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Videography 101

On September 20, 2014
By Connie
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ConnieChan_Photography-VideoClass1

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a PDV Digital Cinema workshop instructed by award winning cinematographer, Pieter de Vries.  It was an intensive two days covering all the basic technical aspects of videography such as controlling exposure, white balance, gear, lighting and sound, as well as exploring several methods a videographer employs to tell a story such as strong composition, depth of field, building suspense, detail shots, and pacing.

I’ve been creating short behind-the-scenes videos of fashion shoots at our studio, but I haven’t been formally trained in videography.  Other than a few quick run downs on how to approach video from my videographer boss, I’ve pretty much been fumbling around and learning on the job.  I’m honestly quite proud of the work that I’ve done to date considering my little previous experience.  But this course has given me a better peak into a world I know very little about.  I’m only starting to understand just how much I don’t know.

Firstly, it really is only natural for photographers to jump the gap to videography and vice versa.  There are many skills that are applicable to both mediums such as composition, lighting, and story telling through visual means.  A lot of technical aspects are similar too such as exposure, depth of field, and white balance.  But the approach with each medium is so very different.

Pieter really clarified the main difference between the two mediums; photography tells a story in one frame whereas video has the added dimension of time.  Yes, that may be over simplifying this considering that video also has the added advantages of sound and motion, but sometimes simplifying ideas produces clearer understanding.  This simple explanation of the two mediums was a real eye opener for me.    As a photographer, I’ve spent years honing a talent to deliver an entire story in one still, in one bang.  Video is a different sort of journey that allows for the building of suspense before getting to the punch line.

I started to see how my early footage was based on my experience as a photographer and how that approach doesn’t work for video.   Photographers identify a story or message we want to convey, find the image that speaks this message, and then we eliminate any extra components that don’t support that main story.  An example of this could be reframing an image to remove a telephone pole in the background.  We want to clean up the shot.  It’s classic destruction for creation; we must destroy the clutter to spotlight the heart of the story.

Video is not like that.  Video requires the addition of information.  It’s not just footage of a model; it’s footage of a model on a set with big lights, a wind machine, and crew in the shadows.  It’s about dirtying the shot.  Pieter spoke a great deal on finding angles that included more components of the scene in order to jam more layers of the story into each frame.  More layers mean more story, and more story means more real interest.  It’s an approach to my creative work that I’m not used to employing, but I’ve already seen an improvement in my footage.  It’s rather fun exploring the world of videography from a photographer’s point of view.  It really is seeing the story from a completely new perspective.

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Myself with fellow classmates and our instructor, Pieter de Vries

About Connie

I was that geeky camera chick who spent her high school lunch breaks in the darkroom.  I still miss the smell of those stinky developer chemicals.  Sort of.

Born in Canada, I graduated with top honours in Applied Photography at Sheridan College before spending several years assisting and producing for  some of the best commercial shooters in Toronto.  After gathering a wealth of valuable skills and getting my first DSLR, I bought a plane ticket to Asia.

It was my first backpacking adventure, but I managed to survive nine months from Seoul to Singapore with only some shoddy mandarin and a lot of luck.  I had the time of my life. So I did it again.  Seven months of zig-zagging around India and Nepal taught me ingenuity with limited resources, clarity when surrounded in chaos, and how to eat with just my right hand.

Sydney became my new home in 2008, and I’ve been enjoying the sunny weather and great coffee ever since.

Today, I’m a fashion and product photographer extraordinaire.  Based at Studio 8 in the northern beaches of Sydney, I relish the challenge and precision of studio lighting.  My clients are drawn to my clean, stripped back approach to every project.  My simplistic yet direct style is refreshing and elegant in a market full of heavily Photoshopped images.

When I’m not in the studio you can find me hand folding dumplings or scaling walls at the rock climbing gym.  I’m also really good at winning board games (or my friends are just really good at losing).

 

Accolades

Finalist – Shoot The Chef 2013
Top 5 – Australia’s Emerging Travel Photographers of 2010 – Capture Magazine
Winner – Best Marketing Imagery Award 2010 – New Mardi Gras
Semi-finalist – Shutterbug Awards 2010 – Shutterbug
Short-listed – Travel Photographer of the Year 2009 – TPOTY
Finalist – Cultural Explorers 2009 – STA Travel
Winner – World in Focus 2007 – Photo District News
Top Emerging Photographers of 2007 – Photo Life Magazine

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