The "Godfather of Wedding Video" deserves a "genuine" label: From his opening-day introduction of "America's video sweethearts" (Tim Ryan and Steve Wernick) to his lively and insightful quips during the HD panels, John Goolsby works a room with a cool grace that is both inspiring and entertaining. But one thing struck me more than anything else: his sincerity.
Katrina victims persevere: For me, the most heartwarming moment was the arrival of Terry Taravella and Julian St. Pierre of New Orleans' Studio Vieux Carré (formerly Custom Video by Terry). Of course, we've known for months that this dynamic duo, along with Joe Taravella (who's an integral member of the production team), managed to make it through Hurricane Katrina. But just being able to wrap my arms around my friends made it more real. Their seminar, Preparing for Catastrophe, described by Julian as a visual and oral documentary about the ordeal and its aftermath, was one the most tightly packed rooms of the whole convention, no doubt a testament to Terry and Julian's open and hospitable nature and the respect they've won from their peers. Those in attendance were floored by the behind-the-scenes documentary coverage of one videographer's decision to stay behind and ride it out.
Show me the money: In the opening paragraphs of this article, I made passing reference to "validity." What I meant by that is illustrated with a quote from Bonnie Durkin's session, Capture the High School Market: "I don't ever want you to forget your labor. This is the major, number one thing that videographers do wrong. You have to be paid for your labor." If there has ever been a more valid statement made about event videographers and how we regard our own abilities and efforts, I haven't heard it.
Return of the king: For far too long, Robert Allen, king of the 30-minute edit, has been benched, denying a whole new generation of event videographers the wry, insightful perspective of this master craftsman. Video 06 allowed Robert to step up and hit a home run, with not only his standing room-only presentation, Flying Solo, but also his participation on both HD panels. Robert's anecdote about the value of napkins is an audience favorite, and the story itself (inseparable from the way he tells it) has become legendary. To paraphrase, the next time you have a bride over, find out what she is spending on her napkins and other table linens (including chair covers) or centerpieces. Compare that to what you are charging for something she'll still treasure in 25 years and ask yourself, "Am I charging enough?" It's good to have you back, Robert.
Speaking of panels: Monday night's Artistic Achievement Awards banquet wasn't all fun and games, even though those EventDV 25 baseball caps were pretty sharp. At about the midway point they presented the Bobby Warns Memorial Tribute video. Produced by Darrell Boeck and Mark Lamkin of Creative Images, this video was awarded both the Diamond Award as well as Best in Show. As the video faded to black, there wasn't one person not on their feet in the longest standing ovation I've ever experienced. Two days later, Darrell sat on the Artistic Achievement Awards panel along with four of the five judges, discussing his approach to the creation of and response to their entry. The amazing thing was that this video was shot, edited, and posted online (for family and friends) in less than 36 hours. And Darrell and Mark had never produced a memorial video before. Today, with millions of viewings, the Bobby Warns Tribute has become a part of Marine Corps training in some camps. Do yourself a favor and check it out: www.bobbywarns.com.
To HD or not to HD, that is the question: Well, not really. HD is inevitable. That's a given. The question is when. Since Video 06, the answer might be sooner, rather than later. While the manufacturing industry is still duking it out over Blu-ray and HD-DVD, that's not stopping them from pushing HDV production tools. "You can tell your clients that you are going to shoot in high definition," said panelist Ken Freed from JVC. "If you don't need it now, that's fine. You can come back and get it on HD." This sentiment is echoed by many early adopters of the HD format. Shoot in HD. Edit in HD. Deliver today in SD and archive the final edit on a hard drive, waiting for the market to dictate which high-def DVD format will win. With hard-drive capacity priced at an all-time low, this method can easily be built into any profitable plan.
First-time presenters wow the audience: The Video 06 Convention was not just a return of familiar faces. Many new presenters were also on hand to share their experiences and insights. This wealth of "new" talent was best exemplified by Laura Randall's presentation on same-day edits. It was open and fluid, allowing for plenty of audience interaction. This was a theme that many of the first-timers carried through—not just a talking head behind a podium, reciting from a stale script, but a participant in a discussion inviting attendees to join in and ensure that the presentation met their own needs. In the words of one attendee, "I learned so much, it's going to take me months to digest it all." I suppose that's one good reason this convention comes but once a year.