Video & Photo Presentations: 5
Putting it All Together

by Roger Roth

The next best thing to diving itself is sharing a diving experience with others.  The easiest and most interesting way is by using our photographs and video sequences to tell our story in a presentation form, which will usually follow one of four styles; instructional, documentary, docu-drama, or humorous.  (Instructional would be a “how-to” presentation, and a documentary is our interpretation of real events as we see them.  A docu-drama is more of a fictional story based on a real event, and finally, a humorous presentation may have a lot of leeway in the script, but should not include any inside jokes that no one else can appreciate.)

Once our presentations are storyboarded in a logical order, and choreographed with the right music, the next thing to do is to tie them all together with an exciting narrative. Visuals present images more quickly and better than words, but narration can add an emotional impact to these visuals.  Audio and visuals are both necessary to a good presentation, but you want a balance between the two and also need to allow each to compliment the other.

Whether doing a live narration or a voiceover that will be pre-recorded into your video or slide production, the narration needs to be interesting and have direction (a theme) in order to retain audience attention throughout your presentation.  This requires a good script that is well planned, timed correctly, and given comfortably.  It should be easy to listen to and may include some lighter comedy even if the presentation is not meant to be totally humorous.

Good scriptwriters write from the visual to the audio.  Poor writers write the audio then plan the visuals.  This is why we have already designed our storyboard, which tells us how much time is available for each sentence, each paragraph, and each chapter we’ve created.  Now we can write a narrative and fill in the blanks in our own style.
As you write your script following your storyboard, remember to not overwhelm your audience with information.  Your sentences should be simple, short, and to the point.  Think about writing sensible sentences as if you are sending a telegram and being charged $.50 per word.

When spoken, be sure that your audio is related to the video portion of your presentation.  For example, you should not be talking about your trip to this destination after your visual portion has already shown you being unpacked, on the dive boat, and ready for your giant stride.  You can, however, use your dialogue to lead into the next shot or sequence.  This can be very effective when giving a humorous quip of an upcoming clip, letting the clip be the punchline.

While reading or speaking your narration, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.  You should always smile and your voice should always reflect your enthusiasm for your subject.  (For divers talking about diving, this should not be difficult.)  Whether the audience can see you or not, they will sense your smile, and your enthusiasm will serve to draw them in to your subject more.  Many speakers even make notes on their scripts reminding them to smile.

When doing pre-recorded voiceovers, a quiet room with no background noise is imperative.  This way, if a sentence or two needs to be re-recorded and inserted into your production, the same environment can be recreated.  The time of day that you record your voiceover may also need to be the same.  Some people find their voices to be more acceptable in the early morning, while others choose late evenings.  Practicing at each time will help you choose the best time for you and your voice.

When reading your script, it may help to watch and talk to yourself in a mirror.  While looking in the mirror, imagine yourself telling your story to someone else.  This will aid in your natural voice inflections.  With a little practice, this becomes quite easy.

Always read or speak slowly and enunciate clearly.  Even while reading a script for a voiceover and being alone in a room, we tend to read faster than normal.  Because of this, reminders on your script to slow down may also be in order.  If you will be editing each sentence of your voiceover, taking a deep breath between lines may help as well.  If you need to breathe in the middle of a sentence, it’s probably too long.

After you have completed your voiceover recording, listen carefully to the entire presentation a number of times with your visuals before deciding you are finished.  You will probably change your script many times before being completely happy with its effectiveness.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help and suggestions from a good friend or spouse.  Another person’s unbiased input never hurts.

Last of all, everyone who watches your presentation will be doing so for their enjoyment, so have fun!  Sea Ya!

Critter corner: Some fish species that use weeds and seagrasses as camouflage also can be found biting these weeds or seagrasses at night, using them as anchorage.  The weedy filefish, Chaetoderma penicilligera from the Indo-Pacific area, is one species that is known to display this characteristic.

copyright © Roger Roth, 2002 - 2011

Photo Competition

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