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Winners - Underwater Videography Contests

February 2021 Video Contest Winner and Review




Winner: Anglerfish at night by Colin Garrett

Winning Video:

To save me typing this out for each video, thank you all for taking time to write an explanatory introduction to your films. It is always good to read background information on the making of each video.

Seventeen videos this month and every one of them deserves praise and recognition for being top quality. There were a few that stood out, but there was one that grabbed my attention from the very first few seconds and did not disappoint at all through to the end. The film was ‘Anglerfish at night’ by Colin Garrett. It was extremely well filmed and edited and the lighting was perfection. A stunning film all round.

As usual please do read comments made to other entrants as something there may well be of help to you in making future videos.

Diving the Salt Pier on Bonaire by Scubabeat

Nice feel right from the start with a good pace from the editing. Music works well and as always I do like the on screen species name graphics. You have really nice slow steady camera moves and the images are all sharp and well exposed. There does seem to be an issue with some of the shots being too red. If you are on auto white balance then there is little you can do while shooting but in the edit it is simple enough to lower the red cast. The pier uprights and the shoaling fish are lovely.

The Landslide by Scubabeat

Excellent written introduction. Sets the whole film up. What a fabulous wild place. I do remember it well. Raw diving. All nicely filmed with good well framed sharp images. Music was an interesting choice. I think I can see what you were trying to do in injecting some drama and pace via the sound. It worked for a while but then became a bit out of place as nothing dramatic happened visually. Perhaps a piece of music with a little variety in its tempo would have worked better. But, Filming and editing is all very subjective and this is only my opinion.

Mischievous Sea Lions by Hank H

Diving with Sea Lions is one of the most exciting and fun types of dive to have. They simply love to play and are usually completely unafraid of us as divers. You captured this well with good camera moves and editing. The on-screen notes worked well. Brave little Puffer Fish.

Maldives Underwater Highlights by Daniel French

Hi Daniel, thanks for the additional camera information. Always good to know what people are using. Stunning quality. Crispy sharp, extremely well lit with good colour balance and exposure. I love your slow smooth tracking shots. The blue anemone and clownfish was stunning. As I watched your video I had assumed you had put the best up front. But no. Images just got better and better. Music was perfect.

Scuba Diving at KudaRah Thila by Daniel French

Once again Daniel, fabulous quality. Great camera work and lighting. You have the balance of artificial light to ambient light working perfectly. Your framing and camera moves are also spot on. The shoals of snapper are stunning. My only comment would be that for an eleven minute film I would liked to have had some sort of story. I know the images tell their own about the wonderful biodiversity of the area but I felt it needed more information to pull all the stunning shots together. Perhaps a narration?

Scuba Diving with Nurse Sharks at Alimatha, Vaavu Atoll – Maldives by Daniel French

Beautiful opening drone shot. What amazing colours. The mix into the first shark was terrific. Once again great quality especially being available light only. The sharks themselves are quite magnificent. Nice to see one shark nosing the sand. Like the easy style of editing and the music fitted well.

Swimming with green sea turtles red sea Egypt by Ebrahim Hamdy

Lovely to see a free diving video. Everything is so majestic without the air tanks. The music and the diver flowed really well together with the turtle. A beautiful video. Well shot with good camera work and editing. Like to see more films like this.

Next to Me by Bryson Justus

You created a great opening with the images and the music. The edit to underwater worked very well. You have many beautiful images in the video and all are perfectly cut to the music. Not always easy to do but you certainly made it work. Good lighting too. You also captured some good behavioural shots. The rays were super. I did like the way you were unafraid to experiment with camera moves as well as editing effects.

Three reefs and a wreck by Mark Ponte

Excellent variety of wildlife. Liked the yellow eel. I was wondering what camera and light you were  using.  A small tip if I may, try to film animals at their eye level if at all possible rather than shooting everything from above. (Taking care of the coral at the same time of course)

Anglerfish at night by Colin Garrett

Woahhhh. Stunning opening shot. I haven’t seen an Anglerfish that big for many years. Wonderful animal. Your camera work and lighting are absolutely spot on and the quality is superb. The swimming towards camera with mouth open is a shot to be seriously envied. Music was perfect. The shots with the John Dory were amazing. I did question whether or not you put the Dory into the shot but then thought better of my scepticism and just sat back and enjoyed the rest of the video.

Close Encounters by Colin Garrett

That was nice. What a treat dive. Difficult conditions I think. Good choice having natural sounds only.

