Are we done with DSLR Video?

Are we done with DSLR Video?. In the ongoing and raging debate about the uses of HDSLR in News can I make just my own tuppence worth of observations.

For over 14years the News industry has had the opportunity to embrace first DV, then HDV and now slowly HD- and generally it has worked. Our newsroom shoot on XDCAM HD cameras but we, due to our main newsroom editing system, are still shooting in DV25 –  Yes its kinda like driving an Aston Martin DB9 in first gear on off road tyres – not ideal, but its a prep for the future and one I wholly endorse- not pretty but gets us to where we have to go!

That out of the way, as a VJ trainer currently supporting the Sony Z5 and the Sony PMWEX3 one common theme comes up time and time again. WEIGHT!. Add an Anton Bauer Dionic90 to the back of an EX3 which is already front heavy and your right arm is in for a rigourous workout. Taking the ergonomic and sound limitations of the D7000 / 7D out of the mix- both cameras are capable of shooting stunning moving pictures and they are a fraction of the cost of an EX3!. I have always included a detailed introduction to photography when training VJs – so generally they are well versed in the terminology and importance of focus, exposure, shutter speeds, white balance and gain.

HDSLR can, and I believe will, make an impact in Video Journalism – once the media workflow is streamlined and the audio settings are more manual with some audio monitoring (eg. headphone output) they will be a (more) viable soultion to newsgathering. Remember generally speaking VJs are allowed some additional time to work on stories. I for one will be actively encouraging the VJs I mentor to at least TRY HDSLR newsgathering.

As someone who originally trained as a fine artist but became a broadcast engineer (! figure that one out) I welcome the move from the debate about the technology and compression and formats to the discussion of aesthetics and visual impact.

If you accept the inherent visual intimacy that a VJ can attain – add the discretion of a DSLR and surely a new paradigm will evolve. Lets take the emphasis off the tech and lets start to focus (pun intended) more on real, stunning visual, visceral storytelling. F***it – lets get intimate – up close and personal with our subjects.

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About vjmentor
Innovation Lead, RTÉ | VJ & MoJo (Mobile Journalism) Trainer -Circom Regional | Photographer | HDSLR shooter| Views are strictly personal, not those of my employer.

One Response to Are we done with DSLR Video?

  1. Jon Shuler says:

    That’s it exactly Glen. I think the trick is to allow the story and subject to dictate the medium. But, honestly, I think that’s hard for a lot of us (myself included) because I would rather think about tech issues than focus on the story because there are WAY less “knows” in the subject and story than in my gear. I can’t go onto a forum to figure out how to win trust or visualize a complex emotional juxtaposition, but I can go to a forum if I want an excuse to put off really compelling work till the new wave of cameras comes out or someone finally convinces me to go ENG or DSLR. Or I just want to waist time figuring out what mic I should pick up next.

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