Professional Video Production – A Short History

Professional video production is now into its “teens.”  We’ve been producing, shooting and editing video since its infancy when video cameras were like lead bricks producing lousy resolution (the quality seemed good at the time), and video editing was linear.

Professional video production - DP Mark Schulze videotapes Gary Ravet on Veterans Day - Photo by San Diego video producer Patty Mooney of Crystal Pyramid Productions

DP Mark Schulze videotapes Gary Ravet on Veterans Day

These days video has reached the maturity of a teenager who has flair but yet is very conflicted.


For one thing, video now looks great on the Internet. You can play movies or television shows on Netflix or other providers, on demand, and the quality is pristine. On the other hand, there are so many available formats of video that it makes your head spin. Would you prefer 6×9 high definition or 4×3 standard? What’s the best file for export or sharing, .avi, .mpg, .mp4, .mov? The list goes on.

And what’s the best camera to capture a movie on? The Red? The Sony Cine Alta? A Canon DSLR? It’s great to have choices, but it can wreak havoc on the small company that wants to stay on the cutting edge while providing services to many different clients who all want different things.

Today’s “consumer-grade” equipment is better than the “industrial-professional” equipment from days of yore. Many professional video production houses are now sitting on equipment for which they paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, that has been rendered useless by today’s standards.

Crap in is Crap Out

There is another phenomenon that I have noticed. Professional video production houses do their utmost to deliver crisp, crystal-clear, beautifully-lighted, phenomenal video with awesome sound. But in cutting corners, there are companies that are willing to use video that is nominal at best, at their web sites or during presentations for large audiences. The other day we were at an award ceremony where Mark accepted an award as a “Top CEO” nominee. The main honoree was unable to be there in person and so he had ftp’ed a video from his cell phone. Both Mark and I were mortified to see the heavily-pixelated, non-lighted, echoey-sounding piece that was, to us, like fingernails scratching a chalk board. Pretty bad. Back in the day, professional video production artistes shared this motto: “Crap in is crap out.” I think you get the picture.

Professional video production - Photo by San Diego video producer Patty Mooney of Crystal Pyramid Productions

Fans of the Walking Dead collect video on their devices

Judging from movies like “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter” and “Avatar,” there are audiences that appreciate beautiful movies. But the acceptance of Skype video, cell phone video and other forms of bad quality video at widely-seen venues is disconcerting. Imagine if everyone built their own house. You’d have a neighborhood full of these shoddy, lopsided, “Dr.Seussville” homes. Would you really want to live in one? How soon before the roof fell in or the plumbing exploded?

Put Your Best Foot Forward

So why would you produce a video that lacked any production quality? Why would you not want to put your best foot forward? If and when you decided to hire a professional video production company to create a video and post it to your site, it would stand out like a gem among all the crappy videos out there that never should have made it through the Internet pipeline.

Stay tuned as video production moves from teen angst to its mature young adulthood.

Patty Mooney is a VP, Video Producer, Sound Technician, Teleprompter Operator and Video Editor at San Diego’s award-winning video production company, Crystal Pyramid Productions.