Video - Of value or not?

OzRay

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For a while, I was really keen on exploring video and fully contemplated getting a BMPCC; however, after watching many outstanding videos on Vimeo and photography sites, I don't think video really offers anything extraordinary. For me at least.

I've watched countless videos and time-lapse videos of impressive landscapes, city scenes and the like, but at the end of the day they all look much the same. They just tend to be snippets of sameness, no matter how well done, with one rolling scene after another and a camera on a slider introducing another epic scene. The vast majority simply don't coalesce into a story of any sort and give no compelling reason to watch again, even if you get to the end of one of them (which often I don't).

For people doing commercial work and delivering video for customers, it's clearly a different situation. And it's a different story when it comes to the likes of family videos, where you want to record personal memories. But as for most of the stuff that appears to be an alternative to posting interesting photographs, I for one can't see how I could translate my still photography into video of any value.

I guess it also shows in that whenever I've gone out with my camera, I've never thought to myself that I wished I had a great video capable camera with me right now.
 

pdk42

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I know what you mean Ray. I've pondered getting more deeply into video several times, but there's never been the same ennthusiasm on my part to learn it. I've never really been able to crystalise why I've felt like this, but I think your post sums it up for me. Videos don't make me stand and admire. Time passes watching them, but it doesn't give me time to reflect on them in the way I do with a photograph. I guess it needs a whole different level of skill (screenplay writing, scores, acting etc) to make something truly worthwhile in a moving image.
 

OzRay

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That's partly how I feel as well, as I've discovered. I can spend a lot of time looking at photos, but only a fraction of that time watching videos. And videos takes up a lot more time and don't allow you to move on easily to another part, or even know what the other part is, if what you're watching isn't of interest.

And you hit the nail on the head with 'reflect'. Videos don't allow you to reflect on what you see that might be of interest, they just move from one scene to the next.
 

robbie36

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Actually I have thought about it quite a lot. Not that anyone has ever paid me to take photos just whether video is something I should get into. To be fair a lot of photography pros are not making money and looking at value added avenues. But then I know of one wedding photographer who has branched into DJing.

My feelings on the subject is this.

1) 90% of even fairly enthusiast video is not particularly great. If one was to compare it with say films - where 90% of the filming is pretty awesome. I dont think this has much to do with 2k/4k etc although I do think it is ties to resources - namely you generally need a team (and sometimes) absolutely masses of equipment to produce really great video.

2) I actually only have one friend who takes really good watchable video. But he is a lousy stills taker. He lights everything totally different to how you would like a single photo - often very low light and with different multi-colored gels to add atmosphere.

3) To give some idea of the difference between a still photographer and a video photographer consider the Sony A7s. This camera is great for low light but DXO says it is 1/3rd of a stop better than A7(r). Dpreview says there is no difference up to iso 6400 but after that the difference increases. But a still photographer doesnt take a shot at iso100,000 because the noise that is static in a single frame doesnt show up much at 30fps (when noise is inherently random). And a video shooter who shoots at even 4k is only using 8mp of resolution so he isnt likely to want anymore.

4) Also if a still shooter and a videographer shoot the same person they want the person to act and pose differently.

Obviously there are things in common between the 2 but to a large extent it is a very different skill set.
 

kevinparis

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If you treat video just as a moving picture, then you are probably not getting the best value from video

However if you use a selection of moving pictures, assembled in a way to support some sort of narrative, whether that be drama, documentary, educational , or to enhance some other media like a piece of music, then you are on a different path.

The skills to do this are very different than those of photography. There are some cross over elements such as composition and lighting, but in general, the mind set required for successful video is very different than from stills photography, requiring a lot more thought before, during and after shooting.

It can be very satisfying, but it is a lot more work

K
 

Ropes4u

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Video isn't my bag. This thought line is probably because I still have so much to learn in regards to taking good photos.

Maybe one day..
 

drd1135

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Video isn't my bag. This thought line is probably because I still have so much to learn in regards to taking good photos.

Maybe one day..
Yup. I certainly don't disrespect the medium or those that do it. I just have no interest and my passion lies in taking stills. I also have no interest in picking stills from a clip of video. I do photography for my own pleasure and that pleasure includes the process of composing a shot. It does make purchasing tricky because video is such an important part of a modern digital camera. For example, I know the GH4 is a great stills camera but there's just no point in paying the extra money when there are comparably "stills" bodies, e.g., EM1, for much less. Also, to be completely honest, I don't like watching videos that much. I'd rather read and look at stills. That's just me, of course, but what I like is a pretty important thing to me.
 

gryphon1911

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For me, video is a mindset shift from stills, as others have already stated.

