Glamour Video Is A Thing or Why I Am Returning To Video After More Than A Decade

 Glamour Video Is A Thing or Why I Am Returning To Video After More Than A Decade

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I have spent the last 6 years cultivating a photography service brand and working to hone my image making skills on a daily basis, but the fact remains that photography is a relatively new endeavor for me. I was a graphics designer from 1990 or so until arguably 2012 (or today), with the occasional design job popping up that I cannot say no to. However, there was also this era in the 1990's where I was a videographer and video editor, shooting everything from local TV spots to interactive media clips to weddings. The embryonic days of digital video are mercifully long gone, but what happens when an old dog jumps into the modern world of video? I aimed to find out.

I told you, old.

However, I intentionally decided to keep things extremely basic at first. After all, the last video I edited was in late 2001, using then-outdated software on a then 9 year old Mac Quadra 950. I shot it on a Canon L1 Hi8 (you can get one for about $70 now, with the same lens I had, according to eBay), and dumped it into the Quadra via the then-antiquated Targa2000 video card. 

That was a project for a friend who needed it quick, and I had not been involved in video production actively since about 1999 (I first started video in 1993). The bottom line was, I was in way over my head when I decided last year to start getting back into video, blindly. It was a bold, stupid decision because all I had in hand was a new DSLR (Canon 6D, for the record) that I had recently purchased as an upgrade to my 7D. So here I was, no significant video equipment in hand, and I decided to get back into making video productions. All over the globe, tens of thousands of videographers and video producers all laughed in unison at my decision, and awaited my efforts so they could impose their derision upon me.

No pressure.

I knew I wanted to produce videos that related to my main industry, which is glamour photography, but I had also never shot video of a model before. After thinking it through in precise, finite detail for all of 2 minutes, I decided to book a model and see what happened. I needed to just jump in and see if I could remember my old videography mojo, if any remained.

Video is hot again.

Back in the early 1990's, digital video hit the pro-sumer scene and local industries everywhere exploded into it, much like the digital photography explosion of the 2000's. Unfortunately, all the fervor didn't mean there were enough clients demanding it over the long term, and by the turn of the millennia, many local and regional videographers and studios shut down due to lack of demand. The web back then was still so new (read: slow) that video was hardly taken seriously online. However, after a decade or so, now here today in 2015, video is once again as hot and desired as ever, and has been. Have you seen how the content that social media prefers and that users crave is video? YouTube is at it's height, a person's popularity is most often derived from how many views their video has, or how many times it has been shared. When you upload a video of anything to your Facebook Page, it garners a user reach that is usually 10x to 100x more than a simple photo post. Put simply: People want video.

Try and try again.

After my first glamour video was done, feedback proved to be divided, but I decided it was at least decent enough to leave online even if I still had much to learn. I briefly toyed with the idea of incorporating additional lighting into my next video, but ended up creating my second attempt as a very-improvised natural light session, taking just 20 minutes or so to hurriedly capture all the initial footage. I had just finished an outdoor editorial-glamour type of photo shoot, and the model, Sofia Alfero, and I decided to eek out a quick video before we left the abandoned property.

That result is as follows:

The flow and pacing were better on this one, and some of the technical aspects were superior to my first attempt, as well. Problems are all over it, of course, but I felt I had learned tons on this one, despite it being done so quickly. I experimented with different FPS settings for some slow motion effects, and spent more time in editing, trying to create a flow that made sense and just felt right. I had extremely limited clips to pick from, having shot everything so hastily, but I did what I could.

Third time's the charm?

After a couple of months of no video productions, I found myself in Las Vegas during WPPI for a little thing I was doing, as well as a series of projects I had booked while I was to be in town. Reasoning that I had a hotel suite and an evening of open free time, I decided to produce a third video attempt, this time with Las Vegas based model Lizzeth Acosta. This go round, I opted to hastily snag my associate Euan Torrie's PCB Einstein and 2x2 softbox, and simply use it with the modeling lamp on for a very low power continuous light source. Heck, it matched the ambient incandescent bulbs all over the suite, and provided some fill. I had no idea how I would utilize it properly, but as usual I just jumped into the fire.

That result, as you can guess, is here:

I was pleased with this project, and found it to be the least technically flawed of all my attempts so far, and I was already fiending for the next project. Nowhere near industrial grade, but I felt I was getting into a decent groove now. However, something became clear to me...

To video professionals, I am now officially That Guy.

The guy who buys a camera and decides he's a photographer. The guy who changes the air filter on his car and decides he's a mechanic. The guy who makes a goofy face in front of a camera for someone and decides he's a model. Yep, I was now that guy to anyone who did video professionally, and I found myself a tad embarrassed.

