I’m gingerly exploring video... this weekend I added a Sony ECM-MS908C microphone to my Canon DV camera. Herewith a report and thoughts on which way the media are going. Warning: contains a 54-second 8-meg Quicktime rock video (but I did figure out how to keep the video from auto-starting).
I’ve intermittently been exploring what you might do in this medium with video, and since I love nature photography, I keep wanting to explore what I’ve called the “unstill life”—a fixed shot of nature in motion. After all, if a picture of a flower is worth looking at, shouldn’t a picture of a flower quivering in a soft breeze be, too?
There’s one very early attempt here already; the picture isn’t that great but the sound is worse; I did some research and it turns out that the otherwise-quite-decent Canon ZR45 MC is notorious for bad sound and specifically for the sound of the camera motor getting onto the audio track.
I’m a heavy audio weenie, and I would have bought the $300 Sennheiser mike except for it was too long and stuck out into the video frame; ended up with the nice compact little Sony, it fits in the camera bag and mounts unobtrusively on top.
Before any further discussion, here’s the movie. The sound’s the thing, so put on your headphones or go over to the computer with the good speakers before you start it. Listen through to the end, in particular the way the airplane sound fades through.
Even to my finicky ears, the geophony sounds decent; it’s a stereo mike and if the signal path through the camera A/D (thus two 16-bit channels) onto the tape and back off and through the FireWire and iMovie and the QuickTime encoder is doing damage, it’s not egregious. The level isn’t very high, and that’s accurate; I was there and I know.
I’m a text guy, but I see Dave Winer doing regular audio entries all the time, sounding smooth and professional with affordable equipment, and I’ve already pointed today to Russell Beattie raving about mobile video and Jon Udell has had a whole series of pieces about capturing, deploying, and delivering video: here are a couple: 1 and 2. Meanwhile the video-heavy Channel 9 is getting heavy positive vibes.
Is pure-text going away? Of course not. But before too long, there will be lots of places worth going for the voices and moving pictures, and a very few places where words (silent and spoken) contribute alongside the music and pictures (still and moving).
(There is a downside of course: You have to remember to turn the microphone on, and it’s easy not to.)