At the genesis of consumer movie making, Kodak released the “Cine Kodak” Camera and the “Kodascope Projector” in 1923. The $335 cost was similar to a camcorder today; however, in that same year, you could buy a new Ford automobile for $550.
The projector was challenging to operate and required a darkened room, so home movies were usually shared in the movie creator’s living room. The advent of the camcorder changed all of that. By the mid 1990s, most people in developed nations had a VCR, and sharing videos was as simple as copying a video tape and delivering it to the viewer’s living room. In recent years, this has become even easier with DVDs, which are smaller, lighter and less costly to mail.
2006 will likely go down in history as the year that video sharing over the Internet became a phenomenon. While the technology has been around a while, there were just a few companies providing services in this area. As of late 2006, over a dozen companies offer this service. Certainly YouTube sparked great interest in this concept, but now Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and MySpace are all in the game.
While it is exciting to watch so much development happen so quickly, it is also important to forecast the long-term ramifications of this social change. Back in 1923, if your wealthy uncle shot some film of you and caught you picking your nose, very few people would ever see that embarrassing footage. If that happened today, your uncle could post that embarrassing video on the Internet and millions of people could see your crude behavior. Many would view this as a dramatic reduction in privacy.
A vivid example that falls outside of amateur or semipro video is news clips. Several people have created interesting short videos, utilizing captured TV news segments featuring President George W. Bush. Most of these are comprised of clips (often taken out of context) that make him look foolish.
Looking way down the road, this will certainly affect the way in which President George W. Bush is viewed historically. All presidents make mistakes in diction, pronunciation and even decision making. However, in the past, those unfortunate moments of presidential careers were usually forgotten over time. In this new era, those compilations will be on the Internet as a historical record for your grandchildren to watch decades from now.
The world has changed. We have to be much more aware of our behavior while “on camera.” As video producers, we need to recognize the need for responsibility when we post videos to the Internet. A posted video of your drunken college buddy may cost him a promotion 20 years from now when his supervisor watches that video.
Matthew York is Videomaker’s Publisher/Editor