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Old April 13th, 2014, 07:33 PM   #1
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Hybrid shooting -- good/bad idea?

Hey guys, I'm interested in branching out to doing photography, because if you can't beat 'em you might as well join 'em.

In fact, I'm contemplating hiring a 1DC for the day, filming a bunch of stuff in short 5-10 second bursts and creating a short highlights video as well as extracting frame grabs for the photos. (Including no long version video, and little to no audio from the day.)

Terrible idea, or do you think it's workable?

I guess the other thing is that it's been a long time since I've taken photos... This is kind of a very vague and open question, but do you think photographers look at the world in a different sort of way than videographers, in terms of shot opportunities and methods for shooting? I mean, if I'm trying to shoot both video and photos at the same time, am I making compromises on both sides?
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Old April 13th, 2014, 08:26 PM   #2
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Re: Hybrid shooting -- good/bad idea?

Hi Adrian

Yes and No!! We do photo and video packages and yes you do have to switch your brain into photog mode to do the actual stills and the mindset is totally different so if it were me I wouldn't use a still camera to shoot bursts and then extract stills from that at all. It's however quite practical to do some video at the prep and then shoot stills in-between ... I find when the limo arrives and at the ceremony, that's when I need a stills photographer as I just don't have the time nor can switch roles that quickly!! My stills lady does the limo, ceremony and congratulations afterwards and I just concentrate on the video during that period. It's then easy to put the video to one side and concentrate on being a stills photog and do the group shots and bridal party creative shots but in my opinion you really need to be totally in photog mode for that.

I've done both solo and it's not very easy ...when the limo stops take stills inside and then maybe your burst idea might work as they get out but you still need video too!!!

It's quite a tough role to handle but the biggest advantage for me is that I don't have the darn photog in my shots at all which is a HUGE help. Maybe get an assistant just for the limo/ceremony/congrats bit as the rest is simple to handle solo!!

Chris
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Old April 14th, 2014, 03:25 AM   #3
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Re: Hybrid shooting -- good/bad idea?

Hi Adrian, I do both video and stills and agree with Chris about thinking differently for both. I usually work solo and have a double trippd mount with still and video cameras on, plus extra cams for video and stills.. When posed stills are neccessary, I work as a photographer, setting up the pose, arranging dress etc. Sometimes I enlist the help of the chief bridesmaid for dress arranging, and I often use an usher or best man who knows the family to round up the groups. You also need to be able to communicate with groups of people as they expect to be organised and look to the photographer for that. During the posed and group shots, you are basically the MC who everybody looks to. During this time, I keep the video camera rolling, adjusting the framing between stills, and worry about editing out the surplus stuff later.

Other times of the day, such as ceremony, speeches etc, I put more time into the video, taking stills inbetween. I also set up extra locked off cams for these times for alternative angles. My Panasonic video cams can take 14mb stills while filming, so I frequently use the remote stills button to take stills during the service and speeches totally silently. I wouldn't use them for the money shot stills, but get excellent shots in good light where the dslr might be innappropriate, such as in some church services.

It's a higher work load doing both, but I actually find it less stressful and love being in total control over timings, location, poses etc.

Roger
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Old April 14th, 2014, 03:36 AM   #4
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Re: Hybrid shooting -- good/bad idea?

You need to take photos, not screen grabs. Even at 4k your MP is around 12. Decent enough but not as high as it will be in stills mode.

Also consider your framerate. Your most likely want to shoot video at 1/50 but for stills you need a higher framerate to avoid motion blur, maybe 1/150 to 1/200 or above. You can shoot video like this but do you really want to?

I would say to keep photo and video separate, different people doing each job to their full. We thought the same, we can flick the camera to photo mode and snap a few as were shooting. It was actually quote hard and in the end we didnt enjoy it as much.

I will say, give it a go. Get a freebie and give it a shot to see if you can do it and how well.
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Old April 14th, 2014, 03:38 AM   #5
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Re: Hybrid shooting -- good/bad idea?

After looking at "costofwedding.com", and the "better pay grade" photogs seem to get, it definitely crosses your mind - no audio to deal with, no clips to align, no cuts to sort out... some cropping and color correction, a little creativity (and of course you have to "nail" the shots as they happen), but if you know your photographic camera work... hmmm...

Then of course the thought is "why not do both"...

IF you seriously entertain the idea... I'd suggest you go to some "touristy" location with lots of good content, and try it under a no pressure situation... see how your brain handles it, can you "switch gears" on the fly, can you separate out landscape (16x9 no less) from portrait while still maintaining framing for the clips you need... can you switch between flash photography and video (with or without a light)...

Yep, the idea is attractive, but you'll probably find that even in a "no pressure" shooting situation, you'll shoot some "vertical video" by accident, you'll miss shots, and it's not as "easy" as you would think! Not saying it's not "possible", but you're probably better partnering with a second shooter, each taking one of the disciplines.

