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Chicago Tribune embraces video camcorder

The picture that appears on the front page of tomorrow’s Chicago Tribune may not be a photograph at all; it might be a frame-grab from an HD digital video camcorder. Either way, readers won’t be able to tell the difference, and there is no reason they should need to.

A great, high-quality picture has value because of its content, not because of the camera that captured it. As valuable as that image may be, however, it has much more of an impact when it is not only seen in print but also displayed as part of a video sequence on that newspaper’s Web site.

Photojournalists capturing images for Chicago’s largest paper are doing that very thing today, with the addition of a new item to their camera bags — the Canon XH A1 HD camcorder. Nowadays, the Chicago Tribune’s photojournalists not only capture news stills for the print edition but also motion video for the newspaper’s Web site.

“Our Web site has become a real priority, as the shift of news consumption goes in that direction,” said Torry Bruno, associate managing editor for photography at the Chicago Tribune.

According to Bruno, the first priority for most of the paper’s photographers is still shooting pictures for the newspaper. While the newspaper is still the primary source of the newspaper’s readership, the importance of its Web site continues to grow.

The equivalent importance of print and Web has led the paper to look for a way to capture images for the newspaper while also capturing video for its Web site. The Canon XH A1 HD camcorder allows photographers to capture both high-resolution digital stills as well as HD motion video.

Currently, the Chicago Tribune owns two XH A1 HD camcorders. One rotates through the paper’s staff of photographers while the other is being used exclusively by the paper’s award-winning photojournalist Tom Van Dyke.

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