x-h1

Video

At this moment, I should be editing but sometimes it is a little hard to get into the swing of things, so I thought I would write a blog post instead.

I graduated Univeristy in 2001 with a degree in video production. I loved watching films and still remember the first time I watched, Star Wars (in the cinema), Time Bandits (hired on video from the library on a Saturday afternoon) or Blade Runner (watched in my bedroom on a small tv screen).

 I think I shocked my mum when I said I was going to do my degree in film making and I am sure she didn't take me seriously.  My only qualification was in Caring, so going back to college and then to university was a bit of a stretch.  My year at college was great and I learnt a lot, going to university was a bit different, firstly that the course (particularly the practical side) wasn't that great and secondly the numbers of students taking the course was silly, compared to the amount of equipment available but despite several set backs for various reason (both mine and the universities fault) I ended up getting my degree.

So after leaving university, I had lots of dreams but no idea how to break into the film industry. As a reward for passing my degree, I bought myself an SLR (Nikon F65, which came with 2 kit lenses).  The main reason I got the camera was because I couldn't afford a video camera amd I thought that I could keep my visual eye in whilst I looked for a job in the video industry.

Cameraman at Passion TV (no, it wasn't a dodgy porn site)

Cameraman at Passion TV (no, it wasn't a dodgy porn site)

It took much longer than I had hoped to break into video production, I worked various jobs outside the industry and did small jobs in the industry to get experience.  Somehow I floated towards camera work, which fitted my skillset,  My big break was working for Passion TV, it was a very small company and everyone had to chip in.  I shot all sorts of different things from vox pop interviews to travel documentaries. Looking back now, I wasn't very good but I did learn a lot.  I then worked as a freelance cameraman on various jobs, filming live shows and fitness photography but I didn't feel that I was going in the direction I wanted as a cameraman.

 During this time, I found that I much more enjoyed the freedom and creativity of photography and disliked the rush to get everything done with video, which would often come at the expense of quality.  The work was also rather dull and a bit soul destroying, so in 2010 I decided to focus exclusively on my photography and haven't touched video since.

Whilst I can't say my time in the TV/video industry, was a big success, I did learn a huge mount.   Probably the 2 biggest things I took away  had nothing to do with filming, it was much more to do with organising equipment for shoots and keeping equipment in good order.  

Taking a break whilst filming a travel documentary in Israel (shot at Masada)

Taking a break whilst filming a travel documentary in Israel (shot at Masada)

Come forward to 2018 and I have just bought the Fujifilm X-H1.  Their first camera aimed at video. I am not going to say that the X-H1 is the best video camera on the market, it still has certain limitations. in many ways the Panasonic GH5 and Sony 7 series are superior to the Fuji but the Fuji X-H1 is a great photography camera, with good build, lovely lenses and decent/good video.  Fujifilm also has great customer service and whilst the X-H1 does have a few issue I am sure these will be addressed in firmware updates (they are very good at that kind of thing).

Now, this is not a review of the Fujifilm X-H1, I have only had it a week and am still learning the basics of the camera but it does mean I have a toe back in video again and I am confident that I will be much better the second time around.

My lighting knowledge and experience with lenses is much greater. I am now much more confident with my framing and whilst photography and video are different, the simularities are enough that I know I can translate one from the other.

Now, when I say I have my toe in, I really mean that. I am not suddenly going to switch all my photography gear over to Fujifilm and I really don't have the lighting or sound equipment to do professional video production or the experience with non-linier editing systems.

What I hope to get back over the next few weeks and months is a basic ability with video. Certainly, you will see more video on my site, hopefully some vlog posts and some reviews of some of my photography gear but I love my photography too much to every want to replace it with video.

At this moment, I should be editing but sometimes it is a little hard to get into the swing of things, so I thought I would write a blog post instead.

I graduated Univeristy in 2001 with a degree in video production. I loved watching films and will always remember the first time I watched, Star Wars (in the cinema), Time Bandits (hired on video from the library) or Blade Runner (watched in my bedroom at 10:30pm on a small tv screen in my bedroom). I think I shocked my mum when I said I was going to do my degree in film making and I am sure she didn't take me seriously.

So several years later I have a piece of paper, no job and no idea how to break into the film industry. As a reward for passing my degree, I buy myself an SLR (Nikon D65, which came with 2 kit lenses). I bought the photography camera because I couldn't afford to video camera and my thought prosess was that I could keep my visual eye in whilst I looked for a job in the video industry.

It took much longer than I had hoped to break into video production and I ended up working as a cameraman. This fitted my skillset quite well and I shot all sorts of different things from fitness videos to travel documentaries. Looking back now, I wasn't very good but I did learn a lot, which I later took into my photography career.

The 2 biggest things I learnt had nothing to do with filming, it was much more to do with organising equipment for shoots and keeping equipment in good order, something that has been very useful over the years.

Whilst I was breaking into the TV industry, my experience and knowledge of photography grew. I found that I much more enjoyed the freedom and creativity of photography and I really disliked the rush to get everything done with video, which would often come at the expense of quality and I really wasn't a fun of video editing.

