Creating a lifetime of memories in fractions of a second.

So, we have a contentious new device out there.

Those who follow me on Twitter may remember a couple days back that I got into a bit of a tiff with Scott Bourne about Apple and their devices.  I've had many discussions about the new iPad that was recently released and I'm not going to go into that again.  The discussion is played out on both sides of the argument.

What I'm going to talk about in this post is vDSLRs.  I may not have coined that intialism, but that's what I'm going to use.

Almost every major camera manufacturer has released a DSLR with video functionality in it.  What started as a hijacking of the output to the back LCD, has now become a fully-fledged, high-definition, standard capability in our cameras.  As ridiculously cool as the technology is and as wonderful some of the examples that I have seen are, I still find this a fad that will probably fade out or at least diminish in importance in time.

There are at least four reasons I see why video won't last long for professional photographers and why the still image will never be displaced or even challenged.

There is are serious technical problems with incorporating video into a photographer's workflow. It is currently  impossible for one camera operator to capture both still images and video at the same time.  One has to make the decision which is more important for the given situation.  Take a wedding for example.  When the officiant says, "You may now kiss the bride," what do you do?  Do you capture the still image of the kiss or do you record the entire actions sequence including the culmination?  Now, admittedly, cameras are being designed with more and more resolution and surely in the near future, there will be an accessible camera from which a still image can be taken to make a high-resolution print.  For now, however, in order to achieve both goals, a second shooter must be employed.  This is an added expense that a few brides are willing to incur, but most willing to forgo.

Although (and I hate to bring it up, since everyone and their mother does) photography is formed from Greek roots that translate to writing with light, many photographers (myself included) are at a complete loss when it comes to the moving image.  Lighting and framing needs are completely different.  Videography is a completely different skill-set from photography, requiring even more training and study.  With the amount of time photographers sink into learning about and perfecting their craft, is it possible to add a second discipline?  I say, not if you still want to make a living at it.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine yesterday and she confirmed one of my concerns about this "new" medium.  We were talking about photography and how I always carry some sort of camera with me at all times, even if it is only my phone.  She mentioned that her family used to carry around a little video camera and recorded everything, but she hated it.  Not because she disliked being on camera, but because they never went back and watched the footage.  Why didn't they?  It was too difficult.  Sure, this was back in the late 90s when videotape was king, but I think it is infinitely applicable even today.  You see, we may now live in an age when physical media is waning, but significant difficulties still persist when it comes to watching video.  We are constantly waging a format war.  As an illustration, this friend of mine recorded many of her home movies on a film reel camera.  Her husband then had to take them down to a lab and have them converted to VHS so they could watch them at home.  To continue the illustration, had she wanted to continue watching these movies throughout the past two decades, she would have had to converted them to DVD, D-VHS, Blu-Ray (or, hopefully not HD DVD), then to H.264 digital files.  Do you think the original film reel recordings would have survived all of that conversion?  Do you think it's going to stop here?  Surely not.  And now that she's not really watching the movies, they sit in a closet taking up considerable amounts of real estate.

And finally, I have problems with the degree of impact and display of these movies.  As I mentioned above, I'm not convinced people actually watch these videos.  Even if they do, what's the likelihood that they show them off to everyone who enters the house?  A beautiful print, hanging on the wall, can do more for your business than you could ever imagine, while a beautiful video locked away and unviewed does no one any good.

So, I probably come off as a complete Luddite by not caring for the new iPad and these vDSLRs.  All in all, though, it's entirely up to you.  If you find them both interesting and valuable to your workflow or business, by all means, integrate them.  Me? I'll just keep recording my movies at 8 frames per second.
Scott Everett