Letter from the Publisher

May 2010

Welcome to a special video issue of The Digital Journalist, the online magazine for visual journalism.

Every year, we visit the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in Las Vegas. It is the world's greatest toy store for anyone who wants to see the directions this industry is moving towards.

The convention fills three huge halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center plus the Las Vegas Hilton, where most industry meetings and ceremonies are held.

This year, the NAB exceeded last year's attendance with more than 88,000 visitors. It is the second largest show in Las Vegas (behind the Consumer Electronics Show).

Most people who want to see what the latest in technology portends for changes in the industry will walk an average of five miles a day through the halls and outdoor exhibits.

PF Bentley and I undertook this trek yet again, and the changes in the industry are momentous, and it is fair to say that a lot of it is being driven by DSLRs that can shoot HD video. At the Canon booth alone, there were over a dozen rigs that have been designed to stabilize shooting with these cameras.

Everywhere we went, we saw former still photojournalists toting their Canon 7Ds or 5D Mark IIs from Zacuto or RedRock rigs.

Many of these photographers have realized that in order to continue in video journalism the time is long past to make some basic changes.

We have surveyed some of the equipment that we think will be changing your lives.

We deliberately decided to conduct our recent Platypus Workshop in Las Vegas to coincide with NAB. We had a full contingent of shoot'n'edit students, whom we trained on the Canon 7D. This was the first time we had used the DSLRs for our training, and we were gratified with the results. There is no doubt, shooting with a DSLR is more demanding than with video prosumer cameras. Focus has to be precise, and auto focus is not an option. But the quality of the final product cannot be compared with previous cameras. Gail Mooney reports on this, our 38th workshop.

If there is one photographer who was among the first to realize the potential in the DSLR, it is Vince Laforet. A former staffer for The New York Times, he has done a series of short films that demonstrate the capabilities of the camera. He is now in high demand as a shooter, consultant and lecturer who is moving the industry forward at a breathtaking speed.

We regret that we are not able to bring you some of your favorite columnists this issue. Since losing our principal sponsor, Canon, we have had to cut back dramatically. Most of these people would be happy to do their columns for free (and in fact, most have), but the costs of production, including copy checking, exceeds our present capabilities. We are grateful for the generous contributions so many of you have made, and let me assure you, we will bring our full staff back into action as soon as we possibly can. If you are a camera manufacturer or industry supplier, this is your big chance. In the meantime, your donations are crucial. Thank you for your continuing contributions.

In our next issue we will be looking at the Mac iPad and assessing the changes it will be bringing, which is right up our alley.

The Maine Platypus Workshop, July 25 – August 3, is now accepting registrations. We were totally full last year. Everyone loves the lobsters. Save a place at the table now.

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher