The digital transformation of video production is facilitated by a series of incremental technological and business innovations, which are collectively leading to radical changes. While high quality professional video production remains expensive and time consuming, the lowering of technological, financial and skill barriers for video production to virtually nothing for billions of people has resulted in the explosive growth of video production in recent years. These are often in new formats (e.g. very short video clips or 24/7 continuous live streaming) and in new areas (e.g. showing someone playing a video game) that are distinct from traditional professional video production.
In particular, the mass adoption of smartphones with built in cameras, as well as other affordable digital cameras and video capturing devices, has significantly reduced the cost of video production. Rapid developments in animation and software (including automation software) for video editing, rendering and storyboarding have served to eliminate the technological and skill barriers for video production. The growing range of free or affordable multimedia authoring tools for special effects, editing and visual content creation accessible online mean that anyone interested in producing video can do so with ease, in ways that were previously the preserve of highly skilled professionals with expensive equipment and ample resources.
Until recently, video was expensive and required specialised, professional skills to produce. Video production was, understandably, dominated by skilled professionals with expensive equipment. The focus of video production was on profitable, important or high-stake areas, primarily activities that were considered ‘worthwhile’, such as TV programmes, movies and instructional videos. When digital cameras became much cheaper and more widely available to the public, the technological, financial and skill barriers for video production became virtually non-existent, so people began to produce videos in large quantities that would previously be considered wasteful, meaningless or even silly, often in new areas, new domains and in new formats. The ‘democratisation’ of video production – as it has often been described – enabled a series of profound changes, from mass public witnessing to hyper personalisation, and from live streaming to automatic video capture and editing (these will be discussed later). These new phenomena are supported by real-time and archived, interactive, non-linear, multi-narrative videos that are distributed to special interest groups or the public instantly. For example, a private conversation or a live event taking place anytime anywhere in the world can be easily, and secretly, captured by multiple cameras and live-streamed online, instantly viewed by millions of people, and permanently archived on the internet for future viewing and analysis. The consequences – and implications – are very profound.
Such developments are leading to the transformation of a growing range of industries, such as the huge impact of amateur video and citizen journalism on professional TV news reporting and on emergency and disaster relief interventions. Video is also facilitating the development of new business processes across different industries. For example, the insurance industry increasingly uses video evidence from dashboard cams by drivers, helmet cams by cyclists, CCTV footage from public and private sources, and digital cameras used by their own field staff to handle claims after accidents. In the music industry, pop star Justin Bieber was only discovered after posting homemade videos on YouTube from the age of 12. He amassed millions of online followers before the release of his highly successful first album on 17th November 2009. Historical video archives can be remixed with new materials to create new video products. In the 2015 Christmas Special on BBC, singer Michael Buble seamlessly re-mixed his own version of White Christmas with footage of the legendary Bing Crosby as if they were singing a duet together on live TV. The possibilities are truly endless.