Tech changes have impacted workers from all industries, with the film industry being no exception – in fact, our industry may not even have existed without the invention of the motion picture camera by Edison and Dickson. As such, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest digital trends in order to navigate the volatile and dynamic environment that we work in.
Video production can be a somewhat complicated process which involves several stages. In this article, we’ll be analysing how tech changes have impacted the pre-production, production, post-production and distribution stages in the video production process.
Pre-production refers to the planning phase where the main goal is to finalise the script and storyboard for the video, and to make all the logistical preparations for the actual video shoot in the production phase. In this area, the internet has certainly had the biggest impact in improving the workflow of the pre-production process.
Cloud-based tools like Google Drive, Zoho, Storyboard That and Canva allow users to collaborate on a single script/storyboard, and video conferencing services like Zoom and Google Meet allow users to collaborate remotely – removing the need to meet physically and incur travel costs (time and money). In addition, with the introduction of 5G networks, internet speed and bandwidth are expected to improve – further increasing efficiency and productivity between collaborators.
This not only benefits in-house production teams but also creates the opportunity for overseas collaboration. Producers can search the internet for talents, crew members and logistics from other countries that may offer services that are more cost-efficient and of a higher quality than what is available locally. For instance, season 3 of HBO’s popular series “Westworld” had many scenes shot in Singapore because the showrunners were attracted to our “poetic skyline” that couldn’t be found in the US. The crew reportedly spent only 10 days in Singapore, which is a result of good pre-production planning that was accelerated by the use of cloud-based tools.
Tech changes have drastically lowered costs of production over the years. Back in the analogue days, videos were shot on film, which was impossible to reuse and cost money to purchase, develop and edit. Digital cameras, on the other hand, are significantly cheaper to use, which allows more budget to be allocated to other areas of production like cast, crew, art and logistics. In addition, camera technology is constantly improving as hardware becomes cheaper and better – take Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” series as an example.
Camera technology is always improving. Aerial photography was pioneered by George R. Lawrence in the early 20th century from its beta stages, which involved attaching cameras to kites, parachutes, aircraft and even birds! Nowadays, drone cameras are widely accessible and can be purchased online for as little as S$500 – allowing filmmakers to shoot videos that were previously impossible to do on a budget. New video formats like 360° video also add a new dimension to filmmaking that opens a new realm for creative application.
Video quality has also steadily improved. The Dalsa Origin was the first commercially available 4K video camera in 2003, and since then, cameras with 4K capabilities have become the industry standard. New video codecs that provide higher image quality and control are also constantly being introduced, with the latest being Apple’s ProRes RAW format.
With cloud-enabled infrastructure, video production companies are able to expand their capacity, have better-archiving capabilities and accelerate their workflow – which allows them to take on more jobs. According to a 2018 annual survey conducted by Coughlin Associates, 48% of professionals use cloud-based storage for editing and post-production. Working this way also allows for better data management and analysis, which gives companies more insight into how they can better optimise resources and maximise their profits.
Video editing software has also become cheaper and more powerful. In the past, the video editing process involved manually cutting and rearranging film reels. Nowadays, the process is still labour-intensive, but digital video editing software has streamlined the workflow and become more widely available, with software like iMovie being offered for free on Apple computers, and companies like Adobe offering monthly subscriptions for their Premiere Pro software. Other companies like Artgrid have also adopted this subscription model – giving users access to their stock footage library for a monthly fee.
Prototype artificial intelligence (AI) video editing software is also in development – Disney engineers have invented an algorithm that automatically edits Multicam footage, which has the potential to further streamline the video editing process.
The biggest tech change in this stage is the shift from physical mediums like VHS, DVD and Blu-ray, to digital mediums like over-the-top (OTT) media services like Hulu, YouTube and Netflix. As more websites are now able to host videos online, video advertisers now have more choices when it comes to video ad placements, which don’t involve the cinema or television networks.
Smartphones have also changed the way we watch videos, with platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok optimising their platforms for vertical video. As such, we’re watching a lot more videos that are being shot in vertical (9:16) aspect ratios.
It’s clear that the film industry is prone to tech changes. Whether you’re a marketer or business owner, it’s important to stay informed on the latest trends in video production that may help to grow your business.
Sign up to receive tips and tricks on how to make videos that make people take action.