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Winners - Underwater Videography Contests

June 2020 Video Contest Winner and Review




Winner: Youngsters by Catrin Pichler

Winning Video:

This has been the most difficult choice I can remember! I probably say this often but it’s true. So many excellent films and so much hard work and talent gone into them all. Congratulations to everyone. As usual please do read comments made on other films as well as your own just in case you pick up a useful tip.

I am Ion by David Gwyer

Watch David’s video here.

Hi David, first of all thanks for the very complete introduction to your video. Very nice treatment and very well produced. Ion has a good on screen presence. An excellent insight into the world of diving instructors. The script was easy to listen to and the accompanying video footage fitted perfectly. Beautifully filmed with excellent camerawork. I should think this will certainly encourage others to take up the profession.

Scuba Diving the Galapagos by Hank

Watch Hank’s video here.

Nice titles. You have put together some wonderful marine animal shots and cut them well to the music. Love the sea lion. The on screen identification type worked well. Overall a very good feel to the video.

Maldives Scuba Diving with Tiger Sharks in Fuvamulah, Grey Reef Sharks, Green Sea Turtles and more! by Daniel French

Watch Daniel’s video here.

I’m always a sucker for drone shots to establish a location and yours did that really well. The following underwater footage was impressive and fitted well with the music. Your camera work is very good. Thanks for the on screen identification of each species. Makes quite a bit of difference to the overall enjoyment of the film.

Observing Spotted Eagle Rays by Hank

Watch Hank’s video here.

Hi Hank. Good written introduction to the video with lots of important and interesting facts. Then lots more great information written on screen throughout the video. Just one thought for you….Try taking your next videos up a level by trying a spoken narration. That way you can impart some emotion as well as facts. Beautiful shots of the Rays. What magnificent animals.

Underwater Alphabet by Betsy Beasley

Watch Betsy’s video here.

That was great. Wonderful idea. I’m going to send a link to my grandchildren. They will love it. I did find the identification frames to be a little too short though and would have preferred them to have lasted a few seconds longer and then remain with the actual animal images. The sound effects will go down a treat with kids. At the moment I would have to be very quick on the pause button otherwise the kids would miss to much. By the way, my wife who was a primary school teacher loved it too. Excellent images all very well shot and lit.

Diving at Maldives by Ondrej Vysek

Watch Ondrej’s video here.

Well done Ondrej, a good litttle film. The Batfish were a treat. Not sure about the idiot with the crawfish on his head though. Nice camera work and lighting with good steady and sharp images.

Diving at Zanzibar by Ondrej Vysek

Watch Ondrej’s video here.

Plenty of life there for sure. All well filmed and edited. Music fitted well. Now and again the subjects are slightly over lit where the light is a bit to close. Hence there are ‘burnt out’ areas. When editing it is important not to be precious about material even if it took a long time to get. If an image is not perfect or telling an important part of a story then cut it out. In the past when working in TV, my cutting room floor or ‘trim bin’ (this was in the days of film, not video) was always littered with shots that I loved but that didn’t quite work.

The Seasnakes of Manuk by Catrin Pichler

Watch Catrin’s video here.

That’s a lot of snakes. Good opening with very effective music choice. You have put together some lovely shots of the sea snakes but I was crying out for some information either written or spoken. Have a think about putting a script and narration to this, it could turn a good film into a great one. Loved the shots of the snake behind the diver.

Ambon’s Fancy Figures by Catrin Pichler

Watch Catrin’s video here.

Again, a lovely opening. The drum was perfect as were the people. The change of pace to the underwater worked well. Extraordinary animals the Scorpionfish and you captured their character with some great camera work. The whole film was fascinating to watch. Most of those you filmed I had never seen before. They were straight out of science fiction. Good music choice.

Youngsters by Catrin Pichler

Watch Catrin’s video here.

Stunning. Your close up/macro camera work is excellent. Some of the fishing behavioural shots were  exquisite. The variety of animals you filmed were amazing to watch. Music was good but try to audio mix the different tracks rather than cut.

