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Old December 25th, 2012, 04:35 PM   #1
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Supplying frame grabs instead of photos

This is something Nigel has mentioned before -- in this case, about extracting 4k images from a 1DC in place of stills. (Note: 1 minute of footage = 4gb at 4K.)

I wonder if it's a viable business model. Any thoughts? "Instead of hiring a photographer, just hire a videographer."

If you can supply high quality video and photo at a cheaper price than purchasing both separately, and if the photos now include candid moments that most photographers can't catch... Well, what bride wouldn't go for that?

Last edited by Adrian Tan; December 25th, 2012 at 11:56 PM.
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Old December 25th, 2012, 05:29 PM   #2
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Re: Supplying frame grabs instead of photos

Eventhough you can always extract an image out of a video they are 2 totally different jobs which each require a totally different approach. I know a Belgium videographer that does that but he takes photos with his photocamera and carries a videocamera as well to switch to when he wants to film, I can tell you his video at least looks like crap and very amateuristic, his photos do look ok however.

It just doesn't work, you only can do one thing very good, never both at the same time.
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Old December 25th, 2012, 05:40 PM   #3
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Re: Supplying frame grabs instead of photos

I second that Noa

I started off as a photog (video cameras were too big back then) and really you cannot do two jobs at once and do them well. Even the EA-50 can shoot 16 megapixel stills which is pretty respectable but I doubt whether you could supply a "proper" photo coverage whilst try to shoot video. When is your new camera likely to arrive on your doorstep?

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Old December 25th, 2012, 05:42 PM   #4
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Re: Supplying frame grabs instead of photos

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When is your new camera likely to arrive on your doorstep?

I have no idea, the store has not received a delivery date yet so I can only wait.
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Old December 25th, 2012, 09:52 PM   #5
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Re: Supplying frame grabs instead of photos

It's already happening !!!

Movies, Television, and Magazines shot on RED Digital Cinema cameras and equipment

In theory, you are shooting a burst rate of 24, 30 or 60 frames a second, far more than any still camera can do. This will be the way of the future as photogs realize they can have hundreds of images of the first kiss, to pick out the most perfect one.

I do agree, doing great still work or great video will be constrained to one person doing one or the other.

But one set of footage shipped off to two different editors gives you video from one and stills from the other.

Two checks instead of just one !!!
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Old December 25th, 2012, 10:09 PM   #6
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Re: Supplying frame grabs instead of photos

The problem I find with frame grabs is the frame rate. Since everything is shot around between 24 to 60 frames a second, motion is always blurred, never crisp.

However, I had a recent wedding where the bride asked me if I had any footage of her mom and dad laughing together, because the photographer didn't have any. I did, and made her some prints. She thanked me profusely.
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Old December 25th, 2012, 10:49 PM   #7
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Re: Supplying frame grabs instead of photos

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I wonder if it's a viable business model. Any thoughts? "Instead of hiring a photographer, just hire a videographer."

If you can supply very high quality video and photo at a cheaper price than purchasing both separately, and if the photos now include candid moments than most photographers can't catch... Well, what bride wouldn't go for that?
I can't speak for the wedding industry but in the corporate world people are already demanding it. There's nothing wrong, but you realize you are doing two things while charging for one, don't you?

It's okay to feel frame grabs might be enough, but consider:

1. Photography can do many shutter speeds, and are better at higher ISOs
2. A still camera can be strung around the neck and be ready in seconds, a Red Epic takes a few seconds just to start up
3. Good cameras have program/auto and full manual control right at your finger-tips. They are ergonomically designed for stills, and they have exceptional viewfinders in the right place
4. You get full frame, while the Reds are just Super35-ish
5. You can go higher than full frame, with medium format lenses - the DOF, tonal range (16-bits) and bokeh from these devices stands apart

If you have noticed Red Epic marketing, they focus on studio/fashion photography, where you have enough time to setup the camera and shoot at 1 fps. I'm guessing event photography does not give you that luxury, but I could be wrong.

All said and done, if you can make it work, why not?
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Old December 26th, 2012, 02:01 AM   #8
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Re: Supplying frame grabs instead of photos

There is a fashion in photography nowadays for so-called reportage coverage of weddings for which fames grabs from a video camera are an equivalent. However the frame grab needs to be from a large sensor camera used with a photographic lens if it is to look the same. Ideally you would be shooting at 50/60p with a 180 degree shutter i.e. 1/100-1/120 to avoid motion blur, The staged formal groups shots could be handled in the same way although it would require the videographer to call the shots & organise the groups. What you are never going to achieve with a video camera is those shots using off camera flash that look like a fashion shoot.
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Old December 26th, 2012, 02:51 PM   #9
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Re: Supplying frame grabs instead of photos

We're capturing digital memories... yes there are differences, but how many of these "technical" things are going to matter - good lighting, always important. Good composition... OK, so video "should" be 16x9, and "portrait" is often a proper still format, but there are ways around that.

The client is going to be looking at whether you captured "the moments", the essence of the day, not whether every digital pixel is "perfect". Does the client laugh, cry, smile and giggle, and are they moved by what you shot, whether it be still shots or "moving pictures".

The problem is "multitasking"... it's hard to "focus" on shooting both, but as we move towards 4k images, and the capture equipment continues to improve, pulling "grabs" of stills off 60p footage in post shouldn't be a big deal.

There will always be high end clients that expect operators specializing in using "high end" equipment if for no other reason than the "name". But with ever increasing quality from "low end" equipment, and tight budgets for the forseeable future... being able to offer "package" deals that meet client expectations for ALL their "media" requirements has a certain advantage.

