Video technology is now available to the masses. Soon, we’ll have 500 cable channels to choose from. Video will be easy to get on CD and over the phone. The channels for distribution will be wide open. The tools for video production continue to drop in price as they increase in quality and ease of use.
But who will make the video?
Generating broadcast-quality video is not nearly as expensive as it was only a decade ago. Millions of people can do it. But can they do it well? The availability of paint didn’t cause Picasso to become a great artist; he combined his natural talents with a lot of practice to develop his art. Often the video pros complain to me that Videomaker makes the art of video sound too easy. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard this from wedding videographers.
Making video has never been easier, but one still needs to be good at it. A good student of videomaking needs to have certain traits like determination, desire and a good eye for aesthetics. Millions of people now own the tools and they have or are cultivating the traits. But the question remains: who will make the video?
When a person who is proficient with a computer obtains video production programs for editing, special effects or animation, does that person become a videomaker? Or are they simply computer experts with desktop video software loaded on their hard drive?
How about event videomakers? Will they be making great video simply because they know how to produce a shallow documentary of the same types of events dozens of times a year?
How about amateur hobbyists? Does their investment in video gear and the knowledge to operate it make them qualified to become a producer of a program suitable for the information superhighway?
The single most important component of good video is compelling content. Even Steven Spielberg would have a hard time making a good TV program on any subject without access to research materials or experts to interview. So computer enthusiasts, event videomakers and hobbyists are all capable of making good video if the content is rich. Or, put another way, CONTENT IS KING.
What’s now happening is that those people or organizations with content they’d like to see in video form are either hiring video producers or learning how to make video themselves. How can a lone computer enthusiast, event videomaker or video hobbyist expect to collect the same volume of content as a large organization with greater access to resources? They can’t, so what they do is rely upon the content that they themselves already know. That’s why there are so many videos with names like How to Make Video, How to Use a Computer and How to Make Money with Your Camcorder.
Many videomakers are attempting to expand their knowledge in the quest to find new subjects for their videos. In the process, they become experts on these new topics while they hone their video skills.
Many videomakers are seeking out experts who need video production services. Others are seeking out experts in some obscure special interest that no one ever dreamed of putting on video, like Pruning Fruit Trees.
Generally speaking, it’s easier to find experts than it is to become one. If the experts are in the media business, like publishers, odds are they won’t need you as badly, but they might give you a job. If they aren’t in the media business, they may want to work with you if you give them a piece of the action.
If they’re not in business at all (or perhaps even if they are), they may be willing to work with you for the sheer pleasure of being on a TV show. You might be surprised at how many of the experts who appear on TV receive nothing for their trouble but the privilege of being on TV.
The bottom line? In the coming months and years, the quest for new content will lead many videomakers to the experts, who will in turn have plenty of videomakers to choose from. Your best strategy is to get to them first or make them a great offer.
However you go about it, be sure you pay close attention to the content of your videos. The medium exists to communicate, and a video can only be as good as the information it conveys.