In the past few years, the pace of technology in media creation has been moving faster than ever before, driven by heightened competition between manufacturers and enabled by embedded microcomputer technology. Designers now have at their disposal tools in manufacturing materials and technology allowing them to realize designs that were just not possible before. Starting with computers where ideas are born, then moving to acquisition, onto editing and effects, then finally to delivery; all made possible by dense computer micro-chip technology and very sophisticated software.
Along with all this smart technology has come the inevitable race to market share. Marketing organizations tell us how beautiful camera images are, and how much easier software is to use. People are led to believe that the only thing standing in the way of making big money or doing award-winning work is the ability to write a check for the new tools. Now with falling price points, that check can be smaller than ever.
Enter the new technology dilemma. An experienced creative professional with years of expertise in one area picks up a new tool, a new tool outside their field of expertise. They bought into the marketing spin how easy it is to use. An example would be a documentary producer/director of over 20 years deciding they can edit their own piece now that software is so simple to use. They commit to deliver a job in days then find out the learning curve of pushing the right buttons is too steep. Now in a panic to deliver the job on time, they must do the equivalent of condensing a one-week, $300 per day training course into 12 hours just to get started. Impossible to do, they are faced with hiring an editor they did not budget for. This scenario is real–I’ve seen it happen before.
The other scenario is very much the same but involves the media beginner who found out very quickly they were in over their head in every area.
So you see, technology has its advantages but it must be married to training and experience before its power can be fully realized.
I cannot end here without making the final and most important point of all regarding the impact of technology. Now that you can make a feature film on your own using tools that cost less then a new car, the price of entry is open to virtually everyone.
All you need to succeed are the tools and a dream. That’s a half truth…you need a good story and the talent and skill to tell it. The skills to run the tools can be learned by anyone, but the ability to tell a good story and the talent for composition and movement and timing are all required if you want to stand out and be in demand. Some of this can be learned over time but only to a point, after that, you either need the talent, or the ability to hire it.
So technology is amazing and can even take your breath away, but in the end it’s just a tool.