- Slow down and think. A photographer's meeting with video

Ronald E. Hole

Last year storytell.in was a part of teaching journalists and photographers visual storytelling at the Norwegian Institute of Journalism (IJ). The award winning stills photographer Nina Rangøy did her first complete video story in one day, after two days intense of workshops. Here´s what she remembers of it.

- The first experience of making a video was exiting and challenging in as much as I really had to slow down and think of so much more than when shooting stills. As press photographers we are used to arriving and start shooting immediately, instinctively 'reacting' to what is in front of us. Now I had to plan, prepare, set up, think methodically and go through a check lists of technical things to remember, Rangøy tells us.

This video is made with subtitletool from Universalsubtitles

Even if the focus was at newsgathering at this workshop, we at storytell.in worked hard to imprint the importance of planning. There is a lot more tech-stuff to handle in making video, so having a plan and focus is important.

If you have a plan for how you want to do it, then you will have more time to notice the subtle stuff in your surroundings and the object you are following. With no plan, its just using all the creative energy on "what is this all about" and "do I have everything I need".

But one of the primary techincal stuff we focused on, was audio. The audience can forgive bad pictures, but not bad audio.

- Sound was a totally new concept and hard to get to grips with. In addition, I was now 'in charge' of the interview and had to be very present, listening to what was said. I ended up with too much of some material and not enough of some other and learned the importance of having enough varied 'clips' to make the editing an easier task, the need to be' ruthless' directing, and the necessity of knowing what you what before you start, tells Rangøy.

- New opportunities

With the DSLRs ability to do HD-video, more and more photographers are now challenging themselves with this, and for many, this is a new form of storytelling. But Nina think it is important to learn multimedia skills.

- I think video and stills most definitely supplement each other in storytelling. Even used together they complement each other - as stills have it's qualities by freezing and emphasising the moment, but video brings you closer to the 'real-time' action, she says.

She is really excited about the new opportunites rising with learning video.

- I think that photographers that has yet to start video should look at this as a fantastic opportunity to be creative with something they already have the basic knowledge of how to do. I think we have an advantage, lets say for example over journalists, who need to learn "how to see" to "read light" and to get to grips with "technical stuff". And why not use this advantage to raise the bar when it comes to quality , and thereby create a continuos need for our expertise, says Nina.

- The new visual language

There is a leap of faith embracing this new world of video. But Nina is having fun about this new road.

- I chose to learn more about video for several reasons. As a freelance photographer for a multitude of publications it seems natural to be able to offer also live pictures alongside stills. This is the way forward and I want to continue to be in the competition. So a sense of it being necessary is no doubt there! But learning video is also exiting! It offers me a whole new way of expressing myself in a language I already have spoken for years: a visual language. I have been very inspired by the creative storytelling I see in videos and wanted to learn the basic technical stuff to get started, tells Nina.

As always, the biggest challenge is to implement what you learn in a workshop to your everyday work.

- After the video workshop I have delivered some news footage and thereby been able to with confidence say to my clients that I can! I have yet to 'get in into my fingers' and have not yet I started any projects on my own. The workshop most definitely gave me a great starting point, and it is up to me to continue. I believe that as time progresses and more and more clients will ask for video, the opportunities will reveal themselves at the same time as I will feel the need to be proficient doing it! It will push me to practise, she says.

Facts about Nina Rangøy:

Freelance photographer based in London since 1989, working for daily newspapers and magazines shooting still and live for news and features, working for corporate companies doing editorials, annual reports, recruitment campaigns, marketing and PR and shooting book covers, stock photography, and personal projects.

Clients include: VG, Aftenposten, Dagens Næringsliv, Bergens Tidende, Dagens Nyheter, Expressen, Gøteborgs Tidningen, Gøteborgs Posten, Politiken, Børsen, Ekstra Bladet, Agencies Scanpix in Sweden and Norway, Magazines Elle, Tara, Henne, KK, Volvo Magazin, Larar Tidningen, Polis Tidningen, Statoil Magazine.

Lecturer, responsible for press-photography teaching at City & Islington College in London, Higher National Diploma; Specialist practise in Photography from 2006-2007.