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ted
12-07-2005, 01:48 PM
This would be a great place to ramble about how you see the changes that are effecting us.

Dear Video Professionals, As I sit here crossing the country with my wife, my laptop and a Computer Magazine, pondering the future of Video, it’s obvious we need to keep changing with technology.
Internet and “Mobile” Video is going to open thousands of possibilities for revenue. The need for content will move us from our comfortable roll in our video markets to new frontiers.
If we aren’t willing to re-direct our businesses we’ll surely follow the path of the dinosaurs.
Today, I’m reading about Roxio and Nero. Their new tools are making content editing and delivery easier. But with all these capabilities, there are many DEAD ENDS.
Each is powerful, but not complete.
Roxio is buggier, but has Two layer capabilities so you can do Pic-in-Pic or a super.
Nero has a better, easier to use interface and fewer bugs.
Both however limit what you can do. If you want or need powerful Picture or GFX editing, you’ll need Photoshop. If you want real video editing, you’ll need Premiere or other editing software. Then another program for better format delivery, (although both have improved on file formats).

Studying the formats and delivery “methods” of our new world, you’ll notice that it takes many applications to perform various tasks. What jobs can you get the most income from and more importantly WHAT NEW NEEDS CAN YOU CREATE in your market?

This is where we need to understand, no one product can do everything for all people. We need to understand that if we’re doing little DVD Authoring, basic tools like Nero/Roxio will do fine. If your bread and butter depend on DVD Authoring, you better have Photoshop to jazz up the GFX, Audio Programs, better Authoring software with fewer dead ends etc, etc, etc.

This is where NewTek fits in very well for many people. They have a pretty good Switcher, Editor, (which I make my income from and it does me very well), CG, (although I fought it forever), 3D Program, LW, Aura, basic DVD application etc.
But, we still need Photoshop, After Effects, Nero, Saw Pro, (Audio), and many others.

While I sometimes get testy with people whining about VT’s shortcomings that “it doesn’t do enough”, “I thank them” for pushing NewTek to add the tools you need.
We just have to remember, every program has GREAT Features, and UNFORTUNATE Dead ends.
Believe me, I’m pushing for features I need, one at a time. I’m a persistent Son of a Birch when I’m missing something I want. But if I need a tool to take me where my VT’s can’t take me, I’ve gotta supplement my tools to complete my daily routine.
VT gives me the ability to do so many things for so many clients. I’m doing a several thousand dollar gig in the next couple weeks because… I have a Switcher I normally wouldn’t use. But HEY, THE MONEY IS THERE, I’ll take it. Nice to have an all around tool like VT.
I’m not sure what NewTek will be doing in the next several months, but I’ll guarantee they will have many tools to make our lives better. Probably some we haven’t even thought of. Some will probably be different then they have offered before. Hopefully they’ll keep the “Swiss Army” of production, VT.
I’m sure I’ll be using them and many others during my day.

Any ways, keep learning, evolving, stay flexible and we’ll see ya for many years to come.
I’m off to re-visit New York with my wife.

(Five Days Later) P.S. New York was great, but now I’m “snowed in” in Dallas and will have to wait until tomorrow to get back to sunny California.

UnCommonGrafx
12-07-2005, 02:00 PM
Quite encouraging words.

nthused
12-08-2005, 07:21 AM
Very insightful.

ted
12-08-2005, 04:13 PM
Hoping to have others chime in on how their world will be changing.
For us, the high end :30 commercial market seems to be moving to cheaper options. I've built up a great team of an Audio Studio, GFX Department, Top notch lighting director from the Hollywood movie industry and top notch studio and facilities.

A lot of my competition is moving into their home studios and hiring cheap inexperienced help.

While there is still work out there, I'm seeing the need to supply content for the web, ipods, and video display advertising.

It's tough to move out of the comfortable nitch we've made, but we all gotta merge with the changes and stay on the ball, crystal ball that is. :hey:

ted
12-13-2005, 04:27 PM
For those of you who get POST Magazine, there are some insightful thoughts from those in the HD Production Business covering the Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the HD revolution.
If you don't get Post, you should. It covers the trends pretty good. In fact, I encourage you to get AND READ several of the monthly magazines. There is a ton of info to show us how little we understand of our industry. :question:

toby
12-15-2005, 10:33 PM
Offering HD media would be an edge against your cheaper competition, wouldn't it? You'll need to offer it eventually anyway -

ted
12-16-2005, 11:43 AM
Toby, not sure what you mean, but if I get you right,
Jumping in to HD before I NEED it and my clients can USE it means I've spent extra money on R&D and didn't get the latest tools released every 6 months for the same money.
Believe me, when I can benefit from a tool, I WILL buy. I don't believe in waiting till it's cheaper if I can make a profit from the capitol investment.
Having that "edge" is important, but not if my clients can't use it or won't pay for it.
All of our problem will be getting clients to pony up for the latest technology.

