I am a sports photographer, so this is an issue I've been interested in for some time. Obviously my fear is that once the skill of timing an action photo is obsolete, then the market would be given over to anyone who can point a video camera's lens, and the subsequent footage would be mined for high-quality stills. As, of course, Michael suggests in this article.
However, as of now I still see two obstacles to that fear becoming reality:
1) Shooting at 100 fps, or even 30 fps, would produce an awful lot of high-res images to sort through. Even when I was shooting the 8 fps of the Nikon F5, I hardly ever did rapid-fire photography at sports events (I shoot mostly pro tennis). The reason was that that strategy produced mostly junk. I found that if I was selective about my shooting and skillful with my timing, I'd end the day with just as many good photos, but with much less work to do weeding through the bad stuff. (Not to mention that I felt better, as an artist.)
The analogy isn't exact, but it makes my point: If I spend a six-hour day shooting stills at a tennis tournament, I'll end up with about a thousand photos to sort through. Shooting video at just 30 fps, even selectively, I'd end up with tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands. Which batch would you rather sort through? On deadline, which batch would you rather HAVE to sort through quickly?
I understand that advancing technology will make that issue easier to deal with, and might even, someday, make that latter task somewhat palatable. But my second point is an even bigger hurdle.
2) Marketing restrictions. Major league sports events get a lot of their money from TV rights. And the TV networks that pay for those rights ban others from making video of the games. In fact, the restriction against shooting video is listed right in the terms of the credential applications.
I saw this in effect first-hand a couple years ago. I was shooting at the US Open tennis tournament, and the photographer in the pit next to me was asked to leave because he was using a still camera that had video capability. He wasn't shooting video -- he was just using a camera that looked like it could.
In that environment, it's impossible to imagine the pit filled with a hundred photographers aiming video cameras at the athletes. The TV network paying tens or hundreds of millions dollars is not going to allow scores of world media outlets to shoot video of those events.
This is an issue that might change as technology transforms the market; perhaps if every photographer one day shoots video to obtain stills, then maybe the TV networks will be forced to make a concession (surely with hefty legal penalties for misappropriation). But the financial interest on the networks' part will slow that change very dramatically. It would take a long, long time for them to let that happen.
This is a very sensitive subject and both sides of the isle are going to be very passionate in their responses.
Personally, my heart and soul and a major part of my life investment is in still photography and I'd be quite happy if every lcd and crt screen in the world just blanked out, like some M. Night Shyamalan movie.
It would improve my standing and my bottom line and I'd bet at that point print editorial would pay a hell of a lot more money.
The thing is that's not going to happen. Steve Jobs is not going to roll up I tunes and make it music only, You tube will only expand and don't think for a moment people aren't in board rooms all over Hollywood and NY trying to find a way to make a buck off of all the new content that will be coming down the tube, or trying to find ways to protect their current income streams.
Yes, you are right, if you go into an NFL game or the Osaka Track and Field Event with a shoulder mount eng, the guards will snap it up and put it in storage, though they can't and won't stop the 75,000 people in the stands from running their still and video cell phones and casios and putting the content online 2 hours after the event.
That may not be legal, but it would take all of the lawyers in hell (a lot of lawyers) to track it down and and get it removed and once on the web, it seems nothing is ever removed.
Right now we are in the early stages of this and there are still a lot of obstacles keeping still and motion production apart, but if your a professional photographer it won't be long until your estimates have a section called moving imagery and whether you produce and shoot it or not is really not relative because it will be part of the process.
The trick to all of this is to find a way to make creative content that merges the two disciplines and as Michael points out, that ain't easy. Just a small chipped 16x9 frame looks a hell of a lot different than a 645 medium format vertical and even if the two frame formats were identical, (which I guess it will all be horizontal someday), you still have to have a different mindset about moving vs. still.
Both are very compelling, but both require a different thought and though at the very high end Hollywood theatrical level the two will probably be separate for some time, in the advertising and editorial world they will merge faster than any of us think possible.
In the end someone, probably some high school kid is going to surprise all of us and shoot something that is beyond the traditional restraints of still or moving and once he/she appears on 12 dozen morning shows and gets a 40 million dollar deal with Warner Bros., then everybody is going to start buying a Casio or a Red.
Regardless of whether any of this comes to pass I do know one absolute truth. My largest monthly hardware expense is not in paper, ink, cameras, lenses or lights.
It's in hard drives and server fees.