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Class Introduction

Lesson 1 from: Use Your Photography Skills to Master Videography

Jessica Dimmock

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

My name is Jessica Dimmock, and I am a photographer, a director, and a cinematographer. My background, though, is strictly in photography. I went to school for photography, I used to take photographs when I was a kid, through high school, through college. And I went to the International Center of Photography to study documentary photography and photojournalism. I have been doing editorial photography, so working for magazines, and doing long and short-form photojournalistic projects for about 10 or 12 years, and have been a member of VII Photo since 2008. And possibly like some of you in the room, I kind of never expected to go in to videography. I don't think that I had ever really thought about it until the technology changed. And until there was this moment, and I already see people heads nodding, that there was this moment when the camera that I had always used, and probably the camera that a lot of you guys use or another version of it, where I was using the Canon 5D at the time, ...

and all of a sudden it had a record button and I pressed that record button at some point, and then just kind of everything changed. And so today I really wanna talk to you about doing video, not being afraid to do video, really excelling at video, having a great time with video, and really kind of approaching it from the photography background. Going in to this, you know, knowing some of the skills that go in to photography, light, composition, a good sense of story, a good sense of character, and using those skills and really being able to apply them to something else. So, today what we're really gonna talk about, and we're gonna get in to a lot of the nitty-gritty of this, but we're gonna talk about kind of why one should even consider videography, and what that's all about and how it's different than photography and how it's very much the same. We're going to talk about how to kind of stabilize your camera once you go from this, like, oh I've got this camera and I've got a record button and now I just press it. The kind of next step of figuring out how do you stabilize that, how do you make it look so that it's not just being, you know, held out here and you're looking through your LCD screen, and all jittery. But really starting to think about adding production value to your videography, which means kind of often step one is figuring out how to stabilize this thing and what your options are for stabilizing it. We're gonna talk about story, because story, in video and photography, are very very different. They use a lot of the same skills, but in stills there's a very different approach to story, and in video it takes a little bit of getting used to. And possibly my favorite part is we're gonna think about how to shoot for an editor, and how to stop thinking about photography as this very, like, lone wolf type of craft, and, or a lone wolf sport, as I often think about it. And once you get in to video, you really have to start thinking about other people. You have to start thinking about collaborators, sound people that you might be using, your editor later on, perhaps another co-director. And so starting to think about other people as you shoot is an important thing. And we're gonna go through all of that. So I come from the belief that photographers make really good videographers. I would not teach this class if I, if it was just about kind of getting you up to like some wobbly, shaky legs from your backgrounds in photography. I think that photographers automatically know how to do so many of the things that go in to video, and because of this, we are arriving with a very very rich toolkit, and we just don't necessarily know that. And so this class is really about kind of digging in to that toolkit, and saying, "Oh I already know how to do this, "and I already know how to do that, "and I'm actually bringing a ton to the table "when it comes to this." And I also think it's very, you know, photographers tend to go to videography as well because it's yet another form of visual storytelling, which fundamentally, this is what this all is about, and that the separation between these two mediums is becoming less and less. And if you're coming from a background in photography, and you're really interested in telling stories through the lens, then videography is just yet another way of doing that and expanding that. And so people that have kind of this natural inclination to want to tell stories visually, videography is just another great extension of that. I'm also really not about, like, jumping ship. So I am not a, an instructor that's trying to convert anyone. I don't think that just because you know photography, you should know videography. I also don't think that once you learn videography you should leave photography. I currently do both and I do a lot of both. I've been working on a video project that I've been shooting since last November, and will probably continue shooting through the fall. But also, you know, a week or two ago did a stills assignment for The New York Times Magazine, a week before that did a stills assignment for The New York Times Magazine. That will appear in print. It will never, you know, appear as movement on the screen, and I am very very happy about both of those. So this isn't about getting people to jump ship. This is not about converting the other members of VII Photo in to videography. A lot of those guys and girls do that, but some of them don't, but it's just about kind of expanding your toolkit if you want to, and knowing that if you want to you probably are better at it than you even realize. So, as I said I come from a background in still photography. And I always found, I think, one of the reasons that this transition has made a lot of sense to me is that I always actually found that I was very drawn to dramatic types of imagery, and things that, you know, when I would show my work, even just to like my father, my father would often say, "You know, "these really look like film stills." Or, "These look like these could be, like, "a movie poster that would accompany "some kinda dramatic and dark movie." And I think in looking back, I realize that that is true. That I've always kind of been attracted to things that lend themselves well to photography but also it turns out they lend themselves well to video. So, you know, stark, stark light, dramatic gesture, a lot of, you know, kind of graphic imagery. A lot of a sense of composition and layers. But also just a sense that, you know I think most importantly, and in terms of storytelling and what I enjoy about storytelling, most importantly the sense that this frame that we're seeing was like this tiny window into this world. And I'm gonna talk shortly about kind of what I think the differences in photography are, but also how they really relate to each other. In photography I felt like I was always kind of on the outside, and what I wanted to offer my viewers was like this tiny little shoebox where they could like peer in and see this kind of special world that otherwise they wouldn't have access to. And I have found that kind of by expanding out from that, that you know, there is a similar sensibility but also something that can allow your viewer to see beyond the frame in a way that photography doesn't necessarily allow you to. But that in photography, you're kind of tempted to do that. Like, you wanna kind of see what this guy is looking at. You wanna understand this room that they're in. Okay, so, I'm gonna show you a quick work sample of some of the things that I've done in the couple of years since I've started doing videography. I think I started in 2010. So I'll show you a quick work sample of just a variety of projects, and then we'll start to get in to it. ("Dream Baby Dream")

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Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I have been waiting for a course like this. Purchasing it was a no-brainer. Taught by an accomplished professional in the field, with a strong track record of high level work, Jessica Dimmock, I feel, is exactly the type of instructor Creative Live should be giving air time to. I have watched other Videography classes on Creative Live, and this was the first one that I felt was worth purchasing due to how much info was being shared, in a very methodical, easy to follow (but not dumb downed) fashion.

a Creativelive Student

This class has left me feeling very encouraged and inspired about getting into videography. Jessica has made some great work, in her short career with video, and was able to share what she learned through those experiences. She started out as a photographer and has now incorporated video into her skill set and it seems to have expanded the diversity her opportunities and has enriched what she produces and shares with the world. I look forward to doing the same thing in my own way. Thanks CL for another wonderful class.


Simultaneously broad and deep, the information Jessica covers and the way she delivers it really give you the feeling you can jump into video right away. Professionalism in every area, from prep steps to workflow in the field to clean organization and processing, inspires confidence in the value of her methods. She clearly learned most of this in the field over years of work, which means the rest of us now have a huge leg up on our first projects. Thank you so much!

Student Work