Video Is Becoming a Commodity

Last night, my youngest daughter (who is nearly sixteen) had a bunch of friends over to the house. They were “actors” in her English project. She decided to direct a video about Greek mythology. Actaully, I think she just wanted a way to get some of her guy friends to take their shirts off – but that’s a different story. So Bailey has written, directed and recorded a video. Editing will soon follow.

But the whole exercise started me thinking about how far video technology has come in such a short time. When I was a teenager, Super 8 film was what some folks used. And the folks who had these gems could be characterized as relatively wealthy. Today, everyone has a video camcorder. And everyone has a computer. So the bar for video filming and production has dropped immensely.

And as I mused about what I was doing when I was a teenager, I remembered that I watched a lot of Star Trek. And then I remembered that someone had told me about a fan film series called Star Trek: The New Voyages. ST:TNV is currently two episodes written, filmed, edited, produced by (and starring) Star Trek fans. And early next year, the third full episode will be released. And Walter Koenig (Ensign Pavel Chekov) will be a guest star in this episode.

So I took the time to download the two episodes already available on the Net. And there is a lot to say about the acting, the writing, the special effects and the entire sense of these works. I won’t write a review, but I will say a couple of things.

  • The acting is way over the top – but so was the acting in the original.
  • The writers have put together a couple of interesting story lines – that are way too busy. Threads from so many other episodes are woven together very indiscriminantly. But as a fan, it worked for me. The two episodes I saw (In Harm’s Way and Come What May) weave together pieces of The Menagerie, The City on the Edge of Forever, The Doomsday Machine and even a few episodes from ST:TNG. So the episodes are great for folks that are already immersed in the universe of Star Trek.
  • I can’t wait to see the next installment.

But what struck me the most was the fact that everyone can make good (or bad) videos these days. And Apple’s recent video iPod places the exclamation point at the end of that sentence. Video is now as much of a commodity as the computer is.

First came commodity writing (the web and the blogosphere). Then came commodity radio/audio (via the iPod and podcasting). Now video is going the same way. What’s next on the commodity cycle? Whatever comes, I can’t wait!




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