Saturday, June 7, 2014

'Photo Asylum Moving Pictures' - An Idea Whose Time Has Finally Come (Part 1).

It's been roughly five years since the first DSLRs featuring video recording capability appeared on the consumer market. At that watershed moment, high quality motion imaging finally became not only affordable, but conveniently contained within the same camera package that photographers were already familiar and comfortable with.

Since then, many, if not most, still shooters have had to ponder and often struggle with the decision to begin acquiring and learning about video gear and software, film planning, production and post-production, and most importantly, packaging and marketing a finished quality product in order to offer these new services on the professional level.

I can tell you firsthand, it is not always a painless and intuitive process. Even many years of experience using traditional still cameras and lighting gear does not always immediately translate into the ability to shoot and produce great videos.

Then consider that the market is already saturated with established video production companies and freelance filmmakers that have spent a lifetime honing their craft, not to mention an army of amateurs with their camcorders and iPhones who think they can make a great video of anything they point these devices at.

You can quickly see that the very notion of joining this workforce in a competitive way can be...shall we say...daunting, if not downright overwhelming and intimidating.

And so, my coming into the fold and finally including myself in the big, bad world of motion pictures was not an easy decision to make.

Not easy at all...

This is the new "signature logo" for Photo Asylum Moving
Pictures. It appears at the beginning of each video to  identify
my company, sometimes with sound, sometimes without.
More on the striking imagery in a future blog post.

My personal transition to including motion in my photographic repertoire was fueled by three major developments.

The first was the cost of equipment, and how the price of what is needed to create quality film footage has dropped dramatically in a very short time. And while I quickly learned that video production is indeed a money pit if you insist on having every little piece of professional gear that's available to help you, most of the basics to get you started are but a fraction of the price they used to be only five or more years ago. The biggest savings, of course, is the simple fact that you can use all of your existing DSLR lenses and bodies to shoot.

Secondly, post-production and video editing software was created that works wonderfully on an average PC or Mac system, and much of it was incorporated into existing programs that most still photographers already owned or had access to.

Adobe has led the way by not only adding video editing capabilities into some of its Photoshop titles, but fine-tuned Premiere Pro to give it a very similar interface to PS, adding powerful, but simple-to-use features to make it a breeze to create a professional-looking product. As my Creative Cloud membership already gave me access to all of these amazing tools, it was a no-brainer to finally start using them.

Finally, as much as I try to shun negativity in this business, I couldn't help but notice that there is a sea of mediocrity out there when it comes to video and filmmaking. My years of competitive creativity and strong visual storytelling made it obvious to me that there is a lot of bad work out there, and at some point I knew I could do better, and had to start trying.

So that's it in a nutshell. A new and exciting chapter in my artistic life and the evolution of The Photo Asylum. Be a witness as I (hopefully) take on more and more challenging and edgy motion projects through my Vimeo page, my YouTube page, and of course the video page on my website www.stevenpaulhlavac.com.

There's much more to the story of my start in professional filmmaking, but I think this is enough for now. Look for many more details in a follow-up post.