Digital Video is not that different from Wine and Beer

1st February 2018 | Posted in Resources

With a little creative imagination, an analogy can be made between the growth in digital video and the boom of wine and beer drinking at home in the 1970s.

If you’ve ever been on a commercial brewery tour, such as the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, you’ll no doubt agree that it’s hard not to be impressed by the size and scale of such an operation, regardless of whether you like the product or not. For a long time – within my lifetime – it was only possible to buy commercially brewed drinks at pubs and restaurants where they were ordered by the barrel load and shipped from the brewery in bulk. For anybody who wanted to drink at home, the only option was to make it yourself. But that started to change in the 1970s.

Once commercially produced wine and beer hit supermarket shelves, drinking at home became affordable, available and fashionable. The only complaint was that the store-bought beverages, with their extra packaging and shipping costs, tended to cost more per gallon than the demi-johns and home brew kits. So, even when commercially produced alcohol was readily available from the local shop, there were still many homes that had wine or beer bubbling away in garden sheds, in the kitchen, or under the stairs to save a few quid. Except for the odd explosion after adding too much yeast or sugar to the mix, it was a fairly benign addition to a home. The resultant splatters also gave homeowners a good reason to redecorate every now and then, although you have to wonder if the money saved justified those costs!

Interestingly, I used to be in the wine trade back in the early 70s, and I can admit that the home brew scene did have its merits – even after home brewing became more of a speciality. I’ll always remember judging an East London Home Made Wine Maker’s competition where one of the flavours was Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding… It was an interesting combination, to say the least. Then there were the parties where the cheese and pineapple grapefruit porcupines were offered with Watney’s Party Seven cans (7 pint cans of Watney’s Red Barrel) and copious amounts of cheap, strong home made booze all mixed in with the sound of The Beetles, Lulu and The Rolling Stones, and always followed by the obligatory morning after aspirin and glass of Andrews Liver Salts!

Fortunately tastes have evolved and the era of cheap home-made booze has mostly passed, although is not gone completely. After all, popular new brands such as Brewdog would not exist if it weren’t for the resurgence in craft beers produced in microbreweries, many of which started at home. But I digress.

Getting back to the point; how does home brewing compare to digital video?

It wasn’t all that long ago that the equipment needed to produce videos made filmmaking completely inaccessible to most people. Professional cameras required large reels of film which were expensive and difficult to manage, meaning large crews were required from the outset just to operate the equipment. The cost of film reels also meant that scenes had to be carefully choreographed with extensive storyboards and rehearsals as retakes weren’t an option, making the process take far more time than it does today. Then, on the editing side, film reels were fed into each other on reel-to-reel editing systems, and the process was “linear”, meaning that editing could only be done in sequence without flexibility to swap shots around if they didn’t flow.

What I’ve described above probably conjures up imagery of Alfred Hithcock and old fashioned black and white movies, but the process remained largely unchanged until the 80s and 90s with the advent of personal computers and digital cinema. Throughout this transition, professional movie cameras stopped needing film; they became digital with cheap re-useable magnetic tape until digital memory cards became affordable, making re-takes easy, and editing became something you did on a computer instead of reel-to-reel tape systems. The technical term for the modern style of editing is “non-linear editing” because shots can be swapped around and resequenced as much as an editor pleases.

As professional filmmaking became more affordable, so too did personal filmmaking. The digital revolution meant that, in addition to the creation of cheap camcorders, professional DLSR photography cameras, affordable consumer point and shoot cameras, and mobile phones gained the ability to record video. And, most importantly, anybody could take those video clips and turn them into a short film using software like Windows Movie Maker and iMovie which were already installed on their computers. With the rising popularity of YouTube in 2005, there was finally a place to put those home-made creations and share them with the world. As a result digital video became affordable, available and fashionable. I said there was an analogy!

However, like the home brew world before it, the home-made approach to video is not without its drawbacks too. Instead of unintended explosions and redecorating costs, the downsides of home-made video revolve around the ability to tell a story effectively and efficiently, all while producing a video that’s engaging and high quality. Without the guiding hand of a professional video production team, you could find yourself producing “Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding” videos, which will be memorable but probably for the wrong reasons.

When producing videos, there’s a craft in making sure that your message is conveyed effectively and that the content is delivered at a high quality. Professional video production companies, such as Southpoint Films, are here for that specific reason. If you invest in them they will invest in you, guarantee a return on that investment, and the benefit to your business will be very obvious. Your prospective client will see your business presented online how you want them to see you and as a result your business will grow.

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Hopefully you’ve found our tips useful. If you have any tips of your own that you’d like to share, or if you want to talk about anything else related to video production, then please get in touch! We’d love to hear what you think.

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