I spent my morning researching materials for a presentation due for a class. I did however attend the afternoon session for Canon and Calumets video techniques. I don't really think I have a need for this in my practice, however I felt it was a good opportunity to get some hands on; and more so ask the experts what their customers applications are.
When I did get into the studio a whole table of EOS1 Digital MK4 lay ahead of me, with a huge range of lens from 24-70 f2.8, 100mm f2, 200mm f2 and so on. We were given memory cards and sent of to shoot some video. I was in a group of four other photographers, one from the 2nd year, and two from the 3rd year. It felt quite strange as not many of us had shot video, and with our minds set to capture one image - capturing a whole moving image is completely different. However after some messing about we came up with some clips to edit.
The first thing that struck me about the footage, was that distinct quality (depth of field) where the background was completely blown out of focus. Then also seeing the clips running how smooth and distinct the colours looked. Audio wasn't bad either considering we didn't use an external mic.
I did however question how does this fit into a photographic practice? If I am a commercial photographer, why do I want to learn to shoot video? What are the benefits of this technology for me? I did ask one of the experts on hand. I posed the question - 'why wouldn't I buy a good video camera and shoot that way?' - her answer summarised was as follows, 'lens choice, the ability and range available. A camera that you already have and know.' - again it didn't really sell it for me.
So who uses this at present? From talking to a sales rep. from Cambo he explained that one client in the North West shoots Weddings. During his shoot he'll capture a short clip - say people talking, cutting a cake' - this is possible as the camera will switch between video, and still within a second or so. He then puts together a disk, with all images and the short video clips. The result? his clients love it. - Okay so I can see an application here. I'll not argue the usefulness of it, but it is a selling point - and could be the reason why you'd get the booking over another photographer. Personally speaking - I can't multi-task switching from one to the other is impossible.
So the next application? still product shots. Say we have food shots, the meal is brought hot to the table. A picture is captured, with steam in view. However quickly a switch to video and we can record a shot clip - edited and formatted for you tube, and you have on-line content. Why not feature that on your restaurants website? Okay I can see I'm getting somewhere now.
But finally a product that stood out in my mind was this. A Cambo X2-PRO (link for video)
Essentially it's a view camera movement for your D-SLR. The way it works is the bag bellows sits between your body, and then a lens is attached (best bit follows) you then have all the movements you need to correct converging verticals, shift focus, use the Scheimpflug plane of focus to gain a flat perspective on angled products. All in it's a great tool. The best part, well aside from it fitting a D-SLR it's the fact you can use a variety of lens from other camera. For example in this image a Hasselblad is attached. The way this is so great for a start no need for 5 x 4 camera, size and ease of use is so much better. The images are instant and exposure is easily adjusted. For example once the image is set, correctly adjusted why not shoot video? these clips can then be used by the client. How can you shoot a corrected image on video?
I have a friend from many years ago. He picked up on this video-DSLR years ago. He has his practice based in video edit and production. At the conception of this technology he was very excited, and now the more I see of it. The more I am understanding why. I'll not run out and trade in my camera, I'm a photographer. I see in that 'decisive moment' I strive to capture that one image. This however is another tool, an area which I can see some exploitation. I'm not an adopter of this at the moment - but perhaps as time moves on I think I'll have a little more of an understanding. Until then I'll be calling upon my friend Dave - it's his bag and I'll shoot the stills!