Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › General › Video and Film Discussion › I QUIT…. Working for nothing.
January 4, 2013 at 7:08 AM #53127
January 4, 2013 at 7:47 AM #205523gldnearsMember
" Anyone else feel the video industry has had its day? "
The Video biz is suffering the same fate as what professional photography went through when the early Nikon 35mm still cameras hit the US market a few decades ago. Suddenly back then " anybody/everybody " could afford the gear required to take some really nice photographs; and presto, there were tens of thousands new professional photographers in business. Today one can buy a " professional " quality camcorder for $3K to $4K which rivals the abilities of broadcast camcorders which twenty years ago cost $25K to $30K. This, coupled with high unemployment , and why not give the video business a try? Of course, magazines such as Videomaker feed the notion that " anybody " can become a video professional. The bottom feeders wind up undercutting each other to the point that it's damn hard to make enough money to pay off the credit card which bought the gear. A precious few entrants actually have the ability to learn the craft beyond being able to turn on the camera and punch the red button . . . . even thought they have been encouraged to jump in by all the gear manufacturers ( and their shills ) who assure them that they can become really good at it if only the novice buys – – – – – – – – fill in the blank. After all, we all watch TV, right? How hard could it be since we can see what's being recorded as it goes down? And isn't it remarkable ( as someone pointed out ) that even some dramatic productions deliberately shoot with shaky camera, jerky pans, odd angles, quick rack focuses, etc, etc, in order to impart some sort of " realistic look " in place of a production style which focuses on the story instead of the technical?
I guess I'm part of the " problem ". I have really enjoyed shooting home movies ever since I bought a Sony Hi8 in ' 91. I now have a couple semi-pro Panasonic camcorders, some rudimentary lights, a variety of mics and separate sound recorder, a powerful desktop computer with Adobe CS5.5, . . . . and I shoot what interests me, never charging a nickle.
And by the way. I am totally convinced that the " popularity " of the DSLR craze is fundamentally created by the equipment manufacturers who prey upon the novice's insecurities that they may not have the " best " gear. Some newbie gets fixated on " shallow depth of field ", perhaps not even really understanding how to achieve it, before he has any understanding of lighting or scene composition, etc.
There! I feel better now!
January 4, 2013 at 9:26 AM #205524composite1Member
Rick is correct in that you don't try to compete in the 'race to the bottom'. It's been said here many, many times here on the forums that video production is not free. You may do the work for little or no pay, but it still costs money to do. Digital does cut out many of the old costs, but incurs new ones. Tape was being phased out due to the ability to perform direct recording to flash media and portable harddrives. But now lots of companies are moving back to recording on tape because it's so much cheaper and more reliable to archive footage.
Yes, students can do production work sometimes very well. However, they don't have the experience or infrastructure to handle projects when problems arise. Clients who opt for going with a student or an 'Uncle Bob' with a consumer grade camera because it's cheap get what they paid for. YouTube is a big cause of people getting used to crap production values and accepting them in their projects. Thing is, when clients want to up their game they will have to turn to individuals or companies who have the experience and talent to get them to that level. They will have to pay for that level of expertise.
Problem is, there's only so much room for that business. The good news is, more and more businesses are coming to the realization that they must have video on their company sites and it must be professional quality. Those of us who have the experience and skill must stay in the game as best we can because the 'crap bubble' will eventually burst.
January 4, 2013 at 12:32 PM #205529JackWolcottParticipant
There are thousands of jewelry stores across the country. Tiffany doesn't seem to worry! You want costume jewelry, go to Joe the Jeweler! Want proven excellence, go to Tiffany.
Dozens of "video production" companies have sprung up in our neck of the woods over the past ten years, started by video enthusiasts who think video production would be fun, or easy. Almost all have fallen by the wayside, disappearing after a year or two. I tracked video companies for our business association several years ago by searching the web for their web sites. In a single year, 37 companies vanished.
The kids will go out and buy consumer cameras, put up a web site and hope for the best. Folks seeking a videographer for a two year olds birthday or for a $500 wedding package may hire them and they'll make a few bucks. But a year later most will have realized that working in a liquor store or a Starbucks provides a much more regular income and probably has a brighter future; they'll turn their video enthusiasm toward family outings and holidays. Those few that survive in the business will have done so because they've learned how to provide excellence.
