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I Don't Know ...... THIRD base

Sunday, October 11, 2009 0 comments
Last week as I was driving home one of the local college radio stations, KTRU, played Abbott and Costello's who's on first routine. It was nice break of their regular format of musica obscura. I soon found myself chuckling out loud and grinning, it has been years since i heard it last so the bit was fresh again. I wondered where i could get a copy of a movie so i could show it to my kids .... then the pondering began ..... why buy a movie when i could find it online at some video site. Then the the wheels of of rights and compensation started turning. If i find it without buying it, am i stealing it? But i don't want to own it i just wanna see it. O.K. I don't wanna see it i wanna show it, but if you see it you've consumed it and must pay for it. But it's not like a sandwich where when you consume it, its gone. But it made you chuckle. But I won't chuckle if I watch it every day. Ok rent it then. Yeah for how much. 99 cents? 99 dollars? whats a fair price? Fair for who the content owner or the consumer. In my case how much am i willing to pay to let my two year old watch Abbott and Costello's who's on first? I can tell you even 99 cents seems to be too high, and a quarter might be a waste too. Then it started again. Some thing as iconic as this routine should be seen by her and if i don't show it to her she may never get to see or hear it in today's media system. If it's never seen, who looses out? Her or the owner? If it's important to me then i should be willing to pay for it? If it has worth then it should be promoted and marketed. How can we as a nation allow part of our national experience fade away or be left to college radio station. But if minimal money is returned then minimum investment and effort on their part is justified. But if there is so little money is made off it then let it out free, the money and product was made long ago by people who are now dead. But if I chuckle then the product is still working. But I'm showing it to a kid so they will be a better rounded person so it's educational. Bud and Lou are just was important as Shakespeare right? ... and so it went.
My reasoning and logic and feelings were taking me circles just like Bud does with Lou. I was getting getting nowhere, and harshed the buzz I had from listening to the golden oldie that started this quagmire. I put it all to rest by admitting the munchkin is only two and the subtleties of who's on first would be lost on her. Maybe if i wait a few more years we will be able to reconcile the conflict between the need for those of us who creating content to earn a living and the need for the collective experience. I only hope by then she might get as much of a chuckle out of it as I do.

Convergence is about the technolgy not the skills

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 0 comments
The Strobist and Chase Jarvis link to a video by Alex Henry with a behind the scenes video for a recent magazine cover. There are several comments in the discussion poo-pooing the current trend of "Convergence". Several comments echo a common attitude i hear in one form or another on several of the blogs and forums I read. When people talk about convergence right now I hear a lot of "It will never happen". Video professionals are upset that photographers are now dabbling in in moving images and visa versa. Each camp remains steadfast they have the better skills and the other has no business crossing over. I've got news for you convergence isn't about skills, its about technology. The technology to create and distribute have converged onto the digital platform. Skills, knowledge, creativity and even economics could not matter less. The tech is converging because the people who make the tools are making it happen. The reason we have the separation we have now is the technologies were not compatible. A printing press is a completely different machine than a TV transmitter. There was not a time when every one came together and some one said moving image makers to this side of the room and still image makers to the other and stay that way. The camps diverged and evolved separately because was no way to put a moving image on a news stand so that a person could take it on the train with them in a way that was feasible or economical. The separation existed because of technological reasons and no other.
As some one who has worked in video for the last 15-20 years, I witnessed and experienced the transitions that occurred in the video"convergence" a while back. It seemed like the NAB show should have changed its name to the convergence show, the term was being shouted at us from every angle. It was the convergence of dedicated proprietary video hardware and analog systems onto a single nexus. The work tools to create content and the tools to deliver converged onto the digital platform(computers). No segment of the industry was left untouched before it was over. I don't thing many of us realized that it was just the beginning and other industries would be swept up along with ours. During this time doors closed and new opportunities were opened and as an industry we adapted. The convergence we are talking about here is once again the convergence of the creation tools and delivery methods. The tools to make images are starting to converge. No longer will stills and moving images have to be created on different pieces of technology. A single device will have the capabilities to do both. We are talking about programming being the main difference no between a sill and a moving image camera now not the chips, or the storage, or the lens, or whatever. There will still be tools that are better suited to any task but at their heart they will be the same technology. The tools are going to converge into a single family of devices that capture images. The second part of convergence is the delivery, The idea of delivering on print is rapidly becoming something that is only done if you have no other choice. Delivery will continue to converge on to the data networks(internet). there are no longer technological barriers to keep print/still separated from moving images. It's all data. Once again it's programming. In the industry every one will have to adapt whether you want to or not. It happened in the print industry when quark took over from the manual lay out artist, they changed. It happened in radio when records went away. It happened when the editors had to switch from film and video tape to computerized NLE's. It is now happening as the still world moves to digital. As a portrait guy specialized in portraits and the news guy specialized in photo journalism, new specialties will arise that deal with the hybrid and converged medias . New opportunities will open up, it happens every time, and those who say it wont happen will be the ones who will miss those doors opening. At the core of it all is creating impactful and desirable images. Composition is composition as it was for the old masters who only knew the brush and canvas. Light and shadow will not go away. We will build upon the lesson of those who went before us and leave knowledge and images for those who will follow us. they will in turn use what we leave them in ways we can not even begin to imagine. Oh yeah wait FYI 3-d is on its way, so maybe ... just maybe ... composition and light will change too.