Friday, September 26, 2008

Inspiration Friday: Game Changing Camera Technologies - Who Cares About Video On My DSLR

Good Afternoon Everybody,
What's the most inspiring thing that happened to you this week? While not trying to think about the current state of our economy and while looking forward to the presidential debates this evening, for me, it would be the inclusion of video on Canon and Nikon's new cameras. I was bummed to learn that the Nikon's video, even though lower res, didn't give us auto-focus. But heck, it's $1,600 less than the Canon.

Now, hold on one second before "flying off the handle" and saying, "I'm a photographer, I don't want to be a videographer too!" Hey gang, let me be clear, that is NOT my intention or the direction I'm coming from either. The last thing I want to be is a videographer. They know what their gig is and I know mine. But hey, they are always in our way anyway at a wedding - these new cameras might be just the ticket in solving that problem. Wait, wait - it was just a joke!

Anyway, let's get back on track here. Why do I think this is such an BIG - BIG - BIG thing for photographers? Just look at the last two Business Day Thursday posts. The bottom line is that we need to be offering our clients exciting products that the competition down the street is not. This new camera functionality points the way for innovative, forward thinking photographers to do just that!

You know what the coolest thing is about the built in video feature is, don't you? It's just trying to think up ways we can offer it to our clients! I'm totally fired up because it's available. I'm most excited for what it brings to my ability as a trainer/teacher/instructor to even more easily demonstrate what I teach. I can't wait to get my hands on one.

But let's set the teaching aspect aside and talk about what it brings to our studio. How can we use this new innovation to create some dramatic new products for our clients. Lots of photographers are presenting slide shows on there computers at the wedding reception - heck, we were doing it 25 years ago with Kodak projectors. Can you imagine the client response now with live video cut into the presentation. It's a double WIN - WIN!

How about adding some short snippets to your web site? The new camera will now make it "easy as pie" now to get the footage. How about selling the client a video of their favorite images with some of the live footage cut in. What are the other possibilities? If we all put our thinking caps on, I think we could come up with many new and exciting ideas. What do you think, anybody else fired up about this as much as I am? If you are, throw some suggestions in the comments section below.

If we hit 20 suggestions, I'll give a way another Digital WakeUp Call 2 DVD set worth $75. Get your brain juices flowing and let's see what we can come up with with these wonderful and powerful story telling tools.


  1. How 'bout some outtakes during the engagement shoot with their thoughts of the future they will share, their love for each other. Play back during the reception, incorp into a slide show of the wedding images for their wedding photo package.

  2. I couldn't agree with you more. I've read and heard so much negativity regarding the video aspect of the new 5D that I think people forget just what you pointed out, get creative with it. Maybe the two disciplines will one day merge together but for right now it an added extra that sets the few apart from the crowd.

    When I presented the question the other day I knew if anyone was going to battle against all of the naysayers it would be you, thank you.

  3. As far as my suggestion goes, I think a video of their engagement session during the reception would be great. The icing on the cake would be that the b&g didn't know you were shooting video at the time so they would be surprised just as much as the guests.

    As far as showing anything from that day goes, I don't know how feasible that would be since I'm not a video guy. I do know that processing my raw files at the wedding for a slide show seems to take forever, who knows how long video would take. But I do like the idea!

  4. I think it would be neat to have photo clips put into a slideshow. Personally, I would film in between getting shots of the bride getting hair & makeup done. There is always so much action taking place around the bride; bridesmaids joking, flower girls playing, moms crying etc. It would make a nice addition to any slideshow & I'm sure most sentimental types would eat it up.

  5. I'm loving the fact that you'll be able to shoot your normal stills in movie mode, so you can segue video with what will be the final prints!

    Fisheye video segments will blow people away, as will doing creative zoom stuff. A lot of our photo lens tricks can be adapted to video.. something most videos cams can't do..

    Not to mention ISO6400 video!

  6. It is really fun to think of the possibilities...instead of a static goodbye you can film it too. A whole new genre of "action images" can be added to your product mix. What about all the outtakes during children's portraits? Sometimes it is just as interesting watching the set-up as the final image- a la the stuff home movies are so memorable for. Not to mention the added value of Youtube video material vs. a still image. Set-up the video online and then you are pre-selling the excitement of the final image to the client...again!

