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Winners - Underwater Videography Contests

December 2018 Video Contest Winner and Review




Winner: Bali Komodo by Tompson Paganote Pecini & Philippines Sulu Sea – Pierlo Pablo 

Winning Video 1:

Winning Video 2:

Hope you all had a very good Christmas and Happy New Year. More wonderful videos this month and as usual please do read my comments to other entrants as well as you own as this may well help you too.

When embarking on the journey of making an underwater video, or any video come to that, be sure in your mind you know who it is aimed at and what it is you are trying to say. Who is your target audience? Your video may be for general entertainment, a scientific item, an advertising piece to entice customers to a dive area, a training film, or simply a video of your holidays for your own family and friends to see. Each group of audiences require a different type of presentation. A general rule is that for any film over a few minutes long, some sort of information is needed to keep the momentum of the film going. Stirring music helps but soon becomes tiresome if the images do not match. There are occasions when the images are so spectacular that they stand alone for sveral minutes with just music accompaniment. But this is rare.

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

bali komodo by tompson paganote pecini

You can watch Tompson’s video here.

Seen this one before but absolutely no reason not to enter it again. Excellent opening to the video with the aerial and cultural scene setting. The visual and sound transition from land to underwater was very good indeed.

Some wonderful animals in the following sequences but I would like to make a few suggestions for you. The first is to try and get at eye level with the subject instead of looking down. This will bring more dynamic shots and in trying to do this will give you more time to study what each animal is doing and thus capture some good behaviour. The second one is have a good look at close up attachments for your camera. They are not expensive but will allow you to fill more of the frame with greater effect.

The schooling fish were lovely to see. As well as the wide shots try to get that little bit closer for a few mid and close ups. Perhaps you did try and I know this is not always easy as shoaling fish can be quite timid, but take your time and persevere. Turtle was nice, with very good lighting and exposure. The rays at the end were excellent. Great film. Well done.

Fast and Furious Eagle Rays by Paul G Day

You can watch Paul’s video here.

Thanks for the written intro, it makes a real difference to the viewing of the video. The video summed up perfectly the frustration that many videographers have in trying to get close to Eagle Rays. Well done for persevering. All nicely shot with good clean images. The music was a good choice.

South Australian Leafy Sea Dragon by Paul G Day

You can watch Paul’s video here.

Lovely opening backlit shot with a good transition to the Sea Dragon. What an amazing animal. Great shot with the fish around it. I am assuming the water was quite shallow and you had to contend with a slight surge which was making holding the camera steady difficult. I know how tricky this can be. While most of the images were very good both in quality and framing, I felt that eleven minutes was far to long to hold an audiences full attention with only background music. This definitely needed some sort of information either as written captions or spoken narration. I felt overall the video could have been edited down to three or four minutes and had more impact. As the saying goes, ‘less if often more’. Having said all that, many of the images were really nice and good to see.

Ali Baba, it is named by Elsa Collet

You can watch Elsa’s video here.

Nice. The wide underwater establishing shots were perfect, as was the music. As the film progressed I said to myself, a slight music crescendo now would be good with a move into closer shots of the fish. And that’s just what you did. Excellent. The whole film was very relaxing to watch and captured a peaceful moment in that marine ecosystem. I don’t often say this, but you left me wanting to see more.

The Bearded Fireworm by Kiril Ivanov

Sadly this video was not playable due to owner restrictions.

Philippines Sulu Sea by Pierlo Pablo

You can watch Pierlo’s video here.

Stunning opening with the aerials, music and titles which flowed effortlessly into the first underwater sequence. The sharks and  Barracuda were emotive in their framing and speed, but I think I personally may have graded the images a little more with a touch of brightness and contrast. Good to get the ray and shark together. The break in the film back to aerials was timely and once again of excellent quality. The following underwater section was great. A good mixture of image sizes with a whole host of different species. I thought the lit animals stood out well and perhaps would suggest you tried doing more lighting overall. Back to the aerials to finish. Nice. A very professionally produced film.

And the Winner is….

On this very rare occasion I am going to award two winners for this month for which I may well get into trouble for, but both these film deserve to win for very different reasons. bali komodo – tompson paganote pecini for enthusiasm and energy and

Philippines Sulu Sea – Pierlo Pablo for it’s professionalism.

Well done to everyone and look forward to next month!

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 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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Winners - Underwater Videography Contests

October 2020 Video Contest Winner and Review




A real pleasure looking at the entries this month and once again my life is made easy by having only two videos to look at. But what fabulous entries they were. Two very different films in terms of location, treatment, post production and content. There is no way to say one is better that the other so once again I am having two winners.

A Full review of Thistlegorm by Adutto

Before starting to watch any video entry I usually skip to the end just to see how long it is. My heart sank when I saw this one was 15 minutes long. But, it turned out to be a wonderful 15 minutes. Time just flew by as I was engrossed by the story being told.

Very professional video with a well thought out and executed introduction. It immediately caught  the my attention with a promise of wonderful underwater images and very interesting historical facts. Loved the graphics throughout the underwater shots showing where on the wreck site the  images were taken. Such a novel and useful concept. Also loved the narration in English and the addition of Spanish sub-titles. Once again really easy to do yet extremely effective. All beautifully filmed and edited with very nice music choice. The archive photos of the cargo and ship machinery were wonderful to see as was the historical film footage.

If it’s not already, then this video should be shown to all divers planning to dive the wreck. It will increase their enjoyment of the wreck ten fold. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Hunt for the hook-nose sea pig by David Gwyer

Lovely opening shots. Very atmospheric. The personal introduction from the divers was delightful. So nice to engage with people who are actually in the film. The music was perfect and the camera work and editing spot on. The length of the above water introduction was also perfect. Just the right amount of time to make me really want to see the seals underwater. And once underwater, the images and narration did not disappoint. Beautifully filmed in the low visibility with great seal behaviour. Magical. Wonderful film.

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

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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