How Relationships Play a Role in Making Video

Videomaker‘s role is changing from teaching people how to make video to fostering a community to empower mass collaboration over the Internet.

In the 1960’s, making video was a group effort. Video equipment was heavy, expensive and complicated to run. It required a team. TV studios and TV stations employed the vast majority of these teams. Sony’s Portapak was the first portable video recording device, released in 1967, enabled a small number of video producers to make video “on their own” for the first time making video accessible to artists, experimenters, and social activists, not just the TV industry and establishment production companies.

In 1983, the camcorder was a new product that truly enabled producers to make video “on their own”. The number of people shooting video rose from a few thousand employees of TV studios into the millions. However, these new video producers were very spread out. Video production required rare skills and abilities not often found in the neighborhood. As a result, all of these new video producers learned in isolation and practiced making video as a solo activity. Making video as a team wasn’t a concept that they considered.

Over the next 15 years, as prices dropped, the number of people shooting video surged into the tens of millions. The general public purchased and began using video cameras as readily as they used still cameras. As the number of camcorder users grew, it became easier to find someone else with the same interest in making video. Some began to work in teams, appreciating the distinct roles of camera operator, sound recordist, director and video editor.


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Today we have come full circle. Rather than meeting face to face, some of these people meet and collaborate online. A real community of video creators has arrived. Now people are teaching one another about video hardware and software. We are seeing the mentoring of newbies. The sharing of digital assets and incomplete videos is a common occurrence. The rapid increase of video sharing sites has deeply enhanced feedback and evaluation.

Here at Videomaker, our role has changed from dispensing expertise through teaching. These days we are fostering community to empower mass collaboration over the internet. We started doing this with the forums on our web site in 1994. A few years later we launched our face-to-face events. We were very surprised to see how much enjoyment people were experiencing from basic social interactions like talking about a camcorder.

Our purpose remains the same; to help others achieve their pursuits by using video as a common communications medium. However, we have a new vision for the future. We picture a world where people use video cameras as regularly as they use pens, cameras, e-mail and blogs to communicate thoughts, ideas and concepts. One measure of our success would achieve our goal of getting over a million visitors a month by the end of 2010. Please help us get there by telling your friends and fellow video creators about us. Perhaps more importantly, tell people who want to make video but lack the confidence to try.

Matthew York is Videomaker‘s Publisher/Editor.

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