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Video Interview: Vincent Laforet

By dpreview staff on Nov 2, 2011 at 21:24 GMT

Just Posted: Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Vincent Laforet took some time to talk with us last week at PhotoPlus Expo. Vincent talks about the state of DSLR film-making in the three years since the launch of his Canon 5DMKII short film Reverie, the first of its kind to be shot in 1080p, and the changes he's seen in the photography industry and his own career as a result of the increasing quality in HD video capture.

At the tender age of 36, Vincent Laforet has already established a career that would be the envy of almost any photographer. His photojournalism has been featured in publications such as Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek, and Life. Add to that a Pulitzer, and you've got someone who could easily rest on his laurels. But Laforet is perhaps even better known today as a filmmaker and director. His short film Reverie was the first DSLR film shot in 1080p (using a Canon 5DMKII), and received millions of views online in the first few weeks after its release. Since then, Laforet has become a leading proponent and authority on the techniques and technology involved in making DSLR videos, giving talks and leading workshops frequently.

Vincent was in NYC last week giving presentations at The PDN PhotoPlus expo as one of Canon's Explorers of Light professionals. We caught up with him to talk about the state of DSLR video, the projects he's currently working on, and where he sees the industry headed.

Click here to view our other PhotoPlus Expo content

Comments

Total comments: 52
Joshlovesphotos
By Joshlovesphotos (Nov 6, 2011)

Check it out, RED just make a bombshell anouncement about their new $10k 4k camera that blows the new c300 camera out of the water, and at $10k, its HALF the price of the new Canon c300.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/1111/11110410redscarletx.asp

You can't pull the wool over our eyes Vincent Laforet! Stop selling out your name for Canon, and tell us what is good and what is not! Sell out!!

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Scott Everett
By Scott Everett (Nov 8, 2011)

Actually, Vincent has been a public supporter of Red despite his Canon affiliation. Even in this interview he mentions the Red cameras as welcome advancements in video technology.

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Nov 3, 2011)

I don't begrudge someone who is into videography having a tool that helps them achieve excellence at an unheard-of price-point & I concede Vincent is an accomplished pro, more than I am or am apt to ever be. But I am with Thom Hogan, d-SLR is still not "optimal" video, there are new APS-C camcorders that do a better job--and Nikon-Canon etc need to focus (pardon the pun) on making d-SLRs as being as excellent as possible with still images.

I don't believe in convergence, if that's "old fashioned thinking" so be it, I have no interest in video I don't care what that costs me in terms of lost clients. More to the point, though, I don't begrudge videographers getting an excellent tool at a good price point, but they're invading my territory by using MY d-SLRs for this & demanding them to be biased for what they do. You don't see me demanding video tools give me what I ask for in stills, I respect that boundary--why can't they do likewise?

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 3, 2011)

Your territory? Your d-SLRs? Video unwelcome?

Sez hoo?

Let other people do what they want. There is a quite legitimate reason to want HQ video from affordable cameras that also take superior stills.

0 upvotes
BeanyPic
By BeanyPic (Nov 4, 2011)

You don't have to worry. DSLR's will always give top notch photo's. It's just the advancing technology allows for top notch video now as well.
Things always move forward

0 upvotes
iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (Nov 3, 2011)

I see now problems with the angle it was shot. Of course it wasn't appropriate. Maybe the room was small and there was no wider lens or wide adapter, so they had to lift the camera to get more in the frame.

The transcript would be welcome. As told by someone here, sometimes we want to watch it in an inappropriate moment and there's no earphones, and later to remember we don't. Congrats, DPR.

0 upvotes
kombizz0
By kombizz0 (Nov 3, 2011)

nice good informative interview

0 upvotes
rttew
By rttew (Nov 3, 2011)

vincent- there is a time and place for all types of media. it's not just about the "what's in now" media which is online media. newspapers, magazines and books all have their place along side the online publications (that advertisers don't want to spend much money on). i spend much of my day around technology but insist on reading a printed newspaper for my local news. it's just that simple. print and online media are mutually inclusive and not exclusive.

0 upvotes
Drareg Ajerap
By Drareg Ajerap (Nov 3, 2011)

"If someone is wearing a red dress it's not by mistake..." So why is this guy wearing Orange? :) And I think the way they are seated is a bit of a mistake as it makes their body language look a bit awkward. This interview though is full of good insights -spontaneity (stills) vs pre production planning (vid) and the likes. Next on the dpreview hiring list should be some cinematographer who understands personal spaces, angles and hmmm maybe, wardrobe...

