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Stills fro Video

I’m going to sound like a blasphmer for asking this one but I have to.

How soon does everyone here think we are from pulling a still from video without any sort of noise? If/when that happens, what will happen to photojournalism?

You know what I’m talking about, I’ve seen it every so often in newspapers, a still pulled from video that’s pixelated. On my way out of Iraq, I ran into a journo who had this little Sony HD mini-DV. I scoped it out and he said he could pull a 10MB still without ANY noise. Interesting, I thought and I’ve been mulling it over ever since.

Obviously editing would be a real bitch. But at this point with miles of cables and extra gear with DSLRs, what other technical issues are there?

Bill.

by Bill Putnam at 2006-07-26 18:33:53 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Portland, Oregon , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Newspapers are already doing it – the San Jose Mercury for one.

I wrote a thing about it here a while back:

http://sionphoto.blogs.com/sionphoto/2006/06/the_decisive_mo.html

Whether we like it or not, I think things will gravitate this way. People will of course scoff, as screengrabs don’t really match up to print resolution stills.

This assumes of course, that the future of photojournalism lies in print. I don’t think it does.

For example, I’m curious how many people here will check out the James Nachtwey Vanity Fair slideshow (which has been flagged up on LS), only on the web, compared to how many will buy the print version.

Similarly I’d argue that most of you will have browsed the ‘Magnum in Motion’ website and seen more Magnum images in an hour (and in greater depth) than you’ll have seen in print in the last year.

I’ve been shooting some video lately and while pulling stills off it is dead easy, shooting and editing it, isn’t.

It’s up to you to decide if its a retrograde step or not…because if the video produced is crap, then it is. But if not, it’s just an extension of visual storytelling, with inherent advantages – or vice versa – to photography, depending on your view.

by [former member] | 26 Jul 2006 22:07 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Here’s another link that may be of interest
http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/newswire/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002765131

by Alex Shea | 27 Jul 2006 00:07 | Auckland, New Zealand | | Report spam→
Many of us in the ‘Platypus community’, once dismissed as heretics by colleagues for daring to embrace new tools of visual storytelling in what now seems like eons ago (1998-1999), have been watching the changes in the photojournalism community with interest. I was one of the first graduates of Dirck Halstead’s Platypus Workshop in March 1999, a two week boot camp that changed many professional lives ( I am now a faculty member, with PF Bentley and Dirck Halstead). In that first class were David and Peter Turnley, Don Doll, TIME contract shooter William Campbell and several others, a total of thirty photographers.

Two weeks after the workshop David Turnley produced an ABC News Nightline special combining his black and white still images, video and narration on the Albanian refugees fleeing the Sebs in Kosovo. Don Doll had a Nightline special on the aftermath of the war in El Salvador. David Snider produced a two-part Nightline special about a woman who was blinded in al-Qaeda’s bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi. These were edited using Final Cut Pro v 1.0 in Dirck Halstead’s home in Washington, the first time Final Cut Pro had been used to produce a television program. The trailer of a documentary on Sarajevo I produced combining stills and video was edited with Final Cut Pro v1.2 Beta on unreleased to the public G4 computers, as we had become Apple’s guinea pigs.

All this handwringing today makes no sense. Technology always changes. What is important is steering things in the direction in which you want things to go by embracing the possibilities, and not allowing non-visual people to dictate the way. There is a place for doing things the old way, but not in this rapidly changing world if you still wish to cover news. The consumers dictate the pace, and the only way to stay relevant is to figure out how to make it work for you.

Personally, I am still a Luddite as far as documentary photography is concerned, and shoot film for anything that matters, despite using the latest digital video gear and applications on an almost daily basis. I also do not feel that the latest HD cameras are there yet quality-wise. Look for a camera for photojournalists in the near future that is a hybrid, shaped like an SLR, with separate slots for video and still cards, that can capture stills on the fly or work totally in still mode.

by [former member] | 27 Jul 2006 15:07 | Norfolk, Virginia, United States | | Report spam→
I don’t dismiss the idea of video/still at all. In fact, I brought it up because I wanted to know what others thought. I like the idea of shooting both video and still at the same time. After some research last night, I found some devices by Sanyo on B&H’s Web site that point in that direction. I believe Kevin Sites is using one now in his “hot zone” work for Yahoo.

I do some radio work and more often than not record sound while making photos. It adds a certain depth to the work and I can sell the audio to NPR or CBC or whomever.

I mean, I would’ve bought one if I had found a device like that before departing for Iraq last September. But lesson learned.

A friend of mine had the Sony Z1 and said he could pull a 10MB still off video.

by Bill Putnam | 27 Jul 2006 16:07 | Portland, Oregon, United States | | Report spam→
Is anyone out there using a miniDV and DSLR while working?

Roger, what’s a good basic/starter set up for a mini-DV? I’m using a Dell laptop. Are there “consumer” models out there with non-white light assist night vision?

by Bill Putnam | 28 Jul 2006 20:07 | Portland, Oregon, United States | | Report spam→
My comment on Martin Fuch’s post concerning the new Magnum In Motion web site raised just this point.

I think that with the arrival of free access wi-fi in major cities (the mayor of Paris has just such a project at the moment..) delivery of content via the internet becomes more and more easy.

I work a lot for big companies and can’t see then passing up the opportunity to save vast amounts on paper costs by delivering in-house mags etc as PDFs or even Podcasts.

This: http://www.tonepublications.com/tone-photo.htm rather confirmed my intuitions, simply because it looks so smart when it comes up on my monitor.

