What I love about the video profession


Senior Member
When I started work at a regional television news network in 1996, the broadcast and video industry was still in the analogue age.
Post production was the exclusive domain of broadcasters and production houses with expensive Avid and Quantel suites.
That year, I bought the world's first consumer miniDV camcorder for under $2500
and a Performa 6400 running AVID Cinema for under $3500

I knew in my bones a revolution was under way.

In the day, I was editing A-B roll on analogue betacam decks and at night was I editing home videos on Zip drives.
The convergent came very quickly and within a year, I moved on to Avid Media Composer in the office and Final Cut Pro at home on a Pismo.
The Digital Revolution levelled the playing field for the smaller players in the industry. MiniDV camcorders like the PD150 and DVX102 became common place and After Effects quickly chipped away at Quantel's and Autodesk's stronghold.

By 2000, my home-brew hobby projects were looking better than the daily promos I was churning out in the office as a producer-editor so I decided to take the plunge into the commercial video production on my own.

In the early noughties, CCD advancement slowed to a halt as CMOS became cheaper (but not better.) It took awhile before anything above 2 Db of gain was usable. Around that time, the HDV revolution sparked the imagination of many digital video hobbyist who suddenly saw in the new HD format, the opportunity to create a more cinematic look. Enter the age of the 35mm adapters and a new legion of riggers and tinkerers.
At about the same time, consumer camcorders from Samsung and Panasonic began writing AVCHD to Sdcard.

Clearly, the writing was already on the wall for the magnetic DV tape so I was very hesitant to invest into any new professional HD camcorder with a tape deck. Nonetheless, the iconic Canon HV20.satisfied my curiosity in rig building and the burgeoning HDV revolution.
When the Panasonic HMC150 launched, I jumped on it knowing it would be a futureproof purchase but I was not prepared for how fast CMOS advancement would proceed, My only benchmark was the experience with CCD camcorders and they don't refresh models often.
Oblivious to the march of time ,I stuck with the HMC150 for 3 years until one day I bought a few cheap consumer camcorders for supplementary angles to a live-event When I reviewed the footage I almost fell off my chair. In those 3 years, a cheap $300 camcorder had surpassed the low light performance of my bread-and-butter camcorder. That epiphany jolted me out of my complacency and kept me always on the look out for the latest, greatest, and cheapest ever since.

All these couldn't have happened at a better time.

The explosion of Youtube and online videos meant a constant stream of work and opportunities to be hands-on throughout the DSLR revolution, the 3D debacle, the 4K revolution, and soon likely VR production, mass market cinema cameras and simpler CGI solutions.

The gap between what a lone shooter can achieve and what a professional crew can produce has narrowed so much, it is often hard to tell.

Very few industries has benefitted so much from the genius of hobbyists, enthusiasts and hackers who took the time to create entire eco system of technology and innovations for their craft.

Think Magic Lantern, GoPro, Letus, and the countless kickstarter projects that have spawned hundreds of useful gear for the working cameraman/videographer.

I struggle to think of another business with so many people obsessing over what the next new tool will be. All year round, there are new rumors of new launches for new toys to delight professionals and hobbyists alike.

For the adventurous, there are always new gear and new apps to master.

But best of all, there will always be new stories to tell and new ways to tell them!

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Senior Member
Aug 6, 2005
Bedok, Singapore
It's indeed, definitely very exciting. I never would have picked up the hobby if things weren't affordable to my then-18 year old self.

But what I love about this profession is also what I sometimes hate about it. Because the gear and information on the craft is so easily available today, it can just as easily be misconstrued as not requiring much fine skill or experience to handle, therefore people think it's easy to produce what they call a "simple" corporate video.

Even with all the new toys coming out, the most important component of any set-up is still the human operator.


Senior Member
What I learn about any business is: The customer is always right, even when they are wrong."
Often time, they have proven to be right several years down the path when the market yields to their perception.
(Vertical videos, anyone?)
Customers migrate to vendors that matches or surpass their requirements. Don't mess with their perceptions, don't shatter any illusions.
Don't waste your time educating the customers on the actual logistics either. Nobody likes to be informed of their own ignorance.
Take it with a pinch of salt when the customer says, " It's a simple shoot." What they are really saying is " I have a small budget."
Ask as many questions as you can to determine your cost and their budget but prepared to be misinformed.
Walk away if you smell trouble or the toxic flames of post production hell.
Always budget for a long pixel-ph*ck if a project has no deadlines.

Paid projects that allow for artistic freedom are few and far-in between so do not invest emotionally into the outcome.
Instead, take each job as an opportunity to screw up and learn.
Gamify your career; the fun truly starts when you have to try very hard to screw up.

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Mar 2, 2009
It's definitely hard to accept the fact that the customer is always right eventually. As professionals, we're often locked in own narrow-mindedness and fail to see emerging trends simply for the fact that we think we know better. Your rant is valid and the touch of sarcasm in you title is indeed the frustration we all felt when we know eventually we are the ones being schooled and put I place.