Maybe the interviewer should wear a shirt with dpreview printed on it.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Nov 3, 2011)

--So why is this guy wearing Orange? :)--
It was a Sony orange, a subtle psychological ploy intended to throw the Canon-sponsored Mr. Laforet off balance.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 4, 2011)

Dammit, now our secret is out...

0 upvotes
Drareg Ajerap
By Drareg Ajerap (Nov 3, 2011)

Why did you shoot this video at this angle? It looks kinda funny.

0 upvotes
Rowbear
By Rowbear (Nov 3, 2011)

Very interesting interview.

0 upvotes
Sdaniella
By Sdaniella (Nov 3, 2011)

5DMkII... first dSLR to offer cinematographic 'large sensor' capabilities for the 'every-person'... not just the pros. whereas past dedicated film or videocams were either strictly non-cinematographic centered (i.e. small sensors) for consumers or medium sized sensors meant more for TV (non-cinematographic) that were only as large as 2/3" CCDs or max APS-C sized (i.e. Super 35mm only), like Sony's Super 35mm CineAlta F35 ($US100k per camera), which still do not offer dSLR FF shallow dof range, yet huge in size, heavy, and priced beyond those with only dSLR budgets (us!). and first for 1080p for any dSLR...
and first for full manual control (speed, aperture, ISO, etc.), no other dSLR else even offered fulltime 'exp sim' live preview either for still and video modes (simultaneously at that) only others to follow were Canon's own 7D, 1DMkIV, and 60D, 600D, etc (full HD (1080p) is here to stay).
This simply means pros may go up resolution to 4K and 8K... that's another market altogether.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 3, 2011)

Why hasn't anyone hacked the FF or other cameras to shoot 4K? Maybe the processors aren't up to crack. There would be a heat problem too. But might the 5D Miii introduce the ability to shoot short amounts of 4k video. Would be great for cropping without IQ loss, something still photographers get to do all the time.

0 upvotes
Joshlovesphotos
By Joshlovesphotos (Nov 3, 2011)

This is not an interview. It's a paid advert for this dudes book, and it's really obvious. Just my opinion. ;-) Also, this review needs a director.

3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 3, 2011)

"It's a paid advert for this dudes book, and it's really obvious".

Well I'm glad it's obvious to you, but it's news to me. Following this spectacularly wayward statement with 'just my opinion' and a smiley doesn't make it OK offend the video participants (including Vincent) or the production team.

1 upvote
JackM
By JackM (Nov 3, 2011)

Hardly. There was one tasteful plug for his book in the whole 5+ minute interview. Get a grip.

0 upvotes
calmwaters
By calmwaters (Nov 3, 2011)

He has a book?

0 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Nov 3, 2011)

http://www.amazon.com/Visual-Stories-Behind-Vincent-Laforet/dp/0321793927

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 3, 2011)

Let him promote his book. No different than promoting a camera or anything else.

0 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Nov 4, 2011)

Dear Barney Brtton and Richard Butler,
Your articles are well constructed and this new comment feature is brilliant. However, your naivete of the Shadenfreude of the internet, while endearing, is not going to win you points with the community.

My sincerest friendly advice is this: don't feed the trolls.

You may find it effective to delete and ban, but don't get into arguing matches with these idiots. It's like throwing feces at drunk brawl. The momentary catharsis doesn't negate the fact that you are contributing to no good, and you end up covered in 5hit.

Cheers.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 4, 2011)

Yeah, we've been around the block. But sometimes it's in our best interests to defend ourselves forcefully, and early.

0 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Nov 4, 2011)

I kinda figured (I realize DPR ain't new), but I have to say it's a bit off-putting to come across some of your responses the banter in the comments on here. It's certainly not because you're wrong (you're generally on the money and appear quite honest) but being right doesn't count for 100% credit in the tubes.

It's obviously your prerogative to do as you wish on your site. But as someone who respects what you've done in the past, I have to say reading your responses to comments has caused me to cringe and close the tab several times now. You can't fight stupid/crazy this way. And it looks silly to try. You do present good info in a well thought out and intelligible way. If people aren't getting it or reading into it something completely off the wall, they're going to do it no matter what you say.

Responding (even with intelligent non-confrontational comments/corrections) only props up the idiots and brings you down.