Mediaworx
12-16-2005, 01:59 PM
Great thread!! I run an in house production department for a high end wedding and conference center in a small to mid size market. With VT I am able to be on the cutting edge of event media production for a very affordable price. I see high end event media as an emerging market for video producers and content providers and VT is IMHO the only product that can provide me with almost everything I need to dazzle clients. Mind you, in my area it doesn't take much to dazzle. We not only serve our in house clients but outsource to anyone in the community who needs our services. While there are other videographers in the area, noone can touch the scope of what we can do with VT.

VT also allows us to offer a much higher end product at a very affordable price. We are starting to get the attention of some heavy hitters. Tuesday we did a 3 camera live concert video for The Beach Boys. We handle all of the events for the national poultry industry and 2 electric companies. We did a wedding recently where a portion of the grooms' family was affected by Katrina and couldn't make the occassion in person. Thanks to VT, we did a 3 camera live switch, hard drive capture, and live webcast all from the same machine at the same time.

In addition to video production we also do all our own audio production utilizing my 16 track studio that I built for under $10,000. We have produced radio spots, voice overs for training DVD's, as well as audio post for a documentary. And because the studio is portable, we are going to start marketing live concert recordings this year as well.

I like when Ted says stay flexible. Maybe live production is not where you want to be. Maybe post production is what does it for you. That's cool but remember, the video production industry is following the home studio revolution of the audio industry several years back. Those that were rigid and didn't ride the tide are now gone, while those that chose to be flexible and capitalize on this new era found new markets, new pricing structures, and in some cases a whole new focus and energy for their business.

Before I bought our VT system, I researched for a year before purchasing. I looked at where I wanted to be in 5 years and looked at where VT had been 5 years prior. What I saw was a consistent track record of new features, improved stablility, and a willingness to listen to the end users. These are rare qualities in this or any industry these days. From where I sit, Newtek will have my business for a long time, even if they don't cater to my every desire.

ted
12-16-2005, 06:56 PM
Mick, nice use of the VT, allowing family members from afar to view the services!

Re: "Our Businesses", just today we went to the local Advertising Association Christmas party and networked with some of the other Production Companies.
We all agreed, the video industry as a whole is shifting and while some hadn't done anything about it, most of us are watching closely and are planning to have meetings about these changes.

toby
12-16-2005, 11:34 PM
Toby, not sure what you mean, but if I get you right,
Jumping in to HD before I NEED it and my clients can USE it means I've spent extra money on R&D and didn't get the latest tools released every 6 months for the same money.
Believe me, when I can benefit from a tool, I WILL buy. I don't believe in waiting till it's cheaper if I can make a profit from the capitol investment.
Having that "edge" is important, but not if my clients can't use it or won't pay for it.
All of our problem will be getting clients to pony up for the latest technology.
Of course I understand that, believe me I'm not one to say 'jump on brand new technology, because it's cool'.

It just seems to me that's how bigger businesses in this industry stay out in front of the little guy, who can easily create broadcast quality 3d at home. Naturally it depends on your client, and whether they're trying to stay out in front of their competition, but I figured you might have some high-end clients that would like to dazzle their target audience with HD.

ted
01-20-2006, 08:54 PM
With so much changing I did a quick survey of my local TV Stations and Agencies. The results surprised me.

The chief engineer of the most HD advanced station told me he could not take HD from me and broadcast it for about a year. These are the guys buying 3 HD Studio cameras this quarter. :question:
The assistant chief from a second Network affiliate told me the same thing and the other 2 affiliates were behind his and the first station's timeline.

I inquired, what if I brought the material on a HD or Blue Ray DVD or other format AND THE DECK? They couldn't air it for about a year by their plans. They can only pass Network HD for now.

This was an informal interview, and they admitted these are estimates by their current timeline and could change.
But I thought it was interesting that my survey showed this kind of timeline.

Our Agencies liked the idea of capturing current spots in HD and down converting for the dubs for now. But they didn't think most of their clients would pay "much" more for a benefit they couldn't fully utilize yet.
Great info for just the price of buying them lunch! :D

The results have helped me decide that I'll "Probably" be investing into a lower/midrange HD camera for acquiring uncompressed HD footage, but waiting for any high end camera and deck expense till hopefully next year.
That Panny 200 is looking better again. I'll just get 2-4 P2 cards and the P2 Store for now.

I'm taking these changes seriously and doing my homework before making investment decisions. I hope you guys are sizing up your market to decide when and how deep to jump into the newer technology.
I'm also searching for new opportunities for projects that do need HD soon.

What's going on in your markets? I'd like to hear.

LW_jackn
01-23-2006, 11:30 AM
Just when you thought you'd spent enough money...

:D :p

ted
01-26-2006, 11:23 PM
Here is a review on several "HD" 1/3" CCD cameras.
http://www.dv.com/features/features_item.jhtml?articleId=177103305
If that dosn't work go to DV.com and find the review on cameras.
Overall, it found all the 1/3" CCD cameras they compared did a good job compared to the 2/3" CCD cameras they reviewed. At least when taking the price into consideration!
Each had pro's and cons, but were pretty close. Makes me think the recording options will start separating the field.
Anyhoo, good reading.

PeteF
01-27-2006, 10:14 AM
With all the changes in the corporate environment, the bottom-line has become a top priority: cost.

My greatest job security as an in-house producer has been how relatively cheap I can produce similiar or better quality vs. traditional outside shops. Those shops still using equipment financed by second mortgages. Where my entire production equipment is equivalent in cost the price of then new BETA SP camera. So, technology has certainly helped, but only if taken proper advantage of. That's where expertise comes into play.

Allow me to elbaborate. Even if every young greasy faced kid on the block is able to afford a decend DV cam and basic Edit suite, and can underbid the highend folks. You still need the same skillset to make the tools work. That can only come with experience. Once your done reading the manual, you still have to face the fact that production is a chore and an artform. Even if the brush is slicker, cheaper, faster. Our brains behind them have not been upgraded. You either have it, or you don't.

Put it another way. I'm reminded of a story about Henry Ford, and I'm not sure about the details or any truth, but the lesson in story rings true:

Henry Ford hired a well known electrical engineer to get his new model-T assembly line going. One day the line shut down, and the engineer had to be called in to fix it. After a few minutes of fiddling with wires, the system was up and running.

Later, Mr. Ford was shocked to get a bill for $1000. He called upon the man, indicating that the amount was ridiculous for simply "fiddling with wires", and ask that the bill be itemized.
Ford received the new itemized bill, and there were too line items:

1. For fiddling with wires, $1.00
2. For knowing which wires to fiddle with, $999.00

LW_jackn
01-27-2006, 11:29 AM
...Henry Ford hired a well known electrical engineer to get his new model-T assembly line going. One day the line shut down, and the engineer had to be called in to fix it. After a few minutes of fiddling with wires, the system was up and running.

Later, Mr. Ford was shocked to get a bill for $1000. He called upon the man, indicating that the amount was ridiculous for simply "fiddling with wires", and ask that the bill be itemized.
Ford received the new itemized bill, and there were too line items:

1. For fiddling with wires, $1.00
2. For knowing which wires to fiddle with, $999.00

Hah hah... That's good!

ted
01-27-2006, 12:28 PM
Pete, sooooo true!
We've built our company on experienced and talented people, along with customer service. This has done well for us. But that is beginning to change.

It has gotten harder in our market with more and more people working so cheap.
Last week I had a 20 year old tell me he's working 80 hours a week. But he's not making enough to move out of mom and dads house! This kid IS talented and I told him to stop whoring out his work and killing the market. So what if you don't get every gig. Wouldn't it be nice to only work 40 hours and afford to live better?

My lighting Director who's worked on over a dozen A movies and over 30 B Movies moved here from Los Angeles a few years back. The reason was because the industry was moving to cheaper countries and the work that was being done was at sub-livable wages.
Unfortunately price is becoming more of a deciding factor in the industry.

That's why I am telling people, go out and find new sources of revenue BEFORE the industry changes away from you. I've seen many of my competitors go out of business the last couple years.

That's what this thread is about. All of us need to see what others are doing. Thanks for reaffirming that experience and quality are not dead. It's just becoming more of a chore to sell that to clients! :goodluck:

PeteF
01-28-2006, 10:30 AM
Oh I hear you. Most any reputable book on the subject of graphics arts has something to say about what your fee structure should be. Most tend to echo that you should set it much higher, and that you don't want to underbid. It's unfair to the competition and to yourself.

Personally, I don't want every job. When I feel that a the client is on the cheap, I run away, in fear that I may be left holding the bag.

I also think what makes it tough for shops that have a well establish clientele, is the longterm relationships formed by individuals at the corporations, whose turn-over has been so rampant these days, have gone. Suddenly you find that a good long-standing account has been lost, because the new guy or gal now in charge want's to look elsewhere. Especially since this years budget is less than last years.

Pete