Many people, myself included have written about the convergence of stills and video. In fact ever since Vincent LaFloret paved the way, shooting video in a cinematic way with the Canon Eos 5D Mark II, it seems like every still photographer wants to shoot video with a DSLR . At the same time, high end “video cameras” – not still cameras that also shoot video – but a high end camera like the RED is capable of capturing stunning stills from frame grabs and they aren’t just good enough – they’re great.
I suppose in this sense one could argue that there is not only a convergence of our tools – meaning a camera that is capable of shooting high quality video and still images – but that it also may mean – the end of still photography. I don’t have a crystal ball but if one defines a still image as a “moment in time” then still photography will never go away. If you have a camera that shoots hi res video and can pick and choose the exact frame that fits your still image needs – then we need to realize that this is a convergence of our “tools” not the the end of creating still imagery.
I love to point out the differences of still photography and video because for me, and many others who shoot both still photographs and video, we think differently when shooting these mediums.
- A still image is a moment in time.
- Video is time in motion
- A still image is one that is meant to linger on – where one can take pause
- Motion imagery is made up of a variety of shots and sequences
- Video provides more information – there’s sound and movement
- Still images leave more for viewer interpretation
- Still images deliver a message visually
- Video delivers a message utilizing sight and sound
Everyone of these differences requires us to put our minds in a different place. When shooting video, I need to think about what shot will come before and what shot will come after the shot I’m about to shoot. I have to think that way or I won’t have the goods to cut with in the editing room. The message or story gets crafted further in post production with music and interviews and each element plays its part in the feel and arc of the story.
When I’m shooting still images, I must tell the story in that one frame and timing is everything – it’s the “decisive moment”. So, one must ask is it the same – is it even fair – to grab that “moment in time” from a video clip where the camera operator didn’t make a conscious decision when shooting that decisive moment ?
The point is with everyone talking about “convergence” and taking that to mean the demise of still photography – I have to wonder. Is it the end of still photography? Personally, I don’t think so. I think that it merely means a convergence of the tools – not what we create with those tools.