0 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Nov 4, 2011)

...on completely different issue, is it not possible to delete ones own old comments? That kinda discourages me from commenting more here.

0 upvotes
harknesspeter
By harknesspeter (Nov 3, 2011)

What about "Last Year at Marienbad"? "L'Ange"? "Cremaster 3"? "Rosas Dans Rosas"? All powerfully involving features with no story. Probably not in Mr Laforet's opinion. What about the long history of experimental film in general? I love story films -- story is important for a lot of movies. But not all. I thought DSLRs were going to make cinema more artful by eliminating the conservative barriers to entry, allowing time-based media artists of all kinds a chance to make things worthy of our attention? I think the interviewer's questions are good. Laforet has made some strong work, but I don't think his views here respect or even consider cinema as an artistic medium. These are the views of someone who seems to think no deeper about cinema than what the bonus materials on a DVD tell him to think.

2 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 3, 2011)

"Features with no story"? Doesn't that sum up a big share of films funded with arts foundation committees staffed by friends or paramors of either the donors or the artists? There are also those continental "classics" that we are all supposed to see, but don't actually enjoy. Occasionally, some overcome tedium and leave at least some memorable impression. But that does not mean that absence of story helps or beatifies other elements. If you can convey a pure visual rhapsody in a 3 minute "short," an extension to 90 minutes can ruin the value.

Soap operas, thrillers, mysteries, sports events, news stories, opera, ballet, and even weather reports rely a lot on story: sex, violence, intrigue, laughter. Watch the successful ones closely: many also feature superb cinematography and editing--enought to redeem even the dumbest story. But story, "star appeal," or occasionally music remain the basis of commercial success. Audiences simply inhale the rest without being aware.

0 upvotes
shaocaholica
By shaocaholica (Nov 3, 2011)

I really like where the industry is headed but Reverie was pretty crappy. I don't know why they keep talking about it.

0 upvotes
Jun2
By Jun2 (Nov 3, 2011)

It's basically promoting video for Canon camera. Since it's first time a DSLR could shoot a video.

0 upvotes
shaocaholica
By shaocaholica (Nov 3, 2011)

Err, I think the D90 came before the 5DII.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Nov 3, 2011)

@shaocaholia The D90, a fine camera, coming only 2 weeks before the 5D Mk II. Comparatively, the D90 is not nearly as capable of a video camera as the 5D Mk II. The D90 basically shoots video in auto mode with no ability to alter exposure, except exposure compensation. So it may have beaten the 5D Mk II to the punch, but Nikon didn't implement video in any serious way on that camera.

Comment edited 50 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
shaocaholica
By shaocaholica (Nov 3, 2011)

I can't remember much from back then. Didn't the 5DII also have auto exposure only at first and the manual controls came later in a firmware update?

1 upvote
Steven Blackwood
By Steven Blackwood (Nov 5, 2011)

Full manual controls did come later in May of 2009.

0 upvotes
FranchiseJuan
By FranchiseJuan (Nov 2, 2011)

I don't feel this interview was very well done.This is a guy who is a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer who is now shooting mainly Video, but the interviewer did not expand on how the introduction of and wide adoption of HD DSLRs have changed the popular language of both video or photography in the last few years.

There was no discussion of how the ergonomics or feature-sets of cameras is being effected by the inclusion of video (as you might expect from a site firmly rooted still in in-depth review of cameras), nor anything else that a regular reader of this site might be interested in.

Instead this interview covered much of what has been covered with previous interviews with Vincent Laforet. It is great to see the site diversify content, but maybe instead of taking the IMDB approach of more is more, might it not be better to take the apple approach of carefully learning from the variety of content on the web and doing it better?

0 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Nov 3, 2011)

we bumped into vincent at a trade show and hastily arranged an impromptu interview in a meeting room. No prep, no agenda, just something we thought people might be interested in seeing. And yes, it's our first attempt, and yes of course we're aiming to improve and refine. But it's always nice to hear about the many and varied ways we get everything wrong ;-)

4 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Nov 3, 2011)

What are you looking to do, get better at making interviews or better at making excuses?

It's a compliment that people have come to expect professional standard content from DPR. Would you rather not have such feedback?

0 upvotes
toysandme
By toysandme (Nov 3, 2011)

Considering the fact that it was was obviously an impromptu interview, it is excellent and it is probably the first time 99% of us saw Vincent "live". Give us more please.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Nov 3, 2011)

Impromptu interviews are very difficult to orchestrate. This is true of most casual or "street" video too. Unlike print interviews, you can't simply jot some notes and turn them into a story.

