News & New Products
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.