Nikon D90 Video, from You-Know-Who

Now I know why Chase Jarvis has been grinning like an idiot for the last few months. He had, like, five pre-production, gaffer-tape-disguised Nikon D90 cameras to play with. And he couldn't say a peep about it, until now. Looks like a great camera for PJ's who are being asked to shoot web video as an add-on.

On thought: They certainly are not flapping that mirror up and down at 24FPS for the 1080p video.

Which means that it might have some kind of electronic shutter. Which means that it just might be one of those magic, high native sync bodies.

I am trying to run it down now. If you happen to work at Nikon and you can find out, hit me in the comments or call me on the Bat Phone. 'Cause we need to know, like, yesterday.

UPDATE #2: So far, looking more like garden-variety sync -- video is apparently being pulled from the live view. Arghh -- I wanted it so bad....

Lots more over at Chase's site.

More on the process behind this, the full brochure and your comments, after the jump.

So, What is This? An Ad?

Rewind a few months. Chase gets the gig from Nikon to shoot the product brochure for D90. This is standard practice for every new camera model that comes out. It has to be done way in advance, with preproduction models. The secrecy is air-tight, the NDAs fly and it is all timed to be available when the camera is released.

This is something very few photographers ever get to do. But those brochures magically appear, full of photos, before the cameras are even on the shelves.

(Little secret: The photos from some camera brochures are not even shot with the actual cameras. Production timelines, or preproduction bugs preclude it.)

Chase's idea was as new as it was simple. Rather than just shoot a bunch of still photos for a brochure, why not wrap a video around the whole process. After all, it would be pretty cool to be handed a bunch of gaffer-taped, top-secret cameras from the future and told to go nuts with them. His bet was that photogs would think it was cool.

Chase is an A-list shooter, and one of a very few living his photo life in the fishbowl. So this kind of a multimedia was a natural for him -- and it was his idea. If you had to define it, that might be kinda hard. To my knowledge something like this has not really been done before.

It's part commercial, part On Assignment, part made-for-YouTube, part underground-end-user thing (that really was his crew shooting D90 stills and video) and part MTV video.

To me, it is interesting because of the mold breaking that is going on with this project. It is also cool that a company as big as Nikon would allow their new baby to be introduced this way. If you think about it, that's a lot of control to give up to a hipster shooter from Seattle and his peeps.

Could it fail? Absolutely. And the failure would be written on the video's YouTube page every day, for ever and ever, amen, in the form of the view count number.

Will it fail? I think probably not. Released at midnight, it already had been picked by dozens of sites by 3:00 a.m. Not exactly rush hour on the internet. But the whole thing was timed to launch on Japan time, so that's when it lit up.

And the fact that it spread so fast is a validation to several things: One, the power of the medium. I would hate to be a magazine right now, unless I was a magazine that could figure out the whole Web Thing.

Two, the decentralization of eyeball-grabbing power from the publishing conglomerates to the universe of individual bloggers. Any one of you could choose to run the video on your site -- or not. The media consumers define the level of success.

Last, the most important validation is the idea that a photographer, more than an ad agency, knows what is cool and entertaining to other photographers. Yeah, duh, but look how long it has taken to get here.

Chase and his crew got to play, we got to watch and a very cool little camera got to be born in an all-new way. Interestingly, I find the product brochure (available here) to be way more interesting, having seen the MTV version of the behind the scenes. But I am pretty geeky like that.

I basically watched it unfold at the last minute as a close outsider -- no financial interest, but a very keen interest in the gear aspect and the leveraging of the medium. Taken to the Nth degree, it is pretty cool (and/or maybe a little scary) to think just how far this decentralization could go.

So, where are you on this? What did you think of the whole process? And for curiosity's sake, did you watch it more than once? That's always my mark for whether a video resonated with me.

Feel free to join the fray in the comments.

:: Nikon D90 Final Product Brochure ::


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