It was brought to my attention that Lou Lesko founder of the popular bidding software for photographers http://blinkbid.com recently started a tradeshow for people who shoot video with HDSLR’s called PhotoCine Expo. Looks pretty cool and it’s happening in LA September 25th and 26th. I thought I’d ask Lou a couple questions:
APE: Can you give me a little background and tell me how blink bid came about?
Blinkbid started as “Blink”, but I couldn’t get the URL so it evolved into Blinkbid. As I was directing more commercials, I had less time to do my own photography bids so my producer and I went on the hunt to find easy-to-use software so we could delegate the bidding. There really wasn’t any available so I came up with a design for a work flow and I had a custom database made. After looking at it for a few months we thought that we might be able to sell it as a product.
My accountant thought it was going to be a big tax write off and indeed the first iteration wasn’t ideal, but by version 2 we started to see a few more sales and we started getting valuable input from the community. We went from there to the point where we could give back to the photo community via APA and ASMP support.
APE: Now what about the Photo Cine Expo how did that come about, the timing seems perfect?
About eighteen months I wrote an article titled “Will Video Kill the Photography Star” for Digital Photo Pro magazine. I was much maligned for my opinion that photography and video were going to converge to the point where I got a few nasty emails decrying that my ability to call a trend had atrophied. Three months later, video exploded in the photo industry and I want from ass to prophet over night.
About this time Michael Britt and Tom Stratton saw the same trend as me, and were in the nascent stages of producing the Collision Conference, the first conference of its type bringing together HDSLR video and photography. They saw my article and asked me to speak. Ultimately we agreed that were like minded and so in 2010 we started PhotoCine News and the PhotoCine News Expo.
APE: Obviously you think there’s a big future for HDSLR filmmaking can you give me some thoughts on that?
Ahh the future. I’ve always held that photographers make amazing cinematographers and directors. It is our trained attention to detail that comes from having a single frame scrutinized that gives us an edge. However, there are a couple very valid reasons why photography has always been seen as the red headed step child of the entertainment industry.
The first is beyond anyone’s control. Movies and TV shows have massive audiences which translates into a lot of money for the studios which in turn put huge marketing muscle behind their products.
The second is an issue that I’ve been on evangelistic crusade about for the last year. Narrative thread. In the early days of photographers shooting video I have seen a huge number of vignettes. Stunning imagery in motion like you would expect from a photographer. The downfall to these vignettes is that they have no story. No matter how short your piece it should have a beginning, a middle and an end.
One way to get an easy introduction to the three act story structure of movies is to read “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder. Snyder goes through visual story telling by offering heaps of examples from movies you’ve seen. If you want to get more existential and learn about the archetypal hero, there is no better book than Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.”
As far as the immediate future, conveying a story in motion, and the ability to write a treatment are both becoming absolute necessity to landing advertising jobs. Video is now an integral part of being a photographer. The danger on the horizon for photographers are the cinematographers that are looming on the periphery of our stake in advertising world. Agencies only have eyes for those who can deliver what they need. If photographers aren’t in a position to offer video they’ll start looking at the cinematographers, all of whom are reasonable photographers if they put their mind to it.
I’m incredibly optimistic about the extended future. Never before in the history of the visual arts have there been more opportunities for photographers. There are more distribution channels for original work, more ways to monetize non commissioned pieces, and more opportunity to achieve a level a celebrity based on your efforts.
I always like to stick my neck out with a prediction. In the next three years we’re going to see the decline of reality TV to see it replaced by documentaries and docu-dramas shot by photographers. Because there is something about being a photographer that gives you a unique visual perspective that can’t be found in any other discipline.