood enough Italian to appreciate the narration. Loved the bird stepping to the music opening. Made me smile. From the excellent images I can only guess at the storyline. Visually the video flowed effortlessly as did the music.

And the Winner is….

Choosing a winner this month with so many different styles and subjects has been the hardest yet.

But choose I must. If you have not won, please don’t be disappointed because as I have said, all the films were of a very high standard. The film that left the greatest impression with me and which I felt I could watch again was Shark diving Bahamas – Bartosz Sykus.  Congratulations.’s September 2018 Underwater Video Contest is now open! Enter as many as three of your underwater videos here.

Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman is the Conservation editor and also the Underwater Videography Editor for Jeff is an award winning TV wildlife and underwater cameraman and film maker. With over 10,000 dives to his credit he has dived in many different environments around the world.

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