February 2019 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: Las Rayas by William Goodwin

Winning Video:

Six good films this month and I enjoyed watching them all. Good shooting everyone and look forward to seeing next month’s entries.

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

Palau – Sharks and Caves by Daniel Parker

Watch Daniel’s video here.

Hi Daniel. Thanks for the written intro to the film. Makes a huge contribution to the video in letting the audiences know background information to both subject and location. So good to know that Palau has such a strong conservation policy. On to the film….

Nice graphics and opening shot of the boat with good music choice. The split screen worked well. Then came a  brilliant sequence from aerial to on-board. The transition from the open book image to underwater was inspirational.  A good overall pace to the film with good crisp and well shot images. Just as the film was in danger of becoming a catalogue of brief wildlife shots, you returned to the surface for a change of mood and location. This worked really well. Very clever ending with the camera. Made me smile and wished I had thought of it.

A Tiger shrimp in the reef by Jack Pokoj

Watch Jack’s video here.

Macro and close up work underwater is one of the more difficult disciplines to master. I thought you did well to hold the shot steady and the lighting was very good. There was just a slight issue of focus though. I realise that when in this close the depth of field or depth of focus can be very small. The key rule is, if nothing else, always make sure the eyes are sharp and stay sharp throughout. The size of the shrimp in frame was a difficult one to get all things right and so I think I would have backed off a little to make the shrimp slightly smaller but in doing that it probably would have been sharp throughout.

Painted frogfish feeding by Jack Pokoj

Watch Jack’s video here.

Hi again Jack. That was so much better. You had the eyes sharp and even though the rest of the fish was out of focus it didn’t matter. In fact in this instance it added to the drama. I know it is always tempting to get as close as possible to subjects but don’t miss out on the wider shots. If you had come back a meter or so and filmed from the side or at forty five degrees we would have seen the whole and complete action as well. Then cut in the close up you shot for the drama. But great shot and well done.

Frog Fish Wave by Derek Vanditmars

Watch Derek’s video here.

I’m smiling as I write this. Thanks for the arrow, otherwise I would have missed the wave. Even then I had to play the shot three times. Loved it. Good camera move and nicely lit too. Actually I have just played it a fourth time and am still smiling.

Las Rayas by William Goodwin

Watch William’s video here.

Beautiful opening shot with the ray feeding in a cloud of sand. Very dramatic. The music was perfect. The following shot of the swimming ray was stunning and wonderful to see it coming towards the camera rather that swimming away. The fades to black for shot transitions work really well with the mood of the video. The ray and the puffer was excellent. Very nicely framed and lit. Then all the following Eagle Ray stuff was just magical. (Is it a pet of yours?) Are you on a re-breather? Not sure why you turned to black and white though. I found it to be a bit distracting. People occasionally do that when they have problems with colour balance or exposure issues. The film just got better and better and the two rays towards the end were perfect and very well filmed.

Surprising Paradise – Diving among thousand of juvenile parrots by Elsa Collet

Watch Elsa’s video here.

Loved the opening with the aerials and the music. Very stylish. The Parrot Fish were as you described, amazing. You filmed them really well too. Do you know why the sharks were interested?

And the Winner is….

Choice for winner came down to two of the entries, Palau – Sharks and caves by Daniel Parker and Las Rayas by William Goodwin. They were both outstanding. Well conceived and filmed with extremely good editing. In the end I decided on Las Rayas by William Goodwin because of the magical feel to the film and the extraordinary shots of the rays. I also thought his use of slow motion was extremely effective.

Well done to everyone and looking 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.

One Reply to “February 2019 Video Contest Winner and Review”

  1. Elsa Collet says:

    Hello Jeff,
    To answer to your question, the sharks (but as others predators like the bluefin jacks and thehumphead wrasses) were attracted by this exceptionnal gathering of parrotfishes. And because there are a lot of grey sharks in Fakarava atoll :). Welldone to the winner Wimmiaù Goodwin, his film is really beautiful, the shots are amazing !!

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