The “Fusion” of Video and Stills

First, I want to apologize for taking so long to post. Since the shoot for the reality TV show The Longest Day, I’ve been in the process of moving from CA to GA. That’s right, I’m now officially a southerner. Kinda weird for someone who’s grown up in California for most of my life. So far though, we love it. (I don’t miss those crazy CA living cost one bit!) I was actually going to wait even longer to post, but there’s some exciting stuff happening in the visual media industries.

The “Marriage” of Video and Photography

When Vincent LaForet posted his Reverie video, shot entirely on the Canon 5D Mark II, it was like the video “shoot heard ’round the world.”  The photo and video boards were all a flux about what this means for both industries. In the wedding and event video world, where my brethern already feel like second-hand citizens to photographers, there’s even more fear and trembling now that photographers (who often get hired first for such events) will have the tools necessary to take over the “wedding video” business too. Is that fear justified? Kind of. But not really (how’s that for commitment).

jenn-mark-ii.jpgI think you can definitely plan to see pro photographers using tools like the Mark II, or Nikon’s D90, to incorporate video into their product offerings. My good friends and kick-butt photographers Jen and Steve Bebb have already launched Fusion is Now to help train photogs in this. (My fellow colleagues at Cloud Nine Creative produced the very cool HD trailer). My “The Longest Day” co-producer and a co-founder of PhotographyMentor.com recently launched EngagingFilms (another fusion of video and stills), along with Robert Evans and Carlos Baez.

WHAT SHALL WE DO?

So what does this all mean for the industry. For both photographers and videographers. In both  the commercial and personal event realms? It means that you should do what all great business people do: adapt. Evolve. Differentiate. Whether you shoot only stills, or if you’re a video producer, it will be imperative for you to set yourself apart. You need to be heard above the noise.To be seen amongst the crowds. You need to show why YOU’RE the one to be hired. Or, you need to find a new need that has arisen out of the new landscape (the Bebbs have done it by offering a DVD for those interested in learning how to use the 5D Mark II. Their “Fusion is Now” DVD should not be confused with PhotographyMentor.com‘s “Photo Fusion” DVD, which also will teach you how to combine video and stills). Here are some other practical ideas to really stand out:

  • Specialize in a particular use of the new medium (e.g. Same Day Edits, music videos, etc.)
  • Excel in customer service and turn around time
  • Specialize in providing your service to a specific industry
  • Be an idea company (that’s where I believe Cinematic Studios excels. In great ideas combined with great videos.)
  • Partner in areas where you’re weak, and grow from mergers
  • Completely re-invent your business

A WORD TO WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHERS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS

engage-clip.jpgIt takes a completely different skill-set to produce a well made, full wedding movie. I don’t think you videographers need to be worried about photographers taking your full wedding video gigs. However, the combination of stills and video vignettes might be enough to convince a bride to forgo a full video altogether. So, it would behoove you to ensure your work is such that short vignettes could never take the place of what you offer. Also, take a note from what many photographers are already doing, and start building a “brand” and personality. There can be only one YOU.

For you still photographers who have avoided offering video, the introduction of the Mark II and the D90 is just the beginning. HD video cameras are to the point were you can get some pretty decent stills. Heck,the Red camera company already has 4k and 5k cameras (equivalent to 35mm film resolution and better) and they even have a 28k camera on the horizon! And lest you think a 5k HD video camera is overkill for a wedding, keep in mind there are already wedding cinematographers shooting weddings in actual 35mm film (50 Foot Films as well as my friend Kristen* at Bliss are two that come to mind). My point, it won’t be too long before we see a complete and literal fusion of video and stills. Everything is shot in HD video, and stills are pulled from that. And at 30 frames per second, that’s a lot of stills to choose from.

But enough of my babbling. What do you all think?

Patrick Moreau of StillMotion wrote another great article related to this topic.

7 thoughts on “The “Fusion” of Video and Stills

  1. It’s great to hear the perspective of a videographer. It’s going to take more than a DSLR with video capabilities to make a good video, but it’s amazing at how many photographers are already doing it with success. When I’m still not where I’d like to be in my photography, the thought of having to add video is daunting. Yet it’s giving me the opportunity to set myself apart from those in my area, so I’m taking the plunge into the video world!

  2. This will be very similar to the film/digital era that divided so many people. Many will hate it, many will jump on board.

    If it works for your business then run with it! We all need to strive to be different and creative in new ways, and for some people, this will be that medium.

    These are exciting times for our industry as media professionals!

    Best Wishes,
    Michael

  3. Nice article Ron,
    Moving pictures definitely take a different set of skills to execute successfully, especially because shots need to be built into sequences which after many more hours of editing make up a continuous story (unless you are shooting avant garde work for a limited audience.) With an unrehearsed event such as a wedding you really need to foretell the totally unscripted movement of your players otherwise you’ll end up with an edit that will take you forever to complete into a congruent story, and we’re not even talking about the importance of getting good audio at the source and the additional investment into microphones & recorders.

    Ron, my guess is that at first, we are going to have a lot of really bad video shot by stills folks as they’re learning our craft, however, eventually most will figure out how much more time is needed in post production to create a good quality wedding movie and most will probably end up taking on a video producer to do the work for them or give up on the idea totally because the same person cannot shoot stills & video at the same time without compromising the quality of one or both.

    The feedback I’ve had from my still photography friends is that they are buying the new Canon 5DMk2 for it’s amazing low light/high ISO ability than for it’s video features, furthermore, they tell me that they’d rather Canon spent more R&D time enhancing the still capabilities of the camera than waste resources implementing video functionality!!

  4. Photographers definately have a skill to conquer with ‘moving images’ and producing a full fledged wedding movie. It is not an easy task to juggle both unless you have a good crew in place. But you never know, this may draw attention to those clients who never wanted to give video a chance and are now willing to go for the more ‘directed/rehearsed/acted’ music videos etc, (the short vignettes may gain a lot of popularity and that can be good for both industries.)
    I for sure am greatly inspired to be more innovative with this new medium.

    -Mili

  5. I appreciate the discussion going on here. Even with the convergence of photography and video one thing still separates the two and that is in the editing. I think this is where videographers could partner/merge with photographers. I come from the video side of the spectrum, but have been nothing but impressed by some of the video I have seen from the newer “still” cameras. Capturing the images, whether still or video is only half of the storytelling process. Here is a sample of how I partnered with a photographer to merge video with stills where both of were happy at the end of the session http://www.digital-fridge.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=55:tina-wilson-music&catid=38:video-gallery&Itemid=54

  6. Interesting take on this topic, Ron. I think your opening paragraph presumes this will go in the favor of the photographer who will take business from the videographer. I’m hearing more photographers fearing just the opposite will occur. Rightfully so.

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