By Josh Rizzo
Lately, many a lunchtime conversation has included speculation on how the game is changing for content creation and what it will all means for the entertainment industry — for producers, editors, post facilities, broadcasters, manufacturers and everybody in between.
These are unofficially known as “Professional WTF” discussions. Netflix? YouTube “stars”? Virtual Reality? What does it all mean? Folks are asking themselves, “How does this impact me, the individual, and how can I remain professionally relevant (a.k.a. employed) through such a turbulent time?” We aim to continue maximizing our earning potential while minimizing the effort needed to do so. Then, if we get to feel good about the result of our work at the end of the day, this is where the true magic happens. If the reader shares some or any of these beliefs or concerns, then congratulations, it is a good sign that you are not dead (yet)!
This author’s personal view is simple and wholly unoriginal — the world as we know it will completely change while remaining mostly the same. No, this is not a jab from a younger generation trying to stick it to inflexible old people by offering a know-it-all philosophy that “the only constant is change.” It is much more than that.
Concerns about the preservation of oneself, as well as the group that includes us, are fundamental to civilized life. We do what we can to make the best choice; the one we feel will have the best possible outcome for us, our families and the group (maybe not in that order). So when faced with a new concept, one that challenges everything that we have proven to be good for us and our representative groups, we naturally resist. How can we not? We have a life-long body of evidence that proves that doing what we know works. Why fix what isn’t broken and risk a loss of resources, or worse: cause unintended harm to ourselves or our family?
Being Open Minded
Not everyone shares that “not-broken” view of the world. In fact, there are large cohorts of people that, after combining their newly formed sense of reason along with a higher level of education (millennials) see things as “mostly-broken.” Combine all of this with an elevated sense of self-efficacy and you have a large group of people that see a challenge and believe they have the power to fix it. So they try.
These cohorts are divided more by time, and less by sex, race or geography. This feeds the popular perception that “young people” are constantly trying to change things just because they can, not because they should. The older generation of cohorts often resist and, frankly, resent this insistence on change brought on by the younger. Thus, we have conflict.
However, the reader is encouraged to consider this concept of young versus old, legacy versus disruption, not as destructive conflict but more akin to celestial bodies that continuously fall into each other in a complementary way, in an eternal gravitational dance. Think more yin and yang than spy versus spy. If you are too damn young to know what spy versus spy is, please take a moment to retrieve your ever-vibrating smart phone tablet device and search for it on Wikipedia or Reddit or something. Go ahead, we’ll wait…
So now that we all embrace the concepts of new and old as two parts of the same whole, we must apply our deepest level of patience to compassionately tolerating overzealous, overconfident tech nerds of all ages and ilks (author included). The old ones need to really listen when the young ones say VR is the future of entertainment, and the young ones need to listen to the old ones who reminisce about what was lost with the decline of celluloid film. Why? Because both perspectives have value.
Quantum physicists and nerds of the Star Trek or Breaking Bad variety may be familiar with the concept of “Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle,” which means when you get down to it, you as the observer, can only measure one of two properties at a time: where something is or where it is going. The uber-nerds among us may squirm, eager to offer that it is a bit more complex than that.
For the sake of this writing, we are going to draw inspiration from this idea that we can only measure, with any amount of certainty, where we are right now or where we are going. So to keep things moving along, let’s start unpacking that idea of “Where are we now?”
If we were to create a time capsule and inside of it place all of the best and most relevant buzzwords of today, what would it contain? Like many (or most) time capsules, we, as good, old garden variety “people” tend to include more things that we are most proud of, socially obsessed with or afraid of. We would certainly add terms like: Security, 4K, UHD, HDR, Security, HFR, 10Gbps, OpenStack, Hacking, Cloud, VR, Monetization, Security, OTT, Security, Netflix… not necessarily in that order. Runners up may include 8K, RAW, Archival and Workflow. Terms like 2K, future-proof and SR Tape would be on the floor, stuck together with old chewing gum and splicing cement.
What will the future “us” think of these time-capsule contents? Odds are overwhelmingly high that we will look back and laugh at our naiveté. Can you remember how crappy things looked before resolution-less, vector-based image capture and display? Remember how we were so worried about frame rates? How did we survive before quantum image streams? Remember the “jutter” of 240fps video? Yuck!! One thing’s for sure; life was so much simpler back then…
Will we continue this conversation shortly, by making some educated guesses and have a bit of fun with outright predictions as to what the future will really be like and what we can do to be a part of it.