Melissa’s Garden – The Pearl of Raja Ampat by Scubabeat

Watch Scubabeat’s video here.

Good clean direct opening. Liked the way you cut the image motion to the music and the effect zoom into the Wobbegong was terrific. The identification graphics were well worth doing.

Macro life of Marmara Sea by Peter Salvatore

Watch Pete’s video here.

Packed with fantastic images. The opening had a good fun feel to it with the slight camera movement and the music which continued with some wonderful close ups of well chosen subjects. Your camera work and lighting were excellent. Loved the music change three minutes in. It created a beauty and the beast theme. Don’t know if that was intentional but that’s what my mind told me. The blenny in the mussel shell was great.

And the Winner is….

So….the winner this month is Youngsters by Catrin Pichler. To be utterly truthful, it was no better than all the other films either creatively or technically and once again it came down simply to the video that left the most lasting impression.

Stay well everyone!

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

December 2020 Video Contest Winner and Review




Winner: Out Of The Ordinary – A Wonderpus Poem by Catrin Pichler.

Winning Video:

Hope you all had a very happy Christmas. Shortest day gone so spring and summer on their way soon.

Five entries this month and all lovely films. David, one of the nicest films I have seen from the Cove. Daniel, a real feel good video to remind us of some of the beauty of the underwater world. Catrin, as always very professional and well done with the narration. Kiril, Wow, my eyes were wide open throughout. A very stylised film. Betsy, once again a wonderful video.

I have to pick a winner but don’t want to lessen the amazing quality of the others.

Apart from all the technical aspects of making a good video, one of the most important elements is the enjoyment factor of the audience and this can be quite subjective. People will forgive many technical errors if the story is captivating. All the films this month were technically excellent and so it came down, again, to the one I enjoyed most and on this occasion it was. Out Of The Ordinary – A Wonderpus Poem by Catrin Pichler.

Please read my comments for each film in case there is something there that may help your own films in the future.

Down in the Cove by David Gwyer

Nice. Thanks for the written intro. You use the same system as me. GoPro5 and Premiere Elements. Cost effective but does the job really well. Good opening with perfect music and very good narration. Great camerawork and lighting. You must be pleased with the film. You created an interesting and eerie mood to the dive. The wreck images were sharp and well framed and the perch were a nice touch.

Maldives Underwater by Daniel French

Good to see all the technical details of the camera and light being used. Beautiful opening shot of the turtle with excellent music. The lighting was perfect and just how I like to see it. Subtle in terms of exposure but very effective in adding colour back into the scene. The whole video had a nice easy feel to it. Very relaxing with a steady pace. Lovely shoaling fish.

Out Of The Ordinary – A Wonderpus Poem by Catrin Pichler

The Wonderpus Octopus is both charismatic and mostly unafraid of cameras and you captured it on video perfectly. Extremely good camerawork and lighting. The narration was both well presented,  informative and easy to listen to. You then seamlessly migrated the narration into a poem which  added a complete new dimension to the whole film. Loved it. Image quality was outstanding.

Jellyfish and Free Diver by Kiril

Wow, that was exciting. I don’t recommend anyone doing the same unless they are very confident and knowledgeable about this deadly little animal. The images were extremely good with beautiful lighting and framing. I liked the ‘static’ effects which gave an even more menacing feel. It was fascinating to see the jellyfish react so definitely to the close hand in front of it.

Box jellyfish have 24 eyes made up of 4 different types. Four of them are much like our eyes (image forming) and the other 20 are light/dark sensors for obstacle avoidance. They can make out shapes and distinguish between prey and predators quite easily.

Symbiosis by Betsy Beasley

Very good!…..As well as the usual high standard of videography, the narration and script were wonderfully informative and easy to listen to. The music was perfect and very well blended with the narration. It just goes to show that what at first seem to be ordinary wildlife images can, with a little research, become interesting and fascinating behavioural clips.

