Rewind the clock 30 years. Technologically speaking, the world was a very different place. For the layperson the internet was not yet part of daily life, VHS still dominated home entertainment, it was film over digital, and the first text messages were only just being laboriously squeezed out of shiny new digital bricks!
As a music producer who was born in 1992, I am very aware that I have, in real time, surfed the wave of technological revolution which has unlocked opportunity like never before for independent creatives. Apple created their DAW, Logic Pro, in 1993. Before this the world of music production was a small one. It was an industry of gate keepers. To become a successful artist you would need the financial backing of a record label. Without that backing, your access to the resources needed to create and market a record would be extremely limited. Things couldn’t be more different now.
In 2021 it is possible for the vast majority of musicians to purchase the requisite technology to be able to produce music of a professional standard. Instruments, cabling, audio interfaces, microphones, DAW’s, laptops and the internet; all these tools are accessible and competitively priced. Technology has driven change that has brought immense opportunity to the passionate and talented creator. I am a beneficiary of this change.
The exact same story is now playing out in the film making industry. Netflix published a list of approved cameras for partners creating content for the platform. The list includes the big boy cameras, the staples of the industry that would set you back tens, even hundreds of thousands of pounds. Just take the ARRI ALEXA LF camera. The basic set is a whopping $98,200 USD. However, recently Netflix added a new camera to their list, a camera that represents the fundamental power shift foreshadowed in the music industry; the Panasonic S1H. This mirrorless camera will set you back around £3,600 GBP or $5000 USD… that is quite a lot less that the ARRI.
What does this mean? I see three things.
Firstly, companies are doing a fantastic job creating professional level technology at accessible prices. It’s so cool to know that, with a bit of saving, you can now own the tech that will enable your work to been seen in its best possible form. That leads me to the second result; opportunity.
The revolution in music and film means that, comparatively speaking, barriers to entry have been smashed down for people with talent, passion and drive. I know this from personal experience. I began my music career writing and producing in my bedroom, and in 2020 I signed a record deal. The path I took and the opportunities I had were simply not there for even my parents generation.
The final thing we see as a result of tech revolution leading to increased opportunity is stiff competition. Competition drives quality up, and as a consumer this is a great thing! However, inevitably, as barriers to entry decrease, the number of people pursuing ‘the dream’ increases. This creates problems. How can my work stand out from the vast crowd? How will I ever be noticed? However, in the end I do believe we can trust the process. Keep progressing your own craft whether that is music production, film making, or some other area. Be passionate, be creative, and be determined, and in the end I do believe you will be noticed. In a sea of competition, the best content floats to the top eventually, and the progression opportunities you are looking for will surely arise at some point. The most important thing is to keep creating with what you have now.
The Panasonic S1H is on the list. It’s on the list for arguably the most important film production company in the world right now. To me this is huge, encouraging news. It’s exciting. It’s inspiring. The barriers are coming down, the gate keepers are being defeated, and the only question we are left with is, what do you want to film next?!