Here’s the APE (A Photography Editor) blog post I’m reacting to: http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2011/06/17/vincent-laforet-the-future-of-photography-is-convergence/
I’m partly in agreement, total disagreement, angered and excited. But mostly I disagree and I’m pissed about these crazy claims he keeps making and then covers it all up with “oh but I’m not saying I know what’s gonna happen”. You can’t simultaneously say what you think is gonna happen and then absolve yourself from the responsibility of what you just said. Either say something or don’t.
My strong personal opinion is that although this convergence is very likely to happen, it’s going to be as slow-moving a reality as flying cars.
Maybe the savvy and rich buyers (like advertising clients) will take to it quickly because they can afford it and they are constantly connected to the ever-changing photography/video business – ie. they’re educated on the subject, like many other professionals that deal with photography and video; but first of all, the cost has to go down for it to become useful for anyone else.
Then there’s the issue of RE-educating your clients for the billionth time. For f***’s sake, wedding photographers still describe hi-res images to their clients as “Digital Negatives”!
Meanwhile, videographers are, I’m sorry to say, a major afterthought in a bride’s decision process. Not only is it an added cost, it’s also a product that offers little long-term gratification for the client. 99.99% of videographers offer what’s basically just eye-candy with music attached that they don’t have a legal right to attach in the first place.
That’s not to say videographers are crap, far from it, but they generally don’t offer something with the same lasting value that photography does. The simple reason is that it’s EASIER to offer something of value as a photographer than it is to do the same with videography.
And that’s the sad part, because wedding videographers are (usually) perfectly capable of offering something terrific for their client. It’s the client that can’t afford what really good production values cost. I’m not talking large crews, I’m talking quality work. Quality work takes time, money and effort on BOTH sides of the equation, and few people care to throw in any of those factors to get truly high-quality work.
Quality photography can easily come at a stupidly low price in the wedding business world. Elsewhere too.
And don’t forget, wedding clients are notorious for this by often suggesting that all we’re doing is clicking a button, so “how come you cost so much?”. They generally don’t understand all the rest that goes into photography BEFORE clicking the button, because we all hold in our hands what I feel are the most exciting stupid machines on the planet.
Then there’s the editorial clients. They don’t have quite as much money as ad clients, and from what I can gather, are still trying to figure out what the hell to do with video at all.
Video magazines aren’t mainstream yet, though technologically they’re beginning to surface, but even when they are mainstream, what’s the goddamn plan? Hmm? Do you continuously play every single page and let the consumer land on that page midway through an ad? Or an article? Or do you freeze a frame you think will draw in the viewer to click and watch? And do you know how quickly you have to get their attention? Depending on the total length of the video (which sets an expectation for your viewer), you have anywhere from 5 seconds to 30 seconds. MAX. And by the way that’s anywhere from 5 times to 30 times as long as what anyone would bother looking at a picture for.
Actually, that’s not true. In a picture, you get about half a glance. Mathematically, I suppose that translates to roughly 0.0021 seconds.
Then there’s the issue of being ignored. Because video takes up a lot of your time and effort as a consumer. Try being drawn into a simple 2-minute video while doing a dozen other things. Doesn’t work. You’re either in or you’re out. And once you get out of a video, you need time to get back into it again. So if video is going to inundate us “really really soon!!!”, then we’re going to learn to ignore them with 5 to 30 times the efficiency that we already ignore photography, because video takes time, and we already don’t have any of it in our busy lives full of Facebook and iPad and iPhone and Twitter and Flickr and Tumblr and blogs and texting and emails and AAARRRGGGHHHH!!! Only the best of the best of the best are gonna be able to cut through the crap, and they’re gonna ask the same rates that Christopher Nolan does. Please tell me who’s gonna be able to afford that.
You know how with really great movies, you can walk into a room with it already running, but you’re almost instantly drawn in and you can’t look away? That’s because it took millions of dollars to make that frame you walked in on look as pretty as it does. But then there’s the acting, the music, the sound and please don’t forget the most important part of all: the screenplay. Because that drives the conflict that you see almost continuously. And the multi-purpose exposition. And character development. And knowledge we now have but that the characters don’t. And on and on and on…
But we’re just talking about the best of the best from Hollywood. Not the crap some schmuck did where the story never goes anywhere, the acting is mediocre (or for the purpose of the film is non-existant), the lighting sucks, the sound is terrible and the music is missing and justified as such as artistic license. You think photography takes talent? Pffff… Try shooting a short film. I’m not gonna pretend I’m great at it. I’ve tried my hand at short films many, many times. I’m finally beginning to feel like I’m getting somewhere while still honestly having to admit that I’m nowhere with it yet. But film is INFINITELY harder than photography, and that DOES factor into whether or not there’s really gonna be any meaningful convergence.
Sure, Vincent Laforet doesn’t ask for Christopher Nolan rates and produces great work, but by his prediction, we’re all gonna be wandering around town shooting unbelievable RED Epic footage that we just threw into our backpacks that morning… And apparently we’re all gonna have 64 Exabytes (64,000,000 terrabytes) in the form of super-reliable SSD (Solid State Drive) hard drives (or hell – graphene hard drives!) that never crash and are totally affordable at just $199.95 so we can store and backup all this RAW footage we shot because we couldn’t be bothered to try and catch the right moment or because we needed 12 takes to get that fancy 2 minute single-shot in the can…
But if that’s the case, we’re back to the earlier problem of everything being ignored at a much higher rate than photography already gets ignored. Because EVERYONE will be doing this… Then what?
There are so many factors that Vincent isn’t keeping in mind that make me angry at those predictions… Of course there’s going to be a convergence… But 5 to 10 years?! Come on… Maybe I’m one of the people who’ll be left behind when he turns out to be right much sooner than I’d expected, but I have a prediction of my own to make.
60 years from now, when all of our billboards look like the ones from Minority Report and are all in motion. You know what’s gonna look amazing then?
A still picture. Or a giant painting.
In a sea of motion, it’ll be what doesn’t move that strikes you most.