photo of john wooden

Process before product


When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens – and when it happens, it lasts.

John Wooden

Without getting all self indulgent and start linking to cliche Paul Kelly songs and going off on a tangent process is important in all things.

The process that you go through to do something reflects the outcome. Even at the very fine scale this is true. A good example of this is driving to work. The process is the commute to work and the outcome is arriving at work. If the traffic is bad that day and you arrive to work late that is a direct reflection of the process. Just focusing on the process of traveling to work obviously may not lead to ‘bigger things’ rather it highlights how the process has a direct impact on the outcome.

This is important to remember because there is such strong focus and value placed on outcomes in our society that process can often be forgotten.


Technology shapes content

Blog, Video

To a certain extent technology shapes content. This is obviously not a new concept, but it is something I am actively aware of in my job. There are lots of examples of this but I will focus on Facebook videos.

When Facebook introduced auto play video ads the videos uploaded to Facebook started to change.  What is different about watching a video on Facebook as opposed to YouTube is that they auto load and play with no sound. Whereas on YouTube you select the video you want to watch first and then play it. in addtion embedded YouTube videos on Facebook don’t have the same functionality that Facebook videos do. Often it just displays as a link that you have to navigate to.

Because there is no sound when the video auto plays different techniques are used to try and get people to watch the whole video. For example subtitles are used not just to translate languages but to stop people scrolling past their video. It allows people to get more of an understanding of what the video is about because they can read the text and watch the visuals. As well as this the first few seconds of the video is critical to whether people pay attention to it or not.

This is really just touching the surface of the examples of recent changes in online video content, but interesting nonetheless.


People riding motorbikes

Susan Sontag and telling stories through video


“The knowledge gained through still photographs will always be some kind of sentimentalism, whether cynical or humanist. It will be knowledge at bargain prices–a semblance of knowledge, a semblance of wisdom;”

“Photography implies that we know about the world if we accept it as the camera records it. But this is the opposite of understanding, which starts from not accepting the world as it looks. All possibility of understanding is rooted in the ability to say no. Strictly speaking, one never understands anything from a photograph.”

“A way of certifying experience, taking photographs is also a way of refusing it…”

“The person who intervenes cannot record; the person who is recording cannot intervene.”

–Susan Sontag “On Photography. I. In Plato’s Cave”

Quote source

For me this quote also extends itself to the video camera. When the center of attention is placed on the ‘camera’ itself ie staging photographs/videos, does that then change the very nature of a photograph/video and the story it tells? Does it become something new?

It’s always good to remember that the story isn’t about you or the camera, it’s about people you are recording and their stories. In a lot of instances to tell a story through video you have to ‘intervene’. Which is why being aware of what Sontag is saying is really important. Valuing relationships of the people you are capturing video of is just as important as capturing the footage itself. People are more receptive to doing interviews or talking about something if you have already developed relationship with them. In turn you get a much more ‘authentic’ story.

While it’s a bit out of left field, the documentary 12′ oclock boys is really a good example of this style. There are certainly shots that are staged and the camera is clearly intervening, however the overall ‘voice’ of the story comes from those that are in the documentary, not the creators of the documentary. You really get the sense that the camera is just capturing what is in front of it……