Video & Photo Presentations: 1
You and Your Audience

by Roger Roth

Many of us delight in the opportunities to share our videos and slides from our dive vacations.  Not only do we present our underwater images to other scuba clubs and photo societies, but we may be invited to do presentations in schools, senior citizen centers, and even professional organizations totally separate from the diving industry.

Sometimes our enthusiasm can backfire though, when we show every minute of raw footage obtained and/or we show every slide taken while diving.  At this point, your audience attention will most likely dwindle, and you may find yourself looking for the nearest exit.  So, what makes a good presentation that will keep the attention of your audience and accent your photographic abilities?

Since giving presentations is multi-faceted from who your audience is to the actual creation of your presentation, I will divide this article into sections.  This month, I will discuss some basic necessary considerations concerning your audience, the total length and organization of your presentation, and some other suggestions to create a little ambiance.

The first and most important thing to remember about your presentation is who you are giving it to, and how long it should be. Consider the amount of time allotted to you, and back up from there.  Half or less than half of that time should be used for your actual presentation, and the remainder of the time can be used for discussion, questions, and show-and-tell, unless you are showing slides and discussing them as you go.

Obviously, divers interested in different dive destinations will have a longer attention span to your presentation than those who don’t dive and are attending for entertainment purposes.  Even though most divers can remain attentive to a good presentation for up to an hour or more, I usually figure on a 40-50 minute presentation, including discussion.  If it goes longer naturally, then so be it.  Your audience will still be showing their interest!

The storyboard for your video production or slide presentation should begin with one or two introductory shots which may include your preparations for the trip, the flight or landing at your destination, and/or possibly the dive operation or vessel from which you dived.  This will take the viewer to the destination and set the stage as to where you are and what it looks like.

Then, a shot of divers readying for their dive takes the viewer one step closer to being in the water.  Next, a giant-stride entry puts the audience in the water, and you are ready to roll with the rest of your presentation.  Don’t forget to keep a logical order throughout the presentation if possible, and end with appropriate parting shots from your trip.

Before the showing, a short introduction to who you are and why you are presenting to this audience is in order.  Tell them a little about why you chose this destination and/or maybe include something funny that happened during the trip.  You might wear clothes and have props that you bought as souvenirs while visiting that destination, especially if it is a remote place seldom visited that has very different customs.  Depending on your audience, it might also be important to include the type of equipment you were using to obtain your images.

After showing the video or slide presentation, you should invite discussion.  This serves to get the audience involved and offers them the opportunity to get their questions answered, as well.  No matter who the audience is, they will most likely play off of each other’s questions, and can easily fill a typical 40-50 minute time slot.  I’ve found that letting the audience direct the line of discussion will tailor this discussion to their interest level.  I’ve also found that many senior citizens enjoy this novel subject of the underwater realm, and despite the warnings from the activity directors about keeping it short, most seniors will remain attentive for this time span! Sea Ya!

Next: Assembling Your Presentation

Critter corner:Some juvenile Sea Cucumbers, such as Bohadschia graeffei purposely resemble nudibranchs for protection.  Once they grow larger than normal nudibranch size, they radically change their markings, as their mimicry is no longer effective.

copyright © Roger Roth, 2002 - 2011

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Roger Roth is a roofer by trade and lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. But his passion is underwater vidiography and after several decades of learning how to shoot and edit he has evolved into a teacher and a photographic philanthropist. Roger is the founder of the annual international Underwater Images Photo and Video Competition. You may contact Roger at