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Photo fusion – the next wave?

While I may only be a part-time professional photographer, I do my best to stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest trends in the business of photography.

I recently became aware of a growing trend that melds together photography with videos — photo fusion. Simply put, this isn’t just about adding still photos to videos, as it seems it would be. It’s not simply a slideshow either.

While similar, there’s a method to the madness. Photo fusion is about artistry and craftsmanship to create a beautiful video that utilizes equally beautiful still and motion images to create the video. It can mean many things as long as video and stills are melded together. Apparently, with the addition of video-capable dSLR cameras, this trend continues to grow.

Personally, I’m very new at it, but I have became absolutely absorbed and have created a few projects (one of which is shown on this article — another is the video intro for HPS on this site).

Now, a few months ago, when friends would ask me which cameras were best for their video capabilities, I’d have laughed and said that if you want a video camera, forget dSLR’s and stick with video-only cams. Apparently, after a Sandy Puc’/Jared Abrams tour I attended last week, I was so mistaken.

It’s as if I have seen a changing trend in the portraiture/event photography industry. Several professionals are now believing that if they don’t embrace this concept, they may be left behind in the dust.

Well, isn’t that what videographers are for? Maybe, but they cannot exactly capture a beautiful still photo the way a trained photo artist can, and that’s to their detriment. Same goes for the photographer who thinks it’s easy to be a seasoned videographer. Why not work to marry the two together with dSLR cameras?

That’s not to say they are a dying breed — not at all. What photo fusion is about is offering what the competitors are not offering and provides a marketing tool that trumps many other competitors who aren’t getting on the bandwagon.

There are many tips and tricks but that will be impossible to share in a simple article. A few that I will share from what I’ve learned and utilized are as follows:

  • Know your dSLR’s video capabilities. It’s a different beast!
  • Learn differences between 24, 30, 60 frames per second and when you’d utilize each.
  • Similarly, figure out which ISO is optimal as well as shutter speed.
  • Get good software for editing. You can also use free to cheap software to craft your photo fusion projects. It may not be as professional, but it is still quite nice.
  • Videography is like still photography, to make it sharp, make it stable.
  • When using background music, ensure you have rights to use it. You do not want others stealing your images without proper compensaion so practice what you preach.

So far, early in this game, Canon camera’s have the edge with video components. Why? They do something their primary competitor (Nikon) has yet to embrace — sound metering. Now, I am a Nikon owner and will not switch due to the amount invested in lenses alone. So, my disadvantage has to be compensated. I set my recording levels much lower to avoid clipping (much as too much light leads to clipping on your image sensor). I then go into post-production to bring levels to where they need to be soundwise. Nikon will learn from their mistakes and catch up soon enough.

It’ll be interesting to see what you come up with if you embrace this upcoming trend. And, for those of you who may be skeptical about the power of dSLR video capability, keep in mind that the season finale of Fox’s TV show "House" was shot solely using the Canon 5D Mark II just a few months ago! Consequently, Jared Abrams was on hand for that episode.

So, if your dSLR camera has video capability, stop ignoring it. Learn it. Embrace it. And, add it to your arsenal of artistry tools.

~ Don Hill, HPS Webmaster

Why HPS?

A video featuring a few HPS members and photographs discusses candidly about what some of our members like best about HPS.

State of HPS in cyberspace

Geek talk
by Don Hill, HPS Webmaster

As the webmaster for Houston Photographic Society (HPS), I am no only charged with creation, maintenance, and information sharing on the site alone, but expanding with the times including usage of social media (Facebook and Twitter).

Beyond that, I occasionally do some data mining. After examining the statistics today, I’ve found some interesting tidbits on the HPS website and on HPS’s Facebook page that may or may not be of interest to you. I also come up with some conclusions with various revelations that might be fuel-for-thought about our future direction regarding HPS in cyberspace.

HPS – Website (www.hpsonline.org)

* Stats based on analytics between January 1 and March 1

About the site visitors

In the past two months, our website had 602 absolute unique visitors (meaning non-repeat visitors) with a total of 1,190 visits (this includes repeat visitors). That’s not bad considering HPS is a localized society (Houston area) and we’re just talking about a two-month period of time.

Interestingly, 46.81% of our visitors are new visitors, which tells us that many people are looking for photography-related topics in our area and perhaps seeking a photographic group to join.

