TED’s Chris Anderson says the rise of web video is driving a worldwide phenomenon he calls Crowd Accelerated Innovation — a self-fueling cycle of learning that could be as significant as the invention of print. [via TED website]
The speed in which learning must take place to succeed is rivaled only by the nearly
overwhelming quantity of what needs to be learned to meet market demands. For me this means learning to produce, shoot and edit motion.
Demand for professional photography is way up but barriers for entry into the business are way down mostly in the form of available information and necessary skills. Reference: “automation” and “disintermediation”.
Supply and demand puts downward pressure on price while new innovative workflows and rapidly advancing technology allow newer businesses to compete more efficiently than businesses with legacy systems and business models.
There is good and bad of course but that really doesn’t matter does it? It just is. Deal with it. The old adage, “if you can’t beat’em, join’em” gets a new life.
It’s unavoidable really. Whenever I picked up my iPhone, point and shoot, or DSLR as a still shooter, I also had a video camera in my hand. Eventually it speaks to you, “try me”. I’ve been in love with the still photograph since I was 8 but I’m a business man, I caved. Kicking and screaming perhaps, but I caved.
Still amazing to me is how little of my still shooting workflow migrated to shooting motion, yet how fast one can navigate a steep learning curve through Anderson’s Crowd Accelerated Innovation – aka the internet.
- Research and acquire the minimum amount of gear to get the look you want; improvise where you can. Looking at shoots produced on the iPhone will put emphasis firmly on content and further from a lot of expensive gear.
- Learn all the technical video jargon and stuff like: frame rates, shutter angle, rolling shutter, line skipping, timecodes, progressive v. interlaced, color sampling, codex, transcoding, compression, and all the other stuff that video veterans find remedial.
- Learn enough audio technique from your musician and veteran sound recording friends to stay out of trouble; buy digital 4 track and microphones. (hint: Proximity)
- Take multiple test runs; acquire usable experimental footage.
- Own enough computer power to handle large video files (hint – configuring a PC system to meet the need didn’t make sense). Buy Final Cut Studio or equivalent.
- Learn Final Cut Studio essentials but keep your tutorial videos and books close at hand. (hint: learn keyboard shortcuts)
- Practice with your experimental footage. Compare your results with what you see online. Learn. Repeat. Learn more; at best you are a film student with 30 years professional experience. Learning is accelerated but basically you are “guy/gal with camera” to the big boys.
- Choose a project of reasonable risk; stay within yourself, don’t over reach. You have permission to suck but a catastrophic disaster may be a bit discouraging. If you actually have a client, drop the “suck” part.
- Prepare. This is one area that is very similar to still production with the exception that you are following (or creating) a script/storyboard and not following layouts or simply grabbing shots from a scene you created. While grabbing motion “pick-up” shots is possible, there is so much more involved with directing motion success as a guerilla shooter or “winging it” becomes much less probable. (hint: “Fix it in post” is more limited and more expensive).
In my opinion, the rest is intuitive creativity. Your aesthetics drive content, timing, transitions, etc. and your minds-eye pre-visualizes the flow and edits. To me, this is the fun part.
On a commercial job you will be hiring experts like an experienced, well equipped DP and Sound Man but if you don’t know your way around and can’t talk to them intelligently, your asking for it. Learn their shit and yours.
I think music videos are a great place to experiment because you’ll have a high level of creative freedom, but still have technical and creative challenges like fitting your story in the exact same length as the song.
I used an original song by Will McFarlane; my good and patient friend. His abilities allowed me to shoot the guitar break at 1:54 as he played in sync with the studio recording; something I wanted to show because of his reputation as a world class player.
Viewer suspension of disbelief is fine but I’m not one who generally likes that unfeasible studio sound while on a mountain top feel of musicals. As a guitar player, the fact he nailed the left hand positions so well still amazes me.
Those who prefer the higher quality of VIMEO use this: