The Democratization of Quality


Last night was a blur. After working all day and traveling most of the evening, I arrived home to help my 15-year old son, Marcus, with his Spanish class project. He and a partner, his friend Tanner, were to cook a famous Spanish dish, Tortilla Espanhola, document the act in a short video in Spanish. The next morning, the boys, their Spanish fritatta and a short video were to compete with the other teams in the class. My task was to film them using my trusty $150 Flip Camera, and help them put together their video.

It took us 2 hours to cook and document the dish, and by then it was past 10 p.m. Exhausted, I opened a video editing program that came loaded on my Mac, iMovie, and prayed that I would be able to figure it out and get this thing done. I had never worked with it before. After watching the 5-minute tutorial, I was ready to edit.

Even though I’ve been around professional video production for a while, I have never edited a video before. We didn’t have lights, microphones or an expensive editing suite. However, the final product looks a lot more professional than I expected. Within a couple of hours, I had put together a short film with the production quality of a large-budget project from just a few years ago. Once I spent $2,000 a day to rent an editing system that didn’t do half of what iMovie does.

Now that quality is becoming more of a commodity everyday, what are people willing to pay extra for?

I have a hunch that creativity and content will win the day as they have in the past, but even more so in the days where anyone with inexpensive technology can compete with seasoned professionals.

What’s your take?

  • Mark Humphries

    Fun video, Maurilio. I'm impressed with your editing skills. Are you sure you haven't done this before? Really?

    I agree with you. There's no substitute for great content. Putting lipstick on a pig is no longer enough.

  • MaurilioAmorim

    I've been to many a editing session, but I have never edited a single video before. As a matter of fact, I have never used iMovie before last night. The video is a testament of how easy it is to make things look good these days.

  • Jonathan Lewis

    Putting lipstick on a pig reminds me of what I think of a lot of so called journalism today. It's sensationalism without substance. It's "well produced crap, but it's still crap."

  • Steve Shantz

    The technology is amazing, but the person behind the Flip had some skills, and a creative eye. I think it comes down to the content. Even iMovie cannot turn bad footage into a professional looking presentation. Lighting, angle, focus composition and originality are what people will pay for.

    My wife once produced a series of Epic Story Videos for our organization which involved filming in North Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The cameraman was able to produce a certain lighting and texture effect in each video which enhanced the effectiveness of the videos. The only way to reproduce that effect was to use that cameraman. It couldn't be reproduced with software.

  • MaurilioAmorim

    Exactly my point, Steve, technology will not replace talent, but it will give the tools to do great work to anyone who wants to do instead of only people who are able to afford expensive gear.

  • Michael V

    That was actually impressive… editing, content, and cost. It cost you, what, $300 and a few hours. Wow.

  • MaurilioAmorim

    Thanks Michael. The most expensive part of the whole thing was the Spanish Serrano Ham which I had to buy from an importer from Spain at $37.50 a pound and pay $35 to overnight it. I had the flip and the iMovie already.

  • Mitch Ebie

    Nice video!….but how did the food taste? I liked the very end where you mentioned Gwen as the dishwasher, I know how that feels, ha-ha!

  • MaurilioAmorim

    It actually tasted great. The boys pre-cooked the recipe the night before and made some adjustments to Emeril's directions. And thanks for washing the dishes during your first visit to my house. But again, I didn't give you an option. 🙂

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