Thursday, January 1, 2015

When The DV World Was New

In 2003 I saw my first non-tape digital camcorder at a DV convention in Los Angeles. My brain is fuzzy on it but it was an attempt to reach out to industrial and corporate videopeople.

They made a token effort to reach out to "those Internet folks". Many of the exhibitors were not interested in talking to people from the new disruptive wave. The exhibitors were there to make sales to their traditional markets. They had no use for the computer people.

I walked around, got as much swag as I could to justify my admission fee.

Then I saw this:

It was one of the first digital video camcorders. There were two guys running around in white lab coats talking up a storm in either a British or Australian accent. I couldn't tell you which because I was drawn like a bee to honey about that camera.

Running off an 2GB SD card and recording AVI (I think) video. Could have been Motion JPEG. It might have recorded 320x240 video.

It was affordable. $199 in cold hard cash or credit card. Accessible. Golly gee did I want to buy it right then and there. Which meant that I didn't. Not enough cash and I had limited options on uploading and posting videos.

I knew it was a game changer. I knew other camcorders were coming that would be better. I did not known that it would start to pave a path that transformed an industry. Digital video created new opportunities for creatives and non-Hollywood type innovators.

That is the thing about the future. Sometimes you can see a wee bit ahead but you'll never know until you step into the void.

Twelve years later I own different kinds of devices. The most recent being a Pivothead eyewear recorder. Everything old is new again.

Smartphones have replaced dedicated digital recorders. Action cams like the GoPro are transforming movie making and gaming.

Corporate media is busy locking down new talent and production companies to get rooted in the future yet to come.

And hotels are trying to keep you from using personal Wi-Fi and smartphone usage in their buildings.

What has this got to do with video?

Well, if this industry gets the right to block personal Wi-Fi usage then other companies will follow. Some of those companies could be people in the broadcast television industry looking to suppress any form of innovation they don't understand.

Or police departments wanting to stop people recording and uploading video of certain activities.

Or a religious group that thinks you should not have a voice to express your views and actively stops transmission.

How shall we go forward?

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