PSA: Apple News+ Means Photojournalists Will Need Photo and Video Skills More Than Ever Before

PSA: Apple News+ Means Photojournalists Will Need Photo and Video Skills More Than Ever Before

If it wasn’t already crystal clear that dyed-in-the-wool photojournalists needed to add video to their toolbox, Apple News+ has just made the case even more pressing.

It used to be the case that photojournalists would shoot for that one awesome photo that would grace the cover of the magazine or sit on the page of the newspaper, maybe at times, a secondary photo. Then came the need to shoot entire photo galleries for the web as news hit the internet through the 2000s. Then came the rush to video, with many organizations pushing that extra task onto beleauguered photojournalism staffs as well.

Now, Apple News+’s video covers have added another wrinkle: photographers must think about both stills and video when shooting the cover of a magazine. Check out National Geographic’s latest cover on Apple News+ by hovering over it on the splash page. There’s a still version and a moving version.

This makes 4K (and even 8K) video capture seem all the more important. While you can repeat certain shots with about the same result in stills and video, that’s not going to be case for something that only happens once. With high resolution video capture (beyond 1080p), you can shoot video and pull a still from it later (though shutter speed will always be an issue this way, it’s better than nothing). This makes buying a camera without 4K video a tough sell for those who are looking to produce images for magazines in 2019. 4K video yields an 8 MP image, while 1080p video gives photographers roughly 2 MP images to play with, not enough to hold a magazine’s cover with any amount of cropping.

This isn’t the first time magazine covers have been animated. The now-defunct iPad magazine, The Daily, did it a few times, but when Apple does something, chances are the practice is going to go mainstream.

Looks like Canon picked a good time to add 4K video to its Rebel lineup. Canon and other companies already offer the functionality to pull frame grabs from 4K video in cameras such as the 1D X Mark II.

While capturing 4K video and pulling frame grabs seems like the best way to kill two birds with one stone, what are some other ideas that might help a photojournalist get photo and video at the same time? Leave your ideas in the comments below.

Wasim Ahmad's picture

Wasim Ahmad is an assistant teaching professor teaching journalism at Quinnipiac University. He's worked at newspapers in Minnesota, Florida and upstate New York, and has previously taught multimedia journalism at Stony Brook University and Syracuse University. He's also worked as a technical specialist at Canon USA for Still/Cinema EOS cameras.

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The new mirrorless cameras on the market allows you to shoot stills while filming video.
another option, one camera for video and another for stills.

The hard part for me is that in doing that, I would introduce shake into my video from pushing the button. Also, my older Canons would insert a split second gap in the video when I did that but I think that's not a problem on the newer models.

this is not an issue with mirrorless cameras mounted to a tripod, have not tried hand held.

I'll add my 2 cents. I have worked at a Canadian newspaper for over 30 years so I've gone from shooting B&W to Color - neg scanning - all digital - stills & video. When video was added, it was novel at first but eventually the shine dulls.

We began shooting video with our DSLRs... I hated using the DSLR. The quality isn't the issue but rather the functionality. Typically I would need a still when the lens I wanted to use was shooting video. Well that was awkward.

So we now use Canon XA25 video cameras. These cameras have XLR ports, image stabilization and a 20x long range zoom. Great for run and gun journalism.

I realize that 4k is great quality but we don't want to shoot 4K, the files are large, which slows down editing if being edited in-house or makes the upload to an external editing house too long. Anyway we don't post 4k video online so... you know? Admittedly a frame grab from 4K would be nice but sometimes a compromise is the better path taken.

So here are a few scenarios in which I typically find myself. Your experience may differ. (Remember I'm shooting news not art)

For a press conference, typically I will bring the video cam, tripod and audio gear and 2 still cameras with a long and short zoom, set up the video camera and hook into the soundboard for clean audio. Rarely is the video shooting position the shooting position of choice for my still but all I really need for print is a clean shot or two. I will then likely go handheld for video for the scrum afterwards. Hopefully a nice tv reporter will hold my hand mic otherwise the audio is as good as it gets from the camera mounted shotgun mic.

For an interview of a vedette in a café I would bring the vid-cam, tripod and a lapel mic and the same 2 still cameras mentioned above.

For something like a fire, it's all run and gun with still and video cameras... and maybe a hand mic on my belt. If it is a crime scene like a shooting I would do the same as the fire scenario but I may bring a monopod for a voice over interview of the officer in charge of PR... and the officer will hold my handheld mic. BTW image stabalization when hand holding goes only so far when your arms start shaking because the interviewee doesn't know when to shut up.

The thing that the people who want me to do two separate jobs at the time need to realize is I rarely want to shoot my still from the same spot where I'm shooting my video so the still is what it is. That's life in the big city I guess.

We no longer have an iPad specific app but when we did, we also did what we called a living still. 30 seconds of a single video clip. I actually liked doing those... I guess because that was as close to a still as video gets.

As a still news photographer, I have little love for shooting news video but as frustrating as it can be to do two things at the same time, I got used to switching from one to the other and I accept it when my still is less that what I had hoped for. (insert sad emoji) And I tell myself the Montreal news mantra when I know I didn't get the still that I wanted... No photo? Didn't happen!