The “Real” Cost of Shooting Video With the DSLR

There was an interesting thread on  ASMP’s video listservlast week. It started when a still photographer asked if a particular

My DSLR Gear

DSLR camera would help him get into the game  – of video.

Jan Allklier, a Seattle based photographer, shooting both stills and motion summed it up:

“If you simply want to ‘explore the medium’ a hybrid DSLR may well be the right ROI, although it really will only give you a flavor for moving images, not the workflow of professional moving image production, which encompasses a wide range all the way from feature film, to corporate work, to webisodes for small business; and many tools and skills well beyond the image capture device at hand.”

Kevin Kamin, Minneapolis based shooter, reminds us that it’s not just about the camera (or tool), but about the story:

“I understand why some photographers are looking to expand into video, it’s definitely doable, but I believe there is a tremendous underestimation of what  is required to do so. I feel like video is being perceived as simply moving photographs-95% of the videos I’ve seen on commercial photographer’s website are not at a professional level (most feel like overly long, clunky, rough cuts that lack sophistication and a clarity of message). They say that ‘people who are good with a hammer tend to think everything is a nail’ So along that idea, many 
of the videos feel like videos made by photographers, who haven’t fully grasped the spirit of the medium. People can enjoy a still photograph for a minute or 
two, if it is compelling and engaging, but if you have three seconds of video footage that doesn’t move the story or lingers 15 frames too long, you just lost your viewer no matter how pretty it looks. Photography functions differently 
within time based media. 
 Storytelling is the core of video. “

And Chuck Fadely, of the Miami Herald, connects the dots for us, first by passing along a link to Shane Hurlbut Visuals blog that lists the “standard” movie making rental gear for DSLR video. More importantly, Chuck  reminds us that shooting motion is a skill set.  It’s a different way of seeing and shooting.

“The hardest thing about video for a still photographer is learning to shoot in a totally different way. You’ve got to learn to shoot in sequences, with transitions. It takes years to overcome the habits you’ve built up as a still photog — like reframing, adjusting exposure, following action — which are death in video. 

I was a news and feature photog with several decades of experience, with extensive lighting skills, good technical ability, and a knack for learning new stuff. I switched over to video full time and it was shocking how little transferred over. Video is a different beast.”

This was one of the easiest blog posts that I’ve ever written and maybe the most beneficial for readers.  It brings up another important point and that is how much we can learn from each other.  When I started shooting motion back in the mid ‘90’s – there really weren’t any listservs or social media forums where my peers were so forthcoming with information.

When people ask me why I’m so giving and sharing with my knowledge, I always tell them that I get back so much more than I give. What a great time to be alive.

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