Is Your Business Future Proof?

In that past few days I’ve seen film and video work that has me seriously re-thinking how I plan to progress my career moving forward. The technological achievements in Flash and CG (computer generated) video is so amazing, one cannot help but wonder how long it will be before even human actors will no longer be needed.

The writing has been on the wall for a while. For years Pixar has broken new ground in CG technology. Then, last year, the online slideshow creation powerhouse Animoto announced they were adding the ability it include moving video in their already terrific, auto-generated photo montages. Then a couple of weeks ago, James “King of the World” Cameron came out with his magnum opus “Avatar.” The story is absolutely first grade, but the imagery is literally out of this world amazing!

Now, in just the past week, I’ve seen two more examples of where this industry is going with respect to either the ability to auto generate content, and the advancements of CG animation.


Many of us have seen those flash video-grams where you upload a photo and the photo gets injected into a pre-built video. It’s a great way to play a joke or freak your friends out. Last week I saw one of the most amazing implementations. Check it out (it takes a while to buffer, so click on it then come back and continue reading):

Then, today I saw a CG animated video by a CG artist named Alex Roman. The video below is all computer generated. It’s absolutely un-fricking-believable what this guy has done.

The Third & The Seventh from Alex Roman on Vimeo.


So the question is: how does a filmmaker/pro video producer “future proof” his/her business? How does one prepare for the future when technological advancements get to the point when videos that once took hours of editing time can be created in minutes; or when films can be created entirely in the computer, doing away with the need for cameras, lights, cranes, dollies, rigs, DPs, ACs, ADs, grips, etc.; how will your business be affected?

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “It’ll be years and years before I have to worry about technology like this affecting my business, if it affect my business all. I won’t see these kind of changes in my lifetime?” Perhaps you’re right. But there are already advancements in the industry (like the Animoto example above) that are here right now. And never under estimate the power of Moore’s Law. This stuff may happen faster than you know it.

What say you?

10 thoughts on “Is Your Business Future Proof?

  1. that was an amazing video, Ron. thanks for sharing it. coming from a 3D modelling background, i must agree that what can be done nowadays is really astounding. but here's how one can remain “future proof” in… be an excellent film editor!! πŸ™‚ even the movie you posted had to be edited.

  2. Ah. Good point Mr. Hsu. Another thought I had is be a great writer and ideaperson. No matter how a film or video is made, the idea for it must first beconceived. As amazing as Avatar is, the poor storytelling will not make it afilm to stand the test of time. When every CG film looks as good or better,no one will care about watching Avatar again. (Of course, it's made so manyga-jillion dollars, I'm sure the producers don't care. πŸ™‚

  3. I've been thinking about it, and even being a great editor can threatened for some jobs. Animoto proves that. The montages they create one would normally have to spend hours creating and could charge hundreds of $$$ for. Now, you can create it in minutes. As long as you have a client in the dark about how easy it is to use, you MIGHT still be able to charge a lot, but not for long. I wonder how long it'll be before you can load a series of video clips into Animoto and get a full-blown music video?I guess one way to future proof yourself is to become a computer programmer. πŸ™‚

  4. All I am going to say is read this article Ron I totally agree with what both Peter Jackson and James Cameron say about technology in film. Yeah technology is there but the end of the day, we control what goes on screen. Also another interview I read with James Cameron to achieve what he did with Avatar it still took some frames 50+ hours to render and mind you all the man hours to build those scenes.Technology will help and its good to be aware of what as a business owner needs to invest in next but the end result will always be back to basics in story telling and all the cgi in the world is not going to do anything if the viewer can't connect to the story.

  5. Technology will always be a game-changer. But our ability to tell stories hasn't changed much since we learned to communicate. The medium is what has changed. Therefore, I'm inclined to believe that the person who tells the best stories will always be ahead of the one with the best grasp of technology. In no way does that diminish the accomplishments of someone like Alex Roman, who blew my mind with his imagery. Cameron had to wait for technology to catch up with his vision. Perhaps that is the key to being future proof?

  6. Wow! I would have to agree with all below, and both of those videos were visually spectacular! I got goose-bumps just waiting to find out who the person was, and when I saw Tasra's photo then I “got it”. I would like to add, at least for my area (rural NH) a way to future proof my business is to continue to maintain human relationships, building trust and always providing over the top service. There are so many quaint Inn's and B&B's around here I do business with, and they survive on providing an experience and excellent customer service…. Which I believe is something a computer can't replace…. at least not in rural NH in the next 10 years πŸ™‚

  7. You're absolutely right Peter. Storytelling is key. That's one of the reasonwe try to focus on our company being an idea company vs. just a film/videocompany.But, with that said, technology is affecting our business. I keep going backto the Animoto example, but it's the same in other creative industries. I'msure the web consulting business has been affected by all these low cost,DIY providers. As technology makes it easier for companies to do their ownvideos, we'll need to find ways to communicate to potential customer WHYthey should go with our ideas vs. their own.Thanks for the article link.

  8. Nice post Ron. Thanks for pushing the envelope and getting us thinking. When I saw the Animoto montages a couple years ago, I was somewhat relieved. I never got super excited about making photos buzz around and look cool with no context or real story telling. It seemed hollow. Animoto filled a niche. If someone really wanted that sort of thing I could set them up with one of those and charge a setup fee. Or provide a great time and money saving idea by directing them to Animoto- giving better customer service.The “Ken Burns” idea of simply letting a photograph speak for itself and do gentle push ins and outs, even freeze frames, and hard cuts seems to work very well and is timeless. Many of the posts listed here speak to story telling and that is fundamental. The last Star Wars movies are great examples of new technology fused with bad story telling and bad acting. Those movies really sucked. What a shame. I agree. Story telling, better customer service, developing business systems, and using the technology you have at the time to achieve that is key. Better tools will always be appearing to help us do these things better. I can't wait to see a feature film developed on iphones or flip video cams. It would need to be story driven of course.

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