Why shoot video?

Video of the River Dart at Totnes in Devon. Nikon D7000 and 10-24mm and 16-85mm lenses.

Stills of the River Dart at Totnes in Devon. Nikon D7000 and 10-24mm and 55-300mm lenses

 Nikon D7000 55-300mm Zoom

Nikon D7000 10-24mm Zoom
Nikon D7000 55-300mm Zoom

Nikon D7000 55-300mm Zoom

A lot of photographers don't like shooting video, and tend to see it as something not for them. Whenever I write a post about it, it gets less views than the purely stills posts. My YouTube account certainly gets far less hits than my flickr account.

Some of this is understandable. Until recently, there weren't cameras capable of shooting stills and video. If you wanted to do both, you had to use two cameras. While it was possible to shoot top quality still photographs from a basic DSLR, good quality from video was seen as far more expensive and complicated. Recording required tape or disks. Editing was difficult, huge files were created, if you could even work out how to get the footage to your computer. Everything was so slow anyway if you managed it & the results when viewed on a TV set were usually somewhat underwhelming to say the least.

However in a very short period of time, everything has changed. Shooting the footage is quicker, easier and less memory intensive. Storage is cheaper and editing isn't the problem it once was. Simple and good software is now bundled with operating systems, including the outrageously good iMovie on Macs.

Video of the Dartmouth-Paignton Railway Nikon D5100 and 16-85mm lens.

Stills of the Dartmouth-Paignton Railway Nikon D5100 and 16-85mm lens.

Nikon D5100 16-85mm zoom

Nikon D5100 16-85mm zoom
Nikon D5100 16-85mm zoom
Multi-image Panoramic stitch.

Interestingly, during my trip to Devon last week, I saw a lot of people shooting video on stills cameras. I was actually surprised at how many people were doing it. Some using CSC's and compacts but most using DSLR's. Lots of family and children shots on the beach, but also many doing what I was, shooting landscape and tourist attractions.

For me personally it has several functions. First as a video diary, Secondly as practice for the occasional commercial job I get and Thirdly because its nice to do something where I don't have to think about the commercial implications of what I'm shooting all the time. Using a camera just for fun is something I rarely do. I'm not saying I don't get enormous pleasure from shooting for stock libraries, I do, but it is nice occasionally to do something different and good to get outside my comfort zone.

(On a slightly different tack, but continuing the theme of what us obsessive photographers do for a good time, this is great - from Kirk Tuck again. http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2011/07/another-olympus-weekend-downtown.html)

One of the reasons I'm so enthusiastic for the Nikons I've bought and the D5100 / 16-85mm combination in particular, is that I'm now able to shoot more video without carrying a tripod or any other extra gear. Being able to get such good results hand-held has encouraged me to shoot a lot more. Though I must work on the sloping horizon problem!!

I don't really know where its going to go. I'm possibly considering using it for some kind of "How to" or "This does this" type videos, but I'm not sure I want to get involved in that. At the moment its nicely complementary to my stills shooting and I can easily do the two together.

I'm enjoying doing it and looking at the results and thats good enough for now.