On the Yahoo! Group for newspaper video people, Seth Gitner reports that he just bought four Panasonic PV-GS180 video cameras for reporters to use. It looks like a great camera and I’m happy to know about, especially since it has an external mic jack.
I have my doubts about reporters using these though.
Reporters spend most of their time thinking about getting all the right information to put enough words together to tell a coherent story. They have a notepad and a pen and busy hands. They must get the story. Video is, and should be, a secondary concern. I want reporters shooting video as often as possible, but they still need to be reporters first. I want them to think web first, but whether for the web or print, they need to get the story.
Once you give them a bulky camera with a tripod and mic to set up, you’ve just given them a burden.
The reason point-and-shoot works so well for reporters is the camera is small, so they can easily hold it and a notebook and take notes. It fits easily in a purse or clips comfortably to a belt, so they can carry it with them always. There is no extra equipment to set up and take down, so they can whip out the camera, get a quick shot, and move on.
The PV-GS180 looks like great alternatives for news organizations not yet ready to spring for a $4,000-near-pro-grade camera, but want something for story-form video. However, when I think of reporters shooting video as part of their daily routine, P&S, I think, is the ticket. Quick, easy, simple.
In fairness to Seth, he probably has in mind a different kind of video than what I’m talking about, but since he did mention getting these cameras for reporters to use, I wanted to take the opportunity to hit on a virtue of P&S that I don’t think I’ve covered before. I mention Seth mainly to credit him for bringing the PV-GS180 to our attention.