Moms dont need more hands–they need better equipment.
Makers of video equipment don’t listen to their mothers, or anyone else’s. If they did, many more families would have a shelf of watchable family videos in their homes.
Equipment designers, listen up. The rest of this page is your passport to wealth and fame. Help moms edit video. Make the gear that makes this happen. You will enable millions of new creators of video today and millions of their progeny tomorrow. Learn why moms don’t edit video, and design the gear that will change this. Just address the three reasons moms don’t edit in your next equipment designs.
Reason 1: you can’t edit what hasn’t been shot. A mom of my acquaintance put it this way, “I’d love to have well-edited videotapes showing my daughter in her infancy and as she grows. But I’ve come to realize that I’d have to choose between videotaping my baby and mothering her!" This mom needs a camcorder that requires no holding, or something to hold one for her. Designers: create a device that will hold a camera and that is completely voice-controlled for pans and tilts and you’ll win the hearts of moms all over the world.
Reason 2: hooking up editing equipment is a bear. The mom mentioned is a bright woman with a greater-than-average capacity for adventure. She agreed to participate in a little editing experiment. I lent her two video editing devices which are advertised as extremely easy to learn and use. One is a camera with built-in titling and editing features. The other is a free-standing edit controller that sports very few buttons. This mom–let’s call her Becky–agreed to take these devices home, edit a simple video with no more than four simple cuts each and report on her experience.
It took Becky, armed with the respective manuals, the greater portion of a day and tips from an experienced user to get these devices hooked up properly. Unfortunately, both manuals were less than helpful and both systems required too much wiring. Add to these obstacles the perennial problem of not having hands to spare when a baby is present and you encounter the second major reason why moms do not edit video: few can get the gear wired together.
Designers: make the set-up automatic and wireless, and moms will beat a path to your door. Why can’t we have more cameras capable of throwing audio and video signals across a room–without wires–and VCRs capable of recording signals so thrown? We’ve finally gotten VCRs that set their own clocks, so why can’t we see some gear for video editing that sets itself up and marries the other components in a system when simply plugged into an AC outlet.
Reason 3: using editing equipment is painful–and requires hands. Having set up the two systems with mixed success, Becky set about editing some footage of her daughter–or trying to. Neither of the systems proved intuitive to learn nor easy to use. Learn this, ye who create these machines: the user interface for editing video should be easier to understand than the clickable icons in Windows. It should be as easy as saving good photos and throwing out bad ones when they come back from the one-hour photo shop.
Becky ended the experiment in a video-hating rage. Frustrated by convoluted set-ups, arcane control buttons and useless manuals, she could not deliver the edited tapes. Instead, she delivered this report: "If the goal of this project was to see how a beginner video consumer might handle this–I can tell you: I wouldn’t waste my time–I’d pay the 100 bucks or whatever it takes to have a production house edit my tape. I honestly feel like I need help with the project at nearly every step. I haven’t gotten past the [simple edit controller] system. (I did start on the [camera with built-in editor] but switched to the “easier” system to boost my ego. Not.) I can tell you how beginner-friendly these things are–THEY AREN’T."
Is there anyone left in video product design who still listens to a mom?
Stephen Muratore is Videomaker‘s Editor in Chief.