It's true that what once was the preserve of professionals — shooting and editing analog video — has been invaded by digital video: cheap DSLRs, iPods and Pads, phones of every shape and size and dozens of inexpensive consumer cameras. But as others have pointed out, what is lacking is the training, the discriminating eye, the ability to produce under pressure and, most importantly, the artistry, that separates the professional from the amateur.
People who need video to enhance their bottom line — small businesses and large corporations — tend to come to a solid, well established production company rather than turn to an unproven provider.
I doubt the Tiffany's of the production world have much to worry about.
January 4, 2013 at 6:16 PM #205533CvilleParticipant
The video business is no different than other business. You Have to be able To adapt and change and occasionally re-invent your business. Or sometimes you have to get out.
Sure the market and competition has changed but there are also more outlets for video that didn't exist just a few years ago.
I'll give you a non video example. A couple of years ago in a community near me the Walmart wanted to expand to a super Walmart. Some of chain grocery stores were up in arms about how that would hurt their business. They seem to forget it is exactly what they did to the mom and pop grocery stores 40 years ago. If you look around you can still find some mom and pop operations that are in the business because the specialized. They couldn't compete withe the chains so they had to find something they could do better.
Professional still photographers are still making a living out there even with all the great inexpensive Dgital cameras out there. Their business models have changed over the last few years but they are still there. I'm sure some of them also got out of the business.
For me I'm not trying to make a living doing video but I'm also not out there tring to undercut the pro that is. I won't take jobs that I'm not going to make money on unless it is an organization that I want to donate my time to.
Just my 2 cents worth.
January 5, 2013 at 1:39 AM #205537
Just to play devils advicate, hasn't some good come of the situation too? What about folks like myself who would have never been able to afford the thought of photography/videography back in film days. I used to go through 50 rolls of film at a single day at an airshow and my parents had to foot the bill. Now I shoot about 2,000 images a day at an event and have been able to finely tune the art of aviation photography. I've been able to get some images published and am working on my own gigs this summer. I'm a bit of the problem as many folks say, as I know I'm a noob (to video now) and I am the first to let people I work with know that. Unlike many folks, I don't pretend be professional filmmaker. But I am thankful for some very generous friends in the aviation industry who are willing to be my guinea pigs.
There has to be a few folks out there who have turned out to be extremely tallented filmmakers simply due to availability. Heck, J.J. Abrams gives a really great TED presentation on how he thinks the advent of YouTube is so great becasue of this. Greater availability equals greater competition which equals an overal greater product.
January 5, 2013 at 3:39 AM #205538
Thanks for your input.
I should have mentioned that I have been in the business myself for 28 years full time and have seen alot of changes, with two major ones – Rock bottom prices and amateur quality!
Jack.. I don`t think we can compare video production with a jewellry chain due to the start up costs involved.
Not everyone can start a jewellry business on a small budget of say £2500.00 or maybe less (More like £100.000 for a jewellers) which not many mortals can even contemplate.
There will not be that much competition.
Cheap grants, loans, business startups and even students with free equipment makes competition unbearable and stops everyone from making a full time living at it anymore.
Students doing it for free for a credit on their CV!
Wait untill they get in the real world of survival!!
This is the problem.
Anyone can now get into the video business and call themselves professionals by buying the cheap gear, building a cheap un-professional looking website, doing shoddy work and people (companies etc) will pay peanuts for it.
As more competition rises, standards drop and so does payment. It now a commoditiy.
The only winners are the equipment manufacturers who keep bringing out the next best thing every 2 years. Especially cameras.
Jesus… when I started out out the major systems were analogue UmaticSP and BetaSP. Look at it now its rediculous. Every broadcast station here in the uk has different criteria for formats. They don`t now their arse from their hand anymore.
Cville…. Don`t mean to sound rude but how can you say:
"The video business is no different than other business. You Have to be able To adapt and change and occasionally re-invent your business.
Then you say:
" For me I'm not trying to make a living doing video but I'm also not out there tring to undercut the pro that is. I won't take jobs that I'm not going to make money on unless it is an organization that I want to donate my time to."
