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Old January 31st, 2006, 12:47 PM   #1
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Still Film techniques applicable to video?

I have a lot of books, techniques, etc., from my past life as a photograph hobbyist. Such things as available light, composition, etc. Does anyone who's an expert (or well-versed) in both areas have resources for determining if certain film techniques would work pretty well in digital video?

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Old January 31st, 2006, 01:15 PM   #2
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Hi Matt

I was a staff photographer on a number of newspapers in the UK and with Reuters in London and Paris for 15 odd years...I've been shooting video for a couple of years now, but did a brief camera training course some 10 years ago with Reuters TV.

Basically framing a picture is the same... composition is the same... good, nice light is the same.... the same rigours you apply to your photo compositions you should apply to video framing...

with video I use a tripod wherever I can to get steady shots... but a bit of inventive framing.. ie.if it makes a nice picture it'll work are in order.

Certain aspects of video are easier... focus is less critical... important, but much less so than shooting sports stills on a a 300 or 400mm for example.

All the picture making areas of video have been like riding a bike.. to me..

Where video is more complicated to me in continuity, telling a story, thinking out a shot, not as a single frame but as a series of interlinked frames that can be edited together... having the final edit in your head before you shoot...then disiplining oneself to making a film that can be edited... It is more than just one great frame, it has to hang together..
So while I think a photographer with an eye will make great pictures, it's not a given he'll make a great film....

THEN you've got Audio....
This has been my single biggest head ache.. as a snapper, you never listen to what the guy is saying, you look for gestures, expression, light etc... all of a sudden his words are as important or in a lot of cases more important than all that...

I'm loving doing videos right now.. but being a good shooter is only the start..


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Old January 31st, 2006, 01:33 PM   #3
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Sure... it is most useful; you still have to consider light, composition, focal length, and focus. One big difference is that in film the camera may move. Coming from photography, I had no intuition about how to move the camera. You have to experiment. One book you might be interested in is
Film Directing: Cinematic Motion by Stephen Katz.
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Old January 31st, 2006, 02:54 PM   #4
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Thanks, I'll check out that book.

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Old February 2nd, 2006, 01:34 PM   #5
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all you know about still photo can be applied to video ...
the BIG difference = in still photo you are looking to capture that MOMENT in time ( fraction of second) and it video that moment need to be longer .. PLUS now you have continuous motion added.. subject moves , or camera ,moves or BOTH move ...

practice , practice with video camera ..

IMO you don't always have to "tell a story" ... you can use the elements that make up cinema to tell a story or use them and not tell a story ( pure cinema) ..
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 05:18 AM   #6
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As a still photographer I'm sure you're familiar with Cartier-Bresson's ideas about making photographs to capture the "decisive moment." Well, the same thing exists in a dramatic production or performance - action starts on a critical moment and moves from one critical instant to another until in ends on a climactic moment. You can see this in action especially well in ballet where the dance and the music flow from one tableaux to another, each critical moment appearing like a beautiful sculpture garden. So in video, analyze your scenes with an eye to their critical moments and arrange your camera setups and staging of the talent so that the image at each critical moment will be a good still photo in its own right, able to stand up on its own, and the action and camera movement flows smoothly between them.
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!
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Old February 9th, 2006, 01:12 PM   #7
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stills and video

Hi All,

Bravo Steve House, a priceless contribution -you should be teaching it.

I entered some historical views on another topic last evening about David Hamilton. He was a stills photographer in England who had great success with endless images of naked ballet dancers - Degas with no frocks so to speak. He made a movie called Bilitas and every shot was a masterpiece, but the action was slow to say the least. Conversely, Ridley Scott made ads and his work just flew along.

Getting to the point: As a stills photographer I too suffer from molasses in the action. So, when I edit, I cut like crazy.

Rod Compton.

Amateur psychologist to a door-stepping American evangelist. 'I know what you think you think, but I know what you think. (Copyright with originator)
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