Visitors’ locations

Of course, most of HPS website visitors’ are from the U.S. However, people from other nations have viewed us in the past two months including: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, France, China, Germany, Belgium, India, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, UK, Argentina, Serbia, Sweden, Vietnam, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, Hungary, Poland, Moldova, and South Africa.

In the U.S., people from 35 states have visited the HPS website. Besides Texas, Californians were the second highest visitors followed by those from Utah.

In Texas, a majority of our visitors (58.57%) are from Houston, as is expected. All in all, 51 people from other cities both near and far visited the site.

Thus, this would tell us that the HPS website has the potential to be more than just a "local club" site. With the caliber of members in our Society, we could do something really special with this site that transcends our local interests!

How they are viewing the site

It’s fairly even in how end-users are finding HPS’ website:

  • direct traffic (typing our URL in the browser) is 35.88%;
  • search engine results are 32.69%;
  • and sites that refer to us are 31.43%.

This is a good mix because the more avenues people visit our website, the more effective our site is!

Furthermore, it’s interesting to see how the HPS website bucks the national trend in terms of the tools visitors utilize to view our site:

  • 36.81% use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer
  • 32.35% use Apple’s Safari
  • 16.55% use Mozilla’s Firefox
  • 11.68% use Google’s Chrome

Perhaps the reason it buck’s national trends is because many artists are known to be Apple users.

Connection speed statistics are good. It shows that photographers embrace high speed internet. A mere half of one percent of our visitors are still using dial-up. This means it is okay for us to provide larger bits of information such as videos or larger image file sizes should we choose to do so Having stated such, the site has long utilized small download sizes for fast information transmission.

Visitors’ main interests

While it’s obvious that the most visited page is the home page, it’s interesting to note that the second most visited page is the Activities and Programs pages. This means people are definitely interested in what we have to offer in terms of educating in our craft and social activities.

Following this in order of pages visited is Member Info. It tells us that people are interested in the type of members that belong to our Society.

After that is the Print Competition page and then Meeting Information page. People are interested in comparing their prints to others and getting feedback and then they tend to follow up by learning where we meet and how we are structured.

The conclusion is that the people searching our Society is interested in what we can offer them, which is a good recruitment tool.

HPS – Facebook (www.facebook.com/houstonphotographicsociety)

Right now, there are 99 subscribers from 8 different nations.

Besides the U.S., we’re being followed in Canada, France, Australia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Peru, and Costa Rica.

Besides English as a primary language, other languages who follow us include Spanish, German, Italian, and English (UK).

This is interesting since HPS is a location-specific entity (Houston).

In Texas, subscribers hail from 66 different cities.

Examining the demographics of our Facebook subscriber base, the largest group is comprised of men over the age of 55 (19%) with a near second being males ages from 35-44 (17%). 56% are male subscribers. Regarding females, the largest subscriber group is 35-44 years of age at 12% with the next highest being 25-34 years of age at 11%.

4,145 viewers have seen our Facebook posts.

HPS – Twitter (www.twitter.com/HouPhotoSociety)

Not as much information is gained from Twitter as the other aforementioned sites. However, this does not mean it isn’t useful information.

49 other Twitter users are following us regularly in regards to what we post. HPS is currently following 145 others.

The more Twitterers we can attract, the more viral our message becomes to the world. So, there is definitely room for improvement as the relationship-building process on Twitter can take some time for such a specialized entity as HPS.

Suggestions

I would like to see HPS take a more proactive approach in terms of being more than just a local entity. With a global society so opened up thanks to the World Wide Web, it would serve us well to take advantage of that.

While the meat and potatoes of our Society will always be the human interaction we have through our various meetings and outings, there’s no reason to remain limited.

I encourage my fellow HPS members to increase your role in our cyber-world. First of all, if you’ve not done so already, please join our Facebook and follow us on Twitter and spread the message to others. It’s been good to see this year’s HPS President take my advice and share his thoughts in a monthly message. It’s been good to see a couple of members share their portfolios for the site.

I’d like to take advantage of what our Society has to offer the world. We have some of the most creative and bright minds in photography. Unfortunately, it’s primarily stuck within our own Society. A few of our members are connected globally such as Laszlo Perlaky, who is involved with international competition and even photographic societies outside our own state. Let’s see more be involved.

Share your ideas with me and we’ll tap into your gift and knowledge! It’s not a hard-core commitment. With as many people we have in HPS, we could literally be an E-Zine for other interested photographic artists in the world who want to improve upon their craft and share their ideas too.

~ Don Hill

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