Visual Inertia

I’ve been shooting video semi-seriously for almost two years now. I’m a long way from what you would call a “film maker”, but I have definitely seen the light when […]

Written By Rob Knight

On September 15, 2014

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I’ve been shooting video semi-seriously for almost two years now. I’m a long way from what you would call a “film maker”, but I have definitely seen the light when it comes to the value of moving pictures. One of the biggest challenge (if not THE biggest) for still photographers to overcome when it comes to video is their mindset. I totally understand that because I was in the same boat not too long ago.

We train our eyes to seek out and freeze a beautiful split-second of time. It takes a lot of work to learn how to use a camera, and much more work to actually become a decent photographer. We know how the exposure triangle works and we can describe the equality of light in 20 different ways.

In a lot of ways shooting moving pictures is like starting at square one. Why would I want to learn a whole new tool set and even a whole new technical language? Well, because you can make some beautiful stuff that you just can’t do with a still image. That’s why.

As an educator I am constantly listening/reading/trying to come up with better ways to explain things in my classes and workshops. I was thinking about how I can encourage still photographers to try shooting video, and that led me to inertia. You probably remember the term from school. Here is the definition I found online: “a property of matter by which it remains at rest or in uniform motion in the same straight line unless acted upon by some external force”.


For photographic context let’s call it visual inertia: Moving things keep moving, and still things stay still. “Moving things keep moving”… get it? If you want to learn to see in moving pictures, start by looking for moving subjects. Video of a beautiful landscape is not usually as compelling as video of a beautiful dancer in motion.

Don’t think too hard about this one. It’s just a little something to remember when you’re out shooting. Shoot like you normally do and look for motion. You need an interesting subject in good (for the subject) light for video just like you do for still photograph. with a little practice you will begin to instinctively shoot one or the other depending on the scene in front of your camera. This is a great opportunity to play around and see what you can come up with!

The video in this post was created using ProShow Web. You can use the discount code “ROB20” to save a couple of bucks over at This video and more hybrid eScapes are found on my SmugMug gallery pages.


  1. Scotty

    Sure enjoyed your presentation last night in Zebulon. Enjoyed the barbecue too. I have tried doing some of what you do over the past few years, but you made it sound fun. I am going to try ProShow Web on my Mac and see how it works. Look at my Vimeos if you want to: I think that will work. a couple of them put me to sleep, but the intention was good. I am going to share your site with our club.

    • Rob Knight

      Thanks Scotty,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the program. I’ll check out your Vimeo page for sure.


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