It's easy to go on a rant about the democratization of video production tools - iPhones to GoPros, iMovie to whatever the latest app is - and how they equal the death, of if not death then decline, of demand for professional producers. So I'll attempt to steer the rant into a fair and rational argument that goes something like this:
Each new mobile device is released with a camera better than the last, and if the commercials are to be believed, the results can rival or surpass the best in the business for pennies on the dollar. This often trickles down into the argument by the general public that pro services are overrated, overpriced or unnecessary to create the videos they need. It makes sense in a certain light. If I can shoot and edit my commercials, or event pieces or web videos with what's already in my pocket, and get a clear image, what do I need a high-priced (relatively speaking) crew for?
It would totally make sense if it were a fair equivalent. But it isn't. And here's why.
It's not just about the tools, as important as they are, all those megapixels and gigabytes. It's as equally about the talent of the individuals operating it and the artistic decisions they make in how to deploy it. It's like handing out paintbrushes and a canvas. No matter how exclusive the brush - unicorn hair coated with wax from endangered bees, say - no one will paint exactly like Rembrandt except Rembrandt. Or if given the sharpest hammer and chisel in the world, would your homemade statues curves and lines resemble even the least appreciated Rodin? The average untrained artist may not even know where to begin, and the result will ultimately be less than satisfying.
Creating video, just like visual art, is a skill set comprised of technical knowledge and trained decision making. Just as much about what gets left out as what is included, and requiring an expert knowledge of facets like angles, colors, light and motivations to get right. Shortchange any one of those needs, and the finished product may be, at best, lackluster, and at worst, a hot mess.
So the next time you consider adding video to your marketing mix, or even shooting your next presentation to the board, stop and ask yourself: just because I have an iPhone and I can, does that really mean I should?
Video is, by nature, a process that involves people, equipment and time, all of which have some level of price point attached. It's the same with other feats of coordination, like building a house, or manufacturing your vehicle, or delivering a top-notch hotel experience. So yes, in the end you will have to write a check for the work performed and the process will not be a free one.
But the long-term value of what you will receive for that investment, and the piece of mind you will receive by having sought the services of a trusted professional rather than an app, will be so much greater than any cross-your-fingers iPhone or Android adventure could ever hope for.
Bottom line: You'll be happier. And happy is a pretty great thing to be.
Josh Dasal is an Emmy award-winning video producer and digital marketer with a 20-year history of telling stories that matter. You can Google him.