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Winners - Underwater Videography Contests

February 2019 Video Contest Winner and Review




Winner: Las Rayas by William Goodwin

Winning Video:

Six good films this month and I enjoyed watching them all. Good shooting everyone and look forward to seeing next month’s entries.

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

Palau – Sharks and Caves by Daniel Parker

Watch Daniel’s video here.

Hi Daniel. Thanks for the written intro to the film. Makes a huge contribution to the video in letting the audiences know background information to both subject and location. So good to know that Palau has such a strong conservation policy. On to the film….

Nice graphics and opening shot of the boat with good music choice. The split screen worked well. Then came a  brilliant sequence from aerial to on-board. The transition from the open book image to underwater was inspirational.  A good overall pace to the film with good crisp and well shot images. Just as the film was in danger of becoming a catalogue of brief wildlife shots, you returned to the surface for a change of mood and location. This worked really well. Very clever ending with the camera. Made me smile and wished I had thought of it.

A Tiger shrimp in the reef by Jack Pokoj

Watch Jack’s video here.

Macro and close up work underwater is one of the more difficult disciplines to master. I thought you did well to hold the shot steady and the lighting was very good. There was just a slight issue of focus though. I realise that when in this close the depth of field or depth of focus can be very small. The key rule is, if nothing else, always make sure the eyes are sharp and stay sharp throughout. The size of the shrimp in frame was a difficult one to get all things right and so I think I would have backed off a little to make the shrimp slightly smaller but in doing that it probably would have been sharp throughout.

Painted frogfish feeding by Jack Pokoj

Watch Jack’s video here.

Hi again Jack. That was so much better. You had the eyes sharp and even though the rest of the fish was out of focus it didn’t matter. In fact in this instance it added to the drama. I know it is always tempting to get as close as possible to subjects but don’t miss out on the wider shots. If you had come back a meter or so and filmed from the side or at forty five degrees we would have seen the whole and complete action as well. Then cut in the close up you shot for the drama. But great shot and well done.

Frog Fish Wave by Derek Vanditmars

Watch Derek’s video here.

I’m smiling as I write this. Thanks for the arrow, otherwise I would have missed the wave. Even then I had to play the shot three times. Loved it. Good camera move and nicely lit too. Actually I have just played it a fourth time and am still smiling.

Las Rayas by William Goodwin

Watch William’s video here.

Beautiful opening shot with the ray feeding in a cloud of sand. Very dramatic. The music was perfect. The following shot of the swimming ray was stunning and wonderful to see it coming towards the camera rather that swimming away. The fades to black for shot transitions work really well with the mood of the video. The ray and the puffer was excellent. Very nicely framed and lit. Then all the following Eagle Ray stuff was just magical. (Is it a pet of yours?) Are you on a re-breather? Not sure why you turned to black and white though. I found it to be a bit distracting. People occasionally do that when they have problems with colour balance or exposure issues. The film just got better and better and the two rays towards the end were perfect and very well filmed.

Surprising Paradise – Diving among thousand of juvenile parrots by Elsa Collet

Watch Elsa’s video here.

Loved the opening with the aerials and the music. Very stylish. The Parrot Fish were as you described, amazing. You filmed them really well too. Do you know why the sharks were interested?

And the Winner is….

Choice for winner came down to two of the entries, Palau – Sharks and caves by Daniel Parker and Las Rayas by William Goodwin. They were both outstanding. Well conceived and filmed with extremely good editing. In the end I decided on Las Rayas by William Goodwin because of the magical feel to the film and the extraordinary shots of the rays. I also thought his use of slow motion was extremely effective.

Well done to everyone and looking forward to next month.

Jeff Goodman is the Conservation editor and also the Underwater Videography Editor for Jeff is an award winning TV wildlife and underwater cameraman and film maker. With over 10,000 dives to his credit he has dived in many different environments around the world.

Winners - Underwater Videography Contests

September 2020 Video Contest Winner and Review




Only two entries this month which is a shame but also great as it means I can have two winners without feeling guilty. Two very different films and both excellent in their own way.

Transformation by Dennis Deavenport

Absolutely loved this video. Artistic license used to the full and thoughtfully produced. Wonderful images creating a surreal and magical feel to our beautiful marine life. Excellent music and very well edited.

