Sunday 29 December 2019


Before taking up photography I always had a consumer camcorder in my hand recording my family growing up. Christmas, birthdays, Summer day's out and family holidays the camcorder was always in my hand. As young children my two daughters didn't mind having a camcorder pointed at them and sometimes they used it themselves but as they grew into teenager's they naturally started to rebel and the recording became less frequent and eventually stopped altogether.

Looking back now at those short grainy home movies shot in a homely often cheesy style brings a lump to the throat and they are enjoyed and cherished by all of the family. A photograph captures a fleeting moment in time but video captures the personality of those being filmed, how they talked, moved, their sense of humour and their character. As well as recording the innocence and fun of my daughters growing up, older family members who are sadly no longer with us are now on disc. Those recordings are an important family record to show to my grandchildren as they grow up.

The video stopped at about the same time that my interest in photography started. Most of the digital cameras that I've owned during the last 14 years have had the ability to record video but incredibly I've never used it. Cameras nowadays are designed to produce terrific video footage as well as photographs. I've owned cameras producing 1080p HD video and my main camera, the Sony A6400 records excellent 4k video footage as well as 1080p HD in super slow motion. My infrared camera records video in 1080p HD and I can't wait to get arty with infrared video.

I recently received the good news that my fourth grandchild is due in May 2020. By taking photographs of my grandchildren and family and ignoring the video capabilities of these excellent cameras I'm missing out on something important and enjoyable.

My cameras don't have image stabilisation built in and neither do my prime lenses. Camera shake really is a video killer so I took the decision before Christmas to purchase a gimbal to shoot good quality smooth video instead of buying myself another lens.

The DJI Ronin SC gimbal is perfect for the Sony mirrorless system. It was delivered two weeks before Christmas giving me some time to learn how to set it up and use it, balance the camera and shoot some test footage before the big day.

With a cheap Rode external mic on the camera hot shoe I shot video all Christmas Day with my whole family present for dinner. The 4k footage was flawless with the camera in P auto mode and family members old and young are now immortalised in the way they walked, talked, laughed and showed off their personality. The challenge now is to learn again how use new software to put that footage together into a short record of the day. It's going to be fun learning the video side of the camera during 2020.

Photography is still very important and it isn't being put to one side. I'm just adding new skills to my bow and getting more bang for bucks out of the other 50% my cameras.