VJ vs MJ vs PJ - or The Medium is the Message.

[col-sect][column]The introduction of foreign objects in a pool has a way of stirring up the silt at the bottom. It's been like that for Journalism lately. The explosion of  internet access, shrinking consumer demand for paper news, digital photography, compressed HD video, HDDSLRs... the last 10 years have been a decade rocks falling into the journalism pool. Those who once carried one type of camera now cary two, or one and a audio kit, or a cell phone.... It's a lot to think about: learning curves distract from our ability to excel.

When the  HDSLRs came into being we all hoped we had found that ONE tool for Multimedia Journalism.  We tried with frustration to make it our only camera for the last two plus years, but it's just not there yet.

Right now, I'm putting HDSLR in the same category as a Medium Format: focal length and aperture have a much bigger effect on hyper focus and depth of field than they do on small chip cameras, they have better exposure depth, less noise, and a cleaner image.  But because of this they require more consideration while shooting, and then there is that audio issue....

When we talk about what tools we use, I think we need to start with who we really are as storytellers. Our vision of end products determine the mediums and methods we employ. This isn't a new concept for the visual end of Journalism.

Christopher Morris being hardcore as always.

Christopher Morris with a Rollei TLR, a Contax G2/28mm f2.8, and a Canon EOS 1N(V?) w/ something long circa 1990. photo by Greg Mironchuk[/column]

[column]Most of us recognize Mr. Morris's kit and why he would go to the trouble of hauling around three cameras: best camera for the focal length.  SLRs are really best at telephoto focal lengths, Range Finders excel with wider lenses; while the resolution, size, and simplicity of a TLR makes it a winner for your medium lens. People who make this kind choice are doing it for the sake the final image. By the '90s zooms could manage all of Christopher's focal length needs, but not with the clarity, contrast, and lack of distortion that he wanted.

When Morris's style has changed recently and he's elected to shoot with one camera and a 24-70mm/F2.8. Why cary more gear if you don't need to?  Now Morris also shoots Video, but it's clear that he is comfortable letting the medium (HDSLR) dictate his video style.

If your shooting video/stills/audio right now, you probably came from Photography or Videography.  In both of those fields we have been able to shoot with one piece of equipment for years.  But the pool is stirred up, the expectations are changing, the boundaries are down, and there is no longer a single piece of equipment that wins all the time.  But instead of feeling like you need everything strapped to you all the time, take a good look at your work, your ideas about story, and ask your self what you need.

For some of us, having three cameras and an audio pack is going to be the new norm and it will work if we have a vision for it.  For others accepting the limitations of a single piece of gear is what we need to be successful.  This isn't the death of straight video or photojournalism.  It's certainly isn't the death of HDSLRs for the SoJo.  This is the middle of the silt settling back down to the bottom of the pool.  It's time to figure out where you want to end up.[/column][/col-sect]