Saturday, June 20, 2009

Achieving Media Balance

My life is a constant battle between enjoying shooting videos, spending time editing videos, and being the creepy guy who is always lurking behind a camera... quietly watching....

I know how invasive shooting video can be for many people, and I try not to make my presence synonymous with everyone being documented. Camcorders are mostly invasive because of the sound recording. While a still camera can make you feel a bit like paparazzi with your friends, it's not like you're spying, as you are with the camcorder. A camcorder, you have to admit, crosses a line into surveillance. So while I cherish our family videos, I put the paraphernalia away frequently. I edit with sensitivity and respect requests for "radio silence" graciously. And I don't videotape everything.

I love still photography as well. It isn't the same as video and this is good. Video can tell a story one way, but well-chosen fractions of a second, frozen, are magical. Sometimes one image can capture an afternoon, or a vacation, far more elegantly and poetically than 30 minutes (or 3 hours!) of videotape. And sometimes one short edited video can be a memento from a trip or event better than hours of raw footage.

And sometimes, I leave the cameras all behind. Go commando, as it were. And participate fully in my life, without that third-person detachment that often accompanies the documenting process. Sometimes I have an even more special, more magical recollection of a place or time precisely because I don't have any physical evidence documenting its occurrence.

So learn video, enjoy video, but be mindful: with new hobbies one can tend to be zealous about overuse. I know. I've been there. Don't think you need to shoot everything, and don't forget that still photography is not only a great artform on its own, but good practice for the seeing, framing and composition that is required for good videography. And finally, put the cameras away from time to time and chill out. Media Balance. Good luck.

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