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Power to the people: The democratization of video production

Written by Andre Meterian

Power to the people: The democratization of video production

It was Andy Warhol who famously predicted that in the future everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. In the Sixties, that fame was most likely to be in the form of the movies, popular music or television. But in the 2020’s that burst of notoriety is now much more likely to be provided by the Internet in the form of a clip that goes viral.

In fact, appearing on video has become much more common place in the digital era with the advent of multi-channel television, YouTube and access to recording devices on our smartphones. We are in the era of the democratization of video production. The new generation of content providers can create good quality material without the necessity to invest as heavily as their predecessors.

A number of factors have combined to make it possible. In the same way that Voice over IP transformed the telecommunications world, Broadcast over IP is changing the professional video production world. Digitalization, the resulting introduction of new functionality and the lower cost infrastructure have opened up a world of possibilities in video production. Good quality technology has become more affordable and integration easier. One example is Panasonic’s new open architecture IT/IP centric live video production platform, called KAIROS. It delivers new operational freedoms with unrestricted flexibility of input, output and operation for efficient video production.

In addition, the ability to automate has transformed the production process. Remote controlled pan and tilt cameras (PTZ) and the use of robotic arms, alongside the ability to easily control and mix, has reduced the need for large groups of technically skilled manpower and radically increased the possibilities on shoots.

Lastly, advances in virtual and augmented reality and the use of the green screen has enabled smaller but fully capable studios 

to be created more quickly and cost effectively. Backdrops and Free-D graphics can be added easily to transform a production in minutes.

These new capabilities have seen an explosion in creativity. Broadcasters have been able to transform the economics of productions; but they have also been able to record in ways never possible before. Today, up to 70 PTZ cameras can be deployed for reality TV shows or fly on the wall documentaries. Historically, the cost would have been prohibitive using previous technologies. This type of camera use has also delivered other advantages. The small and inconspicuous nature of the cameras means subjects quickly become used to the technology and begin to ignore the cameras, enabling much more natural behaviors to be recorded.

In addition, the technology revolution has enabled the explosion of streaming. It has provided the ability to stream content across the internet from people’s homes, or to “televise” shows from our favorite radio station. Educational institutions are able to use the technology to record and share or live stream lectures to remote students and corporates can afford to build their own broadcasting studios in their own offices to communicate with employees, investors, analysts and the media.

New entertainment, such as the meteoric rise of eSports, has also been enabled by this revolution. Traditionally the cost of covering these events would be high. If there were 100 players, then 100 traditional cameras and operators would be required. The new technology has given producers the ability to cost effectively capture and share high quality images of the gameplay in real-time with audiences in studios, stadiums or watching from homes. The affordability and capability of the technology is even enabling the expansion of eSports into bars. Automated systems can provide similar high octane coverage of the action for amateurs competing in their own competitions and cheered on by their friends as they socialize in the bar.

Panasonic is at the heart of this democratization of video production. What drives me and the team is helping our customers grow and increase their capabilities with our Glass to Glass production solutions. We have used our long experience in creating high-end broadcast production equipment, combined it with our understanding of IP technology and hardware and partnered with specialists in areas such as robotics automation and virtual and augmented reality software. The result is a range of video production solutions that can meet the needs of all content producers of the future – whoever they may be.

The future is exciting and full of opportunity. Many of the cost and quality barriers of professional video production have been removed. I am looking forward to seeing just what can be achieved by the next generation of content creators.

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