The avant-garde is not for everyone. Highly stylized, experimental filmmaking can be too esoteric for mainstream audiences, but at the same time, it can re-define industry standards and even change viewers’ lives.
There’s no singular way to approach experimental filmmaking, but there are a few camera tricks and techniques that you can employ to help you draw outside the lines of conventional filmmaking. One such technique that has become popular in recent years is the simultaneous shooting of both photo and video, and incorporating both into a final visual piece.
A great example of this can be seen in the work of Israeli photographer Ziv Koren, a photojournalist and videographer who has captured unique footage from all over the world, including inside Guantanamo Bay and on the frontlines of war. He combines both his photo footage and his video footage—taken simultaneously—into video collages that tell a unique story. This technique is similar to, but still distinct from time lapse photography.
The simultaneous shooting of photo and video also has uses outside the world of experimental film—many journalists (like Koren) are required to be one-man bands, collecting multimedia footage of all kinds for their media outlets. Typically though, they’re not sewn together into one visual piece, and instead presented separately.
Here are a few ways to help you embark on a photo-video collage.
One way to make sure you can get simultaneous footage is to do it the old fashioned way: Shoot footage at the same time with two different cameras. There are a number of dual (and triple) camera mounts on the market, and you can also fairly easily to fashion your own. Either way, the most important thing to remember is that you want the cameras to record footage from the exact same angle. If you want different angles, set up your cameras on separate tripods.
Many smartphone and DSLR cameras have this functionality already, and there are apps available, but the quality is not as high when one camera is doing twice the work. However, it is also easier. Apps like QuickPix are designed specifically for this purpose, and have extensive tutorials to help you get it right.
Cut it together.
When you go to package all your footage up into a neat piece, you have to think like an artist. Just as you would assemble a decoupage collage, you are assembling the various digital items on a canvas. Organize all your shots and pair the photo and video first. Then add them to your timeline together. You can play around with the order later, but this will help maximize your efficiency, as you will surely have a lot of puzzle pieces to fit together.