That Old Black Magic

For my next trick…video!!!

Since its inception, television has been a ‘dark art’.



Able to be accomplished by only a ‘trained’ few.

Magic… or so it seemed. Crate after crate of equipment, lights, gels, cables, booms, wires and God only knows what else.

Thousands and thousands of dollars to produce a minute or two of video.

What a colossal waste of money.

Slowly, it is starting to dawn on those who pay for the product, or who are looking at the prospect of paying for the product that there must be a better way of doing this. Faster. Cheaper. Easier.

And, of course, there is.

Taking an entire network like The Travel Channel into the world of video literacy is going to be an eye-opening experience for the staff. The mystery of the ‘dark art’ of video is going to be blown away. $4000 a week for Avid rental and another $2500 a week for the editor. and another $1500 a week for the room? “Why don’t we just cut this on Final Cut on a laptop?” A very good question.

And this is just the beginning.


The black magic days are rapidly drawing to a close.

This week, down in DC, Aaron Rocket, our EP at the Verizon project for the first year is taking on a new project for us. He’s going to start producing video clips for iPhones, tied to GPS. In a new city? Plug in the GPS, get a dozen restaurant or hotel options. See video for each of the locations. A minute or two on each. That’s a lot of video. A lot. And you don’t want to start hiring crews and vans and cables and lights and gels to start making them. Aaron cut his teeth with us. For a year, he turned out a 3-4 minutes of cut video a day, every day. For him now to cover a region of a city and make a handful of 1-2 minute video profiles on his laptop is a piece of cake.

And there are lots of video content users who have a big appetite for cake.

But no one wants to pay a few thousand dollars a slice.

Nor should they.

We are in the business of pulling back the curtain, exposing the wizards for what they are.



2 responses to “That Old Black Magic

  1. Brilliant!

    You change the photo and the tag, and you can use the same blog post every couple of weeks!

    Living and learning over here

  2. Many years ago, I did a doc for PBS about stand up comics. They all said the same thing. They all said you do the same 20 minutes for 30 years.You just keep fine tuning it. This is a bit the same. Like a political stump speech, you have to keep hammering the point home from time to time. I try to intersperse that with more interesting bits. Stand by for today’s report from The Newark Star Ledger. Really interesting day.

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