I wrote those words 30 years ago, when very few people could make video because so few people had video cameras. We never imaged the day when most people would have one in their pocket. One thing hasn’t changed; we’ve always aimed to help people make better video.
We were trend setters back in 1986, as we are today. In these pages — paper and digital — you can learn about tomorrow’s videomaking visions. Many years ago, we wrote words and shared video about cameras that fly by themselves.
30 years later, Videomaker is still independant; a rare feat in today’s world. When I walk the isles of trade shows like CES and NAB, occasionally people recognise me. They often begin by saying “You’re still here?” They are referring both to me, Matt York, the person walking in a convention hall, but also to the astonishing fact that a paper magazine still exists alongside another communications medium — one which is so different from ink on paper. Not only does Videomaker Inc. still exist, but we remain an independent media company run by an entrepreneur and a small team with visions of changing the world.
Along the way these words below also appeared here in this Viewfinder column:
“The truth of the matter will come through if enough people have access to the technology.”
While we are eternally grateful for the chance to play a small role in a media revolution, I remain disappointed that this prediction has not manifest as vividly as we had hoped.
Back in 1986, many were concerned about the size, ownership and big profit orientation of Mass Media. In 1988 the words below appeared in the book “Manufacturing Consent:” “The dominant mass-media outlets run by large companies operated for maximized profit, and therefore must cater to the financial interests of the owners, who are usually corporations and controlling investors. The size of a media company is a consequence of the investment capital required for the mass-communications technology required to reach a mass audience of viewers, listeners, and readers.”
Back in 1986, many were concerned about the size, ownership and big profit orientation of Mass Media.
While we never imagined that tens of millions of people would be making video, we did hope that an increasing number of voices would counter the undesirable effects of big business mass media’s effect on society.
The book’s authors go on to write, “Since the majority of the revenue of major media outlets derives from advertising (not from sales or subscriptions), advertisers have acquired a de facto licensing authority. Media outlets are not commercially viable without the support of advertisers. News media must therefore cater to the political prejudices and economic desires of their advertisers. This has weakened the working class press.”
While we have immense appreciation for the role that individual video creators have played in the the shaping of the world, including the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests of the Arab Spring, there are many hopes still not realized.
A contemporary example is the plight of the US Republican party. With so many claims of mistruths from the primary candidates, it is disappointing that videos made by young grassroots Republicans have not appeared as a force to reckon with. There still seems to be great opportunity for citizens to have greater impact upon society — PewDiePie’s influence over his 43 million YouTube subscribers notwithstanding.
We continue to have hope for video’s ability to serve mankind. As some of our readers know, we’ve taken action outside of our company by starting a charity in 2008 named One Mobile Projector per Trainer (OMPT). It is our greatest expectation that the work of OMPT will empower the world’s poorest billion people to make video which serves them best in their plight to lift themselves out of poverty. OMPT sends volunteers who have joined Videomakers Without Borders to train the staff members of charities and non-government organizations (NGOs) to make simple videos. NGOs are the experts of local intervention, and OMPT seeks to empower them with video technology and training that can be implemented in areas with little to no electricity. Because of OMPT’s work, the poorest communities living in geographically isolated areas can now have access to the training and resources to overcome poverty.
As I look forward to Videomaker’s next 30 years, I won’t try to predict what developments in video technology will occur or what changes these will bring to the way we create and interact with media. I will only hope that we, as video creators, will continue to hone our craft in order to create better videos — and a better world.
For more on Videomaker’s mission, take a look back at “A 1992 Conversation with Matt York”.
Matthew York is Videomaker's Publisher/Editor.