With new still cameras bringing professional-level video to photographers it is only a matter of time before people will ask us to make motion pictures.

Cinema quality video is here

New graffiti is on the subway car and it’s telling us to get our video skills up and running — fast! This is like the change from film to digital only quicker, much quicker. 

HD video came to still cameras in 2008

Canon introduced HD video in its 5D Mark II in November of 2008 and by 2010, cinematographers were using the camera to capture scenes in tight spots where traditional cameras would not fit. The 5D MIIs were really cheap compared to movie-quality cinema cameras. They were used for action movies where it wouldn’t matter if the camera was destroyed shooting a scene.

Editorial: Do photographers need to learn video?
Courtesy: engadget.com

The entire May 17, 2010 episode of the television series “House” directed by Greg Yaitanes was shot with a Canon 5D Mark II. Where cinema and videographers were quick to adopt this camera as part of their storytelling, still photographers have been very slow to get onboard the moving pictures train.

Professional formats

Resolutions up to 8K, HDR and pro codecs are now becoming standard in still cameras. So are higher frame rates for capturing slow motion. RAW and Log profiles are also becoming more prevalent in pro still cameras — both DSLR and mirrorless.

What does this mean?

For the amateur photographer, cinema-quality video offers another avenue for exploring image-making and pushing the boundaries of their hobby. Any photographer shooting video with a smartphone now has a pro-quality video camera built right into their DSLR or mirrorless still camera. Professional photographers who work for clients are being asked if they offer videography in addition to their still work. In both cases, these enhanced video capabilities offer photographers opportunities to expand their horizons and increase their business’s revenue. 

Who has to learn video?

That question has not been resolved, yet. I believe that for professional photographers it is an absolute necessity for the success of their businesses. Learning video will make still storytelling better and more rewarding. Directing subjects in videos will improve posing skills too. Still work will benefit from shooting video. Videos benefit from the skills still shooters already know.

Clients want a resource that can handle both still and motion picture projects. The best part is that, unlike still photography, videography often has other professionals working on a production. That eases stress and provides a markup on the cost of their services.

Editorial: Do photographers need to learn video?

Individual sport vs team sport

There is a basic difference between still photography and videography. Still photography is mostly done by the photographer alone or maybe with an assistant and possibly, a hairstylist and makeup artist. Still photography is an individual sport like running cross country, skateboarding or skiing.

Videography requires a lot more equipment than still photography does. Not only is the camera capturing motion, often audio has to be recorded as well. Video can have a camera operator, sound person, a director, digital tech and a production assistant along with the hair and makeup artists. Videography is very much a team sport.

Shooting video doesn’t mean editing it too

I’ve heard photographers say they want to shoot video but don’t want to learn how to edit it. That works! There are a lot of editors in the video industry that just want to edit. 

Still photographers bring a lot to a video shoot. They already know how to tell a picture story. They know how to sequence their photos in an album, on a blog post or in an article. Getting all of the scenes for an editor to put together is the same as making certain that all of the photos on the shot list have been captured.

Editorial: Do photographers need to learn video?
Photo by Wahid Khene on Unsplash

Video is another client service

Like it or not, the video capabilities of still digital cameras are only going to get better. Larger formats and professional capture options like Log and RAW mean that photographers that embrace video will have a tool in their arsenal of client offerings that will help assure their prosperity.

It’s time to jump into shooting video and expanding your skills behind the camera.