Let's face it: Almost anyone can make a video nowadays. This is a quantum leap in accessibility from just a few short years ago. Much of this comes by way of emerging technologies such as hand-held consumer-grade cameras and intuitive consumer editing software. We really are living in the golden age of video production—and digital production in general. However, it's not the "golden age" for the big profits of old. Ask any producer who was around 10-20 years ago and they'll testify. But this is not to say that for our clients it has gotten much lighter on the wallet.
As our culture became ever more visual, bringing communications to life with moving pictures became an essential commodity to both businesses and home users alike, giving rise to vast improvements technologically and procedurally. It seemed the ever-increasing demand for video was insatiable, making for a marketplace that gobbled up even "really bad" video.
Insidiously, however, the paradigm changed. This once-maligned "really bad" video suddenly became "art." Enter Reality Television. The market, it seemed, was becoming satisfied with movie making by the proletariat. Today, it's not uncommon for a top executive's PowerPoint presentation to be filled with clips his intern or junior account managers may have taken with their smart phone and edited on YouTube. This changing tide of professional acceptability carries with it the cry:
"It's the content, stupid!"
Because of this, there are now cottage industries dedicated solely to housing this content. Sites like YouTube and Vimeo make immeasurable content available and accessible to anyone, anytime with a simple Internet connection. And the address doesn't seem to matter. Companies are rapidly replacing their mega servers housing their video content with a simple YouTube or Vimeo embed.
One of the things that hasn't changed, though is the fact that many content producers still have clients—and client reviews.
Nowadays, producers are able to send an unlisted or private link to their clientele with a low to medium rez program on the other end where they can share their comments right there in the "Comments" section of the video.
Not only has the gear gotten better by leaps and bounds, but at the same time—because of ubiquitous user-driven content—the acceptable limits of quality have continued to spiral downward. What was once considered "unacceptable" by professional standards is now understood and is given a long leash. What were once home movies are now shared with the world, generating millions of views and even motivating advertisers into action. Case in point: the annoying ads on YouTube that play before your video starts.
So, is this changing face of production a good thing, a bad thing? Really, it is merely another tributary of the free market. It's certainly not the first time technology has been given over to the masses to flirt with and drive the bus commercially down the road. Things like the GoPro camera—developed for adventurists like hang gliders, motocross riders and surfers—are now employed in many high-zoot commercials and films.
In the end, this change in production process, techniques and gear is certainly good for the general consumer; making editable moving pictures is now very simple. For production professionals it is "sort of" good insomuch as technology, intuitiveness and general ease of use have made life on the set and in the edit suite much less burdensome. Plus everything continues to decrease in size including the cost of digital memory. But it's been REALLY good for the manufacturers of the new consumer-grade gear and entrepreneurs who have invented ways to make hay with the vacuum of this new market. One can expect that video and other forms of digital production will continue to get even more intuitive and less expensive for both the professional as well as the layperson.