18 Oct Photogra-Video-grapher-editor… Guy…
Been integrating more video work in with my clients. I’m experiencing that once business clients know that I can shoot/cut video along side the photos, they ask for it. And why not? At a flip of a switch, I can go from photos to video, both top quality products out of the same device, pretty neat. I say that loosely, although you can make the transition to capturing photos or video with a flip of a switch, there is a bit more to it than that. Obviously photos and video capturing have a lot in common, but as much as they have in common they also have just as much that separates the two arts. First, you have a completely different selection process for what to capture in each medium. Some things are best captured with photos, some with video. Understanding and getting a feel for working to each medium’s strengths will greatly improve efficiency and the overall product given to the client. With photos, you have the luxury and power of flash/strobes to blast light, greater controlling your environment. With video, you are stuck with continuous light, which also has it’s strengths as well.
This may sound obvious to some, but for most of you who have bought a DSLR and are just starting to flirt with video, camera shake will be your worst enemy. Your video looks ok on the back of the camera, but once you hit the editing room to review your footage, you practically make yourself sick with how bumpy and wobbly your shots are. Boy do we take smooth looking video shots for granted. In fact, to our eyes, thanks to a gigantic movie industry, we see so many great films and video work that we don’t appreciated smooth camera work one bit. The only time we do notice camera work is when it’s bad, funny concept, right? Only the seasoned video guys will pickup on the work that goes into making a certain shot super smooth. So far, I’ve gotten away with tripods for static shots and image stabilization on lenses for moving shots, but not it’s not at the level where I’d like to see it. Which leads me to this funky looking thing you see pictured on the left. This is a steadicam, designed to mount video capturing devices on for smooth shooting, and $800 bucks if you are curious about the price. In the big picture of things, with the amount of use this thing will get, and the vastly improved quality of video it will create, 800 is looking pretty good. With clients asking more for video, I realized one thing. Just as my clients (and myself for the matter) got more demanding for a higher quality photographs which led to more lighting/equipment purchases, the same will happen for video. I am not just going to get to “wing it” with video, doing my clients a quick favor. They’ll want some quality video, at the same caliber of my photos. Hence my most recent purchase, the Steadicam Merlin. I’ll be doing a lot of tests and training with this thing, and it is not easy. Don’t expect to slap 800 clams on the counter, take thing home, and expect it to fly itself. There are people in the film industry who make a living because they are really good with a steadicam, it’s their job. So you gotta think that it’s more than spending 15 minutes reading a how-to manual.
Keeping shots steady and smooth is just one small aspect of a large set of skills that make videographers/editors good at their jobs. Like photography, on your video quest from the beginning to amateur to pro, you’ll find yourself traveling down a seemingly endless spiral of education and equipment on your journey towards being an accomplished videographer/editor. If you are in that boat, trying to incorporate video into your work because your photo equipment simply has the functionality… just know that it’s not a simple flip of a switch in which you are magically transformed into Quentin Tarantino. The one and only key thing that you as a photographer have a leg up on just some dude off the street trying video for the first time too is your (hopefully) solid understanding of light and the process in which to best capture a situation with the ability to work with/manufacture light setups.
In a time where businesses are all about being “lean” and cutting costs… sure, they’ll ask the photographer to shoot video too if it’s an option. But… I don’t want it just to be an option, I want it to be just as desirable and professional as the photography, and that will be my goal and plan to offer clients that need that photo/video mix. And just a disclaimer, I have been shooting/cutting video on and off for about the last decade, and have gone through a fair amount of learning experiences. It is a slow, rough go, just like anything else. And just like anything else in life, to be a true professional at a skill, it requires the vast majority of your time and focus. Hence the reason I will always be a photographer, and then maybe a videographer on the side. I think to call myself anything close to a pro videographer at this point or anywhere in the near future would be disrespectful towards those who are truly at a professional caliber in the field.
I’ll be making a couple short videos, for both fun and portfolio purposes, over the next couple months. And you’d better believe that anything hand-held will be shot using this guy. Look for those videos soon!