Exactually. Your not making a living at it! So your input has gone under the carpet. Your doing it as a hobby, sideline,free or pin money.
"Greater availability equals greater competition which equals an overal greater product."
Greater availability equals greater competition which equals an overal cheaper product .. Full stop!!
Please dont take any of my comments as being rude.
But this is the reallity.
January 5, 2013 at 9:37 AM #205540CvilleParticipant
I don't take you as rude. I'm here to be part of the discussion. And I don't think that just because I'm not trying to make a living at negates my viewpoint.
I work on capital projects everyday from ten thousand to ten million dollars. You have to make a return on your investment.
There are thousands of low capital investment jobs out there and there will always be commodity type providers. My point is that things change and in most businesses you change or you end up out of business. I've seen people that are good at what they do and very creative but they can't run a business or they get so bogged down in the work they don't see what is going on around them and it's to late by the time they realized what's going on.
Coffee is a commodity but look what Starbucks has done with it. 🙂
January 5, 2013 at 7:53 PM #205544EarlCMember
"Of course, magazines such as Videomaker feed the notion that " anybody " can become a video professional." Rick Crampton
Actually, everybody, ANYBODY CAN become a video professional and it is a magazine like Videomaker that makes it remotely possible. Videomaker magazine offers opportunities to learn, this forum for video enthusiasts to ask and learn from, promotes the universality of video as a medium of expression for ALL levels of expertise, from hobbyiest to professional … self-proclaimed or otherwise.
There have ALWAYS been, as Jack was trying to point out (analogies be damned) the higher end, much admired and respected and approprietly priced BIG BOYS, as well as the scum sucking bottom feeders, to use terminology I've heard from time to time. And everything, every level between. Hey folks … it's all good.
None of us has, nor should we, a monopoly on any given trade, profession or business. Opportunity works at all levels and all degrees. There are people who would NEVER pay a fair (whatever THAT is) price for the services and products many of us are capable of providing. Does this mean there shouldn't be a service/product price point to serve the cheap-minded, or economy-minded consumer. No. Those who value and can afford luxery cars, top of the line products, name brands that aren't always all that and a bag of manure, will, those who do not or cannot will go with something more in line with their preference and pocketbook.
It is our individual option to serve the market niche we want, or can, or whatever. There's plenty of room for everybody, and as CVille points out, plenty of new markets in place for the go getter. Videomaker magazine is RIGHT to encourage any who would strive to learn, to achieve, to improve to do so, and that is good. If/when the market was exclusively top drawer people, in their eyes or the eyes of the high-end consumer, and nothing ese was available, the great equalizer of YouTube and other outlets/options, K-mart blue light specialists, WalMart and garage sale mentality would disappear and a lot more folks would go hungry.
So many times I hear the high and mighty lament that the scum sucking bottom feeders are diminishing the industry and to a degree is is lamentable that some will work for nothing or next to nothing, keeping the overall value and pricepoint of our products and services lower than we'd like, but that's just the nature of it all. We who want, who market, who diligently apply our trade and try to sustain and maintain a public perception of quality VS CRAP will do OK so long as we spend MORE time pursuing our own business options than we do blaming the cheapies for our lack of business accumen.
January 6, 2013 at 2:06 AM #205547EarlC-great response!This complaint is so old and is such BS.I hear the compliant of cameras becoming "too accessible" all the time. Those who complain get passed by and actually have something to worry about. Those who DO SOMETHING about it come up with brilliant ways of reinventing their products and becoming even more successful. My friend Lyle Jansma (AeroCapture Images) is a perfect example of this second type of individual. In almost 10 years of knowing him, we've seen competition for aviation photography jump from 2 to at least 40 covering the same events. He has grown his business each year, and is now invited all over the world to shoot a product he has developed himself, shooting "Cockpit 360" images for all sorts of aviation museums and collections. Not only is he thriving now, but he bends over backwards for the rest of us "bottom feeder scum" to have our own taste of success. He provides photography classes, and even hands-on, real-world practice shooting WWII aircraft in flight. (My first two flights in B-25 Mitchells were thanks to him, as well as my first ever air-to-air photo shoot… with an F8F Bearcat!) If he took the approach many complainers took, we'd all think he was a tool, and he would quickly earn a poor reputation and be surpassed in a blink of an eye. He refers me to magazine editors because he knows, 1: I will get the shot they need, when they need it, and 2: I am a substitute teacher desperate for any extra income I can get. He could easily come down and get the shots himself. He's an inspiration, role model, and mentor. He embraces competition, he encourages it, and helps out his fellow photographers.If you want to be successful, take some notes from him. If you're worried about lil' old me taking your job for free, you better start coming up with something I can't do, and consumers can't do without.He's making bank on projects I'm trying to do for free. I don't have a stinking snowballs chance in hell in taking anything from him (nor would I want to)!
