Recently I’ve taken an interest in being behind the camera again but unlike my other half not necessarily in conventional photos shooting. In my early life, I had a movie camera and I enjoyed taking a movie but I really enjoyed editing it. In these days with Super 8, you would shoot your film with no idea what it looked like. Then send your film to a laboratory for processing before receiving back a tiny reel of up to 3 minutes of a film. The hobby was expensive and very time-consuming. I did not shoot a lot of films but I had the bug.
Editing was a process in its self when many hours winding the film through a small editing machine, looking at it frame by frame and physically cutting and pasting the film to ensure you had only the good stuff. These are the days taking Super 8 movie. Then came the job of polishing the movie, it needed a front part introducing it and a conclusion. There was no CGI, our special effects created physically, as an example. To title you could write the words you want on paper or a black board and film them frame at a time. I purchased yellow plastic letters I could arrange on a neutral background for filming. Movie making consisted of long hours spent with a black board writing or pasting the titles on to it for filming. To get letters in motion you would use the standard cartoon method of placing a letter where you wanted it and taking a frame, then placing the next one and taking a frame. This took many hours and sometimes days and weeks of effort. In one home movie of a family holiday, we built models as part of a diorama to use as transitions from one scene to another. This hobby drifted away with the reality of bringing up a family and paying for all those things a family needs took precedence over hobbies and fun.
In the 90s we purchased a video camera to document our move to Australia, so we would have footage to send back to our friends and relatives in New Zealand. We created hours of footage but largely it went un-edited as there were no tools that an ordinary person could afford to do the intricate post production work we used to do with the old camera. I suppose you could have done exactly the same for titling as we did with the Super 8, however cutting and pasting presented a more difficult issue. In the commercial world, accomplished with powerful computing power the likes of which I certainly couldn’t afford. The video gathered dust and we stopped taking new footage.
At the turn of the twenty-first century, we moved states and switched from an SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera with traditional film and processing to a DSLR (Digital SLR) camera to document our travels. This change brought with it the age of taking photographs and seeing them immediately. It also removed the limiting factors of the film medium, different film medium provided characteristics for different conditions. For instance, you might buy film stock that allowed you to film to take shots in low light but didn’t necessarily take great shots in full daylight, you might use a film medium for taking action shots but didn’t do so well for portraits. This would mean having multiple cameras with different film stock or removing the expensive film before complete to put in a new film. The maximum shots you could get on film was around 36, which again you wouldn’t get to see until after an expensive exercise of processing and printing.
The age of the DSLR brought with it hundreds of photos, the restriction on the number of shots was the size of the memory card you had and this was expanding rapidly, the camera could be set to take any kind of individual shot, be portrait, action or low light with the next shot being completely different. The DSLR meant we suddenly had lots of photographs, but not necessarily printed, now we need a method of showing our pictures. In the past with printed media, we had built photo albums and again this had become a craft, taking endless hours of work. Now what do we do with all these pictures, we could still print, but for some reason, we didn’t tend to print and put in albums as we had with old fashion.
The answer for us came in finding a gallery Website that we could put our photos on and set them out in albums, there are many of these around, including places such as google photos, Flickr and my favourite of Smugmug. There are many many more sites and the trick was to find one that allowed us to have an album structure we required and didn’t cost a fortune. Now I wanted to go back to creating movies and started by finding software that would allow me to take my wives stills and change them into a moving story, Microsoft helped here with a free product, which I am afraid has now gone. However mobile phones, point and shoots, and DSLRs started to come to the party providing us with Movie facilities again. Then came the GoPro, the magic camera for action movies. The magic of the device is it’s robust nature and paired with a waterproof casing it could go almost anywhere. We were early adopters, this had the answer to taking film while we were fishing and canoeing, excited we took the GoPro everywhere. We got some good footage but we go hundreds of hours of footage and digging out the 30 seconds of gold is an enormous editing task. More importantly your shots are from a single aspect, and without constant changing parameters which means stopping the device and working through the options and then resetting, the output film could get repetitive. Interspersed with other film and it’s absolutely terrific, again this takes hours of editing.
In recent times has seen the introduction of drones so we can all take awesome aerial shots, 360 photograph has become popular as so some interesting still photography techniques have become popular such as time lapse and hyper time-lapse or hyper-lapse. All fun to explore I am looking forward to playing this arena in the near future.