Mantas Lake by Aleksandar Rakovski

Lovely shots of the Mantas. Must have been a wonderful dive. Very stirring music. The applause at the end made me smile.  Did you get bumped by one of the Mantas.?

Non au shark feeding by Aleksandar Rakovski

Good  message told in a few strong moments. Excellent. It was very dramatic and effective. The camera work was excellent and created a worrying and poignant scenario. Well done.

Norway in my mind by Aleksandar Rakovski

Very cool. Excellent stylish opening with great music. So nice to see the underwater world used as an art medium. The piano player was inspirational and the girls smile was enchanting as well as infectious. Lovely film.

Diving in Sudan – A Red Sea Odyssea by Noemie Stroh

The opening shot made me yearn for sun and sea. Lovely drone shots to follow and then perfect merge to underwater. The music was good and instrumental in creating the different moods of the film. Good camera work and lighting. Stunning image quality with a beautiful abundance of marine life. Lighting was perfect. Your editing to the music was spot on.

All is in Motion by Guido Schmitz

I loved this. We should see more of this kind of film. Exciting to watch and the music fitted well. The sound effects were very creative. A perfect glimpse into part of the marine world.

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish – Exploration by Niklas Jansson

Jellyfish are a very under rated subject for filming. I think they are stunning animals and well worth the time taken to video. You created a mystical feel to the film with the slow moving images and music. I enjoyed it.

The March competition is now open for entries. You can enter up to three videos by clicking here.

Jeff Goodman is the Editor-at-Large for with responsibility for conservation and underwater videography. Jeff is an award-winning TV wildlife and underwater cameraman and film maker who lives in Cornwall, UK. With over 10,000 dives to his credit he has dived in many different environments around the world.

Winners - Underwater Videography Contests

April 2021 Video Contest Winner and Review




Winner: Gems of Southeast Asia // Thailand & Myanmar by Andreas G Fiskeseth

Winning Video:

Great month for entries where the art of story telling seems to be growing. The use of drone shots along with pre-dive sequences is also on the increase as affordable technology makes the hardware more accessible. But even with that extra technology the underwater sequences are of a very high standard and a joy to watch. This month, based simply on the camera work and editing, the winner is ‘Gems of Southeast Asia // Thailand & Myanmar’ by Andreas G Fiskeseth.

Even if you did not win the month, please do read my comments to other entries as there may be something there to help you with your own films.

The eyes of Komodo by Celine – Travel2Sea

Just read your written intro and yes indeed you are very lucky to be have been able to dive Komodo during Covid. Very jealous. Fabulous opening to your film. Love the mixture of above and below shots along with the drone footage and the music really set up the film well. The drone dolphins were excellent and loved the way you cut into the underwater. The whole film has a great feel to it with momentum and power. The camera work is spot on with sharp, steady, well framed and exposed images.

Mawar, the dugong of Alor by Celine – Travel2Sea

Excellent story and very well told. Lovely opening both visually and with sound, although I thought there were a few minor sound level issues throughout. All beautifully filmed and poignant thoughts from Pak Oneh. Having gone this far in making a thoughtful and environmental film could I suggest that it would have been good to know why the dugong was alone and it would have been very powerful to have heard Pak’s voice telling us why he does this.

Nounours, the Teddy bear who wanted to become a scuba diver! by Celine – Travel2Sea

That was fun and very well done. Loved the music.

Dive the Red Sea by David Gwyer

Hi David. Well done for putting this together. Lovely to hear the narrative. I did feel though that it was fighting the music track in places for both space and volume. Have a look at it again, keeping the music track on a slightly lower level.

Gems of Southeast Asia // Thailand & Myanmar by Andreas G Fiskeseth

Good powerful opening images cut well to a dramatic music track. Was the lady on the dock one of the Gems of Southeast Asia? Nice well filmed wildlife images with good camera work and lighting. Often when a dramatic sound track is used throughout a film, the images don’t always manage to be equally dramatic. But this was not the case with your film as you made it all work together to the end.

Branksome Beach by Jonathan Bailey

I’ve had the same conversation with people on the beach but more often than not it is with fishermen who want to know if there is anything worth catching. I always have to say ‘no, nothing out there mate’. Liked your introduction. Had a good feel to it which told a story. Nice to see so many UK species. The on screen written information worked really well and made the video far more interesting. The jellyfish and cuttlefish were fun.

