I’d like to note from the outset that I’m not a professional videographer, but I can and do take video and do so for many events and activities. To me, a professional or serious amateur videographer is an individual that does more than just own a capable video camera and who goes about pointing that camera at all and sundry and doing little more than minor editing (if that), like some happy snappers with high quality still cameras are known to do. I’ve had several discussions on photography forums about video, from a stills photographer’s perspective, and it never ceases to amaze me how many seem to think that video is easy and the higher the quality available (such as 4K), the easier it is to produce. It often sounds just like the old/new megapixel wars that wax and wane year after year.
In a story a little while back, I wrote about my observations on how it appears that Video Killed…Everything. It was really a statement about journalism slowly dying because of the constant and ever pervasive application of video on any and every story. As I noted, I’m not against video at all, as long as it doesn’t replace written text, is used appropriately and not just as filler, and especially doesn’t immediately assault you when you open an article to read. Even though I don’t pursue video as a priority; I can no longer ignore video and thus I’m starting to produce more of it, such as I did for the 2017 Blessing of the Bikes and many of my High Country Cruises. So in this story I’m going to explore video production in greater detail and the hoops that someone who doesn’t have a background in video has to understand and go through to attempt to make a half-decent production.
I consider videography to be a learned art like photography, involving as many if not more skills than that required for still photography. In so many ways, video requires not just more effort, but a completely different mindset because you’re capturing movement as well as sound. There are obviously a number of similarities between professional photography and videography, but these create different challenges for each practitioner. Planning is clearly at the forefront for both and happens well before anyone ever picks up a camera. Then there are the many aspects of what needs to be done before during and after any photography or video has been taken. All of that work, often lots and lots of hard work, is never outwardly evident whenever you see great looking photography or video, but it’s great because of the effort that has gone into making it great.
I just wanted to lay the groundwork for what this story is about, as I didn’t want to suggest that stills photography requires less creativity or work than videography, it doesn’t. But a videographer has other challenges that the stills photographer doesn’t always encounter, if ever. Now the reason I’m writing this is because I actually want to experience firsthand what it means to try and make a reasonably good fist of producing short videos with the resources that I have available, and especially from a photographer’s perspective. By doing this, I think I can then truly understand the challenges and be able to far more informatively discuss these challenges, as well as produce more engaging video.
Firstly, I’m immediately limited by not having any video production training, though I might have some rough ideas learnt over the years and have been doing a lot of research and reading. Secondly, I’m limited to a certain extent by the tools that I have at hand (more on that later). And, thirdly, I’m limited by my imagination to create video. Video really does challenge your imagination far more than still photography and, as I’ve never given this any serious thought, it’s beginning to hit home. Video is not just pointing a camera at something interesting and creating a masterpiece, there’s far more to it than that. So hopefully over time I’ll begin to master the intricacies required to produce at least reasonable video and hopefully have something to show for it at the end of this series.
I’ve tried to set the scene as best as I can as there’s a lot to discuss and, once again, I have to break this up into several parts so that it doesn’t become mind-numbing reading. Plus it gives me time to produce the things that this story is all about. I’ll be going through a lot of the technical gear needed, as well as the software and also the processes and techniques for video production (from an amateur video production perspective). But I’ll also be discussing what comes before all of that, which I think is the most important aspect of any video production. I also want to make whatever I produce relevant to the region in which I live and hopefully it will give me more ideas on how to record the many aspects of South Gippsland and Gippsland in general. More in Part 2.