In terms of gear and equipment alone the changes and advances in quality have been stupefying. I think back to my first production. It was a wedding shot with an RCA single tube camera that really only gave colour in daylight. I shot all kinds of footage and had to edit it on a VHS tape at the EP speed. It was ugly but it was 1983 and video technology was expensive and relatively new. Now I have HD cameras with 3 image sensors, HD Multi camera live production equipment, 3 high end editing suites, DVD/CD duplication with printing and a video lab to transfer all kinds of old formats to new ones. In contrast to that first production what we offer now is as good as it gets. But we came up the hard way.
The internet has been hard on many traditional businesses while opening hundreds of new avenues for different business models. Record stores, printing businesses, photo stores, sound studios and video production houses, amongst others, have seen their business models get trashed completely or change dramatically with the convergence of all things to the internet.
In the last 5 years I have watched as my own studio has suffered from the "YouTube Syndrome". YouTube is ubiquitous with literally millions of people uploading all kinds of crap every day. While it is all fun, amusing and easy to consume, it has also served to water down production values considerably and therefore expectations as well. Companies I used to shoot and edit for now shoot and edit for themselves at a considerable compromise in quality and professionalism in the finished product. The attitude now seems to be "it's good enough. Put it on the net!"
This thinking has really taken a swipe at my business and that of all of the other production companies I know. Business is hard because of the YouTube Syndrome. It is compounded by smart computers with smart software and the Do It Yourself mentality.
Don't get me wrong, it's all fun and exciting and neat to play with but I would say that 99% of the media being uploaded to the web each day has no semblance of production values or good storytelling.
Any kid with a hot Mac and some software can become a sound engineer or video producer. HD cameras can be had cheap. Consumer cameras give a nice image compared to older models but they are NOT THE SAME as professional cameras or gear. And the knowledge to properly use this gear is not prevalent.
If your band gets recorded in the garage of someone's house and the person recording you is cutting their teeth on the recording of your music, then you have virtually wasted any money you paid and your time. Sound recording is a science best left to those that have been blessed with a gift. I would hazard a guess that out of every 100 backyard sound engineers or video producers out there you would be lucky to get one who is actually any good. But I suppose everyone has to start somewhere.
In 1983 I was that kid playing at video producer. I learned my production values and standards the hard way, with cranky gear, low budgets and a thirst for progress. I started with a table top VCR and a crappy camera. Now, I have learned how to tell stories properly. I pursue quality at every turn and I have a very nice facility with a sound stage, sound room, green screen and some really, really neat gear.
It comes down to this. If you want something professionally done then you should hire a professional.
Professional production houses know how to build films. They know how to tell the story of a product or service. They know how to shoot with a storyboard and with editing in mind. They use lights, tripods and professional microphones that improve a video dramatically.
Doing it yourself may save you some money in the short run but in the long term a well constructed film will be your best business card moving forward. It will also have more lasting value because it is well crafted. With media, the do it yourself mentality is truly a false economy in business.
And so, here I am in January of 2012. I am launching a new video product that is internet based. It offers high quality, professionally acted, shot and edited pieces for anyone who has a website and who wants video or audio on their home page. (Which in truth, should be everybody!) And it does all of this at a price nobody can refuse.
In 1983 it would be me uploading stuff to YouTube if it existed. Today I am launching a really neat product, for a very cool price that offers high value to the buyer. It is my shot across the bow of mediocrity. Hopefully it will help push the pendulum back towards the professionals.
Thanks for reading my rant. If you want to see our new product you can go to:
Here is the Home Page film.