Is corporate video dead? Gosh, no.
Since the first electrons burbled from a black-and-white studio camera seemingly right into our home television sets, we’ve been fascinated with seeing ourselves on the screen. I don’t mean that literally, of course.
I just mean that we identify with human beings, and we invest ourselves in them to better enjoy the outcome of a story, whether it’s reality TV or a Hollywood picture. Animations sometimes serve, but not as a well-balanced diet.
YouTube is a testament to video.
Some people say that YouTube is the way, and that company executives everywhere will soon be handing their spouses (or their kids!) a consumer video camera and expecting to watch their stories go viral. Who needs a professional videographer anymore?
Yes, there are the occasional successes of an amateur videographer. But video today is no different than early desktop publishing.
Back then, many foresaw the demise of true graphic design. What we REALLY saw was the demise of archaic equipment — huge printing presses, typesetting machines, and the like. Good graphic design will always be a skill. Yes, sometimes an inherent skill. But never a worldwide fluke.
Likewise, video will always tell a story. Sometimes that story will be 25 seconds on the TV news. Sometimes 30 seconds as a commercial. Sometimes 7 minutes at a fundraising dinner. Always two hours on the silver screen. But there will be a story and the requisite skill to tell it. Not to mention the skill it takes to make sure all privacy rights and copyright issues are covered.
After all, we’ve had pens, paper, typewriters, and white-out for decades now — and instead of EVERYONE publishing a novel, typically we only have competent authors do so.
As a professional scriptwriter and producer, I am personally thrilled when I see an amateur videographer’s homegrown techniques and new ideas. And one reason is because, on sites such as YouTube, these snippets enter our cultural lexicon. They make it possible for us, as professionals, to use these rough ideas and snippet concepts and have a bit of fun ourselves. If you’ll notice, “shaky cam” techniques such as the hoax perpetrated by the Blair Witch Project have been adopted when we want to show “amateurish” videographers, for instance.
Anyway, every now and then even someone in the business asks me whether I have confidence that video making will survive as a profession.
My answer is “yes” … however, we’re already showing our flexibility, incorporating interactive concepts as well as web concerns. Few clients want a steady diet of plain vanilla videos anymore. They want them to stop, start, have touch screen effects, be music videos. The Internet has really upped the ante.
But what industry hasn’t changed significantly every 30 years or so?