By: Jeffrey Boggess
Video is not the medium of the future.
This is something you may hear from freelance videographers giving their pitch to the little fish.
“Your business can no longer afford to function without some kind of video presence.”
Which is true.
Cisco, in fact, predicted that 82 percent of internet traffic would be video by this year and that traffic would be 95 percent more rampant than it was 15 years ago (Boxer, 2015). This has also demonstrated significant accuracies, and it reinforces one truth:
Video is not the medium of the future.
It was, of course, at a certain point in time, but take a look at what many social justice groups have done in the past five years. Maximizing pathos, a Stanford University team developed a virtual reality empathy experience dubbed “Becoming Homeless: A Human Experience” (Shashkevich, 2018). This immersive “game” allows a viewer to watch their possessions slowly disappear before they’re forcibly evicted from their virtual home.
Similarly, a freelance computer artist designed an immersive VR experience simply titled “DeathTolls” to allow viewers to visualize the massive human fallout that accompanies international conflicts, particularly in the Middle East (Hayden, 2015).
On one level, these projects embody the same basic goal of agency video advertising. The key difference is that they utilize newer technologies to make stronger, mostly emotionally-driven points. They’re innovative, but they retain the fundamentals of video.
Because video is fundamental.
I worked for two years as the video producer for a grant-funded community branding initiative. Our job was to interview community members and produce content based around an identity crafted by a data-collecting strategy team. Early in September of 2018, a few of us journeyed to southern West Virginia to shoot basic footage of the town, edit it into a promotional video and premiere it at a brand launch to show the community members what our team could offer their town.
They loved it.
They’d been skeptical at first of an outside team permeating their community barrier to tell their story for them. After all, another small West Virginia community Oceana had been the unflattering subject of an exploitive documentary that, according to Police Chief Jeff Barlow, “put out there that we don’t have a great community, and that’s just not true” (Neff, 2015).
But our team wasn’t there to spotlight the challenges faced by our selected town; it was there to contribute to a potential solution: rebranding. The community members had never seen their town portrayed in such a supportive, modern fashion.
This one community demonstrated on a larger scale how a lack of video in its public identity left it behind its peers in both economic and community development. Without a strong identity, formulating growth became an unnecessarily difficult task. This fundamental remains the same for any business.
Video cannot be the medium of the future while a necessity in the present. It is the key to evolution; without it, any enterprise is destined for failure. Whether in-house or out, the technological landscape has progressed beyond room for businesses unwilling to adapt.
They are now the trades of the past.
Boxer, B. (2016 August 15). “Video Is The Future Of Media On The Web.” Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/benjaminboxer/2016/08/15/video-is- the-future-of-media-on-the-web/#7cffb48bdecf
Hayden, S. (2015 October 5). “ ‘DeathTolls’ Experience Creates Chilling Visualizations of Human Loss from Disasters Worldwide.” Road to VR. Retrieved from https://www.roadtovr.com/deathtolls-vr-experience-visually-quantifies- human-loss-disasters-worldwide/
Neff, C. (2015 December 26). “Oceana still haunted by drug documentary.” Register- Herald. Retrieved from https://www.register-herald.com/news/oceana-still- haunted-by-drug-documentary/article_c4b3499e-434a-5493-b393- 81dd70fd3a72.html
Shashvevich, A. (2018 October 17). “Virtual reality can help make people more compassionate compared to other media, new Stanford study finds.” Stanford. Retrieved from https://news.stanford.edu/2018/10/17/virtual-reality-can-help- make-people-empathetic/