Video production, like most technologies these days, has been vastly changed over the past two decades by the emergence of fast powerful modern computers, known as non-linear editors (NLEs). Gone are the days when it used to require racks and racks of outboard hardware costing many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Nowadays, most of what used to require dedicated pieces of specialized (and expensive) hardware can be accomplished with affordable software running inside a decent purpose-built PC. Dedicated monitors for every camera plus program and preview can be replaced by little windows within a single monitor. Character Generators are history as that can all be easily accomplished in software. Even switching and recording now takes place in the virtual realm. Cameras that used to require human operators are being replaced by fleets of small robotic PTZ cameras that can be operated by a single person using a joystick. It is not unusual for a multi-camera shoot to be manned by one or two people, one person does the switching while another controls the cameras. This is known as production “inside the box” or ITB, as in taking place (mostly) inside the computer.
Just as expensive audio recording studio facilities have been largely replaced by home-based “project” studios, video production is moving more and more to being done with a minimal amount of gear: namely a proper purpose-built computer (such as those built by us here at Stream Breeze) and some decent HD cameras. With amazing picture quality available in even the most basic of consumer-level gear, the lines between professional production and amateur work are blurring more and more everyday. YouTube has given rise to an enormous number of “broadcasters” seeking to make a name for themselves or just pursuing a passion. Pick a subject, any subject at all, and likely you can find someone making a slew of videos on that topic and posting them to their YouTube channel. Muchof this is of poor technical quality as many people have the gear but not a clue about proper production, but there is also some amazing work being done by relative unknowns. The biggest issues I typically see are poor lighting and sound, but there are also many videos with horrendous camera work as well (poorly framed shots, out of focus, shaky off-tripod work, etc.). As in most things, it is not the tools that create good work, it is the skill of those USING said tools. You can give the best canvases and paint to a monkey and you will still be hard pressed to see a Picasso- or Dali-level work appear.
So is the migration to ITB production hurting our industry? Hardly. There are many people with a vision out there and now more than ever they have the means of production within their reach. No longer must they slave away at low-level positions while longing to be able to get their “hands on the wheel” and show what they can do. Now they can cobble together a complete production studio using inexpensive cameras and a dedicated PC. I have seen many videos done with little more than a few GoPro cameras and Adobe Premiere. I have also seen incredibly poor productions created using top end gear that costs a large fortune. No matter how low the price of admission becomes, there is no substitute for talent and that cannot be bought at any price. It used to take lots of money (and a little talent) to be in this game. Now it is reversed, with talent being the major difference between success and failure. The tools are available to most everyone.
So, if you think that YOU have the talent (and passion) to take your message(s) to the world, think INSIDE the box and get yourself a Stream Breeze system today! You may find yourself with a large YouTube following in no time!