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

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Winners - Underwater Videography Contests

November 2020 Video Contest Winner and Review




Winner: Kelp Dreams by Colby Kammerer

Winning Video:

I don’t know……I have picked a winner this month four times now and keep changing my mind. Sometimes I feel this should be a showcase of films rather than a competition and each video have longer on our site for people to view and appreciate all the hard work and skill gone into each entry.

But competition it is and so for the fifth and final time, this month’s winner is Kelp Dreams by Colby Kammerer. The production of this video is not as complex or elaborate as a few of the others but the images of the sheer beauty of the kelp beds are captivating and go to show that sometimes simplicity can be best.

Good diving everyone.

To A Fish and A Fish Answers by Betsy Beasley

I love this even before I am 20secs into it. Good narration with good narrator. Good music too. I am hooked. The images are generally good to average, but it is the storey that compels the viewer to watch and hopefully thought provoking. It is an interesting concept and one well worth exploring further.

Wrecks and reefs by David Dwyer

Hi David, Thanks for the written intro on cameras and editing. It’s always good to know. Good opening. Certainly captured the essence of diving in poor weather. I felt cold and tired just watching. But then once underwater all that topside stuff is forgotten and the dive fully takes over all thoughts. Viz looked good. I liked your narration and the music fitted well. Also good camera work and editing.

Scuba Diving The Reefs of Puerto Morelos by Hank H

Nice camera work and always good to see species names on the screen when the purpose of the film is a simple catalogue of animals. Spot on with the lighting and framing. Although I said catalogue, I meant that in a good way as it is always pleasing to see so much life of such a great variety and colour.

The Dark Side of L’Estartit by Dmitry Lisenko

A feel good film with images and music sympathetically and creatively put together. You could have taken the same images and completely changed the mood and feel with other music. What you did felt right and was a joy to watch. One thought though. The music gradually built up in tempo and volume and created the expectation of a dramatic ending, which for me didn’t quite happen. I was waiting eagerly for something to be revealed in the darkness of the caves.

Planet Zeeland by Ronald Faber

Very good. Made me smile…..The film was well thought out and put together. Music and narration was of course perfect. Lovely camera work and editing with well lit, steady, well framed images. The fish/crab interaction was brilliant. AND the end credit was just right.

Fontem Vitae by Ronald Faber

A great video with excellent and meaningful script which was perfectly narrated. The videography was also excellent with good lighting and framing. The music was well suited to the script as was the pace of the film. My memory tells me you won the video of the year in 2016 with a very similar film. Good to see you are still making them.

Scuba Diving with Grey Seals at Lundy Island, Devon, UK by Daniel French

Such encounters always make my heart race. For me it’s one of the best aspects of diving. You captured the seals perfectly in both camera work and editing. I liked the overall structure of the video which had a good visual story in the timeline. The reaction of the seal to the divers jumping into the water was a nice touch. The music fitted well and lent an air of calm to the whole experience.The underwater/surface shots were lovely. Don’t see those often and the seal sleeping was just magic.

Our Vancouver Island by Colby Kammerer

Oh this brought back so many great memories of living and diving around Vancouver. What a place!

Love the film. Beautiful shots of the salmon and the surrounding environment. Very well edited and the choice of music gave a strong regal feel to the video.

Kelp Dreams by Colby Kammerer

A video about the simple beauty of kelp was well overdue. Stunning images set to perfect choice of music. The natural lighting in kelp beds can give rise to some of the most creative sequences in the marine word. Great steady camera work and image framing.

Discover Our Planet by Colby Kammerer

I remember Cabo St Lucas when it was literally a one horse town and the only bar there had swing doors. The marine life was abundant and spectacular. It is shameful that this and any part of the world should loose all that to over fishing and habitat destruction. Good to know at least life is returning to the park at Cabo Pulmo. Thanks for this video as it lends hope for the future.

The December competition is now open for entries. You can enter up to 3 videos by clicking here.

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