Motion Image Photography. This isn’t really a new concept for us. We’ve seen lots of images and posts and comments on pulling still images from 4K video in the past, especially as the RED cameras starting offering these resolutions. What’s different now is that it will soon be available in a digital-SLR, the Canon 1D C. Although the camera isn’t priced for most people, at $11,999.00 it’s one of the more ‘affordable’ 4K cameras out there. The United Film Works video that started circulating after Christmas compares frame grabs from the 4K video to photographer’s still frames and in each case leaves the photographer more than impressed.
Is there a double-edged sword here? On one hand it’s exciting to think of all the possibilities this technology and other tech like it offer but at the same time does it make things too easy? (I can’t believe I’m question/complaining about things being ‘too easy’). When the RED came out I remember people joking that all they had to do was set the focus and hit record, then they could do adjust whatever they wanted (ISO, temperature, exposure) in post. This is obviously a bit of an exaggeration but there’s a hint of truth in there (imagine this tech combined with Lytro’s ‘infinite focus’ camera). There’s mention of photographers learning to read body language and human emotion and from these traits knowing when to fire their shutter and capture the best moments. Does this negate that skill? On the other hand, how different is this from shooting stills in bursts of 8 or 12 fps and picking the best image of the bunch afterwards? In his blog post Abraham Joffe of United Film Works asks “Is this a photograph?” as well as some insight into how this debate might unfold; “What I quickly realised that some photographers held strong opinions on why not to pursue motion image capture, whilst others seemed quite excited by the prospect.”
Various 4K screen grabs like the one above found on the United Film Works’ blog do provide some beautiful evidence in favor of shooting in this way. My favorite sound byte comes from Graham Monro who jokes about being a stills guy and ponders ‘am I out of a job?’ Like with all of the new gadgets though he makes the point that as amazing as this new tech is, it is forcing photographers and cinematographers to keep up with a rapidly advancing assortment of gear. This obviously doesn’t spell certain doom for photogs and there is still a fine distinction between the two forms, but it does feel like a sign of things to come. What do you think? Would screen grabbing from the 4K video be enough to satisfy your needs and your clients’ needs on the photography side of things? Or would losing the .RAW files be too much of a sacrifice?