I see stills and video as I do books versus movie adaptations or movies in general. I find that the imagination is more free to delve into a book, where as a movie takes you down a set path. Movies seem to want you to see everything and leave little to the imagination. There are some good directors out there that leave you with impressions of what is going on - it generally makes for a more dramatic effect when your imagination is left to decide what actually happened.

I feel stills and video are the same. One still image tells a story, but I love letting the mind go places based on the implied nature of the image. That is why I feel that still images will always be around and have more power over video.
 

QualityBuiltIn

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I don't much care for video except that I lost my dog a couple of years ago and whenever I come across the videos I have of her running around, swimming, getting into trouble at Christmas they bring up such emotions; they are more 'alive' than the stills I have of her.

As an artform I couldn't care less about video. I don't even read the video spec on a potential camera purchase. I own and would buy again cameras with no video function because photography is my prime interest. Whatever happened to camcorders anyway?
 

OzRay

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Yes, video does require a different mindset and other considerations as well, including a lot more effort, planning etc. I thought that with better video in still cameras, as well affordable good video cameras, there could have been another aspect of 'photography' I could have explored. However, after seeing what others were doing, I realised that anything I did (even if I could have achieved similar quality) would be more of the same. Different scenery, but still much the same. In some ways, GoPro videos shot well are more interesting than these dramatic landscapes that are so often repeated, as they usually involve people doing things, so there's a story being told in most cases.
 

gryphon1911

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Yes, video does require a different mindset and other considerations as well, including a lot more effort, planning etc. I thought that with better video in still cameras, as well affordable good video cameras, there could have been another aspect of 'photography' I could have explored. However, after seeing what others were doing, I realised that anything I did (even if I could have achieved similar quality) would be more of the same. Different scenery, but still much the same. In some ways, GoPro videos shot well are more interesting than these dramatic landscapes that are so often repeated, as they usually involve people doing things, so there's a story being told in most cases.
And I think that is the problem in a nutshell. Same as with stills, some people are all about the visuals and the story be damned. Some of my favorite science fiction movies are the ones from the 1950's and 1960's because they could not rely on baffling the audience with BS special effects. The story had to hold together for the viewer. Today, everyone thinks that the latest Michael Bay 500 million dollar CGI visual feast spectacular is the greatest thing. To bad the stories are absolute crap, and you don't care about the characters. Photos are the same way - we can HDR, photoshop manipulate a persons face to the point they look like the Elephant Man and people go crazy about the "art", but if the image has no story, nothing that draws you in and keeps you coming back to view it over and over - then really what is its worth?
 

kevinparis

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When trying to do video, I find that too often I don't have a strong narrative that I want to tell... so sometimes I set myself little challenges and see what happens.

This video was shot while driving alone from Belgium to Paris to pick up my girlfriend... Its a long boring drive I had done many times.. but this time I had a little Gopro with me, so took as many shots as I could from within the confines of my car while driving safely.. The challenge afterwards was a finding a way to take that footage and use it in some way to convey the idea of that journey... the solution was to cut the footage to a song... which is what I did.

[video=vimeo;44251175]http://vimeo.com/44251175[/video]

this one involves 2 gopros given to a couple of teenage relatives. They couldn't see what they were shooting... but they instinctively seemed to understand the medium. My job was again to edit it to a piece of suitable music

[video=vimeo;68579670]http://vimeo.com/68579670[/video]

I am making no claims for high art with either of these... but they quite consciously not just a moving picture, but deliberately constructed sequence of images assembled to impart some sort of narrative... it might not be a complete story, but it at least ( I hope) evokes some sort of impression of something that happened

.
cheers
 

Pyrate

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Did any of you seebthe artcle where a full photoshoot in a magazine was stills from a 4k video. Things are changing. Why not improve skills in both areas. Your equipment for the most part shoots both
 

Mellow

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I think the bottom line for me is that video is just too much work. Not shooting, of course, but the post-processing which will always be needed to shape various clips into a coherent whole. And then there's the fatigue factor--I don't know who wrote this, but it's so true: I can put a photo on my wall and look at it every day for years without losing interest . . . but after a couple of viewings I'm pretty much done with a video. Even the movies I love (which are truly INCREDIBLE video) I can't watch all that often.

I understand that the "new generation" (e.g., not middle-aged guys like me) like to shoot and share a lot of video, but from what I've seen it's the message not the technical perfection that matters. This is really the way it should be with all visual arts! So my kids for example are happy sharing iPhone video, and do it all the time, but have no interest in 4K because it doesn't matter to them for what they want video to be: a quick, easily shared snippet of life.
 

Promit

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I would love to hang video vignettes or possibly cinemagraphs on my house walls. I think that'd be really cool. Trouble is, it'd require digital frames, which are rather expensive and require power hookups, and are too small. Still, a 16x20 aluminum print runs a hundred bucks (when not on sale) and has a 25" diagonal. A basic 24" LCD TV can now be purchased for less than $150 without even trying very hard. Tack on a couple bucks for a wall mount.

