I read today that mega publishing company Conde Nast “names a new president as company seeks new business model”. http://adage.com/mediaworks/article?article_id=145071
“The historical priorities that have served our company so well — great content, best-in-class magazines, key client relationships – remain the cornerstone of what we do, but we need to move beyond the magazine,” said Mr. Townsend, who remains CEO, in the statement.”
Wow – so one of the biggest publishing companies is realizing that electronic delivery and the internet isn’t an afterthought or an add on to their print pubs. That would have been unheard of just 2 years ago, but with the proliferation of mobile devices, including the iphone, ipad and other “i” devices, we really are seeing a shift in the way we communicate.
Photographers should definitely take notice of this and understand that they need to think differently themselves. Imagery and workflow that worked in the print world just isn’t going to fly in the world of “i” devices. You need to think and see differently when creating for electronic devices that are capable of showcasing still images, video and sound. And it’s no longer sufficient to just regurgitate still imagery for the web or pick up a hybrid camera and switch into live mode and shoot video that will adequately convey a message in motion. It goes beyond the tool – it’s thinking, seeing and anticipating in motion. After 11 years of shooting motion and over 30 years of shooting still images, my mind seamlessly makes the switch a hundred times a day between thinking and seeing in “moments in time” or “time in motion”. It’s a bit analogous to being fluent in a foreign language when you find yourself thinking in the language rather than needing to do the translations anymore in your head.
Many still shooters who are just beginning to shoot video are so consumed with the technical aspects of the tool, they forget that they need to think and shoot differently when shooting video. I see a lot of people moving the camera, rather than letting movement take place in front of the camera. And I see a lot of independent clips shot and then put together in a video timeline, but with no connection to one another or unity in a sequence. Basically, a slide show of video clips – but not a story sequence.
It takes time to get to the point where you think in motion, especially if you’ve been a still shooter for many years. My instincts are now that I know when to pick up the right tool – a video camera or a still camera, rather than choose the tool without meaning to the subject that I will be shooting. I choose the tool that will best communicate the message.
The best advice I can give to still shooters who want to move into video is for them to stop compartmentalizing the two mediums. Don’t define yourself as a videographer or a still shooter that does sports or weddings or commercial work. As print gives way to electronic delivery, our clients need to communicate in a different way and we need to be creative in delivering their message and choose the best tool that will do that. If we can think like that then there is true convergence – not only with our tools but the way we think.
It’s no wonder that publishing houses are hiring shooters with skills entrenched in both mediums. They need creative’s who think differently – not just in moments in time or time in motion, but a true blend that only a hybrid shooter can deliver. That’s my best advice that I can offer to people just starting out as photographers or videographers – don’t separate the two – become a hybrid and learn to communicate creatively with the right tool at the right time.