  7. I can't believe that an "old dog" like you can teach yourself shooting video along with beautiful pictures! Darn, that's very impressive David :) I agree 110% with you about expanding our skills, along with providing client more exciting to see one of the most important events of their life in motion - well, exactly in HDTV! darn!!! My idea is send the client a short clip to their iPhone/Mp3/iPod, etc... along with a few pictures. Man! I bet they'll show it to the whole world,then for us: kaaching! kaching!...


  8. I think all of the above ideas are great........leaves me scratching my head for inspiration. What hasn't been thought of here already.
    Just think of all the live footage to capture. All of the action in the dance at the reception and then.... freeze frame.
    Personally I love the thought of being able to capture some of my own family's special moments on HD. As much as I love my camera and equipment they will always be the most important part of my life.

  9. I can also see interspersing the normal music overlay for slideshows with people talking about the wedding couple etc. Split screen show with video on left and scrolling images on right to back reinforce it. And, of course, you never know when the video will capture a moment you missed with stills. While not suitable for printing, the HD resolution capture will be more than good enough for slideshows / web.

    Oooo --- the possibilities!

  10. I think it is a just another era coming which makes quite a number of photographers feel uncomfortable about this, just like another analog to digital era coming in...

    People just tend to stay in the comfort zone, when every photographer slowly get used to the digital imaging era, they know they need to put in extra effort now into videography or do much more better in photography in order to retain their "rice bowl" (living hood), so this might sound a challenge that such a era just coming too fast.

    And soon, the new generation which born with the comfort of camera with built in high res video capture will just take it for granted and who knows the winner only are those who really able catch up with tech advantages.

    Just 2 cents.

  11. Great post! Embracing change is smart business sense. I believe a lot of naysayers will get left behind in a cloud of dust if they don't embrace what will soon be the future.

    My idea: A wedding photographers dream. Imagine combining priceless moments captured forever for display with small video snippets that don't photograph well are difficult to capture with a still camera. Example: A 30 second video of the ring bearer sneaking a cookie of the desert table during the reception.....The possibilities are unlimited. The clients will eat it up.

  12. I can't wait to get my hands on one....smooth 1080p video up till the shot, then cut to the finished post processed shot. Great for web presentations and video slide shows. Now we just need a way to put together a nice HD video slideshow without bogging down our current computer rigs.

  13. @ David and Guide Light

    You're so right boys. The 5DII opens up a range of new possibilities for us. OK, we need to learn a new skill set, but if WE don't our COMPETITORS will and we'll be left behind. This is a terrific opportunity for us as photographers to expand our product offering.

    I'm going to include video in the slideshows we give our clients along with their album.

    I'm also going to add footage to my blog of the weddings I shoot. Our couples already go nuts with enthusiasm when they see their wedding on my blog - imagine how excited they'll be when we add a little video too.

    I'll also create online videos that the couple can tell their friends and family to go and check out their wedding - especially those who couldn't make it to the big day.

    Then there's the possibility of producing a video that I can email the couple while their still on honeymoon. They can then email it to their friends and family too.

    In short, the video capability allows me to engage on many more levels with my clients after the wedding. I'm convinced it'll make them happier clients and better referral sources.

    I can't wait to get my hands on my own 5DII. The wedding photography business is changing and Canon and Nikon are providing us with the tools to dictate that change.


  14. I think this will open the door to us finally creating pictures like in the Harry Potter movies: They're still-framed images, ....but they move!

  15. I agree with David that this new technology has so many possibilities for us as photographers.

    I believe we need to start learning a little bit of videography, even if we do not have any plans on becoming full-fledged videographers. I for one am going to purchase Final Cut Pro (yes I'm a Mac User) and start learning how to put stunning video slideshows together for my clients. I believe this method of making slideshows will make me stand out from the crowd.

    Here are some ways I envision using this new technology.

    We have a lot in common with videographers. We both have to know how to light, compose, etc. our subjects in order to get the shots we need. If we did a little bit more planning ahead of time to incorporate high quality video/video slideshows into our photography, we can further ourselves from the crowd-amateurs in particular.

    Say we captured an image like the one that David posted call the Little Angels. If we were to combine this with a short video clip in a video slideshow, I think this would have a dramatic effect. For example, say you were watching the video slideshow and you see this short clip of the two little girls going up to the bride and then the video stops for this beautiful image! Can you think of a more dramatic way to present a still image?

    Now say, we plan to present most of the final images to the wedding guests in this way. How can we use this to market ourselves further? Since we are already going to distribute this slideshow in a video format, we can easily create a DVD with menus such as play the whole movie and with extras which can include a promotional video for your photography business!

