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Old January 27th, 2014, 03:07 AM   #1
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Stills from video? Good or Bad?

So a friend of mine (not a very close friend in fairness) has asked about video. But she said she can't afford both video and photography. She has noticed that on social networking that I sometimes upload frame grabs, and so she asked if i can provide the photography (basically stills from the video).

I have some reservations but clearly if I say no, she has to choose a photographer and no video.

Has anyone ever done this? what would the advice be?
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Old January 27th, 2014, 03:20 AM   #2
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

Hi Clive

I shoot with 3 cameras AND 2 still cameras solo! It's hard work but it's quite possible. My Sony's can also shoot 16mp stills (apart from frame grabs) and I seriously wouldn't use them for wedding photography!! I still prefer my Nikons to do the serious photo stuff. Bear in mind that often the video guy has nothing to do while the family groups are being done so that's an ideal time to use a proper still camera ...if you have to crop a frame grab that's a mere 2 mp from video by lets say 50% then you have a very low res still not really suitable for anything except a fuzzy 4"x6" print.

I have a dual DSLR shoulder harness that holds the two cameras at my sides (like the wild west cowboys) and it quite easy to put the shoulder mount Sony down and bang off a few stills during the ceremony.

Chris
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Old January 27th, 2014, 03:54 AM   #3
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

Remember, a 1080p still is about 2mp. A photographer will capture at around 20mp. What photographers do with this extra mp is it not only allows them to print off larger sizes but also gives them space to crop as needed.

Your shutter speed of 1/50 will also introduce motion blur. A photographer, if the light is good enough will shoot at around 1/200 or above, especially during the dancing. You can do the same to help reduce motion blur on your stills, however this will affect how your film looks and feels.

A video screen grab prints out fine at 4x6inches but any bigger and it will be come noticeably softer.

We tried our hand at photography and realised that it's a whole different discipline. You have that one frame to get a shot with everyone looking happy, eyes open and well composed. Video is a LOT more forgiving.

My advice, can you pull 300 good stills from any of your films? If so then by all means give it a go.
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Old January 27th, 2014, 03:59 AM   #4
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

If you go the screen grabs way then you have to make her fully understand they are not really good enough for prints apart from what Danny says 4x4, 6x4, 5x4 ect. For the web ok
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Old January 27th, 2014, 05:13 AM   #5
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

I do both Video and Photography together, usually solo and enjoy the freedom it gives me. Both videographers and photographers tend to take shots when it is not neccessary, often just to fill time when they don't want to look like they are doing nothing. When you are doing both, it's easy to balance the two.

You have to wear two different hats though, as still photography requires a good eye for setting up group shots, arranging poses, getting people to stand properly, laying out the dress properly. Most importantly, you need to be able to communicate well, make people feel at ease, but take control. Video requires far less of those things, as you are capturing atmosphere, action and sound.

I use a DSLR and bridge camera for stills and video, and Panasonic video cameras for video and some stills. My video cameras are capable of taking 14mp stills while they are taking video, which is great for stills when flash and shutter sounds are not allowed. I always point out that the stills from the video cameras will be lower res than the other cameras, but will often get shots when I can't use the others.

Stills lifted from the video are only used if they capture a missed moment, and the lower resolution is secondary to the content.

Roger
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Old January 27th, 2014, 05:54 AM   #6
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

I think this is doable for you as long as you explain that during the ceremony, you are putting video first and the frame grabs are lower res. Take Chris's advice and have a stills camera on a harness, that way once you setup a video shot (using a tripod), then you can snap a couple pictures too. If you have a multiple camera setup than this isn't too bad either way. Please don't use the video camera for the formal pictures in-between. Even if you warn the bride, she will not be happy later. I think you shoot video with a DSLR, so you should be ready to go for the formal pictures. Just make sure it's not a manual lens, or it will be a bit tougher on you during picture time. If posing people is not you thing, it might not be too hard to find someone that can help with that. Oh, make sure to have a shot list for the formal pictures approved by the bride before the big day as use it as a checklist (with the pictures of extended family first, then bridal party, then end with just the couple). Without a shot list, you might look a lot less professional as you try to think through the process while shooting. Plus an important picture might get missed.
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Old January 27th, 2014, 07:01 AM   #7
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

Speaking as a corporate videographer who only does occasional weddings, if you have a DSLR, and decent photography skills, you can offer to do some portraits while you are on site for the wedding, not during the ceremony, along with any good framegrabs from during the ceremony. I don't try to compete with the wedding photographers, but that's what I offer to couples who can't afford both a videographer (me) and a photographer.

