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#1 freediver

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 01:11 PM

So I'm starting a thread around the recent report I read that within 3-5 years, stills on the net will be antiquated and video will dominate cyberspace. Now this is coming from a report I read related to working in jounralism but I think it bears some discussion for those who are shooting seriously.

I know the vast majority here on wetpixel are still shooters for reasons discussed by wags in another thread, but what are your thoughts on this from those who have a better working knowledge of the pro business side of things.

I'm a trained photojournalist by profession (worked in newspaper and magazine from the mid 80's to the mid 90's) before taking an extended sabbatical over 10 years ago from the profession and within the last 2 years have made the jump to shooting video.

My research so far is showing that stills is paying very little these days - and video isn't faring much better due to the proliferation of content on the web. I do believe that web content distribution is the wave of the future - probably within the next 3-5 years. Apps like Adobe Media Player, Miro and others that allow RSS video feeds one can subscribe to has me wondering if the notion of just shooting stills as a profession is a dying profession. I get the sense that indie broadcasting via the net will come on strong in that timeframe as well.

I want to discuss this in depth to get a sense of what others see happening in their respective markets.

Let the bantering begin :)

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#2 Paul Kay

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 02:05 AM

Depends on what you are doing - I certainly think that things are shifting. I'd say that my image sales are becoming more dependent on my knowledge of the subject matter, identification abilities and provision of information with and about the subject matter - its not enough to be able to take good photos any more. That said I'm working on a book on fish at the moment and am unable to find any really good images of some species! For 'pretty' pix (of any sort) I'd suggest that the market is becoming very difficult.
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#3 CamDiver

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 02:18 AM

There are emerging markets for shooting video. The technology now with cameras are such that still taken from footage will, in the near future, be of suitable quality to supply any still imaging based media. I'm sure the main archive banks will still make some money but in the long run I can very much see the shift from still imaging to video in the next few years.

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#4 Tjsnapper

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 11:53 AM

There is a definite cut back in all media, especially print and Newspapers a advertising revenues decrease. If you look at it from one perspective, would you rather go out and by a paper or sit at home/office and brows a site for free looking at a variety of content both stills and video. From the sports shooting point of view there is a definite move towards video content on websites. No we as shooters are not doomed but might need to be a little adaptable, the bottom line is that great photographers will always make money as will the top 1% in just about any walk of life.
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#5 freediver

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 12:05 PM

I had a chance to chat for a bit with one of the Washington Posts top video shooters, Travis Fox, and from his experience he's saying that Video has become the hub for all things from this point forward - video for web, broadcast, DVD. Audio can be pulled from the video content as needed and used with an audio narrative (think NPR). Text transcripts can be made for print and the web, as well as frame grabs - which he says the WaPo is already doing from HDV content being shot.

I was considering the idea of putting a still kit together, but after this discussion with Travis, I'm more convinced that video is the future.

Edited by freediver, 26 November 2008 - 12:06 PM.

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#6 DeanB

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 03:16 PM

I had a chance to chat for a bit with one of the Washington Posts top video shooters, Travis Fox, and from his experience he's saying that Video has become the hub for all things from this point forward - video for web, broadcast, DVD. Audio can be pulled from the video content as needed and used with an audio narrative (think NPR). Text transcripts can be made for print and the web, as well as frame grabs - which he says the WaPo is already doing from HDV content being shot.

I was considering the idea of putting a still kit together, but after this discussion with Travis, I'm more convinced that video is the future.


For use in what... Is he an underwater shooter ??.. What is your intention ??... For topside news coverage/ journalism etc i can see his point but for general underwater filmmaking and doccys will it be the same...??? When more dive genre mags/ channels come online i suppose, but for now the written word with pics in mags etc is still much, much bigger... Or am i talking out my butt again... :uwphotog:

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#7 freediver

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 04:27 PM

For use in what... Is he an underwater shooter ??.. What is your intention ??... For topside news coverage/ journalism etc i can see his point but for general underwater filmmaking and doccys will it be the same...??? When more dive genre mags/ channels come online i suppose, but for now the written word with pics in mags etc is still much, much bigger... Or am i talking out my butt again... :uwphotog:

Dive safe

DeanB


DeanB - Think of it this way - printed media is already dying. The numbers are sobering - subscriptions to major print rags and newspapers are dropping due to loss of ad revenues - imagine now the concept of taking what's normally done for print and translate this to the web. This includes specialty pubs like dive mags, etc. Print, stills, audio & video. Now remove all the still gear and utilize video only - able to do frame grabs for stills, video embedded, text transcripts, audio (like NPR) - the whole point is, from the reports I'm reading, those shooting stills only professionally are becoming a dying breed.

I catch a lot of crap from TV shooters who think I'm bent - but the numbers don't lie. I've been researching this for some time now. TV ad revenue is down as well. Example of the new trend: The Travel Channel does a 4 day bootcamp for shooters - charges $2500 - you learn the ins and outs of shooting for broadcast (and yes it is solid educational information). You then get access to the President as well as other movers and shakers at TC - if they deem your work is good - they offer you a 1 yr contract to shoot content for their site. Shoot short travel pieces up 5 minute limit, get paid something like $1000.00. The reality is, this is the route the field is going. I believe the same principle applies to U/W shooters. No need for large cameras and housings - pared down gear equates to more agile shooting (HC7/HC9's in a Gates/Seatool/L&M housing). Laptop editing, encode to FLV - post on the web - syndicate via RSS. YOu better know how to do it all - jack of many trades (Video, Audio, editing, motion graphics, narration, web design, etc), master of them all.

That's the future from what I can surmise.

The whole point is, the print industry is suffering - the most severe is newspaper currently - just look at how news orgs on your side of the pond are scrambling to keep themselves viable (check out this blog posting on the topic) - BBC has discussed creating hyper-local bureaus and the regional papers in the UK are trying to head that off before they lose their viewership. The vast majority of newspapers are training their staffs to shoot video. A cyber-mentor of mine, David Dunkley-Gyimah, is a major spearhead in this solovj'ism in the UK. His site is a mashup of ideas - not easily navagated, but his concepts are cutting edge in many respects. The same thing is already happening in other print related magazines - this is a trend that's gaining momentum and those who are willing to adapt will survive - those who stay stuck in the past will go the way of the DoDo.

If one shoot stills only - your options are diminishing. If you shoot video - the options appear to be growing.

Edited by freediver, 26 November 2008 - 04:49 PM.

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#8 Andy Morrison

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 05:55 PM

I think printed media is changing/evolving but not dying. Yes, staffs are shrinking. The paper I work at is no exception. But we are also in a horrible economic state and one of the first things businesses cut is advertising. Newspapers especially are now being run differently than they have in the past, with corporate boards and higher profit margins expected.

We are putting resources into the web like everyone else. And like everyone else we are having a hard time making money off of the web and driving readers there. I don't see the web as a threat to printed media like some people do. I, like my bosses, prefer to think of the web as a new, viable component to the product we produce. As such I now carry a video camera. But I will always prefer shooting stills.

I think the bigger threat to the still freelance market is the sheer numbers of shooters out there willing to work for next to nothing. It's really driven down pay rates for most shooters. Most editors are word people and many of them just want a publishable picture, not real quality work.

Either way, still shooters need to be able to adapt to all of these changes in order to survive. I don't think still shooters have be able to produce Emmy-award winning video. But they certainly should be able to shoot and edit something watchable. Look at all of the crap being put up on the web right now.

#9 Paul Kay

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 01:35 AM

I've never seen newspapers as a big market for my stills - in my experience rates paid have always been poor - and video has a impact which stills cannot match on a continuous basis for news stories. However, I don't think that stills and video are easily comparable in many aspects, and, yes, even if video increases its share of the 'image' market, stills image creation will survive and evolve - especially in specialist areas. It only takes a few moments of watching TV to realise that many video shots would not survive as stills images and many stills images transferred to video are 'enhanced' by zoom and panning. All this said, the possibilities of shooting both stills and video with one camera are certainly exciting!
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#10 EspenRekdal

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 01:43 AM

I know for a fact that at least a couple of magazine editors that, allmost without exceptions, get their extra images from pro stock libraries. The few good ones. The problem they say is that they could'nt be bothered by sorting through all the crap many put out there. Many libraries could do better by simply demanding that the images they accept conform to a high standard.

