We recently had a group of high-schoolers come through the office to learn a little bit about video production and postproduction, and one of the first questions they asked me was one I hear all the time:
“What program do you work in to make videos?”
At first blush, this seems like a good starting place for someone new to the industry – after all, the dvi group works with quite a few sophisticated software packages, including Pixar’s RenderMan and our own in-house package Demeter. The problem with the question is that it focuses on the wrong part of video production.
First of all, software is always changing. By the time these kids finish school and start in the working world, there’s no guarantee that the software we use today will still be relevant – in fact, I’ll be surprised if it is. But the problem with the question goes deeper.
Imagine going back in time to meet Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. You look up at him as the paint drips into his eye and the question that will reveal the secret of his genius:
“What kind of brush are you using?”
In the modern age, video production artists use hardware and software instead of paint and clay to tell stories, but creating beautiful work is, has always been, and will always be about understanding fundamentals like color and rhythm, not about pressing the right buttons on a keyboard. At the end of the day, a good artist can create something great out of substandard tools, and a bad artist with great tools can still put out substandard work.
Thankfully, at the dvi group we have great artists and great tools, and it shows in our work.