Tip #1000: Are Your Skills Craft or Commodity?

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1000: Are Your Skills a Craft – or a Commodity?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The future is coming, whether we like it or not. Today, we need to prepare for it.

(Production image courtesy of Pexels.com.)

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This article, written by Simon Wyndham, first appeared in RedSharkNews.com. This is a summary.

In recent months there has been a talk about the types of jobs that are under threat from automation. Whether or not a computer could ever become artistic is one question, but for many of us, the market saturation of video producers has had quite an effect on rates.

Technology has made it simpler to become involved in production. It is virtually impossible to buy a camera now that, with the right use, can’t produce a picture good enough to use for at least basic company videos and promos.

The other side of this coin is that as more people are enabled to create great imagery, the more crowded the marketplace becomes. With all the technical articles and videos available online, lighting diagrams from famous DP’s and the like, the latest breed of filmmakers is more knowledgeable than ever.

Every year there are thousands of students released into the wider world of work, fresh from studying video and film production. They all want a piece of the pie. In days gone by, I could usually pick apart most student productions like a child pulling legs off an insect. Not so much now. And these are the people who are now entering the job market.

This will only get worse. It isn’t a matter of “if” you will be replaced or made surplus to requirement, it is a question of “when.”

Even if the full edit process retained the use of humans for fine-tuning, if the main bulk of an edit can be created in seconds, where does that leave our hourly rates? Would there even be a demand for enough quantities of video from each individual producer to make it worthwhile given the speeds now involved? When we take into account that an AI could respond to requests for video to look like a specific film, or have a specific pace or look, then things do not look very rosy for the future of human editors.


The full article, depressing though it is, is worth reading. We each need to spend time planning how to cope with the impact of technology.

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2 replies
  1. Mike Janowski
    Mike Janowski says:

    “It isn’t a matter of “if” you will be replaced or made surplus to requirement, it is a question of “when.”

    Complete hogwash. I don’t care how good Adobe’s Sensai tech is…deciding when to leave an “um…” in, and when to take it out; what constitutes a good, pregnant pause, versus a painful wait; and when to use that camera bump or whip-pan, versus dropping in the perfectly composed shots; all those are aesthetic decisions that any sort of “artificial” intelligence simply will not get. Ever.

    • Larry Jordan
      Larry Jordan says:


      Smile… I used to think the same thing. But, if clients don’t see the need for the tweaking and if automation gets them “close enough” we have a problem.

      The high-end of the market will always exist. And there’s lots of people willing to create media for free. The BIG! challenge is the middle of the market, where most of the jobs are. These, to me, are the ones most vulnerable to automation.

      You would be amazed at the number of press releases that cross my desk every week touting new ways of using machine learning to “speed editing and reduce overhead.” Sigh.



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