Video killed the radio star . . .

…. and it’ll probably finish off a few photographers if we start having to carry kit like this around all day! The big buzz word of the moment seems to be “convergence”, mostly as a result of the new breed of digital SLR’s capable of capturing HD video. Some say that photographers will need to diversify into video to survive – others that film making has it’s own specific skill sets and should be left to those whose business it is.

I fall firmly into the second camp, purely because I have had experience of professional video production and appreciate how difficult (and expensive) it is to do it properly. Now, I have seen sample movies shot on the Canon 5D MkII and the results are spectacular, (check out “The Last 3 Minutes” by Shane Hurlbot ), but this is the craft of experienced movie makers.

Even for a highly talented stills-shooter, the level of new skills needed to take full advantage of this democratisation of filmmaking will be difficult to justify and costly to achieve. I’m sure there are potential clients out there who will jump at the offer of stills and video in one package. But how good will the results really be – and how much more (if any) will they be prepared to pay ?

I for one will stick with stills. I know I can say more in 1/500th of a second than any videographer can say in 30fps….

That was the (expensive) week that was . .

This is not just a lens…this is a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens…”

and it’s probably one of my favourite lenses of all time. At least it was until last week . .. when I broke it. I did something I always tell other people not to do, and that is to put the camera down on the floor – or in this case the walkway of a large offset printing press I was shooting for Japanese manufacturer Komuri. I turned round to check the lighting, stepped back and neatly launched a D700 body and 1500 quid’s worth of glass 18″ onto a solid concrete floor. The real fun started when I phoned Nikon Professional Services to be told that they had spare parts, but no loan lenses available. Decide hiring is impractical (nearest is central London) so prepare to muddle through the next week without a mid-range zoom.
NPS did however come up trumps in the end, fixing the lens in 3 days. I say fixing, but it has been so totally rebuilt that it now even has a new serial number. For my part, I’m now £456 poorer than I was at the beginning of the week….
Moral of story . . never, ever, ever do that again !

iPads – and the way we were long before Apple …

Spent some time this afternoon with my friend Nick, who has a few weeks off from driving his 747 and is trying to catch up on his photographic BA Degree course. Nick sensibly wanted to colour calibrate his monitors so I popped round to help him with the initial set-up. When we’d finished I caught sight of his latest toy, a very shiny new iPad. This piece of kit is a photographer’s dream – and I want one ! Light as a feather, brilliant colour rendition and very quick and easy to use.There must be a place for one of these in every ‘togs gadget bag !

This got me thinking about the technology we were using (and photographing) twenty years ago. In those days we had a lot of clients in the burgeoning computer business and I travelled the length and breadth of the country for the likes of Data General, ICL, Olivetti and IBM, photographing new users and their installations. I then thought it would be fun to share a few of of these images. Some of you will remember these, others will simply wonder how the hell these things ever worked ! Anyway, here they are – a little look at the way we were…

A youthful David Bellamy helps this cheery lass boot up her Data General system in 1983

Deidre loves her new Olivetti PC and printer.. “Wait till the girls in the typing pool see this !”

Sebastian enjoys interfacing with his new InterTec SuperBrain . . shame about the glasses..

…and here’s Sally with her cool new word processor . . mind those pearls in the printer Sal !
This ICL system was standard for a big office – you probably have the same power in your laptop !

Now…where did I put that disc? . .

Hare we go again . . .

Off to the Rose Theatre for Sally Humphreys Productions to shoot some pre-publicity for “Guess How Much I Love You”. This is the world stage premiere of Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram’s classic childrens story, bought to life with giant hares and an assortment of puppets. Brief is to shoot the hares with director David Wood. Simple on the face of it, but Big Nutbrown Hare is nearly seven foot to the tips of his ears, David Wood rather smaller – and Little Nutbrown Hare smaller still. Much juggling of camera angles before finally settling on a composition that won’t upset picture editors – or the costume designers !