Salons & Competitions

Hidden Earth Video Salon

Hidden Earth Video Salon
Entry Now Open

Video is becoming the medium of choice for many more cavers to record their adventures and the underground environment. There is a need (as with photographs), for entries to be exhibited and where appropriate, entered into a more analytical competition. The salon is an opportunity for film-makers, from novice to advanced, to have their work seen and for videos at all levels, low to high budget, small to large production, to have a platform and be appreciated by an informed audience.

The rules and guidelines for this competition have not yet been finalised for 2024. Any changes to what is published here will be made by 1 August and will, hopefully be only minor changes.

For enquiries, please contact

How to Enter

Entry to the video salon is now open. As well as your details you will need to upload a copy of your video in advance.

To enter you will need be able to provide the following:

  • Absolute maximum 10 minutes but ideally around 6 minutes or less.
  • File size should ideally be below 5GB (max is 10GB). 
  • Maximum render quality should be HD 1080p - please do not upload 4K or above.
  • Short trailer to your video - max 30 seconds.
  • A photo of yourself.
Note that you will need to have a Google account in order to submit your entry.
Submit Your Entry

Entry Deadline

Entries must be submitted by 18:00 on 13 September 2024

Salon Co-ordinators

Paul Taylor & Footleg


  • One winner, to be screened at the closing ceremony
  • Fraser Simpson Award for innovation in video (see below)

Fraser Simpson Award for innovation in video

This annual award is given by the Hidden Earth Team for recognition of excellence in underground video creation. Nominations, with reasons and examples of work are welcomed by the Hidden Earth conference manager in advance of the event. The work does not have to feature in the Video Salon. The award consists of a prize of £100, donated by Hidden Earth, and a returnable engraved stone. 

Fraser Simpson died in 2017. He was an audio-visual technical expert at Fife College, an accomplished caver and a key member of Grampian Speleological Group. Fraser was also a valued member of the Hidden Earth team, due to his extensive AV knowledge and expertise. His film-making skills were considerable and the Hidden Earth Team and BCRA Council have agreed to set up an annual award to commemorate him and his contributions. 

Video is rapidly becoming the recording medium of choice for many people. Taking underground video, although challenging and complex, is more possible than ever before and (judging from the number of TV-based underground documentaries) of great public interest. The pace of innovation has become bewildering in amateur film making too and there are opportunities to involve new ideas, equipment, concepts, projects and audiences, to harness the potential of ‘filming’ underground. Thus, the Award can acknowledge any aspect of excellence in video, but focussing on the artistic, technical and aesthetic qualities, and particularly on innovation in those fields. It is hoped that the award will be an incentive for people to experiment in this most exciting and flexible creative art.

Video Salon Rules

  • Delivery of video
    Entries must be digital files, uploaded in accordance with the instructions on the entry form. Entries must be in MP4 or AVCHD formats, to be compatible with Windows-based PC / Apple playback equipment. Please render your video in HD or lower, even if you filmed in 4k or above to help with data movement.
  • Eligibility
    Submissions from both established and new videographers are invited. The entrant must either have played a key role in the production of the entry or should state if the work is a result of combined team effort. Winning entries from previous Hidden Earth competitions may not be entered.
  • Subject matter
    The term Video Media is intended to encompass all depictions of moving graphics and sequences of pictures or a combination of both. The competition will accept entries that depict any aspect of caves, mines or potholes, including, for example, scientific research, rescue and conservation, as well as more artistic and contemplative treatments.
  • Entry limits
    Three entries per person, or per group/club.
  • Provision of Trailer
    In addition to your main video file, entrants are required to prepare and upload a separate file containing a 30 second trailer that includes the title of your entry, the name of the creator(s) and some edited summary content that will attract delegates to view the full version during one of the timetabled showings of the entries.
  • Duration
    Entries must be limited to an absolute maximum of 10 minutes in duration (including titles) but ideally around 6 minutes or less.. This is because the competition focuses on short video films and the editing skills that are required to tell your story in a limited time. Longer videos, including extended edits of a competition entry are welcomed for 'show-casing' and should be submitted as be part of the lecture and entertainments programme. Click here to submit a session to show a longer film.
  • Judging
    This will be by a panel of three judges whose decision is final. Note that the organisers reserve the right not to award a prize if, in the opinion of the judges, the entries are too few and of insufficient standard to constitute a competition.
  • Copyright
    The authors should not include any pictorial or sound material for which they do not either a) hold the copyright, b) have the express permission of the copyright holder or c) hold a licence from one of the copyright licensing bodies such as the Institute of Amateur Cinematographers. Entries that do not meet this stipulation will be disqualified.
  • Further use by Hidden Earth
    Although not a requirement, we'd like to request that you let us use your video on the Hidden Earth YouTube channel to help inspire future film makers. Please indicate your choice for this on the entry form.

Other information and recommendations

  • Additional files preferred during submission
    The two uploads (your main file and the 30 second trailer) are compulsory, but there are also some optional items. We ask that you upload a still image (JPG) of the creator or creation team, for us to display during the event, and at the awards ceremony. This helps to raise the profile of the video salon and the work of the contributors. We also ask you to provide a brief ‘Artist's Statement’ describing the production of your video – e.g. equipment used, filming objectives, time spent editing, and other interesting information. This will be considered by the judges as part of their deliberations.
  • Additional notes on copyright clearance for video contents
    The Video Salon rules state that you should not include any pictorial or sound material for which you do not either hold the copyright or have the express permission of the copyright holder. As a clarification to this, please note that you do not have to locate each copyright owner and ask them individually. You can, instead, pay a modest fee to one of the copyright licensing bodies. The reason we ask you to seek your own copyright clearance is because we feel that it is an important part of making a video film – you probably won't only be showing your video at our caving event; you may be showing it to your caving club and your friends too, and, if you are making copies of other people's work, this needs to be acknowledged. Perhaps the simplest method of obtaining copyright clearance is for you to become a member of the Institute of Amateur Cinematographers and then to purchase (at a low cost) a licence that they supply to their members, which will allow you to record and copy music as well as to play it in public. For information, see the web page on their Copyright Clearance Scheme. If you are in the exceptional position of having been commissioned by us to produce an official video or AV for our event, then our site licence will cover the performance of your material only. If you are in this position and you wish to submit your video to the Video Salon, please contact the competition co-ordinator to discuss its copyright clearance.
  • Copyright
    The copyright of entries will remain with the authors. The organisers reserve the right to reproduce, without payment, extracts from the winning entries, for the purposes of promoting the competition in reports of the conference and advertising for future events.
  • Screening
    The entries will run on a continuous loop in the conference exhibition area.
  • Judging
    Although any competition categories will each have only one winning entry, the judges will also award Distinctions and Merits to entries that are worthy of mention.
  • Feedback
    Although we usually try to organise a feedback session, this is not currently scheduled for the event.
  • List of Winners
    A list of competition winners is made available to the media on request and is also published on the Hidden Earth website. Reproduction of winning entries is governed by the competition rules and is in accordance with the guidelines of the Artists Bill of Rights Campaign.