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-   -   Mass layoffs in video industry (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/digital-video-industry-news/23793-mass-layoffs-video-industry.html)

Marco Leavitt March 30th, 2004 08:29 AM

Mass layoffs in video industry
This is the latest monthly report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Note that the motion picture and video industry were listed as the second highest businesses to experience mass layoffs in February 2004 (see table A).


Kenn Christenson March 30th, 2004 10:23 AM

As a lecturer in film school once asked a class I was taking, "Why do you want to be in a business that regularly sees close to 90% unemployment?" And that was back in the '80s.

Nicholi Brossia March 30th, 2004 12:25 PM

Even though its just the way the industry goes, do you think they'll try blaming this rash of layoffs on bootlegged videos and Kazaa?

Marco Leavitt March 30th, 2004 12:29 PM

I think they'll blame all the kids running around with VX2000s shooting weddings and trying to sell news footage to raise money for their film projects.

Nick Kerpchar March 31st, 2004 03:48 AM

If the bulk of that 90% in layoffs has anything to do with television production (including writers) then there should not be any surprise as, IMHO, 90% of television is garbage/rubbish anyway. You could just about say the same for film.

Robert Knecht Schmidt March 31st, 2004 04:09 AM

You could say the same for everything. Doesn't mean 90% of people need be out of work.

Nick Kerpchar April 2nd, 2004 07:59 AM

I agree, it is sad when individuals who wish to work are out of work. Perhaps the next generation of individuals who will produce quality video/film are out there right now learning their craft, and who knows, some of those individuals may even frequent this forum. Now that is an exciting prospect.

Scott Plowman April 7th, 2004 04:55 PM

Could It be that they fired all the actors and hired nobodys to do their reality TV shows??? The reality shows are more popular, they cost much much less to make.. What a novel idea.. ????

Kevin King May 20th, 2004 01:39 AM

I see this as a layoff / cutback IN an industry, not necessarily TO an industry.

Here's what I've been seeing happening, a trend if you will.

1. Back in the day, you had the big film crews (hollywood & high budget movies), and you had the small timers who shot a spool or two of 16mm once a year.

To get this raw footage in front of the final custumer in the proper viewable format, the process involves lots of full time labor to make it all happen.

a: Film must be deloped and archived
b: Film must be color corrected
c: Film must be re-loaded into some offline editing machine so the editors could even access the footage. From there you need a sound guy at a studio for each eek and peek of audio in your film. Audios respoken in a studio (because the camera crews themselves don't have the budget to buy qaulity mics from the start.

You've got an online sessiopn, an offline sessionk - usually huge expense in equipment and experience must all come together to somehow take a bunch of worthless tape on spools and turn it into something that could end up on a DVD or TV at some acceptable quality level.

Well, boys n' girls... the game has changed. I never played with any of this stuff and my well have lost some customers becuase of this, but I've invested in TIME (yes, this is an actuall planned investment) to learn the latest and greatest software. Now, it's all on the desktop.

Give me a few DV tapes, and a box loaded with Adobe Video Suite - and I'll have your final master done in an hour, single handedly. It will be done faster than the "old school" way, and it will be much less expensive.

As technology chages, as technology dusts the previous technolougy under the rug - soo too go with it those who make a living with these services.

Here is still plenty of work, it's just the fact that the work no longer takes so damn many people to acomplish. If your ownly l qualification with your past employer - grabe the client list, throw down som $$$ on a DVD dupe machine, and dupe em' didks. Find other producters who need this. Hand you a disk, you copy it. No problem. You'll then make for from this than full time with the other outfit.

The industry no longer requers all the labor. People get cut, but they are not done. They can cry a few tears and change careers, give up and not come back. Our, the can adapt a bit, and realize that they single handeldly can run an operation of their own

The market is STILL out there. You need to get in your CUSTOMERS HEAD and clearly dispklay that your product fills their needs. Done. Sales are back up.

Seems pretty simple, actually.


Adam Burtle May 20th, 2004 03:14 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Kevin King : I see this as a layoff / cutback IN an industry, not necessarily TO an industry.


Give me a few DV tapes, and a box loaded with Adobe Video Suite - and I'll have your final master done in an hour, single handedly. It will be done faster than the "old school" way, and it will be much less expensive.


I really hope you're not somehow suggesting miniDV cams with onboard mics and adobe PC-editing as a replacement for 16/35 film, professional color timers, professional recording engineers, etc. I'm sure the day will come when there is an entirely digital, and streamlined process to replace shooting on film, reviewing dailies, and making multiple intermediary cuts. In fact, i'm excited to see how big DI is already starting to get.. but that's still using digital realm as an intermediary format.. definitely not the same as shooting straight on miniDV and then printing directly to DVD.

I would say there is about a 1% (or less) correllation between miniDV anything, consumer PC NLE anything, and a reduction of available jobs in the movie/tv industry.

and for my money, re: your statement about the "latest and greatest" software.. (again, for my money) it is neither affordable, nor available on windows desktop applications.

