Tech advances will bring more live POV news

By Steve Outing

Earlier this week on the ONA Educators group on Facebook, Curt Chandler pointed out innovative coverage of recent protests in Brazil by photographer/filmmaker Michel de Souza. The resulting video, below, is a combination of Souza’s video recording from his own point of view, plus interspersed still news shots. Like others who have experimented with this technique, he mounted a small video camera on top of his DSLR. (It was likely a GoPro, but Souza doesn’t say.) The finished product is a video of his movements covering the protests, with periodic still photos that he took (his best shots) displayed briefly at the matching time of the video action.

Souza is not the only one experimenting with this photojournalism innovation. Talented young photojournalist Amanda Mustard has covered some protests in Cairo using this technique, such as the one below:

Those videos allowed news consumers to experience what it’s like to be in the middle of a chaotic protest/riot situation, and still see the best still images captured by the photojournalist.

This is just the beginning of more-sophisticated point-of-view video journalism. The videos above are examples of news coverage done in a compelling, innovative way, and I expect to see many more photographers and photojournalists combine POV video and still images. But this technique requires post-reporting editing, so it’s not perfect for every news situation.

PREDICTION: Now that it’s getting easier to live-stream video from the field, what comes next are more POV live videos from photojournalists covering major news events, streamed to the web (or other channels). The photojournalist only has to attach a tough and small video camera like a GoPro to the flash mount of his/her camera and carry a mobile hotspot for 4G Internet access. We the audience can then opt to see what the photojournalist on the scene is experiencing, LIVE. This will be a significant advance in news reporting of important events. Seeing through the journalist’s eyes will become a new norm in some news situations. (Google Glass is likely to offer similar hands-free video streaming for journalists, once that product advances.)

Further, most newer high-end DSLRs include wi-fi adaptors or have wi-fi built in, so a live-video photojournalist also could send still photos automatically to a tablet (e.g., iPad) in a backpack, which could be configured to send the photos to the newsroom, or to a live still-photo feed configured in advance. Of course, bandwidth issues still constrain such activity on low-priced set-ups such as using a mobile hotspot, a GoPro for video, and a tablet to transmit images. It’s possible with more expensive mobile gear, such as LiveU‘s live-streaming backpack packages that can send out HD video over multiple cellular networks or even satellite uplinks; of course, these solutions don’t come cheap.

LiveU Xtender in action at the Annual International Championship of Swim Marathon, Sante Fe, Argentina

As with nearly all digital technology, small and less-expensive devices will appear to offer high-bandwidth live video streaming even to journalists on a budget. Those TV-station vans with satellite uplinks? Don’t expect them to be around much longer.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!