Shooting Video

Currently I am busy on several fronts, still taking pictures everyday but far less time to write about photography because I’m collecting material for a book I’m writing. However there is one thing to share which is slightly different for me, I am very deliberately working on shooting video sequences but in a quite unexpected way.

4K Video

Back in 2016 I played with shooting 4k video using a Lumix G7 which I had picked up on an amazing deal at Christmas 2015. I was surprised to discover some 6 months ago that you could still buy that camera and its successor the G80 brand new today, how and why I don’t know, must have found unsold stock at the back of a warehouse !

Still whilst I shot quite a lot of footage, it really didn’t take me anywhere much and most likely because I still saw myself as primarily a stills photographer rather than a videographer at that time. In a sense perhaps that attitude has stayed with me up until recently because I have had in both my M6 MkII and Lumix G90 two very capable 4k video capable cameras but apart from random test sequences, I haven’t really tried to use this facility in anger up until now.

A Realisation

As I looked back to truly getting into shooting and editing RAW digital images which only started in 2005, I could see the journey I started back then with still images, it didn’t come overnight, it took quite a lot of time and effort, doing video properly is likely to be the same so I had better get started.

One of the problems with age is that for many of us, your eyesight deteriorates in terms of being quite blinded by direct sunlight and deep shadows, this has little to do with what glasses you wear it is just a natural age related condition akin to a reduction in your visual dynamic range. I find using my mobile in strong sunlight a complete waste of time, can’t see the screen, just the reflection of my own nose !

It will follow from this that my M6 MkII and G90 both of which have viewfinders are ideal for someone of my age because I can see what I’m looking at regardless of the amount of sunshine through the viewfinder, no squinting at a screen on the back of the camera. For my two M series cameras that I have had converted to Infrared and Full Spectrum neither of which has a viewfinder, I have to use a rubber loupe device on the rear screen to aid with composition and exposure.

So Perhaps a Surprise

My 1DX MkII does not have an articulating rear screen and being a DSLR, if you want to shoot video you must use “live view”, the fixed rear screen for focusing and composition and not the viewfinder. This camera will shoot 4k video and I had in mind that I might use it in that mode mainly when shooting interiors and doing ‘talking head’ shots using an external monitor I have to set the shot up.

Well that was the game plan but on one of my morning rides with the 1DX, I wanted to shoot some video and surprised myself with how steady a camera it was to hand hold ! My previous 1D MkIV camera was slightly smaller and about 200g lighter than my 1DX but oddly and perhaps because it isn’t in anyway ‘chuckable’ the weight of it with a wide or short zoom lens hand held makes the camera pretty rock steady when shooting video. Certainly steady enough so that any small movements can be taken out in post at the expense of a small crop to the finished image/video.

The Consequence

I find that using the 1DX for photography is a joy but since I discovered that I can use the same camera effectively for video it means that I now often take short video clips of things that interest me. It is not making a film or telling a story but it is getting myself into the position to master the process as a first positive step to developing an ability to make video stories. Probably not for others but for me, it moves me past the stage of making the whole process “too important”. I must take a tripod with me, have a list of shots I want to take… and so on, sure overthinking it all and that doesn’t help, shoot short clips and work your way into the whole process including post production in baby steps the same as I did with RAW photography.