December 2018 Video Contest Winner and Review

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WINNER CHOSEN AND REVIEW BY SCUBAVERSE.COM’S EDITOR-AT-LARGE AND RESIDENT UNDERWATER VIDEOGRAPHY EXPERT JEFF GOODMAN

Winner: Bali Komodo by Tompson Paganote Pecini & Philippines Sulu Sea – Pierlo Pablo 

Winning Video 1:

Winning Video 2:

Hope you all had a very good Christmas and Happy New Year. More wonderful videos this month and as usual please do read my comments to other entrants as well as you own as this may well help you too.

When embarking on the journey of making an underwater video, or any video come to that, be sure in your mind you know who it is aimed at and what it is you are trying to say. Who is your target audience? Your video may be for general entertainment, a scientific item, an advertising piece to entice customers to a dive area, a training film, or simply a video of your holidays for your own family and friends to see. Each group of audiences require a different type of presentation. A general rule is that for any film over a few minutes long, some sort of information is needed to keep the momentum of the film going. Stirring music helps but soon becomes tiresome if the images do not match. There are occasions when the images are so spectacular that they stand alone for sveral minutes with just music accompaniment. But this is rare.

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

bali komodo by tompson paganote pecini

You can watch Tompson’s video here.

Seen this one before but absolutely no reason not to enter it again. Excellent opening to the video with the aerial and cultural scene setting. The visual and sound transition from land to underwater was very good indeed.

Some wonderful animals in the following sequences but I would like to make a few suggestions for you. The first is to try and get at eye level with the subject instead of looking down. This will bring more dynamic shots and in trying to do this will give you more time to study what each animal is doing and thus capture some good behaviour. The second one is have a good look at close up attachments for your camera. They are not expensive but will allow you to fill more of the frame with greater effect.

The schooling fish were lovely to see. As well as the wide shots try to get that little bit closer for a few mid and close ups. Perhaps you did try and I know this is not always easy as shoaling fish can be quite timid, but take your time and persevere. Turtle was nice, with very good lighting and exposure. The rays at the end were excellent. Great film. Well done.

Fast and Furious Eagle Rays by Paul G Day

You can watch Paul’s video here.

Thanks for the written intro, it makes a real difference to the viewing of the video. The video summed up perfectly the frustration that many videographers have in trying to get close to Eagle Rays. Well done for persevering. All nicely shot with good clean images. The music was a good choice.

South Australian Leafy Sea Dragon by Paul G Day

You can watch Paul’s video here.

Lovely opening backlit shot with a good transition to the Sea Dragon. What an amazing animal. Great shot with the fish around it. I am assuming the water was quite shallow and you had to contend with a slight surge which was making holding the camera steady difficult. I know how tricky this can be. While most of the images were very good both in quality and framing, I felt that eleven minutes was far to long to hold an audiences full attention with only background music. This definitely needed some sort of information either as written captions or spoken narration. I felt overall the video could have been edited down to three or four minutes and had more impact. As the saying goes, ‘less if often more’. Having said all that, many of the images were really nice and good to see.

Ali Baba, it is named by Elsa Collet

You can watch Elsa’s video here.

Nice. The wide underwater establishing shots were perfect, as was the music. As the film progressed I said to myself, a slight music crescendo now would be good with a move into closer shots of the fish. And that’s just what you did. Excellent. The whole film was very relaxing to watch and captured a peaceful moment in that marine ecosystem. I don’t often say this, but you left me wanting to see more.

The Bearded Fireworm by Kiril Ivanov

Sadly this video was not playable due to owner restrictions.

Philippines Sulu Sea by Pierlo Pablo

You can watch Pierlo’s video here.

Stunning opening with the aerials, music and titles which flowed effortlessly into the first underwater sequence. The sharks and  Barracuda were emotive in their framing and speed, but I think I personally may have graded the images a little more with a touch of brightness and contrast. Good to get the ray and shark together. The break in the film back to aerials was timely and once again of excellent quality. The following underwater section was great. A good mixture of image sizes with a whole host of different species. I thought the lit animals stood out well and perhaps would suggest you tried doing more lighting overall. Back to the aerials to finish. Nice. A very professionally produced film.

And the Winner is….

On this very rare occasion I am going to award two winners for this month for which I may well get into trouble for, but both these film deserve to win for very different reasons. bali komodo – tompson paganote pecini for enthusiasm and energy and

Philippines Sulu Sea – Pierlo Pablo for it’s professionalism.

Well done to everyone and look forward to next month!

Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman is the Conservation editor and also the Underwater Videography Editor for Scubaverse.com. 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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