Christopher C. Murphy May 20th, 2004 04:08 PM

I agree with Adam.

The main thing to remember is that Hollywood does not look at us. They don't care about us unless you're talking Blair Witch - which probably had them talking for about a couple of weeks way back then. Since then, miniDV and everything else that's not a multi-million dollar potential blockbluster isn't even a pimple on their arse.

It's a numbers game - we can shoot cheap. Therefore, our profits are cheap too...not millions and millions of dollars. They can dump millions on projects and do whatever is needed to "potentially" see millions in profits.

We sometimes forget that distribution is king...not really content. (ok, i made that up. but, i really think it's true if you wanna make money. it's about distribution and people forking over $$$.)

In 10 years I bet Hollywood will have fragmented. But, it's still similar to how it's always been...and will always kinda be. It's going to tower over us no matter what because they'll do whatever they need to...they have stock holders remember! (we don't!)


Robert Martens May 21st, 2004 07:24 PM

Spend enough time discussing this kinda thing online, and you'll quickly find yourself wrapped up in the theory side of things, becoming somewhat oblivious to the practicalities of the real world. I speak from experience, it's happened to me before. Still, I'd like to chime in.

Mr. King, I ask you to seriously consider just how easy it is for someone to "adapt", or switch careers, at the drop of a hat, simply because somebody's being a cheapskate. There are families to feed, bills to pay, and we all damn well know the only reason for such "downsizing" is profits. Not a concern for quality (as if there were an INCREASE going to DV over film, anyway), not even a NEED to lower costs, but a DESIRE to make more money. Sounds simplistic and whiney, but it's true.

Take plumbing, for example. Where it used to take several workers a few days (or weeks) to lay out a cast iron based drainage system, a single man can do the same job in half the time using PVC. It's lighter, easier to use, and a hell of a lot cheaper. The overall job is less expensive. Makes sense for a home, if you don't have much money to spend.

The problem comes in that price is all anyone looks at anymore. Quality should be at the top of the list, if you ask me, or even if you didn't. As much as I prefer cast iron over plastic, the fact of the matter is that I'd rather see a professionally layed out, properly installed PVC setup than a half-assed, sloppy cast iron job.

But quality costs money, and while it's certainly possible to put together a solid, professional production in a DV format, on your home computer, by yourself, it's cheaper to hire Joe Schmoe video producer who thinks he's hot **** fun, paying him noodles while the good guys are out of work. The client may learn their lesson when faced with an amateurish result, but by then it's too late, and bill deadlines have already passed for the pros.

It's easy enough to tell people "all you've got to do is adapt" when you haven't had to do it yourself, something I've done in the past (albeit with other industries), which is why I ask that you more carefully think about the repercussions of such a suggestion.

Because, mark my words, before long, we will ALL have to adapt, even the new generation of computer-based one man shops; with production in Canada--and eventually, no doubt, Taiwan, China, and other such countries--getting cheaper every day, it won't be long before everybody's out of work. Including, with any luck, the bean counters responsible for all these cutbacks. :)

Ken Tanaka May 21st, 2004 10:15 PM

Before this thread spins too deeply into occupational and social theory, and emotions become chafed, let's roll the tape back to Marco's original reference to the the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. While I am not an economist myself I spent many years around economists. I feel very confident remarking that, by itself, that BLS "report" is meaningless. You cannot use it to draw any conclusions or projections whatsoever.

The BLS vomits dozens of reports and datasets each month and each calendar quarter. The version to which Marco linked in his original post is a "press release" distillation of several other (much) larger statistical reports, the most useful of which are published quarterly.

To interpret BLS data you need to understand how it's collected and the nature of each sector of the report. Film and television industry employment data is, by nature, very flakey and often, and easily, manipulated by those reporting it. Meaningful interpretation of its data relies heavily on observation of long-term trends and knowledge of the true composition of the figures reported. Knowing a bit about this subject, I can virtually guarantee that the unemployment "spike" has no bearing on the impact of digital video, desktop nle's, the advent of consumer 24p cameras, or any other such issue that might be contemplated here.

Long winded way of recommending that we keep mole hills in their proper perspective and reserve creative speculation for more entertaining venues.

Robert Martens May 22nd, 2004 09:39 AM

Oh....oh, yeah. Heh, sorry; forgot about that whole "original point" thing. Apologies.

As for chafing emotions, rest assured, Ken (and, more directly, Kevin), I mean no harm. Just trying to offer a different perspective, is all.

Though I think my own incessant ranting and raving proves my point about the difference between theory and practice, no? :)

Alex Milne June 18th, 2004 04:36 PM

can I speak?
I hope I'm not intruding on a big boy discussion, because I know the experience I have compared to you is small. However, I do have an observation: The way I see it, if equiptment between professionals and rookies keeps equalizing, if small productions have the chance to completely create their vision, if the common folk have fair opportunitys, then the playing fields will be leveled. Film will become, at last, an entirely artistic medium (not an industry). People will recieve awards and wallspace in museums for what they have done with their minds...not with their checkbooks. And thats a good thing.

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