I remember several years a


I remember several years ago, when I bought my first CD burner for $400. It was a 4x drive. I vaguely recall paying about $100 for a 25 pack of CD-R’s. Today, the guy who runs the computer store down the road gives them away because they’re worthless to him, and you can buy 100 48x or better CD’s for under $10 in places.

Just a few years ago, I dropped a whopping $650 on my state of the art 2x/4x capable DVD +/-R drive, and almost $100 for 10 DVD-R’s. I saw an ad in the paper on Sunday for a 16x DVD burner for $29, and I can buy DVD’s for about a quarter each.

Sure, I COULD drop a grand on this burner (which takes 45 minutes to burn one disc!), and spend another grand on enough disks to maybe get me through a month. But I’ve already made that mistake twice in my life. Besides, in my mind, I still have to deal with the issues that:

1 – There’s still no guarantee that blu-ray will emerge as the consumer standard, and it wouldn’t be the first time that a superior product invented by Sony took the wayside to a more affordable solution. Can we all say "Beta"?

2 – I still don’t think it’s the right time for event videographers to move into High Def. For Television broadcast or "prerecorded" stuff such as promo videos, etc, hi-def is quickly becoming a must have. But the vast majority of my work is live event videography, where there’s usually not a makeup team that will prepare those on the video with the intentions of being filmed. This means that unlike staged events, whre the intent is to produce a video, the bride/groom/others will all be in "normal" makeup (or lack thereof) which means that all Hi-def is going to do is make every single wrinkle, blemish, and mark stand out.

3 – High definition video cameras are still being perfected. It can take years before a product is debugged. Like software, cameras are usually pretty rough in their first edition, and need to be updated. That’s why Sony didn’t stop with the VX-2000, and Canon didn’t give up the XL-1 or the GL-1. On all three of those cameras, serious performance improvements were made, and it wasn’t even very long before their updated counterparts started production. We’re still early in the pioneer era of hi-def. People are trying out new things, coming up with new concepts, and not for another year or two, in my mind, will the hi-def field become one that I would be comfortable entering into. Sure, I can drop $10,000 today to get all the cool hi-def stuff. But what’s thepoint? None of my competition are doing hi-def yet. None of them want to from what I can tell. And next year, the price on all this stuff will drop substantially, moreso in another year when the next generation of hi def cameras come out.

Plus, if I spend $20,000 or better today to upgrade to hi-def, it will be a big financial hit to my business. But here’s the rub. When the other competitors see that On a Roll has gone hi-def, they’re going to do the same if only to keep up with the competition. I’ve seen them do it before. Heck, I’ve done it myself before. But if they wait a year, they might only pay $10,000 for what I’ve spent $20,000 to get this year, which means that unless I make an additional $10,000 this year by switching to hi-def, I’m the loser in the local area.

4 – Finally, every minor glitch is accentuated in high definition. the camera gets slightly bumped, and it’s astoundingly obvious. minor issues that are easy to fix in post now could become monsters that give me editing nghtmares. I’m not really ready for that challenge yet, personally.

I’m not against high definition. Quite the opposite. I would love to have hi-def gear now, and I do believe it will be the future of video. Until we can figure out how to record and display video in true 3-D, hi-def will be the most impressive thing we can have. I think in a few years, I’ll likely switch to high definition, once the technology stabilizes more, and the prices drop. But for today, my plain old DVD burners and affordable disks are the way I’m going.

Plus, there’s NO WAY my wife would EVER let me spend $1000 on a disc drive! πŸ™‚

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