If you watch any 'making of' video showing behind the scenes footage on a film set, you'll often see a guy huddled-in close to one of the principle cameras.
This is the unit photographer who has been tasked with shooting stills during productions and actual takes. He or she will be holding what looks like a small box, or 'blimp', as it's known, and this sound proof housing encases a usual 35mm camera body, present to remove any noise as the still camera operates cheek-by-jowl with the movie camera.
Alas, I have no experience of this scenario myself, but I can only imagine the hassle these guys get when messing with the 'zone' directors and actors inhabit on-set. But it looks like this could all change...
Below is a fascinating video (now a couple of years old) from the photo blog F-Stoppers, showing the best example I've seen of how very high resolution digital movie cameras, in this case from RED, are creeping into the territory of commercial photography. The mini documentary shows portrait photographer, Peter Hurley, during his usual workflow, but instead of his usual medium format Hasselblad - he's using a RED Epic.
If the production crew on movie or advertising shoot can record footage and then go back later and extract a publishable, high-end still frame from whichever section of the take they wish, then by and large the unit photographer's role will diminish considerably.
Of course, there will always be space for creativity and lens choice which a stills photographer will opt for, thus significantly improving on the this nature of footage - but when has creativity ever come first when a large corporation, such as a film studio or ad agency, can cut costs.
At the very least, really interesting stuff, and I'm sure a glimpse into the future. Just a tad less melodrama in the speech would be great, guys. Please?