I like shooting stills, and there are a few cameras (like the RX10) that make using one camera and shooting both stills and video a theoretically possible option... practical execution in real life... well, not quite as simple as you expect! And if you're charging for your services (AKA a "high pressure" scenario), and you're a solo shooter, you will likely gain more frustration that returns.

Depending on your deliverable video, it's a "maybe" that you can pull it off... even though I think we all fantasize about it! I suppose with a high enough resolution sensor (for the VIDEO, so you can crop as needed), progressive capture (freezing frames at will), and very good sensitivity so you aren't fighting ambient light conditions, it might not be unreasonable... but I don't know of any camera that fits that "bill" just yet, though it may not be far off (and what if it's a cell phone? GAK!).
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Old April 14th, 2014, 04:28 AM   #6
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Re: Hybrid shooting -- good/bad idea?

If you want to explore the practicalities of it I recommend practicing at some public events at which the presence of stills and video cameras is taken for granted and people do not react badly or react at all to being aware of being in frame.

The sorts of events include historical reenactment shows, agricultural shows, amateur sports events such as half-marathons, motorcycle scrambles etc. And carry some business cards as you will get some requests for photos - which should cover your fuel and entrance fees :- ) At some events it is very straightforward to get a freelance media pass and that will allow you to access some prime shooting spots. Even if you just wear a dayglo jacket marshals often assume you have privileged access; some events require you to wear such jackets.

Historical reenactments are particularly good because of the effort the participants put in. There are static displays from every period plus if there are horses you can practice fast moving stuff. You'll find everything from Viking sword fights to crawling through Vietcong tunnels, to WW1 trenches, and in the UK the ubiquitous Sealed Knot civil war society. WW2 Nazi and SS themes have a strong presence at some events and include restored vehicles guns motorcycles and tanks; if you can get over the subject matter it can be highly photogenic - flames pouring out of machine gun barrels etc. I've even shot some pitched battles on British Army training areas between WW2 US Marines and Waffen SS :- )

But as regards using the same body for stills and video I'd say thats a very bad idea when under pressure at an unscripted event such as a wedding regardless of the equipments capabilities. You'll find out why when you try it :- ) I've been shooting combined stills and video - with the emphasis on stills - for the past 3 years now as a sole shooter. The clients love it.

Stills is all about the light and unless you are a "natural light only" (read "I like photos that are a muddy mess") photographer you will need to use fill flash extensively both on and off camera. Frame grabs will not cut it for much of the day no matter how high the resolution.

You need to be ready to open fire at all times as well. In practice this really means having two bodies on your shoulder with lenses of different focal lengths, and if using flash then battery packs as well to enable the recycling to be fast enough. This also helps if any of the equipment decides to misbehave.

There are two secrets to pulling it off for weddings - other than having completely separate equipment. One is that with video cams know when you can rely on various auto functions (often).

The second is to know which parts of the day are best covered with stills and which with video plus which parts can easily be shot with both. Then include stills slideshows in certain parts of your delivered video.

The getting ready is probably best covered with stills though it may be possible to do both. Most if not all the video samples I've seen are excruciatingly bad slider-fests interspersed with shorts where the participants have clearly been coached to perform or repeat a certain actions. The clients recollection of this will not so much be of their actual wedding day as when the video guy asked them to do this or do that. Stills scene setting of the venues, the details such as flowers dresses, shoes, jewellery, hair and makeup in full flow etc work great as slideshows especially if you vary to have more than one shot on screen (e.g. three upright images from left to right fade in one after another) and add a bit of movement to some (e.g. panning a venue exterior shot). Much better than a bunch of groomsmen hamming it up as gangstas, or some hapless groom forced to talk about how he met his bride.

Its easy to shoot both in the ceremony and both work well obviously.

The formals - leave that to stills, video is just filler 9 times out of 10. Cocktail hour - both work.

Speeches, easy to shoot both but check beforehand how long each speech will be so you are sure to get as much as you can in short ones. Video probably has the upper hand if its either/or for obvious reasons.

1st dance - easy to do both unless you like to circle your prey with a video light and steadycam.

Later dances. Usually just fillers whether stills or video.

Live music / fireworks - usually possible to shoot both with a bit of planning.

Guest interviews. Just filler. Guests hate it.

Don't get seduced into believing that photographers earn megabucks. They do not. You'll have heard the phrase "fake it till you make it". Thats now transformed into "fake it because you used to make it". Study some blogs and client galleries and you'll soon find out the reality. A close friend of mine recently confided that he only shot 4 weddings in the whole of last year; he is in the nudging high end tier and has been full time over 20 years.

