March 2017 Video Contest Winner And Review



Winner: BIOT MPA Reef Fish by Jon Slayer

Winning Video:

This was certainly the hardest month ever to judge. All excellent videos and all deserve to be winners. Such a great variety of styles and subjects made picking out a winner very difficult indeed.

This months entries showed me just how far video and film making has come on over the past few years. New and affordable technologies have put the ability to shoot and edit excellent images and sequences into the hands of everyone and this in turn has released a whole world of talent.

Please do read the comments I have made to each film as they may well help to guide you in future shoots.

“Mater Mare” Egypt, a short Diving doc – Tobias Koller

Watch Tobias’ video here.

Hi Tobias, Excellent film. Beautifully shot and very well edited. Nice cutting to the music and interesting narration. I really like the way you personalised the film. Great to feel your enthusiasm for the ocean. The only thing missing for me was a solid ending. It just seemed to fizzle out where as a definite statement or climatic shot would have given the film greater purpose.

Cave Diving – Sistema Nohoch Nah Chich – Jonathon Di Cecco

Watch Jonathon’s video here.

Excellent. Having dived the cave systems extensively for a BBC film I know how well you have captured the beauty and feel of this amazing location. The music is spot on and the camera work very good indeed, as is the lighting. Love the slow camera moves.

Solution to Pollution – Jeff Welsh

Watch Jeff’s video here.

Very dramatic opening which set up the film perfectly with some great images and emotive narration. Loved the time lapses. The pollution story is such an important one to tell and you have succeeded in doing that very convincingly with a strong factual script accompanying dramatic well shot images.

Underwater Showreel Koh Tao 31 July – Jeff Welsh

Watch Jeff’s video here.

Nice. You have a great sense of timing with your editing and cutting to music. You have captured some good wildlife behaviour with excellent camera work.

Spanish Blue – Matthias Harendt

Watch Matthias’ video here.

Lovely film to watch. Put me in the mood for diving. Good music choice and well edited. Camera work was right on.

Dangerous times in Belize – Milton Westy

Watch Milton’s video here.

Interesting beginning. I did wonder where you were going with it and then it all became clear. Nice idea. The following underwater shots were nice and gave a good feel to the diving. Good music choice too.

Dessat – Peter Salvatore

Watch Peter’s video here.

So nice to see some video shot in temperate waters. Do watch your focus on the close ups. Just a little un-sharp in places. You caught some good animal behaviour. Just to help you along, have a think about colour balance so that all of your shots have the same or similar colour qualities. For example the crabs were quite green and then the shrimps very red. If you can get the shots to match then this will greatly help your video. There are plenty of tutorials on line.

Dugong – Marc Eeckhaut

Watch Marc’s video here.

Wow! What an amazing encounter. I have never seen that before. I was happy to see that the people snorkelling around the Dugong at the surface were very relaxed and slow in their movements and praise be it seemed that no one tried to touch it. These encounters are very special and could be more frequent if people just took things slowly and minimised the harassment.

One though on colour balance though. Just as with the previous video from Marc Eeckhaut think about colour balance so that all of your shots have the same or similar colour qualities.

Bull Sharks – Playa del Carmen – Henry Hall

Watch Henry’s video here.

Liked the opening graphic style. Good video, very exciting with great animals. You cut it well with the music. Excellent clear images all sharp and well exposed.

Emperor Serenity Liveaboard – Daniel French

Watch Daniel’s video here.

All in one week. Wow. Always love aerial openings. Good set up camera shots on the boat as well with nice smooth moves. The rays were a great opening for the underwater and followed by a good variety of other marine life. Excellent camera work. I did like the occasional aerial location shots which gave a great sense of place. The macro camera work and lighting was very good. The two octopuses were a bonus. Well done with the graphical name plates too. Makes such a difference. There were several macro shots that were not so good and could have been taken out without detracting from the overall film. Shark and Ray together was magic. Well done, good film.

Dive One – Alexander Finden

Watch Alexander’s video here.

You got my full attention right from the moment the narration started.  A great concept, well thought out and executed. You should get Michele to do more narrating.

Fiji Shark Dive – Ash Roberts

Watch Ash’s video here.

Short but very dramatic. That was a lot of sharks. Good music and well shot. Enjoyed that.

Dancing with Giants – Liz Saville

Watch Liz’s video here.

Hi Liz, Nice moody video with emotive music. Interesting concept to keep the shots mainly in silhouette. It worked well.

Beneath the Surface – Jon Slayer

Watch Jon’s video here.

Lovely selection of shots. You used the music well to emphasise the mood. The video certainly showed a great variety of wildlife to be seen in our oceans. Camera work was excellent.

BIOT MPA Reef Fish – Jon Slayer

Watch Jon’s video here.

My first film trip away from home was with a Joint Services Expedition to the Chagos Islands and so seeing it again in your video brought back some great memories.  Excellent images started your film off but it was not until your narration started with the title that the film came alive and I do like the way you put up graphic names for the different species. I did enjoy the script which was both informative and entertaining and blended well with the music.

Calavera Cenote – Jon Slayer

Watch Jon’s video here.

Love diving the Cenotes. Nice opening to your video but I would liked to have seen a wide establishing shot from the land first, just to set up where you were. Excellent scrip and narration and all very well shot with good framing and exposure as well as colour balance. You just need to watch the volume balance between narration and music as occasionally the words got lost and were fighting the music.

Fish Murmurations – Saiorse Berney

Watch Saiorse’s video here.

That was interesting. 360 degree set. Definitely needs viewing on a big screen. Leaving the camera in place while you back off can produce wonderful results.

Sharks, Stingray and Giant Trevally – Saiorse Berney

Watch Saiorse’s video here.

Another 360 degree video. It’s a very dramatic image and once again would look wonderful on a big screen. With such dynamic lens coverage and without music or narration, the image content really needs to be either high octane or have stunning lighting. It’s a great toy to play with but now needs to go a step further.

And the Winner is….

As always, I have to pick a winner and this month it is BIOT MPA Reef Fish by Jon Slayer. The filming itself was no better than many of the other videos – it was the quality and style of the narration that tipped the balance. Well done Jon.

Looking forward to seeing more of your entries in April’s contest.’s April 2017 Video Contest is now live! Enter 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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