Sunday, August 19, 2007

The never-ending debate

About spending, that is.

Specifically, I've seen more and more debate on some video blogs and boards lately about what gear and editing programs to get because the penny-pinching front office tossed it to the IT folks who don't shoot the stuff anyhow and so recommended some half-baked prosumer mini-DV cam with iMovie or some other crippled editing software.

Bottom line: If you are going to get in video, get in video with the same gusto you do with your still photo operations (I don't remember seeing a whole lot of Brownies at news conferences and on the sidelines, but a whole lot of Nikons). Do less of it, if you have to, but do what you do well. You can't hide crap on the 'net and you can't cheap it out.

I just got pointed to PF Bentley's Column from May, "Just Say Wait a Second," in The Digital Journalist.

As he notes in another forum, copy it out and stick it under your exec editor's and publisher's doors.



At 8/19/07, 6:17 PM, Anonymous Howard Owens said...

I have the highest degree of recept for FP, having worked with him on a project.

And for that project, his approach and equipment was exactly what was needed.

But going out and spending a lot of money on the best equipment for most newsroom is exactly, 100 percent the wrong way to go. It's a waste of money and will not serve to do for a what video needs to do for a = grow audience.

If we don't grow audience, we die. It's that simple. We won't grow audience with only two or three videos a week, which is the exact number of videos you get with PF's formula.

And what's this with "IT buying" video equipment. I don't know any newspaper company where it works that way. It's the online division that makes the multimedia purchase decisions. Which means on the online director/manager, and publishers have empowered those men and woman to do what they think is best on such decisions.

It's a FasterMore (see Ryan Sholin's post) world we live in, and our video strategy (all content strategy, really) needs to match the times.

At 8/19/07, 8:32 PM, Anonymous Howard Owens said...

I've posted a more articulate and lengthier response to Bentley's column on my blog.

At 8/24/07, 7:50 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...


Actually, I don't think we're at odds here (see Howard's post.) Part of it was my failure to properly frame where I was coming from.

I agree with your strategy of equipping reporters with point-and-shoot cameras.

I was responding, really, to some of the comments I've seen on video boards where folks are being called on to do large amounts of video but being nickel-and-dimed on the software that they need to maintain the workflow. (And occasionally on the hardware, too.)

We're not talking buying the BMW here from my perspective. But a solid, workhorse Chevy. Some shops, however, still seem bent on the Yugo.

As far as the IT comment, that comes from some papers that have called me seeking some recommendations about how to approach "getting into video." Some have tossed it to their IT folks (there are still operations out there where IT = mulltimedia, unfortunately). Yes, they are the smaller ones, but they are the ones I want to see do it right, not just crap it out.

So what does "right" mean? It means a rational mix of hardware and software that enables cost-effective video with the workflow needed to get it online -- and the ability to treat those who specialize in such things (photographers) to occasionally do the better piece and stretch their abilities, too.


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