News & New Prod­ucts

ProPhoto - - CONTENTS - Paul Bur­rows, Ed­i­tor

Ep­son takes on Canon’s PRO-1000 with its new P5070 17-inch photo printer, Fujifilm launches a new fam­ily of E-Mount cin­ema lenses, Has­sel­blad re­veals plans for four more XCD lenses for the mirrorless X1D, Lexar hits 512 GB with its lat­est CFast mem­ory card and the World Pho­tog­ra­phy Or­gan­i­sa­tion an­nounces the win­ners of the 2017 Zeiss Pho­tog­ra­phy Award. For the lat­est news from the imag­ing in­dus­try visit www.avhub.com.au

Over the last few is­sues we’ve pro­filed a num­ber of pho­tog­ra­phers who have talked about mov­ing into video-mak­ing in one way or an­other, usu­ally more by ac­ci­dent than de­sign. Of­ten this comes about be­cause ex­ist­ing clients are mov­ing into video and they feel more com­fort­able stick­ing with the imag­ing pro­fes­sional they know… hence the steep learn­ing curve for pho­tog­ra­phers called up to jump into mov­ing pic­tures at a mo­ment’s no­tice.

This isn’t en­tirely new be­cause in the past a great many pho­tog­ra­phers, par­tic­u­larly those in ad­ver­tis­ing, have been in­volved in mak­ing tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials and cor­po­rate videos, but their in­put has been mostly on the cre­ative side with di­rect­ing or light­ing. Now pho­tog­ra­phers are get­ting be­hind the cam­era… mainly be­cause it’s now the same cam­era that they also use for shooting stills. This is not just a whole new tech­ni­cal world, but a very dif­fer­ent cre­ative one too. There are some sim­i­lar­i­ties – the afore­men­tioned light­ing, fram­ing and com­po­si­tion, and se­lec­tive fo­cus­ing – but mak­ing all this work in a sin­gle frame which then tells a story is a very dif­fer­ent propo­si­tion to when the cam­era is run­ning at 24 or 25 fps. Then, of course, time and mo­tion also be­come use­able vis­ual el­e­ments and there’s a sound­track to con­sider… di­a­logue, ef­fects and mu­sic. Did we men­tion the steep learn­ing curve?

Yet video is be­com­ing the vis­ual medium of choice for so many ap­pli­ca­tions be­yond just film and tele­vi­sion. How many more peo­ple are now post­ing video clips on so­cial me­dia rather than still im­ages? Mil­lions is the sim­ple an­swer and, as with dig­i­tal imag­ing, to­day’s tech­nol­ogy makes it easy to both cre­ate and share. Con­se­quently, peo­ple who have be­come com­fort­able with video in the do­mes­tic sphere are pre­dis­posed to use the medium in their busi­nesses or com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties… and in a far wider range of ap­pli­ca­tions than sim­ply ad­ver­tis­ing. It can be a hugely ef­fec­tive means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, as any of those lit­tle demos you can find on YouTube at­test – any­thing from tun­ing a mandolin to thread­ing the bob­bin on a cer­tain model of sow­ing ma­chine. Look and learn, but also look and be in­spired… or en­ter­tained or chal­lenged. YouTube is also jammed solid with highly cre­ative videos… if you’re mo­ti­vated enough you can set up your own per­sonal ‘ TV sta­tion’ and post away to your heart’s con­tent. And, as broad­band is rolled out, the op­por­tu­ni­ties for shar­ing high-qual­ity video con­tent are in­creas­ing so it’s an ef­fec­tive means of reach­ing ever big­ger au­di­ences.

On the pro­duc­tion side, the con­ver­gence of stills and video is gath­er­ing pace. Pana­sonic ‘for­malised’ it with its ‘4K Photo’ high-speed cap­ture modes which are essen­tially 4K res­o­lu­tion video op­ti­mised for ex­tract­ing 8.3 megapix­els stills. The newly-launched Lu­mix GH5 has ‘6K Photo’ (recorded at 30 fps) which de­liv­ers 18 MP stills and when 8K video ar­rives – it’s just around the cor­ner now – the still frames will have a res­o­lu­tion of 33 MP. Pho­to­jour­nal­ists are al­ready in­creas­ingly shooting video footage and then ex­tract­ing stills, and this is ob­vi­ously the way ahead for any sports or ac­tion pho­tog­ra­phy… but you can see the po­ten­tial for ap­pli­ca­tions such as fash­ion and even wed­dings. I know of one pho­tog­ra­pher who has been us­ing ‘4K Photo’ to shoot chil­dren be­cause it’s the most ef­fec­tive way of cap­tur­ing dy­namic ac­tion shots of them at play. And the res­o­lu­tion is good enough for 38-inch wall prints, but you’ll be able to go a lot larger in the not-too-dis­tant fu­ture.

So what does all this mean for pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers? Firstly, there’s go­ing to be a lot more re­quests for video work. Do you turn away the busi­ness – pos­si­bly los­ing that client for­ever – or do you get to grips with shooting video? You’ve al­most cer­tainly al­ready got a cam­era that can do the job (with a lit­tle ad­di­tional ac­ces­soris­ing), but there’s also post-pro­duc­tion to think about al­though these days there are a num­ber of very ca­pa­ble pro­grams avail­able which aren’t as hard to mas­ter as you might think. Big­ger pro­duc­tions will prob­a­bly use a video ed­i­tor so it’s the cam­era work you’re be­ing hired for. You will need to learn some new shooting tech­niques and there’s a lot more prepa­ra­tion and plan­ning in­volved, but sto­ry­board­ing is an ef­fec­tive way of pin­ning all this down.

It makes sense for pho­tog­ra­phers to be­come videog­ra­phers, par­tic­u­larly as far as vis­ual cre­ativ­ity is con­cerned, but it’s quite likely you may not have much of a choice. Video is be­com­ing a much big­ger part of pro­fes­sional imag­ing and pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers are ide­ally placed to take ad­van­tage of the in­creased op­por­tu­ni­ties… in­clud­ing for sup­ply­ing stills. Re-in­ven­tion… it’s a skill that pho­tog­ra­phers should be get­ting good at by now.

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