I don't think video is the reason for less revenue in the stills sales, rather I think the availability of digital cameras was the pinprikk in the baloon.
Some are still making good money, but the worlds financial situation has'nt been doing us any favors either...

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#11 craig

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 07:22 AM

If you view photography as a means of getting a weekly check then video may well be your future but, artistically, video and still are functionally distinct. IIRC, pros and semipros care about the artistic side of photography. Not all of us are trying to produce a 5 minute FLV for $1000.

I fail to see how underwater video will ever come up with an functional substitute for strobes. Without that, still photography will have an enduring future.
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#12 DeanB

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 09:23 AM

I honestly think there will always be a market for both... Videostills...Stillsvideo... Blah blah... When we get newspapers and Mags that show moving images on each page (similar to the Harry potter paper) then it will be 'all change on the 'press'ton front' ( I Thank you :fishblue: )... Isn't there a big push for video journo's where A1's are god...

Lets stop thinking of...Money, money, money... I havent't got any and im happy... :uwphotog:

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#13 John Bantin

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 01:27 AM

My view based on 40 years of selling pictures - both still and moving.

No film, video or still picture has much value when it already exists. In my experience you can only get paid a decent fee for producing a result that the client wanted but did not already exist. This has been the same whatever media since the beginning of time. A few artists can sell signatures but it's usually dealers further down the chain that get the money - ask Gaugin!

The first thing you need is a commissioning client. Then you go and get what's required for the layout or script.

As media becomes more fragmented, the budgets for buying library stock gets fragmented too. Whether it is moving or still, don't waste your money buying the kit and taking on board the expenses to get it. You're wasting your time commercially speaking. The world is now awash with good underwater images. Their value? Almost nothing. Precious few more are needed. Try to get a shot of mayhem at Mubai railway station. That might be worth something - for the moment. If you want to photograph fishes, you'd do better photographing them after they were cooked and on a plate - but even then, only after you were commissioned!

First rule of business.
Get a customer and find out what they want to buy, then supply it.

Edited by John Bantin, 28 November 2008 - 01:29 AM.

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#14 rtrski

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 07:15 AM

"Damn heliographs! Ever since their conception, I've not sold a single painting!!"
"Damn printing presses! Ever since books came out, no one has bought a single illuminated manuscript!"

"Art" - be it photographic, written, inked, penciled, video, played, sung, tapped, folded, spindled or mutilated will always sell. I can't hang a 'video' on my wall, and if I could, I probably still wouldn't. The next generation might, but there would still be Luddites buying stills even so.

Photography for "business" - commercial mags, papers, travel books, etc. is probably shrinking. But I see that as a symptom of the general dumbing down of both the source (enter my rants about Scuba Diving and other commercial mags, which seem to have the same fluff pieces month after month....this year they were so lazy as to have "stories" (which amounted to 3-5 pages at most, blurbs or dive maps) about Dominica within 3 months of one another...as much as I enjoyed the place, that's a bit high of a rate of repetition, and smacks of either paid advertising or as I said before, just laziness), and the attention-deficited, increasingly lazy, spoonfed, and moronic average Western consumer.

It's no different really than music, which became so centrally-controlled by a few large media labels churning out 'formula' new hit bands like prepackaged, drug-laced Soylent Green, while the amateurs complain that any moron with a MIDI-attachment to his computer and a cheap git-tar can strive to be the next big thing, so "breaking through" means being recognized in an increasingly polluted field of background noise. Yet behind it all the evolution of digitized music as mere 'information', the transfer mechanism of the internet, and the demographics of the internet generation which either don't understand or don't "care" about "rights" just share what they like and become their own mediator, out of the control of the media giants in some cases, or just as manipulated by the ones that evolve (viral marketing, plants on Myspace, etc. to 'get out the word'). Bands that know how to market themselves well make a killing even giving away their albums (Nine Inch Nails comes to mind - gave away their last one as a 'gift', prior ones were allowed to be remixed with creative commons licenses, and they're still raking in the dough for their live shows and selling physical copies of the "free" CD via their own website.) The field will continue to evolve, just as it has since the first sepia tints were invented, or the way cinematography has evolved from still sets and fixed angles. Both the creation and the use of media are always changing.

