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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Are Video Photographers more skilled than Still Photographers ?...With the advent of hi def video now being included in DSLR's from Canon & Nikon, we get the split ...
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Old 18-10-2008, 20:46   #1 (permalink)
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Question Are Video Photographers more skilled than Still Photographers ?

With the advent of hi def video now being included in DSLR's from Canon & Nikon, we get the split between photographers of those who embrace the change, whilst others are dead set against it. One argument against, is the photographer is not a video photographer.

This got me thinking. If us "stills" photographers only have to worry about catching a single shot, are the video photographers of a higher skill, to be able to do the same for a moving scene over a period of seconds or even minutes ?

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Old 18-10-2008, 21:01   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Are Video Photographers more skilled than Still Photographers ?

I think there are two different aspects to this, to one of which the answer is yes, and the other no.

Video togs have to try and keep the transitioning and the compositioning interesting for a sustained period of time, dealing with changing exposure and various obstructions, whereas we can just wait for them to change / pass, or move somewhere else. In that sense, they have a harder job to do to maintain the quality of their shot.

On the other hand, us stills togs have to try and capture the atmosphere and colours and lighting and even smell and sound if possible, of a place for example, with one single frame, when video-ers have sound and moving pictures on their side. Managing to cram all this detail and emotiveness into one picture is considerably difficult IMO, so in this respect, we need to be more skilled.

That's my (brief) summary....
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Old 18-10-2008, 23:22   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Are Video Photographers more skilled than Still Photographers ?

I think there is a completely different skill set to do decent video. I don't think that people who use video are more highly skilled, they have different skills as it is a different environment, rather like trying to compare a racing driver in F1 to a rally driver in the WRC.

For many years I had absolutely no interest in cine (as it was then). I knew then that editing was the key, and I also knew that it was quite expensive with film costing a lot more than 35mm, and you only got four minutes shooting time too.

This attitude carried over to the early video cameras, but one day in the 1990's, I woke up and thought 'I think I'll give video a try'. I bought a Canon Hi-8 video 8 camera that had a built-in editor and titler. I also enrolled on an evening class to learn how to use it. Hand-holding was a real art in the days before image stabilization.

In those days to do a half decent job the built-in titler and editor were useless, so you needed an editing suite, a titler, ideally three high quality video recorders and monitors, a three channel or more sound mixer, decent headphones and a lot of time on your hands, and deep pockets too. Needless to say, my first foray in the world of video was fairly short lived.

When I upgraded my computer a while later, I invested in a video editor, and bingo! all of the earlier requirements were now in one package with fantastic control and a really low price.

Fast Forward to 2005 with the imminent birth of my grandson and technology had moved on. mini DV was the format of choice and there were computer editors that were not only affordable, but were also reliable. DVD was pushing Video out of the picture and my enthusiasm was re-kindled. Staying true to my Canon allegiance, I bought an MVX3i, and later added a decent microphone complete with a windjammer, a set of Sony headphones, a solid state sound recorder and a proper video tripod with a two-way fluid head.

As I got more and more into video more issues raised their heads. Sound became as much an art as the camera work. Remote mics, Beechboxes, more stuff to monitor - it is not for nothing that the pro video teams have a separate sound man and sometimes a separate producer/director too. My computer became littered with odd programs for file conversion, sound cleaning and loads of odds and ends.

I went on holiday and for the first time only took the video camera. Came back with around 2500 clips that had to be edited together, and here is where again I fell out with video. Post production, once you are over the initial enthusiastic phase is BORING!

Each clip has to be watched - decide if it makes it to the video, if it does it needs to be trimmed in length and then sometimes tried in two or three different places on the time line. Sometimes you will want to maintain the film soundtrack even if you don't want to use the associated pictures. Then you have to find suitable background music. not too difficult if it is for private use, but will have to be either royalty free or licensed if you are going to sell any copies. It is normal for only 10% of what you shoot actually makes it into the final film. 2500 clips will represent about 3 hours of shooting. Looking at each one - sometimes more than once - editing etc will take around 12 hours. Then you will have to start more cutting to bring the final version down to a realistic length. It takes a long, long time.

So far, I've not mentioned technique. The requirements of stills are quite different to those of video. For instance, for portraits it is usual in stills to go for longer lenses as they are more flattering to the subject and make the shooting easier as you have some distance between you and the subject. The interview in the video world - equivalent to a portrait - is the reverse. Wide angle end of the zoom and get in really close is the norm. Also coping with changing light in the longer sequences and monitoring the sound, so many balls to keep in the air.

Another thing is that shooting good video requires a far higher degree of planning. Stills can easily be out of any kind of order but still work as they are individual items. Video taken in the same location really needs to have links that can be visual, audio or both, but when you are putting the video together if there is not a way to link two shots together it is all too obvious there is something missing. Even cutting to a different location needs either some logical progression or reason for being there.

I think video is hard work. I also think that those who make successful videos have quite a different, wider outlook on the whole process from before they leave the house to to the long hours spent doing the editing. I'm not sure that the two are complementary.
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Old 19-10-2008, 00:08   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Are Video Photographers more skilled than Still Photographers ?

im one of the ones who are dead set against including video in cameras,. when i had my fuji i think i used the video twice and that was only on the insistance of my son.
Why.?... for the same reason i am dead set against cameras in phones........ if you need a tool to do a specific job and do it well then use a tool specifically designed for it........... or like the saying it will be a "jack of all trades and master of none."

I cant really answer the question as its set as i have no experience in videography nor do i want any ( i cant personally think of anything more boring than standing for ages carrying a camera pointed at something/ place/ event for more than a minute or two. having said that i do believe that even although they are related in that its capturing pictures on a medium, i do believe that they are two distinct skills and neither is either harder nor easier than the other.

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Old 19-10-2008, 12:00   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Are Video Photographers more skilled than Still Photographers ?

Like you Graham ,Many years ago I got interested in 8mm then went to super 8 and then 35mm film stills.
8mm was very tedius when editing and cutting the very small bits of "plastic" and gluing them together.
The worse bit was having to view the projected results in a totally dark room.

I have never had the urge to go with the video recording, mainly because I am just as fussy about the sound as the picture content which would mean so much time in the "editing suite"
What I do now is apart from putting selected family pictures into albums, I have strict instructions from my wife to keep our 5 grandchildren pictures up to date.

Various holiday and away breaks I have started doing Slide Shows of the stills on DVD. Its quite simple to make a selection of digital stills into what is almost a video with the software built in effects.
The secret is not to overdo the effects. Adding sound effects , again available on a DVD completes the show. Viewing on a wide large screen TV in normal ambient lighting completes the viewing pleasure.Anyone who wants to read the news paper can whilst I watch the picture show!!!
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