Sunday, 8 June 2014

Video in Amateur Photographer? Perhaps Not Really

A letter from Stuart Smith, also I see writing from Ayrshire, to Amateur Photographer (31 May) welcomed the news that the magazine would give more attention to videography. Like me he finds 'it odd there has never been a magazine for the amateur in this field'. However, the reply from the Group Editor (I am not sure one can edit a group) backtracked: 'we are not going to start writing about camcorders but we will be offering advice on getting more from the movie-mode button on still cameras'.

How can one describe the performance of  a still camera's 'movie mode' without comparing it to a proper, made for the job, high-level camcorder? The video performance of many if not most still cameras on the market seems to be pretty poor, judging from experience and comments on the internet.

Will then AP take on the task of explaining the simple language of cinephotography? One has only to look at amateur video on YouTube to see that such guidance is desperately needed.

Before the now-defunct camcorder magazines of the 1990s, AP itself embraced cinephotography. In the 1950s and 1960s pages were devoted to the topic in most issues. Much of the advertising then was devoted to cine cameras and projectors. With the decline in sales of amateur, low-end camcorders (as 'movie mode' has appeared increasingly on still cameras), leaving just a few 'pro-sumer' and professional camcorders at the high end of the market, perhaps AP feels there is not enough advertising revenue to justify the proper treatment of moving pictures.