An interesting phenomenon occurs just before a tidal wave hits: the ocean sucks away from the beach and is drawn out into the sea. This brief receding of the water can deceive unknowing observers, giving the appearance that the ocean is withdrawing. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite. The withdrawing waters instead stack up, fueling a massive tidal wave that pushes inland beyond the normal reach of the beach with untold power, leaving mass destruction in its wake. In recent years, the video production community has seen something similar happen.
The advent of cell-phone video made anyone with a phone a ‘videographer’ and anyone with an Internet connection a ‘broadcaster.’ With innumerable cameras in the hands of untrained shooters, the Internet quickly became flooded with bad videos of cats and pranks and caught-on-camera catastrophes. It seemed that high-quality productions, created with adeptness of lighting, audio, shot composition, edit sequencing and storytelling would be sucked out into the sea, never to return. But now, just as many of us look wide-eyed at the blank beaches that used to sparkle with well-made media, a tidal wave seems to be building in the distance. Popular new programs and series created for HBO and Netflix are drawing attention once again to the beauty of cinematography and the art of engaging an audience with motion pictures. As people take notice, they are being drawn to look again for impeccable productions that are both engaging and artful.
As people take notice, they are being drawn to look again for impeccable productions that are both engaging and artful.
As talented makers of media look at the opportunity that YouTube affords them, more and more serious producers with aspirations of growing an audience are creating high-quality original program content specifically for release on YouTube. YouTube is now even beginning to highlight and promote videos with higher production quality and more substantive content. Could it be that there is in fact a growing wave of high-quality media about to impact the world as a new wave of producers compels viewers to crave quality content? Could it be that the age of cheap media is coming to an end, as viewers seek more premium content? It could be.
Just as the oceans rise and fall with the tides, trends in culture tend to ebb and flow over time. Solomon, the wise King of the Old Testament, observed that there is nothing new under the sun. There is no new tale to tell. This often looks like the swinging of a pendulum. Trends and styles of every kind move in and out of vogue. Everything old will one day be new again. This phenomenon of human nature suggests that if you don’t care for whatever the current style or trend is, all you have to do is wait and something else will take its place.
And so, we watch as the rising wave of high-quality video production builds offshore. And as we watch and wait, we must also work. If a true resurgence of appreciation for high-quality video production is growing, there will assuredly be a demand for better media, and a need for masterful media makers. This does not mean that we should anticipate any sort of drought in the crazy cat video department, but rather that discerning audiences might once again crave something more than home videos of people getting hit in the crotch. The question is, what kind of content are you creating? In this continuing era of online engagement, opportunity is yours for the taking. Keep making compelling content with excellent production value, and get ready to ride the wave.
Matthew York is Videomaker‘s Publisher/Editor.