A client who was ‘filming’ behind the scenes footage with their iPhone and showing me the great results was asking if I was worried for my job! With the advances in video tech and the ability for people to shoot footage on their iPhones for eg, I’m often asked if I’m afraid of my career. It’s a fair enough question, but im not afraid – I actually think it’s good for video makers. It was Father John Misty (for want of a cool name drop!) who talks about how the internet ‘democratises’. Video, which is now 70% of anything you do on the internet, fits into this same place. The ability for people to record stuff with their phones is life enhancing and educational – it was ridiculous that it was only the privileged few with cameras who could make films or express themselves with the medium! I love the idea that ‘anyone can do it’. But that is of course not really the case! By suggesting anyone can do what I do is kind of suggesting I don’t add anything at all!
A colleague once told me I had to ‘add value’ which stuck with me, despite it being an ugly phrase. The fact is when you start out you ‘add value’ automatically just through sheer enthusiasm. You jump around doing everything you can to keep your client happy, and often for no remuneration, but sense you are the newbie and can do things differently to others. But Jump ahead 20 years and suddenly you are an older head looking for the excitement you used to have – and how to add value to your client, other than just being good at what you do – lots of people are good at what they do in this business!
So what exactly is ‘adding value?’ Well if you ask me it is about having the experience and skill to make more engaging content. It’s the little tips and tricks – such as shooting with large sensor cameras that give a texture and feel to the image, that take a little more knowledge than shooting with an iPhone and gives your video a more distinctive ‘cinema’ look. (True, iPhones allow you to get footage you wouldn’t otherwise get (I use mine all the time to record stuff) but it doesn’t look nice! It looks like 1980’s video in high def!) It’s about knowing what makes a good sequence in an edit and about how to turn an idea into something that looks great and conveys a message. The skill is to make it look effortless – but if it’s any good it is likely it has taken a lot of experience, know how, development and creativity to make it that way!