March 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: Critters of the Muck by Dean Spraakman

Winning Video:

Four good films this month. A good contrast in subjects as well as film makers abilities and experience. Generally even if the more highly polished film wins, it should and does not detract in any way from the others. Making videos is not easy and making good ones is not easy at all. Patience, perseverance, knowledge, skill and of course luck are all needed and all of these are only gained by time and effort. If you didn’t win this month it in no way reflects on your skills as a film maker. It’s just that someone else’s was that bit better. In all this rambling I guess I am trying to say keep videoing and keep sending in your entries and most of all enjoy.

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

Free Convicts by Elsa Collet

Watch Elsa’s video here.

Hi Elsa. First thing to say is that your film was really nice and easy to watch. The images were sharp, steady and well exposed. Framing was also good and the music fitted well. You covered the shoal fully with wide angles, mid shots and close ups. You made good use of slow motion in the edit which gave the audience time to enjoy the spectacle.

For a short film you ticked most if not all of the boxes. If you wanted to make the film more informative you could have added a descriptive title and perhaps some narration to tell why and what the fish were doing. Was this a typical sight or a special event? Short musical/visual videos are pleasant to watch but unless what’s happening on the screen is spectacular then it is often better to go for the fuller informative product where you could talk about behaviour or conservation. Hope this helps.

Ambon scorpionfish vs Skeleton shrimps by Jack Pokoj

Watch Jack’s video here.

Hi Jack. Interesting shot but there were a few focus issues. It is often difficult to get images crisp and sharp when doing close ups or macro, especially without specialist gear. Rather than trying to get too close with the camera, try filming from a little further away so that the subject is in focus and stays sharp even with a slight bit of camera movement. Then you can use the edit programme to zoom in slightly to get the desired framing. For further reading about depth of field or focus. There are plenty of articles and videos on this. Here are a few:

These are generally for semi pro and pro cameras but it is still good knowledge to have even when using GoPros.

Bumble Bee shrimp by Jack Pokoj

Watch Jack’s video here.

Hi Jack. Short but sweet. Again, not sure what camera you are using but it looks as if the autofocus is spoiling your shot. If you can, once the focus is set, turn it to manual so that it stays where you want it. Otherwise really nice shot.

Critters of the Muck by Dean Spraakman

Watch Dean’s video here.

Excellent beginning with the drone setting the scene. Then a good dramatic cut to underwater with both music and image. The first critter you showed was very well shot but the second animal was    unsharp and over lit. Not sure what the animal was but even if it was rare and extraordinary, the poor quality shot detracted from the rest your video. Best left out. The rest of the film was superb. Great animals and really well shot with both camera work and lighting. I like your use of slow and sped up motion. Very effective.

Size doesn’t matter – Daryll Rivett

Unfortunately the video won’t play. Please enter it in next month’s competition.

And the Winner is….

Critters of the Muck by Dean Spraakman

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.

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