Imagine a news organization that only employed a few anchors and reporters, but a ton of writers and producers. Imagine a breaking story…a plane crash. Rather than sending a team out, a producer does an Internet search (not even sure if Google was around at this point) and manages to locate a home across the street from the crash. Makes a phone call and tells the person who answers to hook up their video camera to their computer, point it out the window, and describe what they see. Almost unimaginable.
So what do we have today? Skype. Live streaming sites. Uh…it has happened, just not yet completely the way I guessed it might.
All this brought about by a discussion on b-roll.
What began as a discussion of the National Press Photographers Association contest and magazine has evolved into a discussion of the place of broadcast (read TV) members in the organization, how they are being served by NPPA (or not), and how the quality of broadcast has gone downhill – in terms of production values and equipment.
Sigh. There are a lot of anguished folks out there…who remember the “good ole days,” when a camera(wo)man could feel good about what they produced at the end of the day.
But financial hard times are a reality and we don’t always get what we want.
One of the lessons to be learned is from a very old, very tiny camera – the 35mm camera. For more details, check out the information on photo.net.
1914: Oscar Barnack, employed by German microscope manufacturer Leitz, develops camera using the modern 24x36mm frame and sprocketed 35mm movie film.
THAT was just the beginning. The camera became commercially available in 1924 (Leica) and took off in the years just before WWII. By the 1960s it had pushed the standard high quality cameras into the background and for forty plus years became the standard in print news photography – and there it reigned until the advent of digital.
We seem to be poised on the cusp of another change in standards…whether broadcast shooters like it or not. While there will always be room for big bucks, high end, expensive cameras, I am convinced that the news broadcast standard is the 1/3 inch three chip pro-sumer camera…with of course, the requisite bells and whistles. XLR, manual controls, shoulder mount, good glass.
The audience may love high-end high-quality in their movies. But I suspect they will settle for excellent quality video in news and general programs. I just hope they also demand the highest production standards to go with it.