At the point that I can buy a television, wall mount it, and slip in a USB drive for less than the cost of a couple high end prints, it changes my calculation somewhat. I'm sure it'll bug some purists but I'm seriously thinking about it and wondering how it changes my view of video when it's trivial to hang a video up on the wall. Fast forward five years and we're talking about doing the same thing at 4K resolutions - or for under $400, I can have a 39" 4K screen on my wall next week. So the question bouncing around my head is, how do I re-evaluate my medium in that light and what is interesting to people in that format? It's not the same format of video we're seeing from wannabes everywhere, which is three to five minute cuts of nothing in particular set to cheesy music. It's something else, something you can watch through or jump in and out of at arbitrary points in time. The same is now falling into place on the web with some developments, notably HTML 5 video but even to a limited extent with the MP4-GIFs that Imgur created. Vine was created in much the same spirit, albeit with a different twist on the matter.

This whole concept fascinates me. It's new. It requires a rethink of what to produce, and how it's consumed. I see an opportunity.
 

kinlau

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90% of what I shoot on m43 is video, but my interest is in wildlife and birds. Video captures interesting behaviour that is otherwise very difficult to convey with stills.

It takes hours of wildlife video to produce just a few minutes worth of watchable footage. The value then, is only with others who share the same interests.
 

OzRay

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I would love to hang video vignettes or possibly cinemagraphs on my house walls. I think that'd be really cool. Trouble is, it'd require digital frames, which are rather expensive and require power hookups, and are too small. Still, a 16x20 aluminum print runs a hundred bucks (when not on sale) and has a 25" diagonal. A basic 24" LCD TV can now be purchased for less than $150 without even trying very hard. Tack on a couple bucks for a wall mount.
I think that concept works even better with stills, as you can leave an image static, or cycle them at any pace that you want. I posted some outstanding animated GIFs that would be fantastic on a large, flat panel, screen hung on a wall. Once they perfect flexible screens that can effectively be placed in a picture frame at a reasonable cost, I think the concept could really take off, for people that are interested in photographs etc.
 

sgreszcz

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If you treat video just as a moving picture, then you are probably not getting the best value from video

However if you use a selection of moving pictures, assembled in a way to support some sort of narrative, whether that be drama, documentary, educational , or to enhance some other media like a piece of music, then you are on a different path.

The skills to do this are very different than those of photography. There are some cross over elements such as composition and lighting, but in general, the mind set required for successful video is very different than from stills photography, requiring a lot more thought before, during and after shooting.

It can be very satisfying, but it is a lot more work

K
I totally agree with Kevin here. I think that there is value in video, just that it is a completely different art form to photography, and a lot more challenging to do right, in my opinion.

Here is a great write-up on GH4 Guerrilla Filmaking which illustrates all the extra work and thought that needs to go into making a short film. It even gets much more difficult when audio is introduced, and the crew is smaller (one-man-band + multiple cameras). http://blog.sherifmokbel.com/?p=268

I am trying to learn video (even though I still have so much to improve in my photography) as I find it challenging to make my home videos better and archive a bit of family history in an interesting way. Here is a 90 second interview sequence of my (almost) 99-year-old Grandpa that still drives and lives independently. Shot with two Ep5:
[video=vimeo;101370071]http://vimeo.com/101370071[/video]

Even as a hobby, there is a lot of stuff you can do with video and stories to be found everywhere, shooting local events, etc.
 

sgreszcz

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When trying to do video, I find that too often I don't have a strong narrative that I want to tell... so sometimes I set myself little challenges and see what happens.

I am making no claims for high art with either of these... but they quite consciously not just a moving picture, but deliberately constructed sequence of images assembled to impart some sort of narrative... it might not be a complete story, but it at least ( I hope) evokes some sort of impression of something that happened
.
cheers
Cool shorts and a great way to improve editing skills.

I have a bunch of footage to edit, but first I have several hundred stills to prune, make selects and edit into photo books for Christmas :)
 

OzRay

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I agree that there's a lot of scope for producing personal video, stuff that you wouldn't post for general consumption. And yes, video takes far more effort and planning than still photography, if you intend to do it properly.

My thoughts aren't about the effort etc involved in video, it's more about the value of what you're producing. Some produce videos for the sake of producing a video and shouting to the world 'Look at me!'. I saw the video 'Without You' on Rumours and watched it about halfway through before switching off. There was nothing engaging about it, as it just seemed to be another exercise in making a video for the sake of making one. Even the full story to the making of the video said absolutely nothing about the story, what prompted the making of the video and what the maker wanted to convey and whether they thought it succeeded, only the techniques etc involved.

I guess I'm not into these moody, often depressing, two minute or so videos that appear, more often than not, as advertorials for various film makers.
 
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