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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

November 2021 Video Contest Winner and Review




Winner: Tiger (Shark) King by Clayton Conn

Winning Video:

Thank you all for some amazing films and thank you Andy for making me laugh out loud. Most of you took time to write an intro to your films which was much appreciated.

Timing is such a hit and miss thing with many things in life and on another day many of the films entered this month would have been winners. But as luck would have it, this was a bumper month for entries and the standard was very high. I do know how much time and effort you all put into making these videos and it is no small matter for me to try and pick a winner when all of you deserve to win on different accounts. There are so many different aspects to consider. Camerawork, lighting, exposure, framing, editing, effects, colour correction, story telling, narration, graphics, titles. The list goes on. So please don’t be dismayed not to win. Just keep on enjoying the art of taking underwater video and all the wildlife that discipline will take you to experience.

If it’s any help to anyone, have a look at a book I have just had published. ‘Action Camera Underwater Video Basics’.  You can buy it online if you are interested to read it.

After saying all that, I have had to pick a winner.

‘Tiger (Shark) King’ by Clayton Conn. A well told and filmed story with great script and presenter. This particular story is about sharks but it could be any animal anywhere in the world.

I need to give a special mention to ‘Save the Oceans’ by Katja Kieslich which was a wonderful film and I  hope many people will share it on social media and anywhere else they can.

Hunt for the big sturgeon by David Gwyer

Nice… Liked the premise and the execution of the story. All well filmed and narrated. The music fitted really well. The trout feeding frenzy was exciting but then the appearance of the sturgeon was just perfect. Great film.

Early morning by Serge Melesan

A beautiful opening with great drone and underwater images. The music gave a wonderful peaceful feel to the images but unfortunately as the narration was in French I didn’t really get the gist of what was being said. I’m sure it was lovely though. I think that unless you are aiming any film you make for a French speaking audience only, then English would the the better choice to make it more global. Perhaps even English subtitles.  The cinematography is excellent and the images do tell their own story in many ways but as there is quite a lot of live speech then as I say it is limited to a French audience. Perhaps that doesn’t matter to you. Anyway, stunning underwater images which are real joy to watch.

Red sea night mysteries by Noemie Stroh

Terrific. Such a good feel to the film with the stunning images and perfectly chosen music. Your  lighting is excellent. Lovely steady and sharp camerawork.

Relaxing Scuba Diving with Prodivers at Lily Beach Resort and Spa by Daniel French

What a stunning location. Lovely opening sequence. So peaceful.  The ray at the surface was gorgeous and the following shot underwater was too. The blue stripped snappers under the reef was so well shot and lit. I like the description graphics. They work really well. The sweetlips…wow. And, on the film went. One fabulous shot after another.

Exploring Sha’ab Quais Maksur (el Aruk Giftun) by Scubabeat

Thanks for the written intro. Really good. The identification graphics are also nice to see. Good camera work with steady, well exposed and sharp images. Looks like you had a real fun trip.

Into the Sea, out of this World by Milena Margaritova

Interesting written intro. I was was intrigued to see the video.  You are quite right. Poor (or alternative) video images can be made into a very watchable film with clever editing and a great sound track. While this worked at the beginning of the video, come half way through it had lost some of it’s charm. I think if you have chance to re-edit, cut the film in half and only use the most dramatic images. As they say. ‘less can be more’. Having said that I think it’s great to try an alternative approached to film making, so well done.

Underwater Party! by Milena Margaritova

Made me smile. Just shows once again how the music can affect the impact of the images. The bright pacey sound track truly enhanced most of the images. Excellent. Well edited too.

Next To Me by Bryson Justus

Excellent beginning with the music and editing. Nice camera work and lighting. A real good pace to the film which kept my interest right through. Loved the octopus. The rays were wonderful. The breaks back to the surface worked very well. Great film.

Manta Magic by  Bryson Justus

Excellent written intro thanks. Gave a real feel for the location. Stunning Manta shots. What a fantastic encounter. Good pace to the video with both editing and music. Thank you for sharing.

Tiger (Shark) King by Clayton Conn

YES – Such an important message. Excellent story and so well delivered. Loved the presenter and his script/narration was perfect. Beautifully filmed and edited.

Diving in Malta & Gozo by Domenico Pertschi

Stunning topside images. Such lovely colour. Nice film with good music choice. All well filmed and edited. I remember Malta fondly with good diving and lovely people.

Diving compilation Mozambique & Azores & Tenerife by Domenico Pertschi

Well done, you cut the images perfectly with the music and it all worked well. Stunning rays. All your wildlife and wreck images were excellent.

Under No Pressure by Rafal Michalczyk

Great topside images to start the film and give a sense of location. Very emotive music. Interesting treatment for the video and for me it worked. It portrayed the divers being slightly out of place, some confusion, new sights and wonder. I felt the divers relax as they moved further into the dive. It’s a good film and I am sure all those involved are very pleased with it, For me personally, it was a little to long and may benefit from some editing.

The Addict by Andrew Walters

Brilliant, if not a little weird. Loved it all. Hope you won your clubs film night.

Santa Maria Island in Blues by Gui Pinto da Costa

Oh my!  That was a special encounter. Perfect music. Loved the long continuous shot with no edits. I’m sure the ray could hear the music and was moving to it. Fantastic closing shot.

Blue Shark by Joan

Short but very sweet. If you get chance to re-edit, have a go at trying to colour balance all the shots to the same look.

