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Q&A Series: Photographers Who Do Video

With all the modern technology floating around (video on your phone? really?) photographers are forced to be at the forefront of it all in order to stay competitive. Does being on top of new trends mean photographers must now make the leap to video? Many certainly are. With still cameras that shoot video and video cameras shooting high quality stills, the line between mediums is certainly blurring. Surely video has less to do with the “decisive moment” which we all had drilled into us in photo school… so what now? Perhaps the frame just before and just after can be similarly illuminating. Personally, I’ve never been able to think this way. For me and my own work, I am engaged in the hunt for that single moment. As a result, I’m always very impressed with those people who can operate in both formats while maintaining their style and taste level. Here at Glasshouse Assignment, I am fortunate enough to represent three photographers who also have the ability to think in sequences. For this month’s Q&A, I’ve decided to ask these three how they got into video and to share a piece or two with us. Enjoy!

- Jacqueline Bovaird, Assignment Representative

RYAN SCHUDE

Q: How did you get started with video?

I started making short films about the same time I started shooting photos in college but eventually became less interested in it than I was with photography. It could have gone either way I suppose but when I started focusing on photo, I decided to commit fully to that as opposed to trying to do both.

Q: How does your style change from photo to video?

I try and light video the same way I light my photos, which can be very difficult since the lighting for my photos can be very specific and localized. When people start moving around in the frame the light changes. For video, I light a little more general and usually less dramatic in order to allow the characters to remain visible as they move through a shot.

Illustrator: Kiersten Essenpreis

Illustrator: Kiersten Essenpreis

Q: Tell me more about Bunny Suits

When I moved in with my brother Collins, he had developed a screenplay from a J.D. Salinger short story and asked me to help him make it. He directed and starred in the video while I worked with the cinematographer as the Director of Photography helping frame up shots and light it all. I also took on role as a producer alongside Collins. Since we were making it on our own, this meant we did all of the prop styling, wardrobe, set design and everything in between. It was a great re-introduction into video and I am really happy to see the resulting film have a similar look to my current style of photography. Collins is currently working on a feature length script and looking to jump back into producing it when he’s done. Once it’s completed he is going to start looking for investors and see what happens.

Q: What’s next?

I have been hesitant to get too involved with video because I don’t want to lose focus on photography, but it seems impossible for me to avoid it much longer. Now my still camera shoots video and the crossover is becoming more and more streamlined. I have a few other projects involving video hatching up and I don’t expect it will take away from my photography, but potentially broaden the possibilities to let both coexist simultaneously.

Bunny Suits

To see the full length version of Bunny Suits, email Ryan at ryan@ryanschude.com for a DVD copy. Click here for Ryan Schude’s photography and video portfolios.

SPENCER JONES

Q: How did you get started with video?

I’ve always wanted to incorporate video into my still life work. This is my first attempt at trying to create a motion still. I’m trying to capture a brief period in nature as a still image with subtle moments of movement. I want the viewer to think twice since when they first see the image they might think of it as a still photograph. As they study the image they’ll notice that it is actually moving and realize that it’s video.

Spencer Jones

Spencer Jones

Q: Tell me more about Foggy Night

The image I chose for this post is a foggy night on the island of Lanai, Hawaii. I love how the wind blown fog passes by in the foreground and the minimal movement of the trees in the background. I was also curious how well the digital image would hold up in low light. I had hoped for more noise then what is viewed here.

Q: What’s next?

My ultimate goal is to incorporate video as an extension of my commercial work. I recently completed a project for parenting.com, in which I photographed a baby crawling across white seamless. In this case the client had me shoot both video and multiple still frames of the baby, which will eventually operate as an element on their website. (Keep a look out for this at Parenting Magazine online)

Click here for more of Spencer’s photography portfolio.

DERRICK GOMEZ

Q: How did you get started with video?

I’ve always been passionate about film making. As a teenager, I wiggled my way onto film sets doing production assistant work (getting people coffee, making sure no random passerby steps into the shot, that sort of thing). Eventually, I found myself on the camera crews as a film loader and later became a camera assistant. I never took a photography class and I never really assisted photographers. I learned all of my lighting ability and camera work from assisting cinematographers.

