In the Coal Mine

I’ve been thinking a lot about this crazy period we find ourselves in. I watched my musician friends get creamed by the digital revolution. People who had good steady livelihoods became salesmen to survive, or accepted big cuts in pay. We all celebrate the democratization of technology, but there’s a dark side. When everybody has access to the tools, the craft gets devalued. The film business used to be recession-proof. But something different is going on now.

What we’re seeing is the democratization of distribution. When live video from a spill-cam a mile under the gulf is more interesting than talking heads on CNN and Fox, you know the world has tilted on its axis. With an iPhone you can shoot, edit and distribute on a device that fits in your pocket. That is the wind that is blowing through out world. What will media look like when the storm passes? What stories will we tell? I’m sure I don’t know. But the ride isn’t over.

On that happy note, come on out to the LAFCPUG meeting tonight and take a look at Media Composer 5. I’ll be presenting, along with Steve Kanter, who will offer some Final Cut Pro tips for Avid-ites. It promises to be an ecumenical evening and a fitting way to celebrate the group’s ten-year anniversary. The raffle will include a copy of MC5 and a raft of other stuff, as well.

Explore posts in the same categories: Media and Society, Quality of Life

3 Comments on “In the Coal Mine”

  1. Mark Keefer Says:

    Hi Steve,

    Good post, and I agree it has become so “normal” for everyone to have abilities to record/edit/distribute, that it muddies the water. It is hard as well, to continue to compete with the guys who’ll do the job for 1/4 of the going rate, even though the quality suffers. I guess we as an industry, need to care more about quality again.

    BTW, I was at the LAFCPUG meeting last night. I’ve been an editor on FCP (professionally) for about 2 years now. I really enjoyed your presentation.

    As a Pro Tools user for the last ~15 years, it’s great to see the audio side of AVID take on more and more characteristics of it’s audio brother. (Smart tool, RTAS plug-ins, etc) This should help integrate projects between AVID and PT with more ease, plus it seems like editors will gain a more PT-like vocabulary for audio, again helping the communication between the picture and audio worlds. Thanks again for sharing. I’ll be reading!

  2. Steve Says:

    Thanks, Mark. That’s definitely Avid’s goal — to bring the different parts of the company together. You’re right that the Smart Tool is a PT concept. Hopefully, this is just the beginning.


  3. Brendan Says:

    Great, albeit scary, comments, Steve. I’m young in the industry, but I’ve seen some of these changes in just the 3.5 years I’ve been full-time at the post house I’m at now.

    For example, most of our business is corporate communications and more and more of our clients are choosing to bring their own footage, shot on anything from an HDV camera to a cellphone, rather than paying us to shoot. “Good enough” sums up some of the change that is occurring, and Scott Simmons linked to an article a few months ago from Wired Magazine that describes the phenomenon perfectly:

    A lot of bloggers and journalists have made parallels to the desktop publishing revolution and its effects on the print industry in the late 80s and early 90s. The summary: the gravy days of just owning the gear being enough to make money in the business are over.

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