Thursday, December 4, 2008

Still Photography

For the past month, mostly a little tired of shooting so much video, i decided to retreat to my ol' familiar still camera. I thought i'd miss video, being wed to as i have been for the better part of the past decade -- but i convinced myself, saying: it's bigger to lug around and it doesn't even capture sound! But i found it oddly freeing. I'm not giving up video, certainly. But mixing it up strengthens my visual skills and oddly enough, feels very similar as far as "getting coverage" is concerned. Almost all the same rules apply to the shooting -- getting wide and close, shots and reverse shots, thinking about lighting and framing... So I've come to the observation that still photography is a very good way to practice for video. If you can't make good still images, your videos will suffer greatly, and conversely, having nice photographs translates very well to having great video.

I did notice one more thing, however. The thing that makes video so significantly different from still photography is not the element of moving images so much as the element of sound. Adding sound makes video complex and more invasive. Photos are almost surreal, clinging as they do to fractions of seconds, but add sound and now your documentary borders on surveillance. You must be sensitive to this as you get into videography. Not only to be mindful of people's privacy but of your video's intense power to capture moments in image AND sound. Letting go of that work is at times a great relief, and what you're left with is still photography. Simple, elegant. Good homework.


Perry Belcher said...

Yeah!! I agreed with your thoughts that still photography really helps and the first step before you get into the vedio's. Still Photography itself is a homework for everyone who want to be a good videographer.

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