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Winners - Underwater Videography Contests

January 2019 Video Contest Winner and Review




Winner: My Grand Turk – Underwater by Sabine Frank

Winning Video:

First of the year and with excellent and varied entries. As this new year gets going and if you are thinking of entering your videos, have a think about putting some sort of story to the images rather than just a catalogue of species. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Even a simple graphic introduction would be good to set the film up and let audiences know what they are about to see. If you want to and are able to go a step further, think about a narration. Story lines don’t always have to graphic or verbal, they can be just visual. A sequence of developing and varied images that show some progressive event or type of behaviour in some detail will keep audiences engaged far longer.

But if you are still new to this video making, don’t worry, it’s good to see your films anyway and hopefully I can advice on how to move to the next stage. As always please read the comments I have made to all entries as they may well help you too. It’s only by getting your work out there that help you to progress.

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

Cozumel 2019 by Thomas Hooker

Watch Thomas’ video here.

The music made for a dramatic opening which was for me just a little too overwhelming for the images. But this is all down to personal taste and in the end it is whatever works for you and the audience. The opening turtle was a lovely developing shot which was nicely lit. The shark was a good size and must have been fun to dive with. The following reef fish were really nice, all well lit and framed as were the following collection of reef wildlife. The feeding ray was a  bonus. You did well to get that close.

The film was eleven minutes long which is quite extravagant. In that eleven minutes there was a mixture of very good images along with not so good. Try to be a little more brutal with your editing selection. I personally would have taken the film down to five minutes and taken out the not so good clips as they tended to bring down the better ones. As I seem to be saying each month, ‘less is more’. It is better to leave an audience wanting to see more rather than feeling they have seen to much. Hope this helps.

Diving Little Cayman Island by Thomas Hooker

Watch Thomas’ video here.

Hi again Thomas. Before I make any comment on the video I just want to mention sound volume. With each of your films I am having to turn my computer volume right down to stop my speakers vibrating (a little exaggeration). There is quite a good article on this at and

Back to the film. I like the surface sequences that introduce the location, especially the drone shots. The transition to the underwater section worked well and the following underwater clips were very well shot with good lighting and framing. Excellent quality to it all.

Diving Cayman Brac Island by Thomas Hooker

Watch Thomas’ video here.

Hi again Thomas. You have certainly been busy. Another nice film with plenty of good images. The turtle on the wreck was nice.

My Grand Turk – Underwater by Sabine Frank

Watch Sabine’s video here.

Good opening with the beach and the dolphins right up front peaked my interest. The following variety of wildlife shots were very good and well edited to the music. At this point I felt I knew how the rest of the film was going to pan out but then you really took me by surprise. Humpbacks in the shallows and a snorkeller looking very very happy. Excellent moment.  Then back to the other reef life. I did like the flow of this. Kept me guessing and kept me interested.  The wreck was nice but do take care with colour balance. The sea looked purple. Then back to the reef with more wildlife, all edited perfectly with the music. Some good subtle camera moves in there too. Finishing with the whales was perfect. Great film.

Orgy by Elsa Collet

Watch Elsa’s video here.

The information graphics up front were so important. Simply done but gave the film purpose. Lovely drone opening giving a good sense of location and habitat. The mass gathering of the Convict Surgeon Fish is a wonderful spectacle and you captured it very well. Great bonus having the sharks there too. Music choice was very good. Well done for coming back to the drone for an extra point of view. That was very welcome and gave the video an extra dimension.

Beqa Lagoon shark dive by Serge Melesan

Watch Serge’s video here.

Very dramatic. Good suspense opening with the divers prior to seeing the first shark. Big sharks too. Very strong images of them coming through the shoaling fish. You did well to show the whole story with both sharks and divers. Many films I see like this only concentrate on the sharks and ignore the divers, but you captured the whole deal. Well done. I’m personally not a fan of shark feeding but it certainly gave you many powerful images. Well edited and well shot.

Komodo and Bali by Tompson Paganote Pecini

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, especially with the smaller animals. 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. As you have gone so far in making a really good video, why not try to go a step further and add a story to it. Just some simple narration to make more of the excellent images.

And the Winner is….

The winner this month is My Grand Turk – Underwater by Sabine Frank. Although the subject matter was incredible, it was the editing, the visual story and the camera work that won the day.

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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