For the past two years I’ve been traveling around the country presenting a seminar called “Should I Be Thinking of Video” for ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers. This seminar had become quite popular with still photographers as interest in video escalated, partly due to the hybrid cameras and partly due to the increased demand for video content for the web and mobile devices. The iPad in particular is a game changer and everyone seems to be keen on either creating video content or buying it.
With this rush to find or produce video, I’ve seen quite of few people attend these seminars because they feel they have to get onboard. A few weeks ago, someone in the audience, who appeared quite annoyed, raised their hand and said, “but you didn’t answer the question – should I be thinking of video”. He went on to say that there was nothing new about video and weren’t there plenty of videographers already out there. I replied that he needed to answer that question himself. I could only provide him with background information about video production but that decision as far as if he should embrace video was for him to make. I also said that yes there were plenty of videographers out there working in traditional markets that have been around for decades. What is new is the increased demand for video because we as a society are moving more toward an electronic means of communication and away from print.
I think the most important point here is that no matter what creative path you may wish to pursue, you need to have a reason for doing it. For me, I started shooting video more than a decade ago because as a storyteller, I felt the need for motion and sound to adequately tell the stories that I wanted to tell. I certainly wasn’t chasing a trend – not that video is a trend. Just like in still photography, it’s not about the tool or the camera, it’s about your vision and if you don’t know why or if you should be shooting video then how can you possibly have a clear vision.
I can probably better answer the question “should you be thinking of video?” this way. If it’s because you have a camera that is also capable of shooting in video mode then then the answer is no – you shouldn’t be thinking of video, because you will be a technician or a button pusher and will compete with every other person who has that same tool. But if you are thinking, seeing and feeling projects and stories that are all about motion and sound, then you’ve answered that question for yourself.