Looking back, and forward to the next decade of media production


The year 2000 doesn’t seem that long ago – and what’s for certain is that as you get older ten years is a very short space of time.
A decade is a long time in technology though.
In 1999 most people didn’t have a mobile phone and weren’t even on the internet at home, painfully slow dial-up was the only option for most. A decade on, the internet is at the core of personal and business transactions – whether it be by email or via some kind of social networking site, and most are using a pretty fast connection at home and certainly at the office.
One thing we can all agree on is that things change faster now than ever before as technology follows Moore’s Law. So where will we be by 2019, other than ten years older?
Editors note: “Moore's law describes a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware, in which the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years”
How we consume media will be the biggest change, with deals being struck with YouTube and the like for streaming of television series, Spotify, LOVEFILM.com, Virgin and Sky offering music and movies on demand, and in the latter case in HD – it seems natural to assume by the end of the decade the act of buying music and films in a disk form will only apply to a minority of the public.
With the removal of the actual ‘media’ it opens up the chance of ever higher quality content being viewed on laptop screens and LCD’s in the home (a lot of TV’s already ship with internet built-in) as the only limit is the pipe you can send it down rather than the manufacture of goods. iPlayer and its HD offering has shown that image quality matters yet again – and the argument for DV being good enough does not carry in this HD digital age. For certain, one thing this decade has shown is that audiences do crave high-quality movies and drama (The Dark Knight, Heroes, Lost, 24, Mad Men, The Wire etc.) and will flock to it in their millions. Within a short amount of time streaming to mobile phones (iPhone etc) will be a real reality – wherever you are, via wi-fi or 3G.
The big change in cinema will be 3D Stereoscopic. 2010 will see the next big leap since the introduction of colour in the 1940s and 50s. ‘Avatar’ and ‘Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland’ will mark the first big change in live action movie production, and Sky’s 3D summer of sport will be the catalyst to the slow process of getting 3D to people in pubs and in their homes. Expect ‘3D at home’ in the latter half of this decade.
It is the 3D Stereoscopic and digital projection standards which will drive film and programme makers to produce high-quality material – and it could mark a wholesale change as the industry shrinks as consumers demand better and switch off if their attention isn’t kept. If the internet has shown us one thing, its that people will not just watch anything when you can quickly click a link to something better – the sooner companies realise this and start spending money with agencies again to create unique content for internet users the sooner this industry will begin to get back to work. 2009 has been a year of people leaving the industry, its wholesale shrinkage has meant the removing of wheat from the chaff. Many will not be able to return, and I doubt advertising will ever return to the rates and demand it enjoyed up till the middle of this decade. While the internet killed live transmitted advertising, it will resurface in a new online form. While advertisers have already woken up to social networking sites and the power they now control (X-Factor vs. Rage against the machine for example) can only be exploited with content worth watching, and worth forwarding or ’sharing’.
The gulf we’ve seen between high quality and airwave fillers will get greater, as more focused channels come to air. As more channels will be introduced, quality will continue to drop across the network of 100s of channels, traditional live advertising revenue will continue to drop with the exception of ad breaks in ‘X-Factor’ and the like, the only advertisers left on TV will be supermarkets and ‘under-the-sink’ brands. What will replace it is the insertion of ads at the start of on-demand programmes which will help to keep the market from slipping quite so fast – but I predict by the end of this new decade television advertising will not exist in the form it does now. Content will be viewed online and on-demand – and subscription or pay-per-view will grow for movies and high quality HBO type series, advertising will feature in the form of product placement, ad’s over-layed at the bottom of your YouTube stream, and forced-in commercials which are still used to ‘break’ up long shows.
What was, and what will be, the big change in the art of movie and programme making? Well in the late 1980s and early 1990s Avid was the big advancement in the world of post-production, along with other digital non-linear systems such as the Quantel Paintbox and Henry, and later the discreet Flame. Non-linear would have summed up the big change of the 90s, but shooting on film was still the only real option for medium to high-end production.
This decade? Well its been the advancement of High Definition pictures and digital cameras, and their over-taking of film in general use. Certainly most high-end commercials are still shot on 35mm, and the same goes for feature films – but its obvious by 2015 the majority of production at the high-end will be digitally acquired as the cameras surpass film quality.
The other big change was Final Cut Pro. Now available with a comprehensive editing and post production toolset for only £700 it smashes the price of HD post production, along with Adobe it has changed the landscape for good. Talent will be the only thing left in this industry, without it you’ll find yourself looking for alternative work. ‘Edit Hire’ rates for Avids and suites is over, unless you’re posting Stereoscopic work at 4k resolution or have a suite which meets the demands of high-end clients, expect your rates to continue to drop unless you’ve got the best creative talent. The shrinkage is set to continue.
So, how will us creatives make it through to 2020 and make a decent living? The same two things as always:
If it’s not on the script it’s not on the screen.
Be the best, work with the best, make the best.

Thomas Urbye
MD, The Look
Soho, London

Tags: iss038 | spotify | youtube | media post production | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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Contributing Author John Halksworth Click to read or download PDF
Out of the box: Sennheiser Ambeo VR microphone
Jon Pratchett 2 The use of 360 video, especially on platforms like Facebook and YouTube is really starting to take off. Gone are the days when you needed to buy multiple GoPros and rigs in order to get something decent looking. Now players like Insta360 and even GoPro with their fusion 360 camera are providing single camera, high quality solutions, enabling the masses to put out reasonable quality, certainly watchable, 360 video.
Tags: iss130 | vr | virtual reality | audio | ambiosonic | Jon Pratchett 2
Contributing Author Jon Pratchett 2 Click to read or download PDF
Reliable back-up at the Music City Bowl
Sam Gordon WLEX – LEX18 – is the NBC affiliate in Lexington, Kentucky, and part of the Cordillera Communications Group. As a very popular local station with a broadcast area that covers 40 counties across central Kentucky we have a big commitment to news, broadcasting more than seven hours of live programming on a typical day.
Tags: iss130 | wlex-tv | dejero | engo | gobox | cellsat | Sam Gordon
Contributing Author Sam Gordon Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation
Dick Hobbs - new

On the most recent occasion I was trimmed, my hairdresser had just returned from a holiday in Hawaii.

Where she thought she was going to die. She thought this because the state’s emergency alert system was triggered, sending messages across all available platforms, for 38 minutes, that a ballistic missile was about to strike. That, I suspect, is the sort of thing that casts a pall across your holiday.

Why did it happen? Essentially it happened because an operator selected the wrong menu item. “I feel very badly from what’s happened,” he is quoted as saying, in a somewhat mangled version of English which may at least in part explain his difficulties with menu items.

Tags: iss130 | alertsense | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Why OTT needs multicast ABR
Damien Lucas Last year, Netflix’s global revenue reached $11 billion, with 24 million new names added to its subscribers’ list. Viewers are certainly making their preferences heard – and voting with their remote controls to show that over-the-top (OTT) content is here to stay.
Tags: iss130 | ott | abr | adaptive bit rate | cdn | dsl | lte | Damien Lucas
Contributing Author Damien Lucas Click to read or download PDF
Somewhere down the latency river
Ben Hawker Some people have been, understandably, getting fairly excited over the prospect of being able to deploy wireless cameras to capture and transmit 4K UHD. Manufacturers and developers are closing in on the ability to deliver systems that will offer up almost endless creative options at the highest – to date – possible picture quality.
Tags: iss129 | latency | 4k | wireless | rf | presteigne | Ben Hawker
Contributing Author Ben Hawker Click to read