We’ve discovered several reasons for finding new uses for video. The first is money. The second is money. Then there’s fun.

A recent industry survey shows that the average videomaker uses his camcorder only six hours a year. The hobbyist spends hundreds, even thousands for this marvel of technology, plays with it for a week and then forgets about it until the next birthday party. Compare the use you get out of similarly-priced stereo components or kitchen appliances. Perhaps the hobbyist needs to awaken his video imagination to capitalize on that camcorder investment. That’s money reason number one.

Then there’s the prosumer or semi-professional videomaker. This person gets much more than six hours of use out of his camcorder; but the uses remain few in number. Many earn money from shooting weddings; fewer make training tapes. The making of wedding videos has grown from a friendly gesture to a healthy industry. However, making wedding videos has become so lucrative that the field is now crowded. It’s getting darn competitive out there. The bell tolls for adventuresome prosumers to explore new venues for video. That’s money reason number two.

Imagine you were the first person to make a wedding video. Imagine that you were the first to produce and market a wedding video service in your town. If you were any good, you could be sitting pretty right now. Maybe you were and maybe you are. But if you decide to earn money in video production today, you must compete with all the wedding videomakers who started before you. Why not, instead, strike out boldly on your own? Dream up an entirely new video application. Adventurous prosumers like you can blaze trails for a whole new videomaking industry. And find yourself sitting pretty a few years from now.

If the reasons above–money one and money two–don’t inspire you to find new uses for video, think about fun. Most videomakers get their first camcorders to have fun. It looks like they are enjoying only six hours a year of that fun. Develop more uses and have more fun.

We don’t need more technology to make more money and have more fun; we need to awaken our imaginations. We need to think wildly about possibilities. We need only to dream.

In the past few years you’ve invented video letters, video oral histories, video home insurance inventories and forensic video. Many more applications wait to be born through fertile imaginations.

Here’s the key. Simply think about all the moments when you do not hold a camcorder with the “rec” message shining in the viewfinder. (If you currently hold a camcorder six hours a year, this leaves a wide field for speculation.) Ruminate on any one of those moments. Ask yourself, “How could I use video at these times? How could someone benefit from tapes of those moments?”

You can come at the question from the opposite direction, too. Think about all the time you do not watch TV. Even with the national viewing average hovering around six hours a day, this still leaves 18 hours a day for most people. Ask how your life–or anyone’s life–might benefit from televised information in any one of those moments. Let your imagination run with it.

Dwelling on these questions, you will imagine uses for video in the morning, noon and night. You will imagine uses that attend every thought, need, relationship, transaction and desire. When you start thinking about this, new ideas will come to you at odd moments. Struggling with a recurring problem, you’ll see a flash of light. The answer could be a new use for video. Whistling in the shower, that flash of light again. The synapses in your brain are beginning to apply “video” to your wandering thoughts, generating new applications along the way. You might turn any one of these uses into money, or just fun. Now the video imagination has awakened. Watch out.

Really, we should watch out. If we ever actually implemented all the possible applications for video, the world would be a different place. The recording eye and ear would accompany everyone every moment of every day. The TV screen would shine the results of all that taping to everyone, from the bedroom to the boardroom to the bar, all the time. Life would become video-life. Humanity would become video-humanity.

Would that be wonderful? Would that be horrible? What would be gained; what lost?

We must continue to ask these questions as well when we explore new applications for video. We drive toward a certain destination when we quicken our imaginations in this way. We draw closer to video-humanity with every press of the “rec” button.

What new applications have you found for video? Write us about them. Send pictures if you can.

What do you find wonderful or frightening about increasing the use of video in our society? Write about that too.

We’ll publish letters of interest to all. Fax us at (916) 891-8443.

Stephen Muratore is Videomaker‘s Editor in Chief.

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