0 upvotes
Lan
By Lan (Nov 2, 2011)

Any chance of a text transcript for the videos?

I'm sure the videos are lovely, but I could read the content of any video in a short fraction of the time.

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 3, 2011)

Are you one of those people that doesn't watch TV because you prefer reading the news? That isn't a criticism by the way - I am one of those people. But some people are more visual, and you get a different feel for someone by watching them speak, as opposed to just reading what they have to say.

1 upvote
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Nov 3, 2011)

Unfortunately, I agree. While what you say about getting a better sense by watching/listening is true, it is only true when the video is shot, recorded, and edited properly. @Barney, I skip over a lot of video posts because so many of these web videos (not necessarly on this site) have so much fluff and dead air, or hosts burning up HD video disk space and bandwidth making pointless in-jokes, that many video posts are a massive waste of time. I've seen enough "30 seconds of content in a 6 minute video" that I'd often like to see a transcript to understand if I even want to watch the video start to finish.

In this specific case, I'm sitting in a public place and forgot my headphones, so I might watch this later at home...if I remember. But if I could have read it, I would have gotten the content right away.

Comment edited 43 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Lan
By Lan (Nov 4, 2011)

@ Barney: Actually I am a visual person, but I'm also an impatient person. Video is inherently slow.

I'm sure the recent video of Eric Fossum was fascinating, but after grinding my teeth for five minutes before he even appeared on screen, then waiting for him to explain what a digital camera was... I have to say I stopped watching.

It may have been one of the most illuminating talks in history but I gave up after 10 minutes because no useful or interesting information had been imparted.

I'm pretty certain I could have read the entire content of the video in text format before he even *appeared* on screen for the first time.

Please please please provide transcripts of your videos!

@ graybalanced: Precisely!

0 upvotes
PicOne
By PicOne (Nov 2, 2011)

I liked the interview and have always admired Vincent's work. Quite accomplished for his young years.. That said, where's the interview with Chuck?

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 2, 2011)

Coming up :)

0 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Nov 2, 2011)

Quite a poor interview from Amadou I think. Vincent seemed very open, articulate and made some interesting comments that would have benefitted from follow up questions, but Amadou seemed quite nervous and jumped through seeming scripted questions that, ironically, stopped the story mid flow. For example "it's changed the market" at the end of the opening question, was a perfect lead in for "how has the market changed" rather than jumping straight to "where do you see it going". A beginning, middle and end, rather than beginning and end. I realise it's all new, so hopefully this feedback can help improve things over time.

0 upvotes
Scott Everett
By Scott Everett (Nov 3, 2011)

Hey Najinsky, good feedback and all fair points. We definitely plan to keep working on the format of these interviews to get them better, so keep the feedback coming. Cheers.

0 upvotes
Iamprasanth
By Iamprasanth (Nov 2, 2011)

His book sounds interesting, hope that gets reviewed too.

0 upvotes
tonywong
By tonywong (Nov 2, 2011)

Odd camera angle for an interview. Didn't seem very flattering imo. Mr. Laforet doesn't look 36 to me, maybe it's the natural highlights in his hair.

Interesting interview though.

0 upvotes
Joshlovesphotos
By Joshlovesphotos (Nov 3, 2011)

I'm not buying a book from some dude that's young enough to be me, and is selling a book about his life. That seems like it would be very boring, I don't care if you worked for Nat Geo or not.

1 upvote
dcdigitalphoto
By dcdigitalphoto (Nov 3, 2011)

It looks like the angle you see for police interviewing a criminal in a cell.

1 upvote
Stefan Gunnarsson
By Stefan Gunnarsson (Nov 3, 2011)

Come on you whiners.

Obviously this movie was shot spontaneously at a fair with out any preplanning.
I like the interview and it was nice to see and hear Vincent.
He was also asked about the book and I will consider to buy it.

seize the moment!

0 upvotes
netgarden
By netgarden (Nov 4, 2011)

Agree with stefan, good impromptu interview. Vincent seems like the kind of guy who jumped in with both feet, before the masses did. Smart man. Being ahead of the game is what got him where he is, and he still stands by that. Now iD like to read his book, it sounds enlightening.
Good job, DP!

0 upvotes
Total comments: 52