Forget Printers and Film – It’s Digital Cameras and Clips

NYTimes had an interesting article by Claudia Deutsch on how Eastman Kodak can survive in the digital world. Very nice comments – they’re right on the money. Wish Kodak would listen, but their management still isn’t known for listening.

However, Kodak and other digital camera manufacturers have great advantages they haven’t even tried to leverage yet. While everyone else talks of film (old cash cow), printers (they’ll always be beat out by better players here), and verticals (medical, archiving, old film conversion), the new market will be in something already on every high end digital camera – video clip capability ready-made for the Internet.

I especially liked Judy Hopelain’s remarks: “Kodak must do more to insert itself into the ways that people use digital photography. Why aren’t they offering something to let tweens and teens use images in instant messaging? Why aren’t they doing more with cellphone cameras?…But Kodak should rethink the decision to pursue printers and printing. What are they going to do that is unique and brand relevant against Hewlett-Packard and the other big boys? They’ll just dilute their brand and stretch their resources” 

According to Time magazine, there are people using this feature in v-logs. It’s a very small market, however, because the tools to produce the clips into an entertaining form which fits the parameters of Internet viewing are very difficult and tedious to use correctly, and require considerable expertise – anything less and you get a laughable out-of-synch amateur effort full of artifacts and lacking the glitz.

I’m so glad I’m with ExecProducer, since we’ve just completed trials with the University of California which took these raw unpolished clips, turned them instantly via email / web into Hollywood-style high-quality movies complete with the imprimateur of the university (branding), music, and technical excellence, ready for viewing on the Internet. All the director need do is “watch the rushes”. Filmography, metadata (important for enterprise), invitiations, content, security,… all done. It will all be described in a paper accepted by the SIGCHI Advances in Computer Entertainment (ACE2004) in Singapore.

The service uses any digital camera clip(s), corrects their imperfections, and leaves the customer feeling that they bought the right camera to make such cool movies. Important for a manufacturer who needs to get value out of such an expensive feature.

It’s a great time to be doing this – all the signs are right. And, you know, you can’t print out a video clip.