The odd thing about the current crop of video-enabled dSLRs is that they were, to some extent, the result of big news agencies looking for a way to add value to their online content. 'We've got a photographer there already, so what if they could press a button and shoot video too?' was the line of thought and, at face value, it made sense.
If you look around, though, it hasn't amounted to an awful lot. Print media companies' web content is still predominantly stills-based. Anyone who's shot (and edited) video beyond Youtube standard will have some inkling of the reason why that's so: time. Or rather, money. Or perhaps more accurately, both. Production budgets aren't any bigger than they used to be, much online content is given away free and so the only way video is going to happen is if it's squeezed into existing working days.
Anyone else see the problem with that?
Then today, I came across this blog post, featuring a glossy promo video all about the new iPad edition of Martha Stewart's mag. With the mag's high production values, large budget and affluent target market, they've pushed the boat out to make the most of the opportunities afforded by publishing a mag on a large handheld digital thingumy. Wide, wide panoramic stills can now be published, and scrolled by the viewer. Images can be animated. Boxouts don't need to fit on the page, they just need a scroll bar. Video links can be incorporated. And so on. It's all very clever.
The possibilities are certainly intriguing. Imagine a bike test, for example, where you can view not just a still action shot of the bike in question but a video clip of it being ridden.
And yet... I'm still not entirely convinced. Unless the budget is there to make the extra whizz-bang features work properly, the risk is that the pressure to capture video and stills by one photographer (for example) will impact on the stills and relegate the video to little more than a gimmick. And I'm not sure readers will stick around very long for gimmicks.
The thing is, I'd really like to be proved wrong. There's scope for making digital mag editions interactive in a way that's genuinely useful, and that's to be welcomed. If the difference between print and digital editions is compelling enough to pull in a whole new (paying) audience, we could see a reverse in the decline of mag circulation figures. Will it happen? I think it depends partly on the willingness of print publishing to find a bit of extra cash down the back of the sofa...