The Importance of Organizing the Creative Video Community

By Laura Frank

The creative video community is made up of a wide variety of expertise. Our roles range from technologists, creatives, producers, modelers, programmers, engineers, technicians, designers, operators, animators, and coordinators – and we are a fiercely independent bunch. Those who freelance act as individual economic entities or band together in small pods with like-minded work practices. While those who work within a company structure carry the braintrust of departmental practice, holding production after production together even when gear, time and information would suggest otherwise. Technological hurdles and creative demands are seen as the type of challenges where the only limitation is ourselves and our ability to solve the problem before us. We bond as we design, build, and deliver the complex world of multiscreen entertainment environments. Once achieved, we celebrate a shared experience of that success for a brief moment together before we are off to the next thing. And we like it that way.

In our work from project to project, we create networks of peers with whom we share valuable insights about best practices, client engagement and product pitfalls. We take those observations back with us to the shop, or studio, or our home office to iterate on our workflow and endeavor to make the next gig better. We share what we learn to our teams and beyond through a dispersed patchwork of WhatsApp groups and Slack channels, conference dinners and the occasional local meetup. Gig stories are shared like a list of greatest hits and darkest failures, hopefully someone else’s. Shared history becomes canon to a long line of system engineers, creative technologists and design leaders come and gone.

Maybe, just maybe, that shared history will propel our professional interests forward. Through these interactions, we are able to collect tidbits of common practice and improve our game. After all, in the last 20 years, the amount of scenic real estate dedicated to video has gone from accent pieces to the entire stage. There are countless numbers of projects that are driven almost completely by video surfaces for the performance environment. This should easily prove our value and put the creative video community at the center of any pre-production discussion involving screens. But that’s not what happens. We still fight for our place in that discussion.

This was the issue frame:work was founded to solve. We need to collect those insights of our shared practice into a community focused entity that advances our standing in the production community. We must encourage our production partners to see us as a separate but necessary ecosystem of skills and teams that drive the black boxes and technology we represent.

At frame:work, we intend to build programs that recognize all sub-components of creative video as an established production discipline, and promote awareness of our contributions to the wider production community. We see the lack of organization as a limit to our professional progress. No matter if your role is creative, technical or operational, if you work for yourself or for a large company, we can build a network of support and share best practices, knowledge, and resources as a larger body of creative video professionals.

This will take time and effort. First, we need to learn more about each other. Organization relies on internal awareness. Certainly we are all some part of the Video Department, but do we fully understand the nuances to our various responsibilities within that production department? To elevate the creative video discipline we need to understand the component disciplines that make a successful video project possible. We need to be able to speak intelligently about each other’s value to our clients. That means engagement across our primary component disciplines: Creative, Engineering, and Producing. When we gather together, whether through our digital presence or our conferences, we unify our various video team practices into one production paradigm – creative video production.

As a unified discipline our next task is to improve partner education. We need to demystify the technology that supports our work to our clients, to our production partners, and to our future team members. Greater understanding and communication outside the video department, creates a better production experience for everyone we work with. We at frame:work intend to improve our professional standing through community advocacy. We must demonstrate the value of a well executed creative video project and our impact on the success of an overall production. We want to showcase community projects, share your successes, and advocate for fair compensation and recognition.

Through frame:work’s conferences and community gatherings, we are laying the groundwork for a professional society. We intend to build something that serves the community, but first we ask the community to consider how they can help support frame:work’s mission and build our community platform.

Are you ready to share your practice with others?

Can you volunteer time to lead a regional community?

Do you want to document a case study? engage in a chat group? mentor new professionals?

We look to you: the engineering teams outlining system specifications for multiscreen one-off live productions, the creative leads designing content for an immersive installation, the technologists advising content production workflow, the producers interacting with clients on budget and time, the producers managing media teams and production partners, the content creators responding to artist and technical changes on the daily, the associates managing content libraries and deadlines, the engineers keeping gear running smoothly on site, the operators answering creative questions and solving technical problems in one breath, and every person on our teams who interacts with our production partners to shed light on the demystifying the art we create – we look to you to tell us what you need and/or how you want to help.

Look out for upcoming announcements about our next meetups and conference.

frame:work – we are live pixel people

Read more about our mission, our programs and our past events on this website.

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