February 27, 2017

The Importance of Video (For Me)

Are photographers leaning more towards/adding video these days?

Before I go into the importance of video (in my life anyway), take a look at a short, amateur home video below. I made this for my wife just before Christmas after a traumatic couple of years. It was made to show her that life goes on and that we are a strong, united and loving family.

This is 16 years of being together in around 4 minutes.

It took me months to go through over 140,000 files on my family hard drive to put this together. We even went back to the same playground in Spain after 10 years. This was to film a couple of clips on the very same swings that we played on originally.

The last clip was taken with one of the earliest Nokia phones. This was the Nokia N95 and one of the first to have a video camera (and it shows). Note: I think the first mobile phone to record video was the Nokia 6600 in 2003.

I will use anything to hand to record video. For the really important things in life, it isn't the quality of the camera or footage but the experiences you are recording that matters.

Video is everywhere

I first started writing online in 2004. Then with my websites such as All Things Photography in February 2005 (yes, we are 12 years old at the time of writing this), there were barely any photos online let alone any videos.

Around that time, I remember learning how to optimise and upload single images to my websites. These included my personal site www.nickstubbs.com. It was a fascinating, sometimes lengthy process and one that seemed to evolve incredibly quickly.

This, along with Google's algorithm changes, meant I had to constantly change the way I did things. I had to learn more HTML coding and the way I uploaded and optimised those images was always on the move. Photo galleries and the ease of how we upload them today didn't exist.


Facebook was still in its infancy and only used by around 1200 Harvard campus members in early 2004. It only reached UK shores in October 2005 and it took time for me to sign up. I was looking into "MySpace" (RIP) and other social media sites at the time.


The YouTube domain name "YouTube.com" was activated on February 14, 2005, just 5 days after ATP. It wasn't until 2006 that it became well known around the world. Particularly when Google purchased YouTube on October 9th 2006.

When online video started to become popular in 2006, YouTube was just another player. A small player in a host of online video sharing/hosting sites. Some of these are outlined in this article from November 25 2006. How things have changed.

Before really exploring YouTube, I remember researching many different ways to get my videos online. I ended up using an expensive hosting service that also meant I had to do a lot of coding to get it to work properly. However, they did have some cool features.

This volume of work also meant I was tied into them for a while. However, I always knew that online video would be big so I persevered.

I started thinking about more getting into commercial digital video in 2007. This was mentioned in my article The Future of Photography and with the Nikon D90 (released August 27, 2008) and its 720p high definition video function, everything changed.

DSLR video was then catapulted into the stratosphere with the release of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. I still own one of these today with its crystal clear, clean, full frame, full 1080p HD video output!

I was then hooked on video and saw massive potential going forward.

Why a lifelong photographer loves video

My first foray into video (or cine film) was at the age of around 11 or 12. This was when I discovered a box full of old family cine films. Hours were spent playing them on our family cine projector onto any white wall, door or sheet that I could find.

I was fascinated by it all and even used an old splicing contraption (something very similar to this) to do my very first edits. I was hooked. Then I moved onto photography and built my first darkroom in our loft at 14 years old thereby cementing my love of imaging forever.

At 18 years old, I filmed my first "commercial" (family) production.

It was Live Aid day in 1985 which also happened to be my grandparents' Golden Wedding anniversary. It was also the hottest day of the year. We had a fantastic family garden party with caterers, family over from Denmark. We even hit the front page of the local paper with the headline "Invasion of Danes" with our huge gathering of friends and family.

What a day (Queen stole the show…see you back here in 24 minutes ; )

I filmed every moment I could on VHS tape including talking/messing about with family members. Sadly, a few of these are no longer with us, and I even filmed some of the day from the roof of our house right through to the early hours of the morning.


A few weeks later, "someone" (who shall remain nameless) recorded over the whole event with a country and western film. All gone forever!

I think this event is what spurred me on to become a professional photographer and later, get heavily involved with video. Now I explain to my clients not what having an event filmed should mean to them now, but further down the track. Video becomes priceless as they and their children/grandchildren enjoy looking back in decades to come.

I bought my first digital video "DV tape" camera in 2001 in Spain. This cost about 350,000 pesetas or £1400 just before the Euro kicked in. Amazingly, I won another one at a works dinner which I subsequently sold to a client). I think I was one of the only people in our 150 or so workforce that had a video camera and I took it everywhere.

So much was recorded from that amazing time living in Gran Canaria including what happened on this day when I was out fishing with some of the other managers. Magic!

Skydiving cameraman

I did my first two jumps at 19, then 2 more at 24 and then at 27. Starting to take it seriously, I got myself qualified as a fully fledged skydiver via the RAPS course. After a year or two, I was aiming to become a skydive cameraman and was doing various practice jumps.

