The Convergence of Still + Motion is Happening With or Without You

Still amazes my why more professional photographers are not embracing motion. But then again its something new and for whatever reason the mindset of the working pro is often one that rather go down with the ship than change.

I don't mean to coming off as a jerk but I've seen it before…remember that time when we switched analog to digital? Looking back one would think that was a simple transition. We're simply replacing a roll of film for a chip that holds our photos. What's more we can see our work right away on a screen so we don't need polaroids. Sounds great right?

When I started shooting full time in 2005 the transition from film to digital was underway. By that time the transition was one that could not be stopped. Being new in the industry I embraced it. Technology allowed me to get into the business with less expenses, to quickly grow my skills by experimenting and be competitive in the industry.

One would think that with all the benefits of digital over film that pros would embrace it but that was not the case. While there were some forward thinking photographers, the majority I met were fighting the transition tooth and nail as if their life depended on it. I wonder if they realized at the time that their livelihood depended on making the move to digital?

I heard all the complaints from the classic, "you're taking our jobs" to the "digital will never been as good as film" and the best one, the one I hear today with regards to shooting multimedia, "digital is not my style" all the excuses left me baffled.

For a while I believed what I heard. I was new to this industry and had little reason to question the pros who had been at it for decades. These pros had spend decades perfecting their craft and their work showed it with beautifully hand printed photography which I still admire today. There's no doubt that a film image printed by hand in a darkroom has a unique look to it. Pure analog is beautifully imperfect. It's a look photographers spend millions of dollars a year to emulate with their digital cameras. I get it. Analog is an honest look and a throwback to a time when life was simple and the future for our planet was bright and one to look forward too.

Today, we all accept that digital is the standard for photography. Pure analog photography lives on in the hearts of hipsters and fine artists with large bank accounts. I too enjoy shooting film about twice a year but it's simply not the working mans medium for photography.

As technology levels the playing field in regards to the craft of photography we're starting to see the next transition which is multimedia. Virtually any new model of camera sold in the marketplace today captures video and audio in addition to stills. The video is typically captured at 1080P which is roughly a 2megapixel image. Fine for video and the occasional still images for the web.

This year we're going to start to see the emergence of 4K cameras that are affordable and easy to use. Ultra HD or 4K is four times the resolution of standard high def video or roughly 8megapixels for each frame captured. This means that if the image is captured properly one could pull a frame and make a print with the quality that could make a magazine cover (print or digital).

So the quality is coming and its coming fast yet when I ask most pros if they are utilizing the audio and video capture capabilities of their cameras guess what I hear?

"Video is not good enough to make a still photograph"
"Shooting motion is just not my style"
"The video guys will take our jobs!!"

Sound familiar?

Thing is technology is constantly changing but for years the photography industry lived in an analog bubble. Any hard working pro could make a good living by shooting a still image and selling a print. That was the business model for decades and it worked.

That business model is barely hanging on to life by pros that refuse to change AKA those that will be out of business soon and also by enthusiasts who want to play pro AKA old skool pro.

Both groups of photographers fail to see the evidence in their hands…the smart phone. With over 1.5 billion smart phones in the market place by 2016 that is the market of the smart professional. One only needs to spend a bit of time looking at all the social apps a smart phone and tablet have to begin to understand the importance of moving a photography business from still photography to a hybrid of still + motion and sound.

Here's a quick list of multimedia social apps/networks I made off the top of my head although I'm sure there are more. Each of these apps has networks of million of consumers that are already creating/consuming multimedia content -

Instagram
Facebook
Google +
YouTube
Tumblr
Twitter
Vine
Vimeo

There's your market for hybrid content. Your camera is capable of capturing multimedia, there's over a billion screens just from smart phones…what's your excuse again?

Some pros that might be waiting for traditional main stream media to get with it. I understand, most iPad magazines suck. They're not much more than a PDF with a video embedded here and there. The print publication companies are struggling to understand the gold mine of opportunity with multimedia more so then the photographers hung up on shooting only stills. I get it.

Here's the deal, some print publications will figure it out, some will not and there will be some new publications that take full advantage of the screen real estate. Maybe that magazine will become the next big thing. Chances are it will be from a new visionary we've not heard of or are even paying attention to but until then we have what we have. Print publications are struggling at the change but there is hope.

The New York Times, more than anyone understands the need for multimedia content as was evident in their breakthrough story last year Snow Fall - http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2012/snow-fall/

Snow Fall beautifully combined video + still & audio into the best representation of what magazines should be producing.  NYT just followed it up with another called The Jockey which build upon what was started with Snow Fall.

Add to that the adoption of animated portraits (which I teach) with Americas Next Top Model and we can see that the gap is closing.

Will you be the one that continues with the mantra that 'its not your style' as you slowly go out of business or are you making the efforts to learn the skills needed to be competitive with this multimedia renaissance that's upon us?

#scbp   #professionalphotographer   #photographybusiness   #photography  

The Jockey
Russell Baze is the winningest jockey in American history. Yet his name is familiar to only the most avid followers of horse racing.

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About Giulio Sciorio

Since 2009, Hybrid Photography pioneer Giulio Sciorio has been blending still + motion & sound with his photography. Giulio is a Lumix Luminary, commercial photographer and founder of SmallCameraBigPicture.com - the resource for everything Hybrid. A portfolio of Giulio’s hybrid work can be found at GiulioSciorio.com.

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4 Responses to The Convergence of Still + Motion is Happening With or Without You

  1. Matt Fischer
    Matt Fischer December 10, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Great series

  2. Dan Hughes
    Dan Hughes December 10, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    Great post. Embrace the change! I think there is an importance to knowing the history of whatever one is dealing with, in our case photography, for if nothing less then to know the difference between a trend and a paradigm shift. Photographers who don't take heed of the shifts get lost in the mix while folks who "can see", innovate and change. 

    The Jockey here is an amazing example of taking advantage of the medium and making something not only beautiful but really engaging.

  3. Steve Sanacore December 15, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    A few comments Giulio, your enthusiasm is fabulous. I remember giving a seminar in the early nineties about the future of our industry going digital – I will never forget the disbelief I got from the older pros saying NEVER! Even last week on a fine art forum there were still photographers still saying film is better. Many photographers are luddites and very insecure with change. I am like you and love change, so it’s hard for us to comprehend the issue.

    Now comes video which is a much bigger jump for photographers than going from film to digital was. Shooting some video is simple, like a portraits, or interviews, but other type of shoots may require transitioning into being a cinematographer. That is an entirely different skill set and it wouldn’t be fair to expect all photographers to make that jump easily. But, I do agree, that video is the future. As our medium of choice become digital, (iPads, iPhones, tablets, internet TVs), I think as the older generations who read print go away, still photography will be in demand progressively less and less.. Motion is the future for sure, and I love it.

    • ttaraba December 23, 2013 at 8:24 am #

      Hi Steve!

      I was about to write the similar comment but you really hit the nail on the head with this part:
      “Shooting some video is simple, like a portraits, or interviews, but other type of shoots may require transitioning into being a cinematographer.”

      Having a good eye for composition is one thing but mastering the rest of the spectrum that is necessary to make a good movie is completely another story. Some will be able to make transition but even for those the learning curve will be pretty steep.
      If we look at technical part of it apart of “moving images” now we have the sound component to take care of.
      Not everyone will be capturing movies for less demanding medium like web or iPhones etc. Some of us will have to capture movies in near broadcast quality.
      As I said earlier that was only technical part of it, skill set is to be added to the equation.

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