The Downside of Innovation
At Impact Media, we’re all about innovation and embracing change. New tech is constantly made available that even the industry professionals are drooling over – “cheaper, faster and smarter? Yes, please!”. But as industry professionals, we’ve noticed a downside to this, and that’s a marked decline in quality of content that seems to be inversely proportional with innovation.
Allow us to explain…
You have a launch coming up for Brand X. Your team’s been planning every detail from venue to waiters and even how the playlist fits in with your theme. Now you start talking about photos and videos for the event: you want a ‘wow’ video along with some great pics to share online. Wonderful! Except this is where Kate from Sales digs in her purse and produces a shiny 4K DSLR that she got from her hubby for Christmas. She even downloaded an App that edits all the footage for you!
Au contraire, we say. You just potentially sabotaged weeks – even months – of hard work and planning by falling for the biggest fallacy in innovation: that technology substitutes skill.
You see, at Impact we embrace innovation, because we have the experience, theory and knowledge to put it to good use – you don’t seriously think Uni is only about learning how operate the tools, do you? If that were the case we’d have to re-enrol every time a new model or update becomes available. Instead, we invested all that time, passion and money learning the theory behind engaging an audience, which is why we can spend hours looking at photos, posters, videos, etc., analysing every pixel for its effectiveness.
A well-known mantra in the television industry is ‘the medium is not the message’, meaning you can give your old Android phone to a pro and he’ll blow your socks off. It’s not about the Android phone – it’s about knowing what to do with it. Hold the camera higher and it conveys a message. Zoom in closer and that meaning changes. This is also why you see professionals cringing when they watch inferior content – it’s not elitist scoffing, it’s deep-felt disappointment at simple mistakes at the audience’s expense. The ultimate goal for any professional is to have your audience – not only engage with your content – but to be immersed in it. To achieve this requires years of experience and skill and it will elude many professionals. Remember watching “Avengers: Infinity War” and thinking “wow, that camera movement really amplified my emotional investment in that character!”? No, you were sitting there wide-eyed with a mouth full of popcorn … and that’s why they make the big bucks.
So back to Kate and her Christmas present: Kate may not have spent years learning about visual communication. Kate – whilst making a killing in the Sales Dept. – probably doesn’t know her headroom from her eyelines. Kate probably won’t be shooting for natural cutting points. Kate, dear Kate, will most probably walk around pointing the camera at anything and everything in a dizzying rollercoaster of blurs and zooms that will give an Astronaut vertigo. But, hey, you saved a few bucks and we’re sure someone with a strong stomach will manage to sit through the video long enough to see the link to Brand X at the end.
Yes, we embrace innovation, but we also insist on the skill to wield it. Otherwise, you’re choosing profit over the customer experience, and Benjamin Franklin warned us years ago about the bitterness of poor quality remaining long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
It happened with Television, it happened with VHS, it happened with Napster, it happened with Netflix. New tech disrupts the old. And, in the end, it’s always the quality content that remains standing.
All you have to decide is if you want Brand X to be there when the dust settles.
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