Search Results for: pro-am
Here are two videos with virtually the same narration by Paul Harvey — but with dramatically different photographs. One is illustrated with amateur snapshots; the other one — which was shown during yesterday’s Super Bowl — is an advertisement for the Dodge Ram pick-up truck, and showcases images created by some of the finest photographers in the world.
Question is: When compared side-by-side, which video is more effective? more authentic? more believable?
Put another way: Which video calls attention primarily to the farmers and the lives they lead? Which video has you focusing more on the photographs of the farmers?
Which one treats the photograph as an illustration of a people, of a story? Which one treats the photograph as an object in and of itself?
Which video has images that could easily be removed from the video, framed, and then hung proudly on your wall without any supporting narration from Paul Harvey? Which video doesn’t?
Finally, are the executives at Dodge primarily trying to connect the viewer to farmers? to people? to a feeling? or to a very specific object?
Do you see the difference?
The photographer: Robert Lam, who says: “Photography is an enormous passion for me.”
Moral: As passionate photographers continue to master their new digital tools, the gap between professional and amateur photographers will undoubtedly keep shrinking.
Here at Society Matters, we frequently cover how the gap between pro & amateur photographers is closing fast.
To keep ahead of this “army of [digitally-armed] Davids,” the pros have had to pick up the tempo — and some of them have:
Could amateurs orchestrate such an impressive production? Maybe. Will they? Probably not.
Point to our professional friends at National Geographic magazine.
Photography’s pro-am divide
continues to shrink at breathtaking speed.
Read the whole thing here.
The flying videographer….
A few days ago, we posted what appeared to be the National Geographic Society’s 2010 annual report.
When we first discovered it online, we couldn’t tell if it was the real deal. It looked authentic. It had the right NGS vibe. And with all those butterfly and polar bear shots, it clearly reflected a deep devotion to The Planet.
But something seemed… off. For instance, a photograph of Gil Grosvenor, the former NGS Chairman of the Board, was ID’d as John Fahey, the new Chairman (and CEO). Was it an error? Or a clever way to say that John is the new Gil? The mystery deepened….
Well, a few Google searches later, we discovered this “annual report” is actually the creation of Elizabeth McClain, a communications design & photography student at Syracuse University. A rising senior, Elizabeth created this publication for a class assignment, but you get the feeling she would have been happy to produce this without any prodding from her teacher. On every page, Elizabeth’s creativity and talent shine through.
There are many gifted people out there — amateurs whose digital tools are now no different than those used by professionals. Which means the pro-am divide is often less about a differential in talent, vision, and passion, and more about who gets a paycheck and health insurance.
Usually, when an amateur like Ms. McClain jumps out of the crowd this way, we say: The center will not hold.
Today, though, the voice of Rex Barney is echoing in our ears: Give that fan a contract!
See Elizabeth McClain’s project, in all its hi-def glory, here.
Here’s a puzzler: If both National Geographic and National Public Radio are now in the same business of multimedia storytelling — as this piece claims — then which company has the better business model to create those stories in the years to come?
Let’s do a few quick comparisons:
• National Geographic has become an increasingly advertising-driven company at a time when advertisers and publishers are going through a painful divorce. Whereas NPR remains a virtually ad-free zone.
• National Geographic dismantled its Membership Center Building in Gaithersburg, Maryland, about 15 years ago. Whereas NPR works hard to build upon its relationships with member stations and their members.
(Sidebar: I recently attended NPR’s first-ever PubCamp, a weekend-long unconference designed “to strengthen the relationship that public broadcasters have with their communities through the creation of collaborative projects.” It was a fascinating two days, not so much for the projects, but for the passion and engagement that can be created when the leaders of a high-profile institution say to the regular folk: We need you. Help us build something new and exciting. You matter.)
• The National Geographic Society usually avoids mentioning its last name in public (see logo in photo, above) because as a senior NGS executive once told us: “Nobody wants to belong to anything.” By contrast, NPR regularly tells its members: We’re public radio. We belong to you.
• National Geographic establishes partnerships with companies that sell air freshener and bedroom furniture; NPR doesn’t.
• National Geographic Magazine publishes more than 30 local language editions, including one in mainland China. NPR (best we know) has no plans to revamp its editorial content so it can curry favor with the gatekeepers in Beijing and become a global media brand.
If NPR and National Geographic are both in the business of multimedia storytelling, then a generation of young people will grow up seeing both organizations occupying the same stage — often in “partnership” (at right). As a result, the lines that distinguish these two brands will gradually blur in the minds of consumers (NPR is a great destination for stunning multimedia stories….). The business models, though, will continue to diverge.
Our biggest fear? The organization that maintains its dependence on advertising revenue and air freshener will, sooner or later, kill itself.
The good news is we’re optimists. We still think National Geographic could pull out of its death spiral. But the Society — especially the Magazine — needs to do a few things, and do them soon. Here’s our Top Ten List (which is a partial summary of Society Matters to date):
2. Realize the value is not in the content, which can now be found everywhere, but in building and strengthening the Society’s relationships with and between its members.
3. Publicly admit that the pro-am divide is shrinking by the day.
4. Mobilize the Society’s members to help cover the world and all that is in it.
8. Open up the conversation about the future of our Society.
9. Don’t forget that the Society’s mission — to inspire people to care about the planet — is not the same thing as inspiring people to care about pictures of the planet.
10. When everyone else in the industry is afraid of making the wrong move, don’t be afraid to dance.
For the June 2009 issue of Esquire, photographer Greg Williams shot video of actress Megan Fox with a Red One camera and extracted stills from the resulting footage. Frame grabbing, it’s called, and it’s a big deal, especially as journalists are expected to bring back more digital content from the field.
Nieman Journalism Lab has a nice summary here. One revealing excerpt:
[Photographer David Leeson has] been surprised by the resistance among many of his fellow photojournalists. Even as each wave of new cameras to hit the market makes frame grabbing an easier option, Leeson still finds himself preaching to the unconverted. The main resistance may be the core belief that the fundamental art of the photograph is timing the decision of when to press the shutter.
What happens when this “core belief” gets blown apart by new technology? The pro-am divide among photographers will narrow even more.
The Pro-Am divide keeps shrinking:
From Wired‘s Gadget Lab:
Students Justin Lee and Oliver Yeh “(from MIT, of course) put together a low-budget rig to fly a camera high enough to photograph the curvature of the Earth. Instead of rockets, boosters and expensive control systems, they filled a weather balloon with helium and hung a styrofoam beer cooler underneath to carry a cheap Canon A470 compact camera. Instant hand warmers kept things from freezing up and made sure the batteries stayed warm enough to work.
Of course, all this would be pointless if the guys couldnâ€™t find the rig when it landed, so they dropped a prepaid GPS-equipped cellphone inside the box for tracking. Total cost, including duct tape? $148.”