Viewing Fusion

The art of video

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

// The art of video

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As I write this, I’m on a plane back to the U.S. from Ireland where my wife, Vanessa Joy, and I had the privilege of teaching photo-video fusion to a group of European-based photographers in Dublin. Anytime we teach fusion or “Video 101” as I affectionately like to call it, there’s this moment about halfway through our presentation where the light bulbs just start going on over the heads of audience members. You can see it happen. Faces get brighter and you can see the ideas and concepts clicking in. I can almost tell the moment that 2D-still photographers realize how storytelling is achieved with motion and the realization that they can do it. After all, we see it every day in television and movies but rarely do people stop and take notice of how it’s done. We are more apt to just sit and be entertained, and not question why or how a camera captures motion.

In last month’s article, I walked you through some basic concepts behind storytelling with video. I’ll quickly re-cap the basic points from that article and then put it to practice with some tips for shooting.

The idea behind a sequence in filmmaking is that several shots come together to form a scene. The shots are carefully designed to bring you into the moment and tell a smaller part of an overall story. As photographers who may be integrating fusion or some form of video into your workflow or products, effective sequencing can mean the difference between amateur, montage video presentations and well-polished, professional looking visual art. Movies look like movies. Why? Because things are done right.

Want to read this article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // March 2013 issue.

Video Storytelling

Friday, February 1st, 2013

// Video Storytelling

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Applying your knowledge of photography to shooting and editing video can be a beautiful thing. A decidedly biased opinion coming from me, I admit, but there truly is great satisfaction in creating a successful juxtaposition between composition, light and subject, and then bringing that visual motion message to life within the fourth dimension of time. This dimension is the canvas for which visual storytelling manifests itself for our brains to interpret into a storyline. To accomplish motion storytelling you have to train yourself to think outside the static, bounded edges of a frame and start thinking in terms of frames running together. While adding movement to visual images may create motion, there’s more to telling a story with motion than simply adding it. In this two-part article, I’ll introduce you to the methods of storytelling using video, and then show you some of the basic ways to bring those methods to life onscreen. You can point your HD-DSLR and press record all you want, but if you aren’t applying basic movie-making techniques your intended story may be lost to the dreaded realm of amateur video that the viewer may instantly dismiss as well, “amateur.”

Following are a few tips to film your subjects or stories with purpose, a method for creating compelling motion images that captivate the human mind, drawing the viewer into a scene. That should be your goal…to draw the viewer’s eye into a scene.

Want to read this article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // February 2013 issue.

video fusion | the looper

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

// video fusion

On a cold February night in 2009 I was filming an Indian wedding in New Jersey. It had been a very long day and I found myself with nothing to shoot during a three-hour gap that my client had scheduled to break up the events that
make up a traditional Indian wedding celebration. While the guests were resting and the bridal party was changing outfits I filmed the entire ballroom table, got my set-up shots of the reception, filmed every possible angle of the venue and was eagerly waiting for the reception to begin.

Having just gone tapeless a few months before, I was beginning to experiment with off-loading my footage from the memory cards to a Macbook Pro I had just purchased. I hadn’t given any thought to producing same-day edits by myself or even sorting through my footage on a wedding day. It was mainly to clear up card space for the long day. I had done a few SDEs in the past but I always had a dedicated editor on-site to capture tapes in real-time who would edit all day long. This was the technology of the time back then.

In my boredom, I started going through my shots, mainly checking for focus and playability, and ensuring I had good material. I did, and a few minutes later I found myself opening Adobe Premiere Pro to see if I could edit some of this footage natively. I was curious to see if Adobe Premiere could handle the footage from my Sony Z5U HDV camcorder in real time. It actually handled the footage with relative ease so I mentally shrugged my shoulders and started trimming down some video clips and placing them on the timeline.

Want to read this article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // January 2013 issue.

Fusion | Free Photography Training

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

// Free Photography Training

 

Teaching fusion to photographers presents a wide range of challenges. The techniques used to produce quality video images are very similar to photographic techniques and photographers I instruct are usually able to wrap their heads around the concepts. Audio however, is a bit more of a challenge. Because of this, I tell photographers who are trying to learn video to completely forego audio at first and concentrate on what they already know (the visuals) in order to build confidence.

To understand the depth of audio, try to think of it like this: For photographers and image artists, there are several conferences and educational resources dedicated to the craft. WPPI, InFocus, PDN, PhotoPlus and AfterDark are just a few. Likewise, there are entire conferences that deal with just audio. This means that learning to work with audio requires absorbing at least the basics of a completely new and rather daunting skill set.

So in order to start learning audio for fusion, let’s stick to the basics. Audio will no doubt bring your final video product to the next level. The downside is poor audio will ruin good video images. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the imagery is, if the sound is bad the overall value of the presentation is immediately reduced. They may not be able to pinpoint why; they just instinctively know that what they are watching is not the high-quality motion picture they are used to seeing on TV and in movies. It absolutely takes them out of the presentation and
screams amateur. So here are some basic ways you can start producing clean audio.

Want to read Rob Adams’ article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // November 2012 issue.

fusion | photography training

Friday, October 5th, 2012

 

Technology in photography can be one of the best (and sometimes the worst) tools that we photographers can dream of, and the newer video capabilities in Digital SLRs are no exception. With the functionality in the new Canon 5D Mark III, 7D, 60D, Nikon D4 and 7000s, and pretty much every new SLR coming out, photographers now have HD video at the tips of their fingers. So should photographers ignore or embrace this latest development? Embrace and love it, of course!

Truth of the matter is that implementing video clips into your photography, or “fusion,” is really quite simple. It’s so simple in fact that a lot of high school students (aka your soon-tobe photographer colleagues) can practically already do it with their eyes closed. To be honest, I’m not so excited for my current photography generation when it comes to embracing fusion
as much as for the newer generation of photographers, for which most of their fusion skills are already second nature. With the younger generation coming into the photography world, fusion will easily be a common technique and from that point will only grow in creativity. Sooner than later the lines between photographer and videographer will blur and we’ll all simply be defined as visual artists.

Want to read Vanessa Joy’s article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // October 2012 issue.

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