Recently, I came across an abbreviation I didn't quite understand-but one that, in my opinion, will change the way we, as videographers, share our work. I'm referring to the QR code that, literally, is popping up everywhere. The QR (Quick Response) code is basically a 2D barcode that originally was designed to track auto parts in Japan. Very quickly, the use of QR codes spread around the world because of their speed and accuracy. However, QR codes are most popular in the telecommunications field, due primarily to the rapid rise of smartphones.
Recently, I was interviewed on a local radio station, and the question about QR codes and video came up. I replied, "Think of visiting a cemetery and seeing a QR code on a marker or monument. By taking out your smartphone that is equipped with a QR reader, all you have to do is point the phone's camera at the code and, almost immediately, a video that has been linked to this particular code will begin playing on your phone. The sky is the limit as to what is on the video. In that video you might see and hear a message or story left by the deceased, or perhaps you will see a video that has been produced about the deceased. (It's even possible that you will get a commercial from a local monument company!) Without the QR code, the only thing you know about a person in a cemetery is their name and [birth and death] dates. But, by using the QR code, you can learn a great deal about the person, and it becomes something that makes the visit to the cemetery personal and meaningful."
The point is that QR codes make it possible for us to deliver videos (or any other type of media) almost instantly without depending on traditional means of delivery. Just as a QR code in a cemetery can tell us something about the lives of the deceased, a QR code on printed material will make our videos instantly available. To get more technical information on how to create and use QR codes, go here:
How can we benefit from this technology? First of all, we need to get our heads into the clouds (cloud technology, that is). Though you probably still deliver your videos to many of your clients on DVDs, realize that the internet is the best way to share your work and ensure its visibility. We have many options, from YouTube to Vimeo to our own websites and blogs. But the point is that we need to start distributing our videos online if we want to take advantage of QR technology.
Second, we need to put QR codes on all of our literature. A business card is just a card with words-until people see a QR code that can drive them to our website. It then becomes a vehicle to open up our services in a multidimensional way. A brochure is only words and pictures until a QR code (or several) will take people to videos that illustrate what our brochures are talking about.
Third, we need to start using smartphones in a smart way. That means we'll have a QR reader on our phone that will allow us to read QR codes. We can use it to educate our clients on how they can benefit from having us produce a video for them as well as to provide a QR code that will link to that video. Most people will have a hard time grasping the concept of the QR code until we actually show them how it works. But when the light goes on, our profits will go up!
Fourth, we need to act today. I have been guilty of procrastinating on many great ideas, only to find that the window of opportunity had just shut. With our fast-changing world of technology, QR codes might be replaced by something else in the near future. But right now, QR codes are the technology that can revolutionize our business. The question I have for you is this: "Are You QR-ing?"
A footnote to my interview on WCCO Radio: The interviewer, John Hines, asked me if I could get him a copy of a video I produced for him and WCCO a couple of years ago. This is what I gave him:
Thx for reading this article. I hope you apply it ASAP. GTG!
Alan Naumann (alan at memoryvision.tv) is co-author, with Melonie Jeska, of The Complete Guide to Video Biographies, a comprehensive set of training materials for professional video producers. A featured speaker at WEVA Expo 2004–2010 and a
two-time EventDV 25 honoree, he is based in Minneapolis.