Ambon’s Hairy Ones by Catrin Pichler

Hi Catrin. As always your close-up and marcro videography is top class. Sharp, steady, well framed, perfectly exposed. Over the past months you have introduced me to animals I never knew existed. Can I assume that Frogfish are your favourite. Wonderfull. You caputured some great behaviour in this video and cut it extremely well to the music.

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

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Winners - Underwater Videography Contests

August 2020 Video Contest Winner and Review




Winner: Sand by Dennis Deavenport

Winning Video:

All films were excellent in quality and subject matter, but for me one stood out. As usual please do read comments made on other films as well as your own just in case you pick up a useful tip.

The Blueringed Octopus by Catrin Pichler

Watch Catrin’s video here.

Hi Catrin. More excellent films from you. Thank you for showing them to us and thanks for the written intro to this one. Once again as always the camera work is perfect with exceptional quality. Steady shots, smooth tracking, nice framing and very good sympathetic lighting. Yes indeed you were lucky to get the mating sequence, but more often than not luck usually comes hand in hand with effort and time put into just being there.

There was only one small blip for me and that was the audio transition at around 1:50. Although you did mix from one music track to the other, I felt it happened a little to quickly and felt slightly abrupt. Perhaps think about a greater gap in between with some natural reef sounds to bridge. Then use a slower fade in for the second piece of music. Nice music choice by the way.

Rhinopias by Catrin Pichler

Watch Catrin’s video here.

Beautiful in every way. Subject, camera work, editing, music. The images are stunning and very entertaining, The video would make a fantastic screen saver, I am aching to know some details on what I am looking at though. As you are a brilliant videographer have a think about progressing to the next stage. Tell us why the colouration and physical adaptations? Is there specific behaviour going on? Are they endangered? What do the prey on? And so on……

Sand by Dennis Deavenport

Watch Dennis’ video here.

Nice story. Well thought out, planned and executed. So good to have a full and comprehensive narration that informs as well as entertains. The videography was very good as was the music choice. Well edited too.

Sweetlips by Hank

Watch Hank’s video here.

Excellent opening image. These are one of my favourite fish species to see and film. The colours and patterns are stunning. The images you have created are excellent in both camera work and lighting. I did like the on screen information but not sure about the music change for each species as I found that doing this broke up the natural and easy flow of the video.

Macro Fish & Critters of North Sulawesi, Indonesia by Pim van Schendel

Watch Pim’s video here.

Hi Pim, thanks for the written intro and telling us what camera you were using. Loved the film. You have some great shots in there and extremely well edited to the music. The quality of your macro is superb.

Diving the red sea by Roberto Piroddi

Watch Roberto’s video here.

That was nice. Had a good feel to it. Very relaxing and easy to watch. Liked your use of the diver shots. The land images were fun. I love seeing the camels on a truck. Camera work was good with slow steady moves and subtle lighting. It was very Red Sea.

The colour of water by Maurizio Agliani

Watch Maurizio’s video here.

Liked your opening graphics. Very stylish. The following images were also stylish as well as lovely to watch. There were a few notable editing moments of images and music that were inspirational. This film is very different to many I see and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  Underwater video art.

Great whites of Guadalupe by Martín Moscovich

Watch Martin’s video here.

Wow, what a stunning opening. I think I would have held the opening coastal shot a little longer though. The following shark shots were magnificent. What a animal! Quality of the images were very good indeed as was your camerawork. Music and editing worked well. Liked the short break back up to the surface.

2019 Diving Memory in Kohtao Island,Thailand Gulf by Vicky Lee

Watch Vicky’s video here.

Hi Vicky, loved the opening shots and the Barracuda with the cleaner fish was perfect, in fact I had to stop the film and watch that bit again. The various shoals of fish were stunning to see. All in all the film was a visual treat.

Mr.Turtle’s noon walking by Vicky Lee

Watch Vicky’s video here.

This is my kind of film. A long slow look at one animal. So relaxing to watch. Well shot and edited with great music choice.

All films were excellent in quality and subject matter, but for me one stood out. This month I am going for ‘Sand by Dennis Deavenport’. As well as great images and music he went the extra mile to make the video a well rounded story with easy to listen to narration and interesting facts. I know it takes a lot more time to research and develop a meaningful script and narration but the final product is well worth the effort in both audience appreciation as well as self satisfaction.  I am not advocating that all films should be talked over, especially when the images are self explanatory and beautiful in there own right and accompanied by the right music, but often a narration enhances rather than detracts from a video. Give it a go…..

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