So around 2010 I decided that I would be a professional photographer instead of a cameraman and for several years I never touched video. Digital video had been around for a while and the Canon 5Dmk2 had been out for a while but I can't say I was particularly a fan of the camera, it had the full frame sensor, used lenses and had ok video quality but I was never a bit fan and felt the limitations substantial. I could see the potential in video but I thought it would take several years before video came up to the standard that I would be happy with.

Come forward to 2018 and I have just bought the Fujifilm X-H1, Fujifilms first camera aimed at video. I am not going to say that the X-H1 is the best video camera on the market, it still has certain limitations, in many ways the Panasonic GH5 and Sony 7 series are superior to the Fuji but the Fuji has advantages in other areas and I know that Fuji will address a lot of these issue in firmware updates (they are very good at that kind of thing).

Now, this is not a review of the Fujifilm X-H1, I have only had it a week and am still learning the basics of the camera but it does mean I have a toe back in video again and I am confident that I will be much better the second time around.

My lighting knowledge and experience with lenses is much greater. I am now much more confident with my framing and whilst photography and video are different, the simularities are enough that I know I can translate one from the other.

Now, when I say I have my toe in, I really mean that. I am not suddenly going to switch all my photography gear over to Fujifilm and I really don't have the lighting or sound equipment to do professional video production or the experience with non-linier editing systems.

Hopefully you wiill see more video on my site, hopefully some vlog posts and some reviews of some of my photography gear but I love my photography too much to every want to replace it with video.

If that goes well then maybe you will see me do some more advanced projects.  We will see!

The Photography Show, customer service and the lack of a nights sleep

It is 3:30am and I am laying in what feels like the worlds most uncomfortable bed in Birmingham.  Yesterday I was at The Photography Show at the NEC.  The Photography Show is the biggest show of its type in the UK, with over 30'000 attendees each year, as the name suggests it is all about photography.  I have gone to the event for for quite a few years, since before it was actually known as The Photography Show and was called Focus on Imaging (if I remember correctly).  

The show is a hybrid of talks and classes by professional photographers and most of the photography equipment companies and shops trying to sell you their wares.  For me the stand out part of the conference is the Pro Conference, where several speakers, talk to a bunch of professional photographers about various topics related to the industry.

For me the most interesting talk was done by a photographer called Paul Wilkinson who did a talk on 'Perfect Pitch: Setting the right price for the service that you offer'.  It was an exceptional talk, it really wasn't about charging the right price for photography (though it was).  It was more about the service that he gives as a photographer to the customer and how it relates to how he charges.  

So how does this relate to me being up at 3:30am (now nearly 4am)?  I was up yesterday at 4:45am, drove to Birmingham, attended the show to 7pm and then went to the hotel (I won't say which, as this is not what the post is about). When I got into the room, the first thing I noticed was 2 out of the 4 lights in the bedroom are not working, later upon connecting to the internet, I found the internet was painfully slow, both those were a nuisance but neither of these things will keep me awake at night.  What will though is a rock hard uncomfortable bed, which has pretty much kept me awake for the majority of the evening.

This is a rather extreme example of a hotel not providing the service, that it offered but it feels like an interesting (and maybe floored) metaphor for what Paul Wilkinson was talking about.  It isn't just about providing a service, it is about providing a quality service, which makes people come back to you and also recommend you to another customer.  So in this case, I wouldn't come back to the same hotel and I definitely wouldn't recommend this company to another individual (unless I really didn't like them).

A more interesting example.  Will be Fujifilm and Wex Photo/Video.  I have owned an Fuji X-E1 for a number of years, it has been an excellent camera.  So impressed by the system, I have bought a Fuji X-H1, instead of the Nikon D850 (Nikon who I have been with for 18 years).  I bought the camera from Wex Photo/Video, which used to be two separate companies, Wex and Calumet.  Since the 2 companies have merged I have been very impressed by the company.  The staff have been excellent, with the customer service being far superior to when it was Calumet, the prices have been good and I have been impressed by the new store in London.

So having bought the camera, I take it back to the hotel and do an unboxing video for the camera (which won't be seen by the world, it was just a test of my presenting skills).  As I opened up the very well packaged Fuji box, I started to notice something.  The plugs were not UK standard, which is a bit of a fumble on Fuji's part.  So now I have a camera and no way of charging the batteries which power the camera.

So where do I stand now?  Because of my previous experience with Fujifilm I am willing to give the company some leeway and between Fujifilm and Wex I am confident that the issue will be sorted satisfactory.  Fujifilm's and Wex's customer service, as bought them some customer loyalty.  

People and companies are not perfect, everyone makes mistakes but a strong positive initial and then follow up service, installs loyalty and high expectations.  A mistake was made and hopefully it will be rectified.  In the morning (sensible morning, not the 4:52am it is now), I will ring up Wex and enquire what to do, whether I should take the camera back to the show to be exchanged or whether I should speak to Fujifilm about the issue and have them send me out the correct plugs.

Of course that will be in a few hours time and of course I will update this blog (and maybe add some photos) as to what happens with the camera, maybe do a review of the camera and update everyone on day 2 (actually day 4) of The Photography Show.

UPDATE

When I went back to The Photography Show this morning, I popped up to the Fujifilm stand with the boxed camera.  After checking the contents, they apologised and gave me one of their plugs and will mail me another in the next few days.  So problem solved.