With today’s launch of the new Canon 1D Mark IV, Vincent Laforet stated in his blog:
“I think it’s safe to say that every single filmmaker and
photographer has always dreamed of cameras that can see what our naked
eyes can see. This time these cameras can actually see more. Sure –
they may not have the dynamic ranges of our eyes just yet – but they
see more than my naked eyes can see in low light.
“And that’s qualifies as a paradigm shift in my book.”
I’m about to make a semantic argument with Vincent.
First, let’s state the obvious. Vince’s first short film that he created on the Canon 5D Mark II was pretty mind-blowing. While no one was about to hand out an Emmy for “Reverie,” and there were surely many professional film guys who probably rolled their eyes, the fact is that it was a defining moment in D-SLR history to have pro-level video output on a still camera. We’ve been talking for years about “convergence” and “hybridization” and the 5D was definitely an inflection point where talk became reality. And like everything Vince does, thousands of photographers were inspired.
The 5D was a paradigm shift. It allowed for dual (simultaneous) capture on a single device. It spawned a crapload of videos on Vimeo — some of very high quality — which made it seem like professional film making could be attained with a $2500 camera. It certainly was a paradigm shift for Vince as he contemplated ways to focus on something other than the still image that had defined his career up until that point.
But let’s be clear, the paradigm shift was niche. A hardware paradigm had shifted — not so much a creative one. Yes, the ante has been upped for professional D-SLRs to include video capture capabilities. But has it really resulted in either a 1) creative paradigm shift or a 2) commerce paradigm shift? In my opinion, no.
Newspapers have, for years, been trying to figure out how to monetize multimedia. The CD-ROM of the early 90s, gave way to the slideshow with audio, to fast cut video with After Effects. But who is really making money with video? Brian Storm? Check. YouTube? Check. Your local newspaper? No. Your aspiring filmmaker? No. You? Probably not.
Does the inclusion of ISO 6400 video constitute a paradigm shift? Are your wedding clients going to suddenly pony up another $2000 so that you can shoot the first dance at high ISO? Are you suddenly going to find an untapped market for stock footage in near-dark conditions?
Here’s the thing. While the technology has improved, good movie making still requires:
– a non-trivial investment in additional hardware and software
– a good story and script
– a good director
– good editing
But you and I aren’t going to pick up a Mark IV or D3s and suddenly become proficient at screenwriting. We aren’t going to become expert at non-linear editing. Forget mastery of the software, all of these things require skill and experience. And there is no level of technology that will replace the hours that are required to do something well — whether it’s playing basketball, designing a building, or making a movie.
Do I want a D-SLR with video? Yes. But I don’t, for a second believe, that it is going to turn me into the next
Polanski Spielberg without dedicating 10,000 hours (wink at Gladwell) to become an expert.
Vince will continue to create films and images that inspire and awe. The Mark V will be better than it’s predecessor. But a true paradigm shift will require more than better low light capabilities. A true paradigm shift will alter the consumption of video by the mainstream, and shift dollars and eyeballs from the status quo.
The Mark IV is cool, but what’s cooler with today’s announcement was this statement from Vince:
“Once again – we had very very little time to prepare. Just under 72
hours. And we were
ALL busy working on other jobs as this economy
seems to be awakening again.”
That’s a shift we can all get behind.