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Winners - Underwater Videography Contests

April 2020 Video Contest Winner and Review




Winner: Scuba Diving in Roatán, Honduras by Doug McConnachie

Winning Video:

Good to see so many entries this month. Perhaps the Coronavirus has given us more time to spend in the editing than usual.

Manta Obsessed by Hank Hall

Watch Hank’s video here.

How fabulous to have such encounters. Good to have the subtitled facts at the bottom of the screen which make the video far more interesting. All extremely well shot, clear, well exposed and framed images. Good editing and good music.

Masters of Camouflage by Betsy Beasley

Watch Betsy’s video here.

Hi Betsy. No reason at all not to enter again. It’s still a great film. Excellent opening and I love the concept. It’s a true educational video while being entertaining and memorable. The images on the video are good, well shot, lit and framed and the music choice is perfect. Even though the clips are very simple and portrait in style it’s the script that drives the film and makes it special.

Scuba Diving in Roatán, Honduras by Doug McConnachie

Watch Doug’s video here.

Firstly, thanks for the written introduction. I’m jealous of your property in Rohan and saddened that climate change and human activity is affecting the marine life in such a negative way. We need more of these observational films to keep us alert to what is happening in our seas.

Loved the two opening reveal shots with the title and the music set a wonderful relaxed feel to the images. The slow moving diver to follow was perfect. Just as I was settling into the video I was hit by the narration. Brilliant. So good to hear it. Great script both heart felt and informative. Some of the following images were a bit under par in that a few were not sharp and slightly over exposed. This also affected the colour balance. But….as there was a narrative and a good very important story, the quality of the images became second place and so did not worry me as it would have otherwise. Having said that, many of the images were spot on.

Thank you for making this video. It is important we do not give up the fight to save our seas.

Adventuring around Pembrokeshire by Jake Davies

Watch Jake’s video here.

Hi Jake. So good to see some British marine life. Really makes me want to get back into the water after all this isolation is over. Well filmed with good clear images.

Exploring seagrass beds at night by Jake Davies

Watch Jake’s video here.

Hi again Jake. You are quite right, sea grass is an extremely important habitat and one that is largely overlooked. Nice video with excellent array of species. All well filmed and lit. Great octopus. Have you thought about trying some narration to give the viewers a bit of background on what they are watching?

Diving Mi Dushi on Klein Bonaire by Beattravels

Watch Beattravels’ video here.

Good style and nice editing to the music. Makes a big difference putting in that extra effort. The identification graphics are nice and work well. All well shot with good sharp images.

Visayas Phillipines by Dave Weeks

Watch Dave’s video here.

That was very relaxing and nice to watch. Simple but compelling. Great choice of music. All the images were excellent quality, well shot, sharp, nicely framed, well exposed and lit. Good constant colour Ballance throughout as well.

Back to Porthkerris by David Gwyer

Watch David’s video here.

Coronavirus! What a pain. But even if we can’t dive the seas do have a reasonable chance to recover from our constant presence and interference. Love the dives from Porthkerris and you have certainly captured the excitement of the location. Well done with the narration, it was very good and informative. Liked the sound effect too. Lovely underwater wildlife and diver images. It is amazing what you can do with a GoPro and good editing. Really liked the musical ending. Great film, well done.

Club dive to Hurghada in September 2019  by  Andrew Hansell

Watch Andrew’s video here.

Nice. Loved the Moray Eel. Image wise, they are all good but with a bit of tweaking the contrast and brightness/darkness you could make them really good. Try increasing contrast a little and then go a little darker. You should find the quality will improve immensely.

L’atlantique Nord-Est by Adrien Dupont

Watch Adrian’s video here.

Hi again Adrien. Beautiful beginning which really set the scene. Excellent aerials. Very well shot with very good wildlife images. A true celebration of some our wildlife. I did find the music just a little over powering for the action. But all in all a great film.

Turtles in Cozumel, Mexico by Riley Walsh

Watch Riley’s video here.

That was a nice opening. I could feel the divers excitement. It’s always such a treat to dive with Turtles. While you are editing just have a thought about colour balance and try to take some of the blue away which will give you a much richer image.

Night Dive in Cozumel, Mexico by Riley Walsh

Watch Riley’s video here.

Night diving is just wonderful. Tricky lighting with so many high intensity spot light torches around, but I thought you did really well keeping the subjects in the spill-over light. Nice music.

Seal diving at Duck Island in Portsmouth, NH by Riley Walsh

Watch Riley’s video here.