Plus, friends will likely be snapping away with their phones. Friends will probably get some video clips too, but their audio of the vows probably won't be very good.

A lot of my corporate events are both video and photography. The weddings I've done I only needed to do the video, but a few times brides were grateful for framegrabs of scenes the photographer missed.
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Old January 27th, 2014, 08:49 AM   #8
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post

Has anyone ever done this? what would the advice be?
If your friend understands the limitations I"d just do it.
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Old January 27th, 2014, 05:11 PM   #9
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

I think you're inviting trouble.

You would need to shoot the stills on a camera dedicated to that purpose, screen grabs just won't cut it except for some fillers. Then you will need to be comfortable with posing and auxiliary lighting for the all important group and portrait shots otherwise your results will be indistinguishable from those of the guests.

Don't rely on "she knew what she was letting herself in for". She won't get it till too late. You may or may not get bad feedback from her but you are guaranteed bad feedback from anyone else.

If you do already have the skills to shoot good wedding stills remember that many cameras can now be fired automatically using cheap radio triggers readily available on Ebay. They may give you a safety net if you struggle to do combined stills and video during the ceremony and speeches.

Pete
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Old January 27th, 2014, 06:10 PM   #10
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

It's actually quite refreshing to see totally opposite advice running on this thread. Normally it's always "Buy the best camera or use the highest bitrate" Now we have advice saying don't use a still camera for stills just use frame grabs.

I still have to agree with Peter though .. I think you are inviting disaster using frame grabs for the photography! It's really not that hard to use a still camera during the ceremony for a few nice shots but seriously, if you are just going to use frame grabs it would probably be more beneficial to give a still camera to a family member or even a guest so you can use decent size stills to crop with otherwise the guests shots are highly likely to be far better than yours.

Chris
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Old January 27th, 2014, 07:52 PM   #11
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

Got a 4k camera? You might be able to pull off some screen grabs...
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Old January 27th, 2014, 09:29 PM   #12
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

I think the advice is actually pretty spot on - it CAN be done, but requires some limitations and perhaps reduced expectations... doing BOTH stills and video is a bit of a challenge for a "one man band" - if you could add a second "crewmember" at a discounted rate, that would seem preferable.

Pulling stills from a good HD video camera will "work", but will be soft if blown up (60p is better to pull stills from). As noted, SOME cameras can shoot stills and video simultaneously, but at reduced qualities for one or the other or both. But your brain has to be thinking two different directions to pull it off!

With some of the latest generation cams, you CAN manage to use a single camera and get usable results, but again, your brain has to be on two "channels", and you may miss some things.

There's also the question of expectations - can you run a couple video cameras and let 'em run unattended and get decent video that will "work"? Then you've got more brainpower to put towards shooting good stills.... can you shoot limited stills and get enough for the bride to be happy with the video and the stills?
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Old January 28th, 2014, 02:48 AM   #13
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

Thanks for all the feedback guys. I said no. For a lot of the reasons above, but also out of respect to the stills trade. I've made a lot of good friends through it. I actually really admire the work of good photographers.

I told her that she probably deserves to get herself a top photographer at the risk of opting for uncle Bob and a video camera.

Ideally she should have both, but if she had to choose one, I honestly - friend to friend had to advise her to invest in photography.
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Old January 28th, 2014, 06:46 AM   #14
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

Clive, I frequently agree with you on this forum, and I understand why you said no. However, I do disagree with the "friend to friend" advice. I think the video is much more valuable in the future. If just having one or the other, I would pick video. Also, I would be much more happy with the pictures Uncle Bob took with a decent stills camera on auto, than I would ever be with his video.

Last edited by Byron Jones; January 28th, 2014 at 06:47 AM. Reason: Spelling Error
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Old January 28th, 2014, 07:30 AM   #15
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

Hi Clive

If you don't do her video and she is a true friend then she will invite you to the wedding as a guest. Then you can give her a video as a wedding gift.

If you are going anyway you might as well get mega brownie points by shooting her wedding. I do agree with Byron though! Most domestic still cameras offer a pretty good image and you should get a decent result even with an amateur operator and that's not the same as video which needs a lot more skill. Maybe shoot her video and then take someone (maybe her friend/brother/relative) and give them a few pointers about shooting a few stills ...I would personally get someone like that to do still when you cannot but put down the video gear after the ceremony and do the stills shoot yourself...that IS the most important bit and the part where video can take a break!!

Chris
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