    Now that we’ve created a DVD with a promotional video for our photography business and we have stunning still images integrated with our video, now how can we market to the guests in particular? One idea is to sell the DVD for say $20 and give $5 to the bride and groom. Now you can market it, as helping out the bride and groom. Another one is to give or sell (say $6 and $2 goes to the couple) a short video (under 10 min.) of the highlights with your promotional material integrated into the video to the guests, so they can put them on iPods, MP3 Players, Cell Phones and to go on the web (Like Youtube).

    The Video slideshow can offer us so many possibilities for marketing our photography skills to prospective clients. Just think of all the marketing potential that can come from the people that will see your work on the DVDs, iPods, MP3 players, Cell Phones, and Youtube especially!

    I am interested to see, if the new camera can be controlled remotely with the capability of switching between video and still image capture. If possible, this will open up new possibilities of remote camera placement and capture. For example you could set up one camera to concentrate on the groom, while you are concentrating on the bride coming down the aisle. Now you can capture both of their expressions!

    I think we need to learn how to place our cameras in remote and unique areas (like in the movie Reverie). This will allow us to set ourselves further apart from the competition and from the increasing number of amateurs with DSLRs. For example we can place a camera or cameras remotely behind the altar (discreetly of course). This will allow us to photograph the front of the bride and groom. Another one is that we can discreetly place a camera in the front of the sanctuary so we can photograph the entire sanctuary from the front instead of from the balcony in the rear. And another one, is to place a camera on the floor with a wide-angle lens looking up behind the bride so that when she throws the bouquet we get the bouquet flying through the air in a unique way.

    This camera’s high ISO, video capability, high image quality and other features, opens the door for many new remote camera placement possibilities. We just need to come up with inspirational ideas for placing our cameras remotely. We also need to investigate what other photographers are taking and what the amateur photographer is unable to capture.

    By the way, if you can use strobes in the sanctuary, you can use the modeling light as a fill light for the video and the strobe for your still images (the strobe will probably not affect your video, if it has a short flash duration).

    There are many software programs out there to put the video/video slideshow together. My program of choice happens to be Final Cut Pro, however there are many other excellent programs on the market today. We can learn how to build video templates in Photoshop extended & our video software, with enough flexibility to create a new feel to our videos each time. Our clients will think we spent days on the production:)

    There is one more thing we need to address for video and that’s audio. How do we get dynamic audio with our video? This is something I am still learning myself, so suggestions are greatly welcomed here. However, I know that we need to make the video and images sync with the audio smoothly like they are in the movie Reverie.

    We can make audio templates that will mirror the video templates in both time and segments. This will allow us to combine them, with beautiful results.

    For all these templates to work properly, we also need to figure out exactly how we want to shoot each wedding. We need to shoot the wedding with the goal of putting the video and the still images in the templates. This will allow us to put the video together smoothly.

    Templates are the key for us as photographers in the video & photography world. They allow us to do nice productions without a lot of work.

    In summary, this new camera offers so many new possibilities that it is mind-boggling to me. As you probably have figured out, I am very excited as well about this new Canon 5D Mark II.

    We need to embrace this new technology so we can stay competitive in this ever-changing business. And we need to incorporate this new technology so that it will complement our photography.

    I am not trying to bash the amateur photographer as I am one myself. However I am turning professional very soon. I know that I must separate myself from the competition as well as other amateur photographers.

    If you have any ideas, suggestions, etc., please post them as I would like to hear them.

    Thanks, Zechariah

    PS: By the way Mr. Ziser, I really appreciate all of the inspirational resources you have so graciously provided on this blog as well as on your website. I would like to someday thank you in person.

  16. I have to admit a smidgen of skepticism, at least in relation to activity during an actual event. I can certainly see using the video during engagement sessions, as was mentioned earlier. However, at least in my experience, the still-photography and videography mindsets are too-close, yet too-far apart for me to switch cleanly and rapidly.

    I am concerned that in trying to provide both, I will be diminishing the quality of each. IMO, the videographer searches for action, for their product depends on action for its worth. But the still photographer can also make use of "mere" scene. It is a different set of image potentials for each. Can I give worthy attention to all the potential captures before me, with the additional filtering of "still-or-video" clouding the process?