I do think you NEED more than one "camera operator", preferably with separate "tasks", but all my "still" cameras shoot good video, and the "video" cameras are shooting pretty good stills in most cases!
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Old December 26th, 2012, 05:01 PM   #10
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Re: Supplying frame grabs instead of photos

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Old December 26th, 2012, 07:45 PM   #11
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Re: Supplying frame grabs instead of photos

I'm not a wedding videographer and i'm not a professional photographer, so my comments may be way off base, but...

I believe that some video systems may have enough resolution for *technically* proper photos from frame grabs. (that said, the talk of red systems is somewhat absurd to me because i'd find it hard to believe that many wedding videographers use red gear.)

But beside the technical aspects, there's the all important composition of the shot. Video is composed to tell a story with he moving images, whereas photos are posed. It's a different ballgame and hence the comments about being different skillsets and multitasking.

So technically it can be doneand surely many couples would be thrilled to have photos that were otherwise missed. But that doesnt mean it's the way to go.

Just my opinion based on gut feel. So flame away if you like.
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Old December 26th, 2012, 08:58 PM   #12
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Re: Supplying frame grabs instead of photos

I've actually done a photovideo wedding and it's pretty hard work but we never used frame grabs at all. Basically my 2nd shooter did the video cutaways during the ceremony and I did the stills on my GH1 while the A-Camera was locked down on the couple. Groups are easy as we both abandoned the video cameras and simply did the groups with the two still cameras then I did a video shoot on stedicam and we then followed that with B&G stills on the still cameras again. At the reception you can shoot the bridal entry while your assistant does the stills and then do a quick round the tables of guests on video, then change cameras and do posed stills at each table.

For me stills and video are completely different animals and require a different approach so we essentially wore two hats and used the correct tools for each job and it worked out well. I certainly wouldn't try and provide the couple with stills taken during video shooting even if you use something like a 5D for video and for me I would have to do the video bit as the videographer and then start afresh as the photographer but even on a DSLR shoot I would still think that you need a video camera and a stills camera although they might still be identical models! Frame grabs are a nice extra for a bride to "get shots that the photog might have missed" but I still think if you are playing both roles you really should be using seperate tools.

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Old December 27th, 2012, 01:15 AM   #13
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Re: Supplying frame grabs instead of photos

@ Nicholas - good video that hits pretty much what I posted earlier...

Key question... does it really matter HOW the picture was captured?... nope, just matters that it WAS - I've done a few frame grabs that were WAY below what I'd consider as "quality", but the particular scene was "the" angle and the shot was "right"... technical image quality doesn't always trump image CONTENT!

Once 4K is "native", it's going to come back to CONTENT - capturing a moment or a series of moments that MATTER, and MOVE the viewer.

Nailing the exposure, the composition, the light, ALL still count (and the cameras are getting better at doing THAT without intervention - still better to know how to manually override when and if needed). Good audio still matters too, if video is part of the deliverables. That you're shooting 24, 30 or 60 pictures a second and so won't "miss" a shot won't be an issue (or at least not so much).

If the cameras come down price wise to where having several running simultaneously is economically feasible, and that is ONLY a matter of time... I won't mind it one bit, too many times when shooting stills I "miss" the shot due to shutter/finger lag, I'd rather have just shot video and be able to "step back" a few fractions of a second.

That said, it's pretty hard to get one's brain to function in both disciplines, I am not really sure why that is, but have experienced it firsthand. Lighting is definitely part of that equation - flash vs. continuous light presents a challenge... Perhaps part of it is that I know with current and recent tech, one or the other "capture" will come up a bit short of top notch, or if shooting at maximum resolution in video, I can't even take a still, and there will be lags when switching... I guess I'm already "dreaming" of shooting 4K!
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Old December 27th, 2012, 03:10 AM   #14
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Re: Supplying frame grabs instead of photos

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Key question... does it really matter HOW the picture was captured?... nope, just matters that it WAS
I believe that a 4k or a 8k video camera would make a photog get better pictures as he has 25 frames per second to choose from so he can pick just that moment that makes a photo shine. Something which the video above clearly illustrates.

However for a videographer it would much depend on the situation, if you work alone, you will be very limited to where you record video, you will be locked onto a tripod most of the time capturing events where you can't move around freely like a photog can, the photog doesn't need to worry about audio f.i. and continuous recording, he just walks around, finds a great spot or angle and fires away.
If you are working with at least 2 persons, then yes, one can worry about the continuous recording with one camera manned and a second unmanned and deal with the audio and the other person can walk around getting b-roll shots from all kind of different and creative angles and there you could extract photos from but basically that guy is doing the same a photog would be doing but with the advantage you have video.

If you are doing it alone you could extract some really nice images here and there but you never can replace a photog at the same time, only when you are with 2 persons or more, then it could work.
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Old December 27th, 2012, 03:46 PM   #15
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Re: Supplying frame grabs instead of photos

An important factor is the difference of "style" between the two. For example, the first dance; a photographer will generally soften the background to bring the attention right to the couple and nothing else (generally), freezing a moment of time. The video may be actually capturing all of the family reaction (motion) in the background. So the depth of field becomes an issue.
The other big issue is the camera flash (when used). The flash makes all the difference in the world. Not only that it's used, but how. Where it is pointed, how fast it fires, how it is modified etc., are all skills that a photog will use to "freeze" the moment.
Video is about motion and sound, photo is in many respects almost unreal and more like a painting in that it highlights one thing and hides another.
Of course how can anyone beat the stills slideshow included in the edit form the footage. I would not recommend a videographer making photos anymore than a photographer making videos. Both should respect each others' expertise and work with each other.
By the way I also advocate bringing in a dedicated audio professional too.
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