What a fun dive. Glad you let the lobsters go. Looks like the seal really wanted to play. Good to have the written script, especially when you had three seals to mention. Nicely filmed, well done. Perhaps just a little long without any spoken commentary or music.

One Friday morning by Maria Millgate

Watch Maria’s video here.

Oh boy, that was a Friday you’ll never forget. How fantastic. Nicely filmed with good clear steady shots. Exposure all good and a nice even colour balance.

Beneath the Mergui Archipelago by Pietro Cusenza

Watch Pietro’s video here.

Excellent opening with the real expedition feel to it. Music fitted well and loved the whale sounds. Vast amount of wonderful wildlife species which you captured perfectly with steady camerawork. Good variety of wide shots edited with macro. The editing to the music was spot on. Thank you for the written introduction. It was a joy to read about the area.

Cocos – Shark Island by Joeri DP

Watch Joeri’s video here.

Lovely aerial opening. Beautiful images and perfect music. What a stunning location. So much life. Your camera work is very professional and you have an eye for a good image. I loved the huge shoals of fish. Good to have the video on a loop in the background somewhere.

Carrière de Vodelée (Vodelée quarry) by Joeri DP

Watch Joeri’s video here.

That was fun. Don’t often get to see underwater Sturgeon. They are quite magnificent. The wrecks were interesting and made for very quirky images. Great music and very well edited.

Manta Alley – Bali-Komodo-Bali route – Mermaid II Live-aboard by Joeri DP

Watch Joeri’s video here.

Been here a few times myself and do remember how wonderful the mantas were. Thanks for reminding me. Lovely images and very fitting music.

Solution to pollution by Jeff Welsh

Watch Jeff’s video here.

Very powerful opening to your film and beautifully filmed. The following underwater shots were made compelling to watch by the measured and factual narration along with the well fitting and simple music track. I have seen the plastic problem told in many different ways over the past years and you have certainly brought the message home in a professional and clear way. The turtle was excellent. Returning to the land was perfect story telling, showing us the horrific way in which we are destroying the very world we say we love. The clean up volunteers are magnificent people. Well done for bringing in the Sun Screen issue as well, but most of all it was good to hear you give viewers a solution to this horrific man made condition.. Great film. Well done. You should try to distribute it to as many dive clubs that will show it.

And the Winner is….

All lovely films in their own way and it was a tough choice. After watching the films again I thought Scuba Diving in Roatán, Honduras by Doug McConnachie came out ahead. This was not only because of the excellent images and music, but the care taken in writing and delivering a clear concise narration with an extremely important message for us all.

Special mention to Solution to pollution by Jeff Welsh

Please do watch the other entries and have a look at my comments just in case you are inspired to try something new.

Looking forward to next months entries. Stay safe and keep thinking of the dives to come when this is all over..

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

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.

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Winners - Underwater Videography Contests

January 2021 Video Contest Winner and Review




Winner: keep it clean by lutfu

Winning Video:

Hi everyone. Lots to look at this month with a huge variety of styles, topics, treatments and stories and great to see some new names. As usual I have written my thoughts on each film and hope you will have time to look at others as well as your own in case there is something I have said that may help you as well.

Standards are very high as usual but this month in my mind there was one clear winner for both quality and innovation. Keep it clean by lutfu. Along with a crucial environmental message  this was a visually inspirational film which asked the viewer to re-evaluate the underwater experience.

See you next month. Good diving.

Kingdom of the Jacks by Bryson Justus

Nice opening drone image with title graphics. Always good to see people going that extra bit further with their productions. Great travel shots and then a really effective water entry sequence with perfect music cut to the underwater Jacks. What spectacular fish they are. Good camera work and lighting and I liked the short addition of the ray. The only shot that didn’t work for me was the final drone image which was way underexposed. Better to have just left it out.

Green Sea Turtles of Indonesia by Charles Rousseau

Lovely. You opened your film with one of my favourite images. Green Turtle with Ramora on it’s back. Clear water, sandy sea bed and blue water. Perfect. A very simple film and very relaxing to watch. Excellent camera work and editing. Music fitted well. The Bat fish was a bonus.

Sipadan, one of the world’s top dive points by Chungjin Son

Pacey start. This style is quite hard to do well and often fails. But you got it just right with good images, fast editing and fast music. However, I felt the transition to a slower pace in the film was a little too abrupt. Perhaps a three or four second pause in the music would have helped. I liked the travel shots which gave a real feel good edge to the film. All in all a very different and new production style for this competition. It was good to see.

