As I’m packing my gear for a four-day sunrise-to-sunset video shoot I realize that I really enjoy filmmaking. There’s so much to learn, watch, read, and improve upon.
Photographers making the transition into video shouldn’t be daunted. I think that video is something that is really good for us as photographers, as it is just another tool that we have at our disposal. Instead of being afraid and thinking that there is something else you need to learn, you should embrace this. Video is not going away!
A few random thoughts:
• Let’s start with a “simple” question I get all the time that’s potentially difficult to answer: what makes a good video? Basic elements of photography, for sure. Interesting subjects, definitely. And good light. And clean sound. And a great story, which often means a tight script.
• When starting out (and pretty much all the time, really) it is important to team up with a good editor. If you are a photographer, and single, do your best to date or marry an editor!
• When we are shooting stills, we are looking to freeze time, to capture the essence of a moment. With motion, we are looking for a lot of other things besides framing and exposure. We are thinking about movement, continuity, angles, and how we are going to connect everything in post. It takes a very different mindset.
• Using very shallow depths of field as a creative element sounds amazing. In reality when the camera moves and the subject moves and you have two inches of focus, then it is not that amazing.
• A 21-megapixel-full-frame-sensor size is 5600x3700 pixels, but that’s for stills. When you are shooting video, you are really only getting a fraction of that. HD, which is 1920x1080, is two only 2 megapixels. Yeah, I know, do the math. But, we are shooting 2 megapixels 24 or 30 or even 60 times per second. That is a lot of information, which means more memory cards, longer download times, and more runs to the store to get additional hard drives.
Be brave…this is just the tip of the iceberg. In upcoming articles I’ll flesh out details like achieving the ideal setup, the nuts and bolts of shooting quick interviews, and crucial elements you want to be sure to get right before the shoot.