Pete
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Old April 14th, 2014, 05:23 AM   #7
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Re: Hybrid shooting -- good/bad idea?

Dont forget that while many togs charge more they have greater costs. While we deliver disk in a pretty box they have album costs to include. When we looked at supplying the likes of a Graphi or Queensbury album we were looking at over 600 for that type of album.

What we also didnt like was that it wasnt as easy as you think. You have that blink of an eye to get the perfect shot, and I mean absolutely perfect where everyones eyes are open and looking the right way (for the formals at least). That one shot is then going to be studied. Are there details in the background you dont want like waste paper bins during the preps? Is their mouth pulling a funny face? Is one eye half open? Video is more forgiving.

Thats not to say dont do it. It just makes you realise just how much your undercharging for your video work :)
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Old April 14th, 2014, 06:42 AM   #8
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Re: Hybrid shooting -- good/bad idea?

I'd like to echo what Danny says. We did combo packages for a while but I found I really didn't enjoy the photo side of post production, nor herding the people around on the day. It is a very different experience and you have to be much more of a people person as a photographer than a videographer. Everyone is looking at you for direction all the time whereas the video guy can often go largely unnoticed.

Then there's the Uncle Bob's shooting your posed shots over your shoulder and running up the B+G showing them what they got, so the element of the couple seeing their photos for the first time when 'you' are ready to present them is gone. That hurts follow on sales big time.

There was one wedding where both bride and groom normally wear glasses, but both elected to wear contact lenses on the day. They blinked and blinked and blinked all day long. I had entire sequences of shots (more than 400 during the day) where one or both of them had eyes closed, either fully or partially.

There's only so many clicks the priest/pastor/vicar/registrar will put up with as you rattle away trying to get just one frame that's good and if you are in fleeting moments like the ring going on a finger or specific 'looks' during the vows and they have their eyes closed then you have nothing and trying to fake these things in photoshop later is painful. Video does help here because you have more frames to choose from and it's silent. What you don't get, unless you're shooting specifically for it are any portrait shots, they are all landscape.

We're still waiting to produce the album for the very last wedding we did on the combo package. It's been 18 months and the bride only just came back last week with her choices. The trouble now is they can't decide on the album orientation or how many pages / spreads they want. The video was delivered 18 months ago! The cost of albums in this case isn't a problem since they are paying extra, but if you are including albums then it's a big expense. Designing albums can either go quickly or take forever and yes the client want's input on their album and you end up doing changes.

Where stills from video come to the fore are those weddings where they really don't want many formal shots, but do want 'some' stills from the day.

The big downside is the cost of a 1Dc. The GH4 or A7s may go a long way towards negating that problem, but it remains to be seen what the quality from the stills (from video) will be like.
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Old April 14th, 2014, 03:57 PM   #9
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Re: Hybrid shooting -- good/bad idea?

I'm a "people person", kinda like the post processing/editing, and I can "show" the unedited shots on my LCD screen too... <wink> Now do I want to "compete" with the mass of photogs out there...?

Bottom line is that while it's all "media production", stills and video are two different animals - related, using similar tools and methods some of the time, and completely different in other aspects. With increasing sensor resolutions, pulling stills "may" become more practical, but with the caveat that shutter speeds for video are not going to give the same results as a "true" still image, even while shooting "progressive".

In "ideal" conditions, lighting may not be as big an issue, but the majority of the time, you'll be fighting how to light and/or fill flash for best results. Two different animals again! At least there's no audio on stills...


This is not to say that you CAN'T do both, and perhaps "thrill" many clients with the results - I've done screen grabs I thought were atrocious (but that camera had the "right" angle at that moment...), and the clients loved the moment that was captured, and thus the "photo". Not sure if Instagram and YouTube have lowered the bar so much that the traditional "technique" and "skill" just don't rate the way they used to or what, but....


Speaking for myself, "shifting gears" is not always as smooth as I'd like, even when NOT under pressure - you can cover (as I believe Roger does, I take this approach as well) with static cams strategically placed, but there are just some times when you can't do BOTH stills and video effectively... pretty much ANY of the "live" portions of the event when you want to be "rolling", but also have some stills, some of which you want to be "portrait".

Two camera ops, one shooting stills and one shooting video are really the only way to pull this off - you're shooting the SAME subject, but the framing and lighting that's "OK" for video won't cut it for stills, and as noted, still have their own "issues" as they are just ONE frame, and if someone blinks, or hair blows around, or glasses reflect... you lose the shot - with video, you've got 59 more per second to work with (and that's why we "dream" of high rez screen grabs!).

We'll probably see a hybrid "capture device" with enough versatility and resolution to pull it off, it's "close"...
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Old April 14th, 2014, 08:47 PM   #10
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Re: Hybrid shooting -- good/bad idea?

