"Moving Pictures" Photo/Video Multimedia Column Premiere

I started writing a photo/video tech column for the local paper. After 7 days I can re-post them here on my blog, so they can have a little longer shelf life then the online paper. Here is the first one:

The photography world today is undergoing its biggest changes since 1826 when French inventor Nicéphore Niépce made the first permanent photograph looking out his window. It took him eight hours.

In eight hours today that photo would have been instantly uploaded from a cell phone to Facebook, where his friends would have tagged it, shared it, blogged it, commented on it, five-starred it and tweeted it, and that photograph would have made it around the world and back again.

Even 10 years ago when I started into photography, cameras had two basic controls - a dial on the lens (aperture) and a dial on the camera (shutter). Stick in a roll of film and try to get the little needle inside to line up in the middle. That's about it. Of course, the combinations of aperture and shutter speeds are endless, but that is where the joy of photography starts.

Photography is becoming an increasingly mainstream hobby today with DSLR (Digital SLR) camera kits for under $600 which can do so much more than any film camera was capable of ten years ago. The problem for most is that instead of a few dials to learn about and then start to go out and take
photos, the cameras are covered with an increasing number of little buttons and pages and pages of menu options. If you want to know every little thing the camera does, you better get a strong coffee and sit down with the bible-sized manual. You may not take a picture for weeks!

The nice thing today is that the community is much larger and people are sharing thoughts, ideas and pictures with each other the world over through sites like Flickr and Facebook. If you have a problem or are trying to achieve something with your photography, chances are there is a whole forum of like-minded folks online currently discussing that very topic. From sunsets to time lapse photography, there is a discussion group for everything.

Now enter video. Most cameras these days (and phones) shoot video. The traditional lines between a still camera and a video camera are becoming blurred with the onset of new cameras, like Canon's 7D which allows users to not only shoot 18 megapixel images, but also record full-size HD video that
would make even George Lucas a little envious. In fact, commercials and movies are being produced on these cameras as we speak.

Around the world right now, professional photographers are switching to video and traditional video production firms are producing billboards as offshoots of their video production. Newspaper photography departments are increasingly shooting video, as frame grabs from an HD movie are large
enough to print on even the front page with no loss in quality.

YouTube has also gotten deeper into the world of HD video by increasing its maximum size recently from 720p to a full 1080p. That's enough for blu-ray quality playback on even the biggest of plasma or LCD Televisions. Just connect your computer with an HDMI cable, grab a beer and sit back enjoy Snowball the dancing parrot in larger than life HD. If video killed the radio star, then maybe with over a billion hits per day YouTube might just kill the TV star.

The technology in the video and photography world is changing at an alarming rate, so where do we begin to keep track of it all? Right here.


My hope is that this column will help you keep abreast of the constantly changing multimedia world, as well as offer practical advice on producing your own high quality movies and photographs. From the latest gizmos and gadgets to using tried and well tested Hollywood movie techniques to make sure your home movies don't become the modern day equivalent of Uncle Chester's endless slideshow from his latest vacation to Florida.


Please feel free to e-mail me with any comments, questions or topics you would like to see covered. I look forward to talking about latest technology and also seeing what is in-store for us in the new year.