One fateful day I jumped with another cameraman filming me. Note: I was still fairly new to the sport and only recently qualified. I was practising freeflying (sitflying...freefalling in a sitting position).

The long and short of it is that I messed up the jump, pulled the wrong handle and lost my main parachute before it had even opened. I had difficulty in finding the reserve but managed to pull it around 4 seconds from impact.

All of this was recorded on film

In 2001, whilst living in Spain, we were broken into and the toe rags stole our video player. Inside that player was a tape that had all my skydiving videos on...I was devastated. All the other stuff they took means nothing, I would give anything to have that tape back.

Some friends looked through their footage taken over the years and produced a short series of clips for me:

I really wanted to see that malfunction video again but it was lost forever. Or so I thought.

17 years after the event and 8 years after we left Spain, I was looking through all of my old DV (digital video) tapes. I came across one where I was testing a new Sony DV camera I had just bought and for some reason, I was filming my TV.

It just so happened that the clip that was playing on the TV at the time was my malfunction jump!

After all that time I got to watch it again and it sent shivers right down my spine. Here it is but the quality is fairly poor…


The merging of photography and video

Like video or not, there is no avoiding it. You more than likely use your Smartphone or camera to film the occasional event and even share them on social media and probably have a stack of clips building up on your computer.

Photography is a different beast to video, more skillful in some ways.

I can look at certain stills photographs for ages and see different things each time, I keep coming back to it. If you can or have created such a thing, you have a great skill. It means you can produce a single, 2 dimensional image and evoke emotions or allow someone to lose themselves for a short while.

I love photography and always will but for me, video appeals to more of the senses. You have both visuals and audio to think about as well as merging them in a way that works.

I find that choosing the right music or soundtrack for any project means more than "perfecting" the quality of the visuals. After all, I would rather watch a movie with poor visuals but a good story and an incredible, evocative soundtrack than sit through a visual masterpiece with appalling sound.

Girls Aloud

I first started to merge photography and video into my wedding work in 2007 when I was asked to shoot a wedding in Italy. Girls Aloud (with Cheryl Tweedy/Cole/Ver…/Cole) were playing at the reception. This was in a beautiful Tuscan vineyard so I took along my Sony HD Camcorder (which I still have).

The Importance of Video

The slideshow I produced included the best stills along with a variety of video clips taken on the day. I started doing this at every wedding from then on.

The more I got into video, the more I started specialising in producing "video only" work such as:

  • Filming weddings
  • Creating DVD's
  • Producing promotional videos for commercial and corporate clients

During this journey, I have bought and used all manner of lovely video equipment and my love for video is now as strong as my love for photography. I am a happy chap in my work!


As soon as I saw a camera fitted to a quadcopter, I knew I would get involved but the technology wasn't quite there yet. In 2012, DJI announced the Flamewheel 550, a basic hexacopter that could carry a Go Pro camera. The Go Pro 3 had just been announced then and I had a couple of older Go Pro's.

Flamewheel 550 - The Importance of Video

I got so excited I put a deposit on one and started talking with quadcopters.co.uk about building it. However, a niggling feeling stopped me going any further and I cancelled the order. I was worried about where the industry was going and whether legislation would put a halt to it.

Then the DJI Phantom was released quickly followed by the Phantom 2 and boom! I was hooked and got involved. The DJI Phantom 2 flew like a charm and I was soon filming everything I could including a cruise ship sailing into Portland harbour (unpaid job).

Qualified UAV pilot

I got myself qualified and insured and started promoting my aerial work and before I knew it, I was working with:

  • Channel 4
  • A guy from the BBC
  • A team from Pinewood studios
  • I also helped to film the Sailing World Cup with a huge international media company

Having photographed hundreds of properties, I now started to film them whilst incorporating aerials into the shoot:

The future of my work will be just as much with video as it is with photography. I feel lucky to be in a position where I can do both and pick and choose when to do each. Some days I just grab my video gear or drone (DJI Inspire 1 with X5 camera/gimbal) and head off to film anything. Maybe just stock.

Other days, I go out purely for photography with the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (not great for video but amazing, and bought mainly for stills) and shoot whatever I come across. Again, maybe just for stock.

What's My Point?

The point of all this is that I hope it encourages some of you to start thinking more about video and the importance of video and recording things for future generations (and nostalgia) in your old age.

I am going to be adding a lot more video training, reviews and tips (including video editing and aerial photography/videography) to All Things Photography. However, rest assured, I will still be adding photography tips, reviews and news too.

If there is anything you would like to see, please let me know!

You can see more of my videos over at my YouTube channel so please subscribe to the channel to receive notifications when I upload new clips, training videos or reviews.

Thanks for reading : )

All Things Photography

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aerial, Articles, video

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