Informal club competitions

The Bolton Camera Club meets weekly throughout most of the year and gives a very warm welcome to visitors and new members. We have been sharing a passion for photography since 1884 and are more than happy to share with you, whether your interest is in film or digital, audio visual or more technical aspects of photography. 

Our first of two rounds of the Audio Visual competition for 2012 took place on Thursday 10 May, with guest judges Bernard Longley ARPS and Keith Fisher ARPS DPAGB. Both Bernard and Keith are members of the West Lancashire AV Group and are successful at international level.

They explained their scoring system by giving the first AV to be shown a “B” grade, against which all the other sequences will be assessed. This first one may not end up being a “B” as it is just their initial benchmark score. They do not score with points, but will have a first, second and third place at the end of all the presentations.

There were 9 sequences in this competition and after each one Bernard and Keith each gave their constructive comments. As many of our members are on the lower end of the “AV Learning Curve” we were appreciative of their insightful comments and help to further our AV skills.

The first presentation was “Visions of India” and both Bernard and Keith said the “fades between the images were all the same length and needed to be different lengths.” The first two images were of a sunrise and the third was a lovely misty landscape, and these in particular would “be better if the fades were more gradual to create an extra image as the two blended together.” Some of the images were different sizes, portrait and landscape orientation, and Bernard explained that all images within a sequence should be of the same size, and suggested making a background image to put any smaller images on that. Bernard said that when we watch television the screen stays the same size and the images fill the screen fully, so an AV should also fill the screen completely. Both judges liked the choice of music ass it was appropriate and the correct pace. This AV told a story and gave an impression about India, which AV’s need to achieve.

“Wild Britain” was next, and both Bernard and Keith said that as with the previous sequence they felt the fades needed to vary in length and some images were differing sizes. They liked the many strong images of close-ups of deer and birds. There was “good transition through the landscapes” and they felt the music went well with the images, several of which “were of a really good quality.” 

Our third showing was “Romantic Rhine and Moselle” which Bernard said “told the story of a journey down the Rhine, stopping off at various places.” He said there was no variety with the fades and he felt they were “in and out.” Bernard liked the choice of music, and enjoyed the change in music when the cross-channel images were shown at the beginning and end of the sequence. Bernard said the images in this sequence were “brighter than the previous sequences as this had been produced on Pictures to Exe.” This was the second travelogue and the judges liked the use of a slide to tell the viewers were we were - it was helpful and well done. There were a variety of transition effects, and Bernard advised us to use these effects sparingly and only to use them if the sequence works better. He also pointed out that music should be faded out at the end of the sequence to coincide with the end of the final image. 

The fourth sequence was “Slow Train” which the judges enjoyed as “it was illustrating a song, and well done.” They felt it would have benefited from “a longer fade particularly between the image of the front of the engine and the one of the engine driver.” Both judges pointed out the need for AV authors to consider all the detail in an image, and mentioned the last but one image in this sequence. They said “it was a good image of a pile of rusty train wheels, but spoilt by the cars in the car park in the background and unless it was altered in Photoshop that image should be removed from the sequence.” They said this sequence was “well done to the song, and contained good fades.” 

“Reach for the Sky” was the next presentation, and both Bernard and Keith said the music was “very well suited.” They also liked the “good title and good font and its position on the clouds.” They appreciated the overall effect of movement used to show the aircraft “flying and banking.” This AV was “a good length” and they liked the images of the ground crew at the end of the sequence. 

“Born to Die” was our next presentation and both judges liked the “fantastic pictures.” They felt it was “a bit long” and they had “seen enough by the end,” suggesting a slower pace and the removal of about 6 images to improve the length of the sequence. The music was “a good choice, but over recorded as it was a bit loud in places.” They felt this sequence did not achieve its full potential; whilst a lot of thought and work gone into the images they needed further thought to work as an AV. Bernard and Keith suggested “better blending together and longer fades would help the sequence work better.” 

“Danger Zone” was up next and the judges felt that the fast tempo to the music was good, but the changes between images in the section of the fast places of Red Arrows were “slow.” The music was from “Top Gun” and they were “top images, crystal clear and well exposed.” They felt there was “a good mix of aircraft” and both judges enjoyed this AV, except the end when the images and music stopped at different times. 

The next AV to be shown was “Cottages For Hire” which both Bernard and Keith felt showed a different side of AVs at it was an advertisement. They said it was a “good advert” but the music did not fit a cottage in Wales. The good use of the zoom and rotate effects showed the rooms at their best, but there were too many zooms, pans and fades. They liked the use of humour with the “to the lounge” arrow, and thought this AV was “a good idea.” 

The final AV to be shown in this competition was “Rat Pack” which both Bernard and Keith said was “excellent” and was “well photographed” and showed “good awareness of the images onto the screen.” This AV had “very good use of fades” and “the use of the zoom effect gave a sense of movement.” A “fuzzy blur image was used well to blend into the next image.” It fitted well to the music and “much thought had been given to this sequence.” 

Both judges congratulated all the authors for putting the effort in to present their AV in this competition, and they hoped their comments were constructive and helped members to learn and think about the various aspects of AV production for the future. They said that as this was a competition not all the sequences could win, but they were all of a high standard.

We thank both Bernard Longley and Keith Fisher for their comments, and for showing us some of their wonderful AV sequences at the end of the evening. We look forward to both of them returning to this club to judge our second AV competition on Thursday 15th November.

The final positions were as follows: 

AV Title



Rat Pack

Paul Baybut


Reach for the Sky

Ray Jefferson


Cottage for Hire

Kevin Shipley


Slow Train

Ray Jefferson



Romantic Rhine and Moselle

Mike Hesp


Born to Die

Rob Wigley

Equal 6th

Danger Zone

Rob Wigley

Visions of India

Brian White

Wild Britain

Brian White


A photograph taken by one of our members

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