    The natural solution to that seems to be to assign one of the two forms to an assistant. But then we're back to where we really can be right now ... explicitly making the videographer part of our team; just with a different form of capture device.

    Perhaps with practice I will find this to be less of a concern in reality than it appears in foresight.

  17. Rather than freeze actions or blur actions, film taking actually can document completion of one action.

    The big difference between photography and videography is always ignored sometimes. I think some actions is much more touching or vivid by freezing it in one tiny moment, however, others may not.

    So actually, this new built-in feature on Canon 5D MarkII or Nikon D90 is providing another aspect for photographer. Just try to image that when you take a video of the bride's grandam wiping away tears from face, it is more moved than just showing one picture in the projector. The longer duration of some moments in video could lead the attendants' feeling more handily and effectively.

    Moreover, it is also possible to use some special effects that videocam is not accessible.

  18. A good use for the video would be when they come in to view their proofs. Showing a few minutes of video should put them in a buying mood. Maybe the video clip could be part of an incentive package, buy so many larger prints get the video at no charge.

  19. You could also offer the video clip for their ipod or ask them it they want it uploaded to youtube or somewhere like it for family to view.
    I have spent time at family events with a small digital video camera in one had and the DSLR in the other on auto and auto focus-far too much stress...

  20. I was thinking, what if we put microphones discreetly around the sanctuary, this would give us the ability to create surround-sound for are video slideshows.

    We can send the audio wirelessly to the camera or a laptop.

    Now that we have the ambient audio, we can combine this with our music track to create the final audio track for are video slideshow. Then we can put the video slideshow together using our prebuilt templates.

    I was also thinking we can use EOS utility to view and control the video and still image capture. You can have an assistant monitor the various remote cameras.

    I’ll keep posting new ideas as I come up with them.

    If you have any ideas, suggestions, etc., please post them as I would like to hear them.

  21. I was cruising the web, an came across a pre-preview article & video on the luminance landscape. In the article he references a previous article he wrote called “A Video Primer for Photographers”. He also has a forum that discusses the new DSLRs with video capability. Here are the links:

    Canon 5D MKII Pre-Preview:

    Pre-Preview Video no Canon 5D MKII:

    A Video Primer for Photographers:

    DSLRs with video capability Forum:

    Hopefully you’ll find these articles interesting and useful.


  22. As a video producer and not a wedding photographer, I'm excited about this sensor migrating up to high end video cameras. The 5DMII video already looks better than that from my $50K Sony HD camera/lens combo.
    That being said, I concur that remote placement of these cameras offers the most unique benefit for shooting a wedding. I also agree that trying to do both video and stills during the wedding will only detract from the quality of both. It is better to have an assistant set up and control the video cameras so the still photographer can do his or her primary job.

    Also, all this talk of templates, slideshows incorporating video, etc. are boring. I'd rather see a web site for the couple that includes video and stills and can be linked to each other. For example, how about a series of video clips on a main page showing each stage of the wedding and allowing the user to click on the video to see the still image gallery.

    Also, for audio, wireless mics hidden on the bride and groom are the best way to go.

  23. Since we are on the topic of the “Game Changing Camera”, I thought I would like to add some more ideas that I came up with.

    David, posted a while back a technique called Z-Ray lighting. I personally really like the two light sources having different color temperatures. This makes a unique look in his images. I think we need to exploit this kind of creativity in our photography and our videography. Consequently, the need for theatrical lighting or constant lighting so we can do video and multiple frames per second.

    With the high ISO of the Canon 5D Mark II, we can get a way without a million watts of light which makes it possible to use small light sources without breaking our budget and the circuit breaker!

    The theatrical lights can give us so many possibilities for creativity such as using colored filters (for example Rosco), light modifiers, variable power settings, and combinations of these.

    We can get around the restrictions that many churches put on the use of flash during the ceremony, by working with the event or wedding coordinator. We can show them that the theatrical lights will create a more pleasing and/or dramatic effect for the wedding or event. Also, we need to make sure that the theatrical lights do not distract from the event or wedding, shine into peoples eyes or overwhelm certain ambient lights, etc.

    As David posted recently, we can possibly use individual frames of the HD video for prints, which would depend on the resolution of the frames. This is not to say that we will not take traditional photographs, far from it. It only gives us another opportunity to capture the moments.

    This is a huge commitment not only in logistics but also in set up time and preparation beforehand. I think it is well worth the extra effort.

    Hopefully, you found this interesting and useful.
    Thanks, Zechariah