Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Will Video Kill The Still Photography Star?
After years of fits and starts, it seems that the much heralded convergence of still photography and video finally is on the verge of happening. Will you be ready for it?
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II, ready for serious HD video shooting, with Redrock Micro accessories.
The entertainment industry has always seen photographers as red- headed stepchildren—we’re family, but only by marriage. The border between the two fields has always been crowded with photographers looking over at the cinema side. Rarely do you find a DP looking back the other way; it would be considered a step down.
As video capture for stills (VCS) rapidly becomes a reality, DPs already are buzzing about moving in on our territory because work in their genre is diminishing with the current lousy economy. It will be a turf war about who’s more qualified to shoot the new technology. Having played on both sides of the fence, my vote goes to the photographer. We’re used to having every millimeter of our shot scrutinized. A DP has the luxury of hiding mistakes in the flow of the motion. Unfortunately, that point will be relevant only to the academics. Unless we present ourselves as capable of motion, clients will start looking at reels instead of portfolios.
Another advantage we have is the fact that we’re directly involved with the client. DPs are shielded from clients by a production company and a director. As you well know, dealing directly with clients, bids and politics is a skill unto itself that can come only from experience.
Telling Stories To Get A Gig: The Treatment
To win a commercial, a director has to submit a treatment to the client. This is a one-page story of the execution of the boards drawn by the art director. This demonstration of your creativity is crucial to getting a commercial gig. It’s like a mini-screenplay written in a narrative format.
The treatment is becoming more commonplace in advertising photography, as well. The same pitch that you use when you speak to an art director to try to win a photography job should go into your written job description. Getting into the habit of defining your vision in a short one- or two-paragraph narrative will put you in brilliant shape for the changes that are coming to our industry.
While a lot of people may have seen this sea change coming, very few could have predicted how fast it would be on top of us. Personally, I think this is a brilliant turn of events for photographers. It’s going to open our industry to a broader horizon of creativity and a wealth of new possibilities in terms of usage-rights income. Because whether it’s still or moving, you own it until you license it. Most of all, I love the fact that this will put a chasm-sized line of demarcation between us and the pedestrian public who call themselves photographers—because the new definition of photographer is one based much more on skill than on luck and access to digital stuff.
Louis Lesko is a freelance photographer, director, writer and frequent Digital Photo Pro contributor. He’s looking forward to the future of multimedia.