About two years ago, a bunch of my friends got together to make a movie for an 8 hour film contest. One of the participants was Harvey. Harvey is a physician, heavy on the research, whose specialty is getting women pregnant.
He likes to say that. Me too.
One of the things Harvey has devised is a test used to better understand why some women don’t get pregnant… and how to change that. I’m oversimplifying, but you get the idea.
When we made the movie, Harvey knew nothing about video production. Because he had Final Cut Pro on his Mac laptop, and because he didn’t know how to use it, he asked if he could be our editor!
He wanted others, people who did know what they were doing, to teach him the software. That was a masterstroke.
That afternoon, Harvey began to edit. What he did was rudimentary, but before we began, Harvey didn’t know enough to know the extent of what he didn’t know!
I got an IM from Harvey yesterday. He was working on his own video project, explaining a medical test he’s devised for IVF candidates. Would I look at it?
What Harvey brought was a little rough. You could see it wasn’t done by someone who edited a lot. But, it was easy to see there was a really good and effective presentation hidden beneath the rough cuts.
First I, then my weather partner Gil Simmons, watched the video and took notes. Most of the problems were simple things – dissolves versus cuts and how to work around shaky shots. Harvey took it all in.
The really cool part was, Harvey had gotten so close by himself. He shot, wrote and edited the whole production¹ with no outside help.
We had dinner and Harvey headed home, hoping to begin cleaning the production up. We spoke again at 11:30 PM.
By this time, I was as anxious to make the video a success as he was. I drove to his home and spent nearly three hours with him working on graphic elements.
Final Cut Pro is an amazing product. Just using the tools he had at home, Harvey was beginning to have a very slick looking production. It will end up being burned on DVDs and put on the web as Flash video.
There is a moral to this story. The kind of production Harvey assembled could have cost well into five figures – and it would have been worth it. Now, effective video production can be done by anyone, even a multiply doctored academician from Yale!
It’s true he needed some professional help to get him on track, but he was incredibly close to success all on his own. Non-linear editing tools allowed us to manipulate the project where it needed to be with little trouble.
Video production is the most powerful storytelling medium ever devised by man. It has been democratized.
¹ – Writing is probably the most important part of video production. A well written story is the blueprint which guides how everything is assembled. Good writers are tough to come by.