Why? Because the last time I was the newbie on the doorstep was 6 years ago when I officially started photography. And even then I had been dabbling in photography for a further 4 years prior. I was naive, I was bold, I was stupid, and I thought I was better than I was within a few months. It took a couple of significant humbling experiences to make me reassess, and take the appropriate actions to advance myself further into photography. After 2-3 years, I almost felt like I knew what I was doing.

But here I am now, 6 months or so into video, and having produced just 3 glamour projects in that time. As such, I am once again the overly eager, overly bold and naive artist looking to break into an industry with minimal idea how to go about doing it. Sure, I did video in the 90's, as I said, and I am very well versed in working with models and have a decent understanding of lighting concepts, but who was I to think I was ready for prime time?

I wasn't. I'm still not. I'm still hand-holding a Canon 6D with my 85 1.8 lens a couple of inches in front of my face and doing all sorts of gymnastics to try to capture shots, and then dumping it into Premiere to see what I can make of it all. Gear is still not on my priority list, and I am very much focused on doing what I can with video with minimal equipment for both practical and curiosity reasons. What all can I do with just a DSLR and a portrait lens?

I'm still too delightfully clueless about modern day video to know what I am missing from the technical perspective, but I rather enjoy that to be honest. See, I have read and studied photography until it makes me nauseous. I've taught photography for 3 years now, and learn tons every year by doing so. I can, and enjoy, talking technical stuff about photography and retouching in painful detail, and I obsess on technical details at every shoot. That's where I am with photography, and I am perfectly ok with being there.

Remembering where I started, and where I still have to go.

With video, however, I am just a wide-eyed newbie having fun, doing stuff with minimal to no technical considerations. For the moment, this suits me just fine, and satisfies a part of me, as an artist, that has been at times missing in my photography work: The sense of blind, ignorant bliss of just doing something for the satisfaction of it. In turn, it has rejuvenated me overall, and has affected how I work in my photography for the better. I am having more fun, once again, in my photography work while awaiting the next chance for a video project. Heck, I even have a cute little YouTube channel, and find myself excited to work again. (Note: my YouTube channel also has behind-the-scenes videos of various events of mine, none of which I produced.)

So, video professionals, my apologies for storming into the room and pretending I fit in. I know I don't, not yet. But I am having great fun returning to the world of video. If I do this correctly and really put nose to grindstone, I should be able to offer industry-grade video projects to my clients by 2016 or thereabouts, based on my experience with my jump into photography. Pound me with your criticisms or your support, but I am thrilled to be diversifying my business offerings and scope. 

Also, if you're curious about my journey into video, stay tuned for follow up articles where I will start to discuss the technical aspects of how I make my glamour videos, from how I shoot to how I pace my edits to the music I use (hint: none of it is stock music).

I think the most surprising part about dabbling in video for the last few months has been photographers asking me if I am about to offer Video Workshops. Oh my word, not yet, but thanks for the vote of confidence!

Photographers, have you managed to successfully add video to your services? 

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Sean Shimmel's picture

I admire your detailed, intelligent approach. Rather than mere visual scintillation, you verbally share your rich journey along the way.

Nino Batista's picture

Thank you, Sean. :)

Neo Racer's picture

I have and if you get the right model, the right location and right idea its magic. This is one of my favs/best

Nino Batista's picture

Ah ha! I see, very cool.

Neo Racer's picture

thanks man and Im a huge fan of you're work!

Dylan Patrick's picture

Awesome and inspiring work man. At any given moment we are all "that guy". Jumping into video is a new thing for me as well but it is a direction I have wanted to take for awhile, if only to serve my own creative needs. Great article!

Anonymous's picture

Buy a follow focus! Racking focus every second shot is so yesterday and really amateur time. There is nothing "artsy" about out of focus shots. They are just out of focus.

Keegan Evans's picture

Nice article Nino!

I am still that new guy with video even though I started learning about 4 years ago, mostly because I am a student a projects are far and wide. But if you are looking for an awesome resource check out Film Riot on youtube. I have learned many low budget techniques to give your video the professional edge!

I would also say for a run and gun style, grab yourself a glidecam. I picked on up on amazon and it changed my video.

Here is a run-and-gun project from about a year ago with my glidecam!

Nino Batista's picture

haha thanks for the links! However, as I said, I am trying to avoid gear purchases for now. I know I will have to go down that road eventually, this year, but stop tempting me right now. hahaha :)

Keegan Evans's picture

haha fair enough! There are plenty of options for DIY stuff to get your hands away from the camera! That would be my only comment. The quickest way to notice something was shot with a dslr is the very noticeable dslr camera shake. Once you get your hands off of it directly you can start avoiding it!

