The forecasters warned that the ‘Mini Beast-from-the-East’ was on the way. So, with temperatures at 14C, we packed the snow shovel, sacks and wellies, and set off from Norfolk for Essex. They were right! On Saturday 17th March, snow prevented about a quarter of the expected attendees from travelling to Margaretting Village Hall, but 40 of us assembled for what turned out to be a most enjoyable day. Judges for the event were Edgar Gibbs FRPS MPAGB AV-AFIAP and Linda Gibbs MPAGB AV-AFIAP, and over four sessions during the morning and afternoon we viewed 48 sequences. Despite the worsening weather, most people stayed for the Gala Show in the evening, when all of the award-winning AVs were re-shown, and presentations made. After each sequence the judges made comments highlighting particular points that had impressed them. Sensitive, surreal, ethereal and special were all words that kept coming up.
It was a nicely varied programme, with a good number of newcomers submitting entries. Edgar and Linda are both very experienced AV workers and judges, and we know from personal experience that they are only too willing to pass on their knowledge, and offer encouragement and constructive criticism. In their general observations, the judges commended entrants on their level of technical competence, especially in the quality of the soundtracks, and on the wide range of subjects, ideas and techniques used. They also pointed out how some authors had obviously carried out a considerable amount of research beforehand. One point they did make was that many of the sequences would have benefited from being shorter, and we felt the same way too. They emphasized the importance of choosing appropriate music, and how interplay between the soundtrack and the treatment of the images can be used to create a mood, develop it and change it. Another specific point raised by the judges was the need for a structure that engaged viewers, and carried them through the sequence to a conclusion.
During the day, we noticed that a number of authors had used zooms and pans and, while their occasional inclusion can be very effective, repeated use can be distracting and even detrimental. Great care needs to be taken when employing such treatments, as what may seem to work perfectly well on a computer monitor, can be quite different when projected onto a big screen! Things to bear in mind are to allow plenty of time for such effects to occur, and to control their starts and finishes. In PicturesToExe’s Objects & Animation pane, you can select ‘Customize’ for the effect, rather than the default ‘Linear’, to achieve a much gentler acceleration and deceleration, and thus avoid treatments being rather abrupt. Attention to detail is the key, for example maintaining a fixed landscape aspect ratio, and ensuring that all the full images are absolutely identical in pixel size. It is possible to include portrait formats, but this is best done as overlays without any distracting frames around them. The general consensus is that, unlike single DPI images, a frame around an AV image is best avoided, as it can also be distracting.
Linda and Edgar each awarded a Judges Personal Award to two deserving sequences, and together selected a further six very enjoyable AVs for Certificates of Merit. The Audience Vote actually went to one of these – a powerful AV all about the life and work of Puccini. The trophy for the work of an author without an AV distinction, and who had not previously won a major award, went to the beautifully told story of a mother’s tribute to her young daughter, drowned in a sailing accident.
As regards the major prizes, the trophy for Best Humour was awarded to ‘Escape’, an AV all about the perils of moving from London to a ‘quiet’ coastal village - with pestering seagulls, a chiming clock on the church next door, wedding bells, boisterous children at the nearby school and search and rescue helicopters overhead. It had us all in tucks! An interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem ‘The Raven’, with the reading being partly accompanied by a guitar, won the most Creative category. Linda and Edgar praised the author for all the little illustrative touches in the multi-layered images, resulting in an excellent overall effect. The winners of the trophy for Best Dissolve were commended on the multiple subtle dissolves creating third images of alpine scenery throughout the year, and the way the soundtrack music gradually changed, appropriate to the feel and progression of the seasons. The AV chosen for the Best Photography award had a wonderful range of imagery of the Jurassic Coast, from close-up, through mid range, to wide panoramas, with differing viewpoints including some very low perspectives.
The sequences chosen by Edgar and Linda for their top three, featured cancer, terminal illness and separation. All difficult subjects we frequently shy away from. They commended the authors on their sensitive and innovative approach, and noted that by sharing stories and experiences, others can benefit, gaining strength and enabling them to face up to their own personal challenges. All three were compelling, and had that special something. The AV placed second (‘Always There’) also won the prize for Best Sound.
The East Anglian AV Competition is organized and run by the Essex AV Group, and Dick Williams and his team once again could not be faulted on their professionalism throughout. Now we are looking forward to next year, when the event will be held on Saturday 16th March at the same venue, with hopefully much better weather!
Letter from Mandy Deer
I attended the 26th East Anglian AV Competition on Saturday 17 March.
This is the 2nd annual AV competition that I have attended and I would like to say I found the whole day very enjoyable. It took a lot of organisation and the day ran smoothly and it was a great effort by the organisers. I am a keen amateur photographer and I have not done any AV’s myself, but after watching the AV’s presented on the day it has inspired me to give it a go. I would encourage anyone to attend future events.
26th East Anglian AV Competition 2018
1st Place: PAGB Gold Medal: East Anglian A/V Trophy
Keith Leedham ‘The Night I Fell For You’
2nd Place: PAGB Silver Medal & Best Sound, Mick Ball Trophy, PAGB Ribbon:
Graham Sergeant & Carole Speight ‘Always There’
3rd Place: PAGB Bronze Medal:
Chris White ‘The Moment I Said It’
Popular Vote, PAGB Ribbon:
Peter Allen ‘A True Genius’
Best Dissolve: Christine Woolnough Memorial Trophy, PAGB Ribbon:
Malcolm & Jenny Gee ‘Alpine Seasons’
Best Humour Trophy, PAGB Ribbon:
Chris Carne ‘Escape’
Best Photography Trophy, PAGB Ribbon:
Dick Williams ‘The Jurassic Coast’
Best Creative, Mike Woolnough Trophy: PAGB Ribbon:
Brian Harvey ‘Raven’
Vic Hainsworth Trophy, PAGB Ribbon:
Jean Mills ‘For the Love Of Sarah’
Certificates of Merit:
Melanie Chalk ‘A Coloured Gesture’
Barbara Piper ‘Learning To Love Sculpture’
Malcolm & Jenny Gee ‘The Old Fashioned Way ’
Peter Allen ‘A True Genius’
Don Foster ‘Alone’
Melanie Chalk ‘Becket’
Judges Personal Award:
Martin Ridout ‘Roman North Africa’
Jose’ Currant ‘A Special Person, A special Place’