I know a photographer who posted videos on his facebook page video of a first dance. I'm assuming he shot the wedding & made arrangement to videotape very few segments (vows, 1st dance, speeches) the rest he just photographed. He's a very good photographer, and the video came out pretty good, good enough for someone attempting to do both (ie better than my bridal portraits still photography would probably come out). Anyway, it did make me realize that might be a package of the near future, stills with some video, and admittedly they could get a jump on the marketshare better than we could.

Admittedly right now alot of photographers do stills wayyyyy better than I could. But I agree it's something to think about getting into. Photography is a craft though, not just an add-on you can suddenly offer. Plus you really gotta dictate & lead the family, get the brides cousins together, the grooms grandparents, stepparents, know to pose people properly, balance out guy/girl/guy/girl etc. Choose a good location not just the front of the church etc. It's not just get up there and put your hands behind your back & I'll adjust proper shutter speed & aperture.
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Old April 14th, 2014, 09:21 PM   #11
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Re: Hybrid shooting -- good/bad idea?

Did anyone see the Canon booth at NAB? This photographer was shooting video with a 1DC, 4K raw. He had a printer, and was printing out frame grab closeups of the model's eyelashes blown up 16x20 inches, then passed the prints around for us to see. It was sharp sharp sharp! He had a 100mm cine prime. You really had to be there to believe the sharpness...no artifacts or blocking were visible. Mind absolutely blown because it was from video!
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Old April 15th, 2014, 08:48 AM   #12
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Re: Hybrid shooting -- good/bad idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
Did anyone see the Canon booth at NAB? This photographer was shooting video with a 1DC, 4K raw. He had a printer, and was printing out frame grab closeups of the model's eyelashes blown up 16x20 inches, then passed the prints around for us to see. It was sharp sharp sharp! He had a 100mm cine prime. You really had to be there to believe the sharpness...no artifacts or blocking were visible. Mind absolutely blown because it was from video!
It looks like a well lit portrait session where the model is posing & keeping still. Even if it wasn't 4K the stills grabbed from the video would still look good. Contrast this with grabbing stills from a video when the subject is moving.

I shot several weddings with a C300 & while sometimes you could pull a nice still (generally when they were posing for the photographer) the number of usable still images was discouragingly small.
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Old April 15th, 2014, 09:06 AM   #13
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Re: Hybrid shooting -- good/bad idea?

Just being able to do photo and video by one and the same person on a weddingday is something that I never could understand, both are 2 totally different disciplines that require a different approach for a good end result, resolution only is not a substitute for good video and photo combined.

Even if you use 2 separate dedicated video and photocamera as a solo shooter I still don't understand how you can bring this to a good end, I allready struggle to keep it under controll for video only, shooting photos as well would certainly have a negative impact on the quality of my videos.

You might as well do the DJ part also, just a let a playlist run and occasionally go to the mike to make some announcements or adjust the volume, how hard can that be ;)
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Old April 15th, 2014, 10:04 AM   #14
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Re: Hybrid shooting -- good/bad idea?

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Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
It looks like a well lit portrait session where the model is posing & keeping still. Contrast this with grabbing stills from a video when the subject is moving.
It was a well lit scene, and very interestingly, there WAS movement in the shots. Camera was on a slider, and he was constantly sliding back and forth while the model was putting on mascara. He put the footage on a FC 4K timeline, then scrubbed frame by frame until he got the composition he wanted, then printed it. I missed the part about his shutter speed, I'm assuming it had to be pretty fast in order to freeze any motion blur. In retrospect, he must have been at least f8 because everything in the frame was "holy cow" sharp. Below is an older video and article I just found. Prior to that demo at NAB, I've always believed (like everyone else here) that print quality from video was mediocre. Times have changed!


Last edited by Warren Kawamoto; April 15th, 2014 at 10:42 AM.
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Old April 15th, 2014, 10:49 AM   #15
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Re: Hybrid shooting -- good/bad idea?

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
You might as well do the DJ part also, just a let a playlist run and occasionally go to the mike to make some announcements or adjust the volume, how hard can that be ;)
Did it! Sort of. I was DJ primarily and also filmed, using mostly pre-set positions. They didn't pay for that, though, I just figured I had the gear from filming their ceremony (it's a whole story I've told in another post).

It's one thing to let someone hire your company for both photo and video, then bring 2 or 3 people, each with very specific jobs. If you wanted to solo shoot it, I think it only works when either photo or video is going to be very limited.

For instance, they could decide to have you shoot video for prep, then photo posed pictures, video the ceremony with a couple of photos, video of the reception with only a few photos. It would be relatively easy to put a camera on a tripod during toasts and use a 2nd camera to shoot a photo. During transition moments like processional/recessional, and even the first dance it seems like it would be impossible.
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