So if you want to follow the monetary trend right now, I see your point. If you want to take pictures, take pictures. Seems to me you fall in the former category, while a lot of other pros here are a little more in the latter category, doing what they want but lucky to make money doing so.

Me, I'm not even good enough to be one of those idiot amateurs who's giving away his work and making it harder for them to sell theirs...mine is still solely for personal (and family and friend) consumption, and will likely never rise far beyond that. :uwphotog:

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#15 Christian K

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 11:14 AM

If you want to make some sort of a living on UW-images (stills or moving), your best investment is to learn how to write and tell a story, prefferably ones that can be interesting to others than hardcore divers. To survuve on 'adhoc images', you have to be very good, very productive and allover the place.

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#16 Giles

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 06:48 AM

When we get newspapers and Mags that show moving images on each page (similar to the Harry potter paper)


It's funny I hadn't thoroughly read this thread, and last night after a few beers and a bit of tv before bed I decided I was dissapointed with technology. I had an idea for moving images !! I know I know .. thats what video was first called .. but a single moving image still hasn't been used really anywhere. Properly reading this thread I see Dean B picked up on my thoughts too. Good ol JK already thought of it too .. pictures that move .. it's not quite video, its better than those move it to see it move things .. but it hasn't been used .. it must be the amount of work involved.

Advertising on the web has animated banners etc which whilst some can be irritating some are eye catching. The Marine Visions one on this site is quite good IMO .. subtle unannoying and yet grans me by the peripherals !

A still image that moves, not a video, but something that adds character would be great. Why don't PDF documents utilise this yet ? Animated images .. it's electronic .. it must be so easy to implement. I read quite a few magazines online .. some even have Adobe Flash magazine style page turners, others come in PDF .. its all electronic. Would a page full of this moving stuff be annoying though ?

Anyway .. I tok 5 minutes to make this .. so i thought I would share it, not the best photo ever, but in my 3 beers later minds eye last night I thought of trying to capture the act of focusing and this is what I came up with.

Posted Image

may take a moment to get going


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#17 Giles

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 07:55 AM

Oh .. and I know what I have done above is not new or impressive .. GIF's have been around for a very long time.
My point is .. i think there is a creative place for Still images that move .. so in a way a very short staionary video ?

Maybe the question is .. is it time to redefine media types ?

Does someone really want to timeline and keyword a video for screengrabs ? That sounds like a bit too much work to me.
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#18 Steve Williams

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 11:20 AM

Oh .. and I know what I have done above is not new or impressive ..


Hey Giles, it impressed me. Thanks for screwing up my weekend buddy. :uwphotog: I'll be thinking about all the things I could do with the technique. I'm not sure how marketable it is but I always figured if you want to sell a lot of pictures you shoot puppies or women's breasts.

So you going to help us neophytes and tell us how you did that?

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#19 Giles

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 11:44 AM

First before i say how i did that .. let me make sure my point is known that .. faking it how I did was not the point. The point was On a website or a pdf or electronic magazine .. I see a place for moving images, not videos.
I dont quite know how it would work .. but it would be a short clip basically, say of a upset person at a disaster, but you see a tear move down their face, or a happy person as a smile grows .. etc etc. In my minds eye i see that happening with very short video, .. which ends up not being a video cause the camera doesnt move, the main subject doesnt move, but somethign is brought to your attention by a small bit of movement in the frame.

For my example above i simply (and crudely) separated the fish from the background, i then created duplicate layers for fish and background with varying degress of gausian blur. Using the Photoshop animation menu, i created 'frames' with varying degrees of gausian blur on both subject and captured the frame for each effect. I think about 12 frames in total. Then export rendered to FLV .. but can't upload an FLV here .. and I didnt want a play button as you get in youtube .. i wanted an 'image' so i saved as the much larger file size of a GIF.

But .. what is the feeling about Harry Potter style moving images ... in electronic media .. i see these as a perfect way to enhance text and give artists a new way to think.
I mean .. I am never going to stop reading, and I dont want a video to distract me from the text I am reading, but an emotion showing moving image (emovage??) would be a progression on a still image.
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#20 Giles

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 04:57 AM

http://www.engadget....t-manipulation/

software like that will help bring this all more and more to the masses !

I think this software is amazing and could be used in so many applications.
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