Doug Birling's picture

agree, the small micro shakes in this type of video gets in the way, this type of work is all about flowing beauty, that or a brushless gimbal would clean that up. I actually prefer the gimbal because while there is movement still, it's more like the human eye, verses the pendulum like movement of a steady/glidecam. But your current style of photography lends itself to transitioning into model videos.

Giorgio Zamboni's picture

grande Nino! Semplice, raffinato, sensuale. Un video perfetto accompagnato dall giusta colonna sonora....anche la modella ci ha messo del suo...:D

Anonymous's picture

many of the broadcasters I supply editorial glamour and Fetish photography and video to in Europe refuse to accept anything shot on DSLR or AVCHD codec, with the uptake of 2 and 4k in the market place they want the material they pay for future proofed.
Dump the fisher price kiddie video from DSLR's and get yourself an F700 Sony at a minimum your future self will thank you for it.

steven spaulding's picture

video has been something i've been trying to figure out how to incorporate as a preview for my clients. a way for them to show off to their friends how the session went and that they were treated as a model.

just working out some "how can i pull this off" type stuff.

love the video's you created btw.

Scott Spellman's picture

Video is a powerful tool for glamour photographers to build their fans and brand, especially when they already have top talent and styling. Your honest and direct style of describing your journey to building your video skills is refreshing. For me video has become 40% of my business income. I would suggest also creating shorter versions of your videos for Instagram and other types of social media.

Paulo Macedo's picture

Awesome Nino! This is just great! :)

Kamil Kurylonek's picture

Go easy on Warp Stabilizer in the future. Little smoothing in post is ok, but too much and it will give you really bad jello effect.

Krishna Yalla's picture

Great post. I personally feel that we need to start somewhere. I only started 4 years ago and have pushed myself to increase the quality of my work. Here is a link below.

Just keep on trying and there is no stopping what can be achieved.

Nino Batista's picture

This is great!!!

Krishna Yalla's picture

Thank you!

Garrick G's picture

Very nice what camera and glider are u running with? I have a c100... its ok.

Krishna Yalla's picture

C100 as well, with glidecam hd4000.

Anonymous's picture

Great article, Nino! I'd be interested in reading more about your business model, too. How/where do you market your video projects?

Garrick G's picture

Not bad stuff! From someone thats been doing film for 12 years and photos for 5-6 try using a stabilized lens, that will help a lot even with hand held stuff or invest in a cheep camera rig/stabilizer. That will step up the value a lot and u can even add a camera slider if you want to get fancy. Ive meant to do more of these more seriously but check out what i have so far, 7D This one without a any kind of stabilization/50mm1.4 - c100

Spy Black's picture

This works as fashion I suppose. It almost strikes as an attempt to put motion into a series of stills. I'm not sure it tells me where you ultimately want to go with video. That's a big, wide world. What DO you want to do with it?

Dr. Dominik Muench's picture

very interesting and relate able, my journey was the other way around though, I started in film production and took up photography a little bit later on. I can only encourage anyone who already shoots glamour/ fashion or anything model related to give it a shot with video as well, it helps to give you a new perspective and creative challenges, plus you learn a lot about posing, lighting and camera placement/ movement as it varies quite a bit from stills shooting.

I tend to shoot a little motion clip for each of my stills shoots nowadays as well, not only is it great for marketing but it also breaks up the shooting routine and gives the model an opportunity to act and pose differently, some recent shoots I've done:

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

Am I the only one that finds all of this cheesy as hell? Sorry to be so judgmental.

Nino Batista's picture

Nope, you're not the only one. Or the first. Or the last. It's all good. But thanks for sharing!

Ryan Graham's picture

Awesome! I've been wanting to get into some video work myself. Of course, I've been researching the hell out of gear beforehand, because who doesn't love new toys?

The shakiness is the only thing that gets me about video work. I don't want to film a sexy Cloverfield. :p I'm not making fun of your videos, only my lack of ability to hold a camera steady as I try to nail focus.

As far as cheap gear goes, you can get everything you need to practice on for like $150 or less, then move onto bigger and better if you actually get a professional need for it. There are $30-50 follow focuses out there that can connect to a super small rail system. Then, a phone or tablet holder that can clamp onto the rails, so you can have a larger view of the video, to really nail the focus. I have a Canon, so I can thankfully tether through its USB port and see everything with a third party controller software. :)

Chris Reist's picture

the work is nice but it lost f atmosphere, becouse the clips ar to long.