January 7, 2013 at 10:20 AM #205559
It would be an idea for you to start doing videography for a living as your main source of income. Then you will fully understand the reality.
Would you quit your secure day job and do your videography full time?
I think not.
January 7, 2013 at 12:49 PM #205564designcbtsParticipant
Being "Semi-retired" has given me the flexibility to persue videography as a business…and business is BAD. That said, I keep creating my own projects. They keep me busy and help to build a portfolio. I am very lucky, I know. Anybody that is a one or two-man band has a tough row to hoe…
Will I keep my shingle open? Probably. The cost associated with making video is such that (after my initial investment) I pay for my gas, miniDV tapes and electricity. Therefore, I can hone my craft, learn from all you other videographers and possibly contribute to society with my efforts. Eventually I hope to have a steady (not booming) clientele. If I don't, it will be because I simply am not good enough to compete.
We also have to tap the new markets of Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and our own products.
For instance, My wife and I sell Sun Ovens, Shelf Reliance foods and storage and Tastefully Simple products. While it could be argued that we are undercutting "professional" companies, we stand to benefit drawing customers to OUR site. If you have something, besides videography, that you're passionate about why not promote your products or expertise?
January 7, 2013 at 6:38 PM #205576
As I've already stated, no, I do not want to do this "full time" as my main source of income. Oh, but I suppose since I am a substitute teacher only working maybe a couple days a week, one could say the income I get from photography is supporting my wife and I and helping keep our heads above water more than teaching. As irrevelant as you may hope my argument is, I do at least have something to back it up with.
But I do suggest you read the comment I posted previously, regarding my friend Lyle. His income is 100% photography. He's been reinventing himself, starting exclusively in real estate photography, then it went more 50/50 aviation/real estate, and now it's approaching 75/25 regarding aviation/real estate due to the fact he has reinvented his product to meet demands and competition. He has been invited to visit Normandy, France to cover D-Day anniversary events, Doolittle Raid anniversary events, air shows, the USAF museum in Dayton, Ohio, and many others because of his ambition and drive to be the best there is. Again, no complaints, no b****ing about everyone and their grandmother having access to decent camera equipment taking money from him. And as I said earlier, he's gone the other direction, encouraging all of us to take more photos, get better equipment, and telling us how to market ourselves, giving seminars alongside magazine publishers.
I used to be the only video guy covering aviation events in the area, but now that same friend is beginning to move into video more and more, as yet another way to corner the market and secure his income. I don't take that as an "Oh crap, these cameras are too accessable!" I take it as a challenge to take my very amateurish video to higher level. Also, one simly has to take a look at the quality of video within my niche. Everything within about a 100 mile radius of the events I cover is shot with T3i's or cell phones. Neither of which are good for anything other than inducing vomiting after 20 seconds.
And BTW, if this were my sole income, sure, you bet I'd be pretty frustrated about it. I don't blame you. It sucks. But comlpaining about it is a waste of time. Believe me, I have A LOT of crap to complain about right now.
But as a good friend told me, "you can sh** in one hand and hope in the other and see which gets filled first."
January 9, 2013 at 4:53 AM #205589Channel1ImagesParticipant
[quote=fight2flyphoto]This complaint is so old and is such BS. [/quote]
Ya go that right, I am old enough to remember the days when some of the pro's where wringing their hands and whining about all the newbies ruining the business with their new fangled 35mm SLR’s.
January 9, 2013 at 8:33 AM #205590PaulParticipant
hey guys im super new to the industry i havent even started my first class yet but i think these statements are true buisness is buisness as long as you are providing quality work and services you will always be on top
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