One summer day when fishes poured like rain from the sky by Chungjin Son

I really liked the use of slow motion images put to fast upbeat music. It worked extremely well. Good camera work and very interesting framing. The whole film was good to watch, but, for me personally, I was disappointed and saddened to see the triggerfish struggling for air in the boat.

Scubadiving in South Korea by Chungjin Son

Hi Chungjin, Very stylized video pretty well in the same style as your other two. I think I preferred the first two. On the music side, I love rock, heavy metal etc. but I’m not sure it fitted with your video. It felt like the music was fighting with the images for the viewers attention.

Ocean Dance by Armel Ruy

Wow! Loved the opening ocean shot. A very good underwater marine life film. The strong images and the fast pace kept me fully attentive as I didn’t want to miss anything. Had a really good energy to it. Not sure about the seal as it was out of place and you really didn’t need it as all the rest of the film was exciting enough.

Underwater Music Video “Skin” with Natalie by Marie-Luise Dienst

That was different. A beautiful lady very well filmed. Excellent lighting. What’s not to like. As you say in your introduction, a huge test for the makeup. Choreography is usually the hardest part of making videos like this and you did it really well.

The squid dance by Nanni Bassetti

Well done Nanni. Always fun to see squid at night. It was an enjoyable video but I would re-think the title if it were me, ‘The Squid Dance’ builds up a great expectation of seeing either a lot of squid moving gracefully through the water, or, a few squid doing some extraordinary and captivating movements. It was great to see the squid shots you had but the bulk of the film was of the reef. All good but just needs re-titling.

Reti ed axinelle by Nanni Bassetti

The hard life of axinellas sponges with the ghost nets. A good title! Thanks for the translation graphics at the bottom of the screen into English. You have showed well, some of the horror and impact of ghost nets on the sea bed. With such a strong subject I think I would have added some narration just to explain a little of what was going on. Well done for tackling such an important topic.

Isla Guadalupe 2019  by Alejandro Topete

What a trip!  Good to see the people in the boat saloon at what I assume was the dive briefing. Then straight into the underwater shark footage. Great. Perfect conditions. You filmed and edited it all nicely. Good to see shots of the island.  Liked the still photos at the end.

keep it clean by lutfu

I’ve run out of adjectives this month so I’ll start again. Love this film. Underwater art. The upside down shots are extremely well thought out and effective. The ‘waterfall’ and snorkeller shot is inspirational. The whole upside down treatment gives a completely new aspect to the marine world.  Music is perfect. I forgot to mention the globe in the plastic bag. Yes!! A perfect world with the ever present threat of plastic. As for the sinking globe in the plastic bag slowly dropping into the dark depths of despair……that was truly inspirational.

Comunicacion by Kiril

That was fun. Beautifully shot. Liked the effects of the small depth of focus between subject and diver. That worked really well. Very good macro shots.

Scuba diving Hitra Norway by Jesper Haav

I think you have captured diving in Norway perfectly. Good camera work and excellent lighting. The camera exposures were spot on and on occasion wonderfully moody. Music fitted well. The Angler fish caught me out. Wasn’t expecting that. Brilliant. Good to see the ‘live’ action shot for the end credits.

The Muck Chronicles by Dennis Deavenport

Perfect intro with video shots, graphics and narration. Your macro camera work is extremely good as is the lighting and framing. It’s a good story and you told it well, both entertaining and educational and I loved the behavioural images. Music was perfect in that it kept a good pace going without being obtrusive.

The invertebrates of Kapalai reef by Scubabeat

That was the longest written introduction ever. But it was good. Gave a real taste of what the area has to offer. Question is, was it backed up by the video. Yes it was. Perfect macro camera work and lighting and as promised, a fantastic selection of invertebrates.

Scuba Diving at Manta Ray Cleaning Station, Maldives by Daniel French

As you say in your introduction it was certainly a rare and incredible lifetime experience. Stunning opening aerial shot and then a perfectly matching underwater image of the divers, reef and manta. It seems there was little to do except sit and wait for all the action to come to you. How wonderful. The shots of the Mantas coming towards you across the top of the reef are magnificent. The shot of the shoaling fish revealing the manta above is even more magnificent.

Diving Tolo (Ol’Blue) on Bonaire by Scubabeat

Love your written introductions. They make me feel I know the place well. As I watched your opening shots and listened to the music, I felt a great desire for a rum punch and some sun tan lotion. Perfect. Beautiful wildlife shots and so good to have the names written on-screen.

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

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