Swim with dealy snakes by Jan Venter

Nice intro. The silence was powerful. Lovely snake shots and the music choice was quite dramatic. The video built to an interesting crescendo with the music. Good sharp steady and well lit camera work.

Colourful Shallow water treasures in Komodo by Jan Venter

The shallows are so under rated. I often spend an entire dive in 6 meters or less. So much colour, so much life, so much time to enjoy. You captured some stunning images with the most vibrant colours. Excellent.

Diving the wrecks of Chuuk Lagoon, October 2011 by Cris Katch

Like the opening sequence. Looks a fabulous place. Seeing wrecks underwater is always tragic and awe inspiring at the same time. Interesting using still images for the bulk of your film. They certainly portrayed the dives well but when using still images the quality should be top rate, other wise video works much better. I did feel that without supporting narration the film was a bit too long though.

Scuba Diving in Barbados by Cris Katch

Hi Chris, once again the ‘still images’ approach. As I mentioned previously, when using still images they should either be of top quality of have a definite purpose. They can always be enhanced by adding some information either narrated or written. Have a think about telling a story of some sort. It can be very simple just as long as it holds the audiences attention. Please don’t make my comment put you off at all. You are obviously well on the way to making some really nice videos. Just try to go that step further.

Diving the northern atolls of the Maldives by Cris Katch

Hi again Cris. Same comments as before really. You obviously have a good eye for shots but over use of still images is far better used in as a dive presentation to a dive club with script rather than a stand alone video. I know you have a better ratio in this film with video and stills but it still all applies. As a matter of interest you may be interested in a book I have just had published ‘Action Camera Underwater Video Basics’ You can buy it online if you are interested. Have a further think about editing. It’s not hard and extremely rewarding.

The Treasure of Abu Dabbab by Jens Maus

Nice to see the old countdown clock in the beginning. Lovely stylish opening with great narration and underwater shots. It’s a good script throughout and was heartfelt for sure. The camera work and animal behaviour is stunning. Really like the way you edited it. Great film Jens.

Episches Unterwasser-Model-Shooting mit Meerjungfrau Natalie im Jugendstilbad Gotha by Malu Dienst

Thank you Google Translator and thank you Malu for the English subtitles.  Always good to see other aspects of underwater filming. Your model Natalie is stunning and so at home in the water.

I did like the half in and out of water shots. (Why did the camera crew have wet suits when the models didn’t……….. ) It was a fun video to watch and I think it was great fun to make. It was however quite long and reparative. Perhaps a few thoughts from the model and photographer on the challenges and technicalities would  have made the difference.

How to ride a bike underwater with Violalovescycling by Malu Dienst

Hi again Malu. Another nice film. Liked the spoken introduction as well as the continuing narration. Amazing cyclist. Great location to do the shoot and fabulous quality images. The whole film was nicely put together with both filming and editing.

Lets play! Red Sea diving by Kristi Ruut

Hi Kristi. Thanks for sharing that clip. I am not always a great fan of feeding fish but occasionally food really does break down barriers and gives us a moment of interspecies communication.

Save the Oceans by Katja Kieslich

Lovely concept and very nicely put together. I loved the treatment and the narration which was perfect in both delivery and content. It is a film that should be shown around schools. I will definitely be showing it to my grandchildren. They will love it. Excellent camera work and editing.

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

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Winners - Underwater Videography Contests

October 2021 Video Contest Winner and Review




Winner: Aliens of the Sea by Oliver Knopken

Winning Video:

Interesting variety of films this month and it was enjoyable watching them all. There were a few that stood out but in the end it came down to one particular shot that won the day. It was the cuttlefish catching the scorpionfish. So this month’s winner is Aliens of the Sea by Oliver Knopken.

Sand of thousand eyes by Oliver Knopken

Great drone opening and I loved the door opening to the underwater scene. First time I have seen that done. Wonderful animals, all well shot. The music gave a good lively full of life feel to the film. Good choice.

Aliens of the Sea by Oliver Knopken

Once again, great opening drone sequence and the door opening effect has worked just as well as the first time I saw it and once again good music choice. Beautiful animals in your video. The pulsating cuttlefish was amazing. If you ever get to re-edit, try to slow that particular shot down by 50% or more and show both versions. Just as I was getting used to seeing the cuttlefish do its stuff, my eyes widened as it went for the fish. Brilliant shot.

Rosalie Moeller by Alexander Laue

Interesting tour of the wreck. Always a challenge when working deep. Although the images are all good, eighteen minutes is a long time for any film with no information and commentary and may only be of interest to those who have or are about to dive the wreck. Have a think about putting together some facts about the ship as well as the dive and try a narration. It’s good fun to do and you may be happily pleased with the result.

Kingdom of the Jacks by Bryson Justus

Good written intro and good title. Nice opening shots which gave a feeling of quiet anticipation for the dive to come.  The shots of the Jacks were excellent. So good to see so many fish together which is getting rarer every year with over fishing. Such stunning animals to be with underwater. The ray was a nice addition. I thoroughly enjoyed watching.

Wreckdive on the MS Balena in Hurghada, Egypt by Scubabeat

Stunning wreck and really well filmed with great images. The viz looked a little poor but you coped well.

Fish life of Bunaken National Park by Pim van Schendel

Perfect written intro, thanks. Makes a big difference to the enjoyment of the film. Stunning images with excellent camera work and very good lighting. The close ups are superb. I liked the music too which gave a lovely relaxed feel to film.

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

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