Tuesday, January 06, 2009

From the still to the moving image...

With improvements in technology that have led to rise of the digital still image - it's no surprise that the natural progression meant improvements in digital moving imagery. It is also natural to see well known stills photographers move towards moving image as another string to their bow and another path in their career. I have however been noticing this more and more recently. Fashion photographers such as Steven Klein and Sean Ellis, Editorial and advertising photographers such as Mark Zibert and Art Streiber, and press photographers such as Sion Touhig. Of course with the latest SLRs from both Canon and Nikon having HD video included as features it'll become even more common for photographers to start multi tasking and shooting video along side stills. Obviosuly different photographers take different routes into moving images; advertising photographers such as Zibert tend to move into commercials as their creative skills are transferable. But for the fashion photographer Ellis he's taken it one step further and this year his second full length feature film Broken is due out, following the success of his 2006 film Cashback. Considering Cashback won 6 awards and was nominated for an Oscar Ellis' interest in film is not simply some side project. In fact in a recent inteview he claimed he was probably just a frustrated filmaker posing as a photographer all along. Film for him was a new challenge. For a man who spent a year taking at least one picture every single day for his book 365, such challenges seem part of his character.

Something I have been following of interest recently however is slightly less ambitious but still nevertheless challenging and pretty darn interesting. Vincent Laforet is currently using the RED camera and the new Canon 5D II to make a feature documentary on a Hawaii based surfer, he's been keeping people up to date with behind the scenes footage over at his blog. One shot was taken by strapping a 5D II to a model helicopter in order to get a sweeping boom arm effect across the beach and into the fields beyond. This project by Laforet is really showing what is to come in the field of moving imagery, especially in terms of creativity and quality in a package that is affordable to a lot more people than it has been before (well maybe not RED camera yet).
copyright Vincent Laforet. Above you can see how Canon lenses can be coupled with RED One Camera system. Laforets use of such lenses and shooting at speeds of 100fps mean some pretty spectacular footage.

Whereas digital cameras spelled the rise of flickr and online sharing with people the world over taking a renewed interest in photography - will the rise of these kinds of digital film cameras lead to more aspiring directors? Will the flickrs of tomorrow be hosting films rather than photos as the creative moving image becomes more accessible to the masses?

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