As I mentioned in my last post I have been in Singapore at a series of events hosted by local retailer Cathay Photo, Canon Singapore and Genus products. The idea was to give local news professionals and keen amateurs a taste of DSLR video and how they can improve the results they are getting. I gave a one day seminar for over a hundred participants, then a one day hands on workshop to a smaller group.
DSLR video is really beginning to take off in Asia, I’ve already run DSLR video workshops at two of China’s largest newspapers. In Singapore there are already ads on the local TV done by DP’s using the 5DmkII and most photographers I talked to saw video as the next big thing. People take photography gear seriously here and as you can see from the photos there was quite an array of kit.
The invite from Cathay Photo was a bit out of the blue, I fondly remembered the shop as the one where I bought some of my original Canon FD gear as a spotty teenager on visits to Singapore. Twenty years on and its still in the same place and run by the same family. David Toh and Charmaine Toh in particular helped me to set up and run the workshop which was held in the rather impressive Suntech centre. I was really impressed that they were so keen to learn more about DSLR video and pass it on to their customers.
My main message as always was that if you are a good photographer you stand a good chance of being a good videographer too. If you see the world in light and shade with good composition and an eye for detail then you should try extending you skills to video. There are some obvious big differences such as sound, narrative, movement etc. but if photographers are willing to learn then there is the potential to create new and interesting work. Not every one will succeed but I think photographers owe it to themselves to find out if they can do it – a “Yes we can” attitude will get you a long way. I had only shot home movies before getting serious about video four years ago, thanks to the DSLR revolution I would say now that video is over 75% of my workload.
Now I am no veteran videographer, nor do I profess to know everything about the subject, but luckily on hand also were former TV news shooter Steve Rushworth from Genus and Edwin Tan of the Canon Pro video department with some more expert knowledge. They helped me to demonstrate some of the latest products can really help to get a more “35mm” shallow depth of field look from the DSLRs. The Genus Mattebox, Fader ND filter and brand new soon to be launched follow focus were on show along with the Canon 5DmkII and 7D and other accessories from Litepanels, Manfrotto and Steadicam. Surprisingly no-one in the audience had a Fader filter for their DSLR video so I was glad to pass on how I use them to get shallow DOF in broad daylight. I really enjoyed the 2 days and it seemed like the participants did too.
After the Cathay event I stayed in Singapore and had a few days hands on with the 1DmkIV. I also got to present my videos at the Canon Experience, you can read more about these videos in the other posts here.
I also had a chance to catch up with my old buddy Russell Boyce from Reuters, we used to work together but he is now the company’s chief photographer in Asia. We talked over how I use DSLR video and he came out on a shoot with me to see how I worked. In my opinion it won’t be too long before you see big agencies like Reuters, the Associated Press and Getty Images embracing DSLR video for daily use. Times are a changing.