Amongst the Critters 4k by Marcelo Johan Ogata

What a place! Very stylish drone shots and land based opening which established a perfect moody feel for the film. The underwater images are stunning and the music is perfect. Your camera work and lighting is exceptional. I love the slow steady camera moves with the great variety of shot sizes and angles.

Eckernförder Delphin (1) by Ulli Nilsson

Hi Ulli, what a fabulous encounter. Where was it? The shots of it playing with your hand on the surface are wonderful. Although the encounter itself is spectacular, for a fifteen minute film it would have been nice to have had a bit of background information on what is happening. Is the dolphin male or female, how old, why is it alone, is it a regular visitor and so on.

Delphin (2) by Ulli Nilsson

Hi again Ulli. Same comments as before really. Perhaps have a go at some editing just to shorten the film and concentrate on the highlights to make the film more powerful.

The Rockfish swim by Alison Smith

That was nice. One single developing shot with a curious fish. Perfect. No need for any editing and the short length of the film did not need any extra ingredients like music or narration.

The Melibe Leonina Family by Alison Smith

Same comments as with the Rockfish, except this time, as the subject was not so charismatic, perhaps a little music would have been worth considering.

Monterey bay – Monestary beach by Alison Smith

You have a very visual style and your videos are relaxing to watch. Did I recognise your favourite Rockfish?

Sharks and caves by Brandon Hannan

That was quite lovely. So simple yet extremely moving. I loved the brief glimpse of a moment in time of the shark. The music fitted perfectly. The image itself was well framed and exposed.

Eckernförder Delphin (3) by Ulli Nilsson

I applaud your enthusiasm for the encounter.

The May competition is now open for entries. You can enter up to three videos by clicking here.

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Winners - Underwater Videography Contests

March 2021 Video Contest Winner and Review




Winner: Breathing under the sea by Noemie Stroh

Winning Video:

Oh I don’t know! Every film once again was top quality and everyone must feel proud of their work.  For me this month the most outstanding film was Breathing under the sea by Noemie Stroh which just had that little extra in it’s editing and overall treatment.

Thanks to everyone for your amazing entries and look forward to seeing more next month.

Mediterranean sea by A deep forest by Claudio Valerio

Hi Claudio, thanks for setting up your film with the excellent written introduction. Fabulous quality right from the start and I loved the slow pace of the film which was edited perfectly to the music. Great lighting, which brought out all the amazing coral colours to their full glory. I loved the slow camera moves in your close up shots which gave the video a real cinema feel. The cutting to and from the divers worked well. The video was a perfect visual treat. What a beautiful area to dive!

Breathing under the sea by Noemie Stroh

Wow, that was terrific. Great quality of images with wonderful wildlife. Your commentary worked very well and having a French accent didn’t do any harm. The words and sentiment were well thought out and moving. I have to say again that the wildlife images were fabulous and very well lit. Great film.

We are Swanwick Divers by David Gwyer

Thanks for the intro David. Swanwick Divers must be pleased with this. Good pace and nice bright music. Camera work was good as was the editing. Although it’s always good to use your own footage in this type of promo video, it may be an idea to think about incorporating 3rd party clips as well. As long as you list the names of contributors and edit yourself, then that is perfectly fine. I only mention this because I’m sure that over the years various people from the group must have caught some exceptional moments that would boost the clubs profile even more. I do the same myself when shooting a promo for lets say a tourist board. I do the trip and then ask around for anyone who has great video clips that I would have no chance of capturing during my short visit. I then give credit where it’s due and everyone is happy.

Similans – Thailand // Liveaboard experience by Andreas Fiskeseth

Very nice. Loved the anemone tracking shot with the wreck behind. Good touch with the freeze frame and really well cut to the music which was the perfect choice for the videos treatment. The drone and life on board sequence was terrific especially with the slow motion. Great wildlife images all beautifully shot and lit. Great film.

Turtle moments by Zaflee Bin Md Suibarek

Your opening shot was wonderful. For me it could have lasted for another minute. I felt I was peeking in a secret moment of the turtles life. I love the simplicity of the video and the music choice was perfect.

Treasure Bay by Craig Beasley

What an adventure! Very exciting story in the written introduction which carried on into the video. Nice that you did the music yourself as well as the very professional narration. Excellent rock steady macro camera work and lighting on stunning creatures.

The April competition is now open for entries. You can enter up to three videos by clicking here.

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