LIBRARY: Tutorials Reviews Interviews Editorials Features Business Authors RSS Feed

Entering the Age of Expertise

COW Library : Corporate Video : Tim Kolb : Entering the Age of Expertise
Entering the Age of Expertise


by Tim Kolb
Kolb Communications

©2001 Tim Kolb. All Rights Reserved. Used at CreativeCow.net by kind permission of the author.


Tim Kolb

Article Focus:
Creative Cow's Tim Kolb, looks at our changing profession and offers some insights he's gained in his thirteen year career that has won him multiple ITVA, Telly, American Advertising, and Emmy Award honors.

In the end, Tim concludes it isn't the kitchen that makes the cook.




In the video production business, we’ve traditionally been very impressed with what we pay for our hardware. We have told our clients, employees, competitors, and obnoxious relatives who became successful physicians and lawyers just how much our equipment costs in the course of conversation -- all just to really make the incredible gravity of our profession clear to them.

Suddenly, things are changing. Professional cameras (with recorders attached!) have broken the sub-ten thousand dollar range. On-line quality non-linear video editors can be purchased for less than the cost of a quality lawn tractor and some boxtops. Four strong men with a large, impressive truck are no longer needed to carry the large, impressive equipment to a location. Strange and exotic computers that are totally proprietary and require something just short of a shaman to operate seem slow and unnecessarily complex to use for post production these days.

What ever happened to the days when you could bring your brother-in-law down to the station on the weekends when he would visit and you could show him the wondrous sorcery that was your domain? There was the incredibly cryptic multi-colored keyboard in the CMX suite, the almost eerie power of the ArtStar, the sheer amazing tonnage of the (insert your favorite old, heavy, maintenance-intensive, unattractively painted studio camera here) and the amazing trip hazard of the fire department hose-sized cables required for it to operate.

Those were the days weren’t they? You could always count on being perceived as at least as skilled as the equipment you worked with was expensive. Equipment was big and complicated. In some places you had to possess the title of engineer to push the buttons on a studio VTR.

Things are different now. Anyone with a mild inheritance or a normal steady income for that matter, can afford to purchase tools that are of a technical quality level to do very professional work. DV camcorders that can be purchased at Appliance Empire Warehouse Club can turn out pictures that even the most cynical professional must admit are very good. Before you leave the big closeout sale, you could spend another three thousand bucks and buy yourself a complete video/audio post suite disguised as a home computer (with digital I/O no less!) and hang out a shingle before supper.

So what is to become of us dinosaurs? Those of us who were taught how to read a waveform monitor and vectorscope and to summon the almost surgeon-like steadiness-of-hand to wield the ever necessary tweaker to subcarrier-phase multiple cameras together? We may feel like questioning our future career path. Are our skills no longer needed? Will the market even pay for them any more?

Ultimately, my personal opinion has been the same all thirteen years I’ve spent in this field. It’s not the equipment that does good work. It never has been and never will be the equipment that accomplishes the tasks with which we are charged. There is, of course a segment of the high-end post production market that will always be focused on the latest and greatest technology because their clients know enough to be dangerous and pay enough to be deadly should they depart. For a large percentage of the rest of us, the client gives us a job to do after they have seen examples of our work, spoken with a few references, and are confident we can successfully communicate the message required. They do not ask or care about the model number of our camera, or the harddrive space currently tied to our post computers. These clients hire people to do a job, not equipment that comes with an operator included.

Over the next 5-10 years I fear we will be going through our own “desktop publishing” type evolution (we actually probably have about 3 years under our belt now). Notice the word “evolution” as opposed to “revolution.” Everything is always a revolution when we’re in the middle of it because change is so traumatic to us fragile human beings.

Looking back at the the desktop publishing “revolution” (I was there, I can call it that for historical perspective), I remember the polarization of the factions. The “If you think you can do quality typesetting on that stupid little half-screen computer, you’re nuts!” folks versus the “Laser printing is going to put you ink and roller fossils out of business -- Power to the People!” people. All that turmoil. All that really bad layout produced by people who had the money to equip themselves, but not the talent to typeset a grocery list. I’m sure most of us have heard the “forty different typefaces on a page-because I can” scenarios over the years.

Let’s look at the actual legacy of that time. Typesetting and layout is easier and more accessible. The people who were bad at layout did what people who are bad at any business do (no, not profit profusely from a dot-com IPO). A bad baker, car dealer, retail store or desktop publisher eventually goes out of business. On the other hand many skilled people had the chance to enter the field or go out on their own because of the advent of desktop publishing and they are flourishing. Printers are busier than ever because it’s so much easier to create a printed piece that more people are printing stuff. I’ve never heard anyone at a printing facility say “Boy, life sure was better back in the days of the razor blades and the waxers.” Revisions are easier than ever (people with indecisive clients may consider this a rather dubious benefit). It can be asserted that the publishing and printing industries were improved.

So here we are. Some of us are very seasoned professionals coming to terms with the fact that the cost of our gear won’t keep the amateurs out anymore. Most of the capabilities of that online non-linear system you shelled out fifty or a hundred-thousand dollars for six years ago are available for three to seven thousand dollars (mail order nontheless!)

I say revel in it! Run your system until you would normally have to upgrade, then smile intensely as the system you replace it with cost less than one nine gigabyte harddrive did back then. Yes, you may end up with the same system that the guy up the street bought to use for editing his home movies. Yes, he (or she) may not have the necessary skill to direct a security camera. Think about how level the field is for comparison. Same equipment. Same results?

I’ve never heard a famous chef talk about his skills as being tied to a certain kind of stove.

