Sounds like a cry from the succession of a new monarch but traditional video as we know it is in decline, possibly dying, and the new “king” is in succession.
The attention span of viewers is becoming shorter and the amount of content bombarding corporate executives is growing. This makes people time poor, whist remaining hungry for new ways to absorb information in a better way. Video is a perfect fit for many people who prefer to watch their content rather than read. Changes in viewer expectation, mostly spurred on through social media, is lowering the expected standard in many situations. People are now expecting their professional environment to match what they accept at home.
The market space for traditional “corporate” videos is becoming stagnant. There will always be a need for professional support to create quality content that is high in production value created by experienced professionals. However, this style of video is being overtaken by the need for much more content that is a bit rough around the edges, but cheap and easy to do. There is a growing need for disposable video with a shorter shelf life and much smaller more targeted viewing audience. One way to meet this change is for people to film themselves and accept a lower overall production quality.
In the same way that budget airlines and Uber have affected customer habits for transportation, the explosion of social media and YouTube is now also having an impact right across the corporate video production industry, changing the perception of what is “good” to watch. This change is also having a direct impact on the television industry which has been largely unchanged for many years.
Who would have thought that Amazon would become a major global player in television production and delivery, well that time is coming fast and is the future of broadcasting. I fear the future is bleak for traditional broadcast organisations unless they make wholesale changes and fast. The new broadcasters are fast to adapt to changes in viewer expectation and respond to what they want in a format they want to receive it in. The broadcasters are not adapting quickly enough, preferring to give us endless variations on legacy formats and programme ideas that have been the same for many years. People are becoming bored with this and switching to alternative forms of entertainment.
All of this has had a direct impact on what companies are prepared to spend on their video content. The current “just in time” mentality means that advanced planning utilising external resources is deemed a luxury. The expectation is to film something today and then make up the story later. Consequently the employment of external film crews is becoming less common with companies having a go themselves on whatever equipment they have to hand. It is now possible to capture high quality images from basic equipment that was not possible even a few years ago. Whether the industry likes it or not, changing technology makes it possible to record good quality images and video on mobile phones. The quality of video cameras is also set to improve with a lowering price point making this a viable proposition to many more people.
Companies are using video more, but they use it differently, gathering footage themselves with little or no understanding of the basics or knowing where to begin. So where does that leave the corporate production industry in the future? Well, in short, they need to adapt to the changing market and provide companies with what they need. By helping companies to shoot footage themselves and guide them on the editing process they can remain relevant and viable. Simply just supplying the same services is no longer acceptable to a technology savvy client, they have to offer and do more to suit the changing expectation.
The good news for the industry is that editing and post production are likely to remain as sought after skills. Pointing a camera for simple things is perceived as relatively easy to do, but editing remains a time consuming and fiddly process. Editing is a blend of understanding production values and combining this with keyboard skills around the software. By working with supplied content a good editor can correct pretty much anything thrown their way, be this colour grading, framing, adjusting and balancing the audio, blending in music and captions and so on. The production values that are applied to high end productions are still relevant to even the lowest cost project. The trick for the industry is to give the customer what they need and with a fast turnaround and at the right price point. The customer then take the benefit from the immediate filming requests they receive knowing that they can be supported in the back end with professional editing. This will allow the customer to focus on their day job which is more than likely to be more complex with more time pressure than ever before. Taking the time to edit doesn’t fit their diary but half an hour to film the CEO does.
Through providing correct training and support, the industry that I have been part of for decades can remain relevant and help clients to do more but with less money.
So the future is bright for the video industry. It might not be in the way that we all used to work, but if we are to survive we need to learn and adapt to the new ways of corporate thinking…. Long live video!
By Tim Hore, Technical Director, Tympani Productions
Tympani has been working with many global organisations since 2001 as well as with healthcare trusts and educational establishments. Based on backgrounds in broadcast television and a desire to help people to learn new skills, we help companies with face to face training using phones to film and basic edit steps to create short talking head type recordings.