I too am looking for a small consumer dv camera which allows manual exposure control and input and output audio jacks to slip into my camera bag: I think it’s time I started lerning about all of this if I am going to be earning a living in 5 years.

5?, sounds short, doesn’t it? But just look how far we have some since 2000. Any advice on dv camera choice would be welcomed. Not too expensive though – I won’t earn a penny with it until 2011, by which time it will be an antique…

by DPC | 29 Jul 2006 10:07 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Hi Bill and David, the camera I would recommend slipping into your bag that will accompany a DSLR, without breaking the bank, is the Canon Optura 400 ($490). Do a Google search, I think it is now out of stock at B&H. Before that I would have recommended the Optura Xi, I currently use one, but it was discontinued last year. In addition, I also shoot with a 3-CCD Panasonic DVX100A. These remarkable tiny DV cameras (Optura 400, Optura Xi) deliver outstanding image quality while only using a single RGB CCD. But the really big deal is getting pro audio quality, as that is where you will be least forgiven. To accompany the camera I recommend a Sennheiser ME64 microphone ($365 to 475), and a Beachtek DXA-2S ($169). You will also want a wide angle adapter for the camera, about $160. This will give you an extremely small DV kit capable of delivering broadcast capable images and sound. Hope this helps. One other thing: those broadcast pieces I mentioned in my previous post made their producers $25,000-$30,000 back then. Budgets have since been slashed dramatically.

by [former member] | 29 Jul 2006 14:07 (ed. Jul 29 2006) | Norfolk, Virginia, United States | | Report spam→
Hi Bill,

Here are a couple of video framegrabs using a PD-170 and a Panasonic (bottom):

Definitely do-able, though I wouldn’t go above 5 × 7 for print size. On the other hand using a
Z1, you’d be able to get some very decent quality for print. At work we use Powerbooks and Final
Cut Pro to edit.

Sgt Frank Hudec
Cameraman/Canadian Forces Army News
www.army.forces.gc.ca
www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca
www.frankhudec.ca

by [former member] | 29 Jul 2006 14:07 (ed. Jul 29 2006) | Ottawa, Canada | | Report spam→
Time to start putting live news into Play Station,nintendo, xbox etc games bugger the videos or lets go straight into 3d graphics in real space, fondling the shrub(tree, bush) sounds like fun, well maybe not that far yet

by Imants | 29 Jul 2006 14:07 | goannamanor, Australia | | Report spam→
Beats a smelly B&W darkroom anyday ……. ;)

Sgt Frank Hudec
Cameraman/Canadian Forces Army News
www.army.forces.gc.ca
www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca
www.frankhudec.ca

by [former member] | 29 Jul 2006 16:07 | Ottawa, Canada | | Report spam→
Roger,
Thanks for the intel, man. I googled the Optura 400 and it looks good. Something along those lines might be in my kit next summer in Afghan. I saw there wasn’t a mic mount on the Optura though. I’ll do more research and post whatever I find here.

Just one more question: what did you mean by budget slashing and producer fees? Are producers making less now?

Thanks again.

Bill.

by Bill Putnam | 31 Jul 2006 07:07 | Portland, Oregon, United States | | Report spam→
Bill,

you are most welcome, glad to help. For a bracket to mount your mic, Sennheiser has a shock mount that fits into a hot shoe, about $30. Another convenient accessory is an L-shaped camera bracket (take your pick) on which the mic is then mounted off to the side in the shoe. The bracket offers a steadier grip for the camera. For your Sennheiser ME-64, I highly recommend a windscreen such as the Rycote Softie (about $120). If you decide to eventually use wireless mics, then Bracket1 has a bracket for this, and a mounting plate for the mic system you are using can be selected from a company called BEC. That is what I use with my Lectrosonic wireless mic system, which is the best you can get. There are good reasons for spending the big bucks on a Lectro system. Next time you are working with a TV cameraman ask what he or she is using. Ninety five percent of the time it is a Lectrosonic system. All this stuff can be found at B&H. Good Luck!

by [former member] | 31 Jul 2006 19:07 (ed. Jul 31 2006) | Norfolk, Virginia, United States | | Report spam→
Bill,

you are most welcome, glad to help. For a bracket to mount your mic, Sennheiser has a shock mount that fits into a hot shoe, about $30. Another convenient accessory is an L-shaped camera bracket (take your pick) on which the mic is then mounted off to the side in the shoe. The bracket offers a steadier grip for the camera. For your Sennheiser ME-64, I highly recommend a windscreen such as the Rycote Softie (about $120). If you decide to eventually use wireless mics, then Bracket1 has a bracket for this, and a mounting plate for the mic system you are using can be selected from a company called BEC. That is what I use with my Lectrosonic wireless mic system, which is the best you can get. There are good reasons for spending the big bucks on a Lectro system. Next time you are working with a TV cameraman ask what he or she is using. Ninety five percent of the time it is a Lectrosonic system. All this stuff can be found at B&H. As for budgets, there was a time a few years ago when an independent producer for shows such as Nightline could make really great coin for producing a show. These always had to be programs where the skills of a photojournalist were critical to obtain the story, working alone and gaining access where more than one person would be too obtrusive. Budgets have been slashed dramatically these days, ask anybody working in broadcast television. Good Luck!

by [former member] | 31 Jul 2006 19:07 | Norfolk, Virginia, United States | | Report spam→

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Participants

Bill Putnam, Producer. Bill Putnam
Producer.
(Video-Photo)
Washington, D.C. , United States
Alex Shea, Alex Shea
Auckland , New Zealand
DPC, Photographer DPC
Photographer
Paris , France
Imants, gecko hunter Imants
gecko hunter
" The Boneyard" , Australia


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