As the field becomes less mysterious, we may fear that our clients or employers will think of our skills as more of a commodity. As time goes on, once again, the shakeout will benefit the truly talented people and it will finally become clear that the equipment is a commodity.

But then, it always was, no matter what you paid for it.

-- Tim Kolb


Tim Kolb has spent thirteen years in video production including time in television news and ten years at his own company, Kolb Communications. He is a multiple ITVA, Telly, American Advertising, and Emmy Award winner. His business focuses on corporate and commercial projects. He can be reached at kolb@kolbcom.com



Visit Creative Cow's website and forums if you got here by direct link to this article...



Related Articles / Tutorials:
Corporate Video
The Holiday Gift List

The Holiday Gift List

In this article, CreativeCOW's Jim Harvey takes a look at a few items that might be on any of our holiday gift lists. Take a look and see if you agree.

Feature
Jim Harvey
Corporate Video
Media 100 Producer: Media 100's software-only editor

Media 100 Producer: Media 100's software-only editor

Creative Cow's Nick Griffin, a longtime Media 100 user, switched to Final Cut Pro a few years ago. Here, he explores Media 100 Producer, a new software-only editor from Media 100. Media 100 Producer offers a mobile and scalable editing environment as well as FireWire I/O and Panasonic P2 acquisition capabilities. Ideal for in-the-field or mobile editing, editors using Media 100 Producer can shoot using their Panasonic P2 camera and immediately begin editing. In addition, Media 100 Producer can use media captured by Apple Final Cut Pro and Media 100 and output via FireWire or export to DVD or web. Nick explores this latest offering from Media 100 and gives it 4-1/2 Cows out of five. Why? read on...

Review
Nick Griffin
Corporate Video
MediaFiler 2.0

MediaFiler 2.0

MediaFiler 2.0 is a professional database software designed for the video production industry. It's an easy way to catalog, track, label, and organize your whole library of tapes and disks. In this article, Creative Cow Leader Aanarav Sareen takes a look at the software for use in his own production environment and determines that it is everything they say it is.

Review
Aanarav Sareen
Corporate Video
Corporate Clients: What do they want?

Corporate Clients: What do they want?

Tim Kolb of Creative Cow gives some tips on how to really understand what your Corporate Client wants and how to deliver. He points out that: There are very few of us in this industry who can purchase a piece of equipment and have customers approaching us because of it. We must understand how to deliver a usable video/CD/etc., as most of us base our livelihood on our ability to provide a finished project that is successful. This is not a difficult premise, until you ask the question, What does the CLIENT see as being a successful project?

Tutorial, Feature, Business
Tim Kolb
Recent Articles / Tutorials:
Business & Marketing
12 Things I Know About Business at 55 That I Wish I'd Known at 25

12 Things I Know About Business at 55 That I Wish I'd Known at 25

12 Things I Know About Business at 55 That I Wish Id Known at 25 appeared in Creative COW Magazine and was one of our most popular articles. It is a true timeless classic in which COW leader, contributing editor, and Senior Business Adviser to Creative COW, Nick Griffin shares wisdom he's learned the hard way in over 30 years in business. His experience will help you to avoid mistakes, manage clients, and prepare yourself to achieve your greatest success.

Editorial, Feature, Business
Nick Griffin
RED Camera
Don Burgess aligns with Light Iron and Panavision for ALLIED

Don Burgess aligns with Light Iron and Panavision for ALLIED

Don Burgess, ASC trusts Light Iron. His last seven films can attest, so Burgess chose Light Iron to support him again with digital dailies and post finishing services on Allied. Directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, the World War II-set film sees an intelligence officer's romance with a French Resistance fighter tested when high command thinks a double agent might be in play.


COW News
Autodesk Maya
ZERO FX: The Magic You Won't See In The Magnificent Seven

ZERO FX: The Magic You Won't See In The Magnificent Seven

ZERO FX takes Creative COW readers inside the invisible effects used to create the powerful vistas and settings used in The Magnificent Seven. But the real magic is in what you don't see.


Kayla Millhouse
Art of the Edit
More Than One Path to Success: Senior Editor Mae Manning

More Than One Path to Success: Senior Editor Mae Manning

We talk a lot about things like “accessible tools” and the “democratization of video production” -- what has this meant for the emerging talent whose creative development has taken place largely, or even entirely, within this democratized landscape? Mae Manning is one such editor, who taught herself to edit music videos, and caught the eye of a local production company. Several years later and now their Senior Editor, she cuts corporate and industrial training videos, promotional videos, sketch comedy, short films, and everything else that gets thrown her way. Mae’s story is an inspiration for anyone that thinks there is only one path to success in the industry.

Feature
Kylee Peña
Art of the Edit
How To Create Better Live Surgical Broadcasts

How To Create Better Live Surgical Broadcasts

Greg Ondera produces, directs, and edits medical video programs specializing in surgical procedures. From his wide ranging experience in the medical sciences and broadcast arts, Greg shows you how to create better surgical broadcasts.

Editorial, Tutorial, Feature, Business
Greg Ondera
NAB Show
NAB Show New York 2016: Growing, Yet Still Intimate

NAB Show New York 2016: Growing, Yet Still Intimate

Calling April's NAB Show "overwhelming" is an understatement. The expo that fills the rapidly expanding Las Vegas Convention Center every April topped 103,000 attendees and 1700+ exhibitors in 2 million square feet of exhibit space. The Big Apple's edition of the NAB Show is more bite sized: taking place this week at the Javitz Convention Center, 7000 visitors will be able to engage with 300 exhibitors, along with a variety of new opportunities for in-depth workshops on cutting-edge technologies. Here's a preview of the week's festivities.


COW News
MORE
© 2016 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]