I believe I gravitated towards still photography, because I loved how personal it is. You can carry a still camera with you at all times. It’s freedom. It’s improvisation. It’s fun. Also, back in 90s, before the YouTube era, people were just more comfortable around point and shoot cameras as opposed to a video cameras. So I spent more and more of my personal time being a photographer, and eventually I became a professional one.

Q: How does your style change from photo to video?

I shoot photos like I’m a cinematographer. When I assisted cinematographers, I learned to “shoot for the edit.” Cinematographers create shots based on what shots will proceed and follow it, because in film the meaning of a shot is derived from its context, or how it is edited. This cinematic approach is in direct opposition to photographers that try to capture the most interesting impactful moment in a single still frame. A lot of my photos tend to be kind of quiet and look like they are just a piece of a larger story.

I’ve decided to not place a preference between shooting still or motion picture. Furthermore, I try blur the boundaries between the video and still photography by not making such a huge distinction between the two.

Director + Director of Photography : Derrick Gomez

Q: Tell me a little about Goldspun…

GOLDSPUN initially hired me to photography. But when I entered their showroom to check out their line, I noticed a narrative quality to their clothing. Some of their designs are ripped right out of an action film. I immediately started thinking about Terminator, Blade Runner, the Bourne Identity, etc.

I pitched GOLDSPUN a little short film idea about a secret agent on a stake out in a remote industrial urban location. They liked it but didn’t have the budget to shoot that much content. I then decided it might be cool to shoot a really quiet, viral-esque type video where we watch hidden camera footage of an agent going through his stake out routines. It’s kind of obtuse and people probably don’t always make a connection to the story, but that’s ok. As an installation piece on their website/store/buyer’s booth/etc. It’s a cool way to get people more interested in their brand.

Director : Daniel Oeffinger @ http://www.Oeffinger.com
Director of Photography : Derrick Gomez

Q: Tell me a little about the V2 commercial…

V2 was an interesting multimedia campaign. I was the Director of Photography for two different film directors for two commercials, both requiring completely different technical approaches. The spot by Daniel was experimental, done completely by animating still frame images shot with my SLR. We shot an insane amount of photos, somewhere around 7,000 shots.

Q: What’s next for you? How do you feel about the need for photographers to keep up with current technology?

I shoot with any and every camera — medium format, film, digital, point and shoots, SLR’s, Polaroids, HD video camcorders, BlackBerry — it’s just a matter of choosing the appropriate technology. I’ll shoot an ad campaign on an iPhone if it makes sense for the project.

This choice of shooting with all these different technologies is both a spiritual decision as a shooter and also a professional career move. I believe that in this era of social media and economic downturn, the financial value for traditional still photography in print and web publication will perpetually continue to diminish, while the value of multimedia content will continue to increase. Almost all ad campaigns are a combination of photography, film, video, writing, blog posts, youtube clips, tweets, comments, interactive, social media, etc. More and more virals are proving to be the most effective form of advertising, surpassing TV and print.

It’s a new era, and we are presented with an exciting opportunity to adapt and push the limits of what photography is defined as. For the time being, if I have a camera in my hand, I count that as photography, but who knows, maybe one day they’ll figure out a way to shoot without a camera.

Click here for more of Derrick’s portfolio: Photography, Film, Blog.

Can’t get enough? If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Mark Meyer’s comparison of cameras: Red One vs. Canon 5D Mark II vs. Panasonic GH1

For portfolio requests concerning Ryan Schude, Spencer Jones, or Derrick Gomez, contact assignment representative Jacqueline Bovaird.

jacqueline@glasshouseassignment.com | 212.462.4538

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5 comments

  1. Pingback: Q&A: Photographers Who Shoot Video

  2. Pingback: Q&A: Photographers Who Shoot Video « Stone Thrower

  3. Thanks I had a a nice read

  4. Nice video production! I was just wondering if you used final cut? Great work!

  5. PRK

    Hello, your webpage is promoted in a radio show! Amazing job buddy. Your blogposts are definitely good and saved in bookmarks. Regards

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