Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Prepare now for the 10,000+ channel future

I had some very interesting conversations with folks on the SuperShuttle ride from the airport to the hotel this afternoon/evening in Anaheim. The gentleman sitting next to me was a pastor from Louisiana, originally from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. When I asked him where in Vietnam he was from, he actually identified his city as Saigon, I guess figuring I’d have more familiarity with its pre-1975 name. He was in Anaheim for several days for a ministry conference.

Besides the pastor and his wife, everyone else in our shuttle van was going to InfoComm or EduComm. One gentleman who answered a lot of questions works for EventHD magazine. “Event videography” covers a broad range of live event videography, including weddings, church services, conference presentations, and other things. The EventHD magazine guy described the demographic as “videographers who can’t say ‘cut’ when they are shooting.” I thought that was rather clever.

We discussed HD video and HD video formats, and I learned that the Blu-ray HD standard is currently winning over HD DVD in large part because it has more studio support. There are many more movies available in Blu-ray format at present. BlockBuster video’s announcement today that it will be favoring Blu-ray over HD DVD in most stores is a continuation of this winning trend for Blu-ray. Apparently some manufacturers, like Sony, are on the verge of releasing home Blu-ray HD DVD players in the $400 price range. I’m sure there will be lots of vendors at InfoComm willing to speak to this entire issue of HD video and HD formats. Like the DVD format, until a critical mass of consumers started owning players and using the format, prices of blank media disks remained high. I was AMAZED to learn (maybe I had heard this before, but if so I forgot) that a Blu-ray DVD disk can hold 50 gigabytes of data. Oh my goodness… that is just amazing. With high definition video, you need the space. The EventHD magazine guy said that current high-end HD video cameras shoot an image that has 4000 by 4000 pixels of resolution PER FRAME. That’s right, PER FRAME. Standard video is just under 30 frames per second (29.97 fps I think.) HD video resolution is just amazing.

He also said that the current 50 GB Blu-ray data disks will likely be the largest data disks we’ll ever see, because next-gen storage devices are going all solid-state. That means flash memory based. Someone else in our van said they read about a compact flash card that had been demoed holding over 160 GB of data. This sure makes me wish the iPhone had a memory card slot! (As far as I know, it doesn’t in this first iteration.)

I asked what some of the most technology-intensive churches are doing currently with video and the web, and the EventHD guy told me about Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, led by Pastor Joel Olsteen. I am familiar with Mosaic Church here in the LA area, and regularly listen to their podcast sermons. I heard their pastor, Erwin McManus, speak at a Promisekeepers conference several years ago. It is amazing to see how digital storytelling, technology convergence, and the desire to communicate important messages are having transformational effects on multiple contexts in our society.

Since I’m often thinking about school change and how digital technologies should fit into our schools in the 21st century, I couldn’t resist asking the EventHD guy in our shuttle van what he thought schools and teachers should be doing to help prepare students for the future. He said “every high school should be teaching videography to students.” He related that satellite radio services are not far off from delivering satellite TELEVISION services. He said the future world (which we are very close to) will be 10,000+ channels of video, with every other high school kid running his/her own television channel out of their basement. He said what kids will watch in the future are these television channels created by their peers. YouTube is just a glimpse of what is coming. Kids need to be prepared to have the skills they’ll need to thrive in this 10,000+ channel future. He also pointed out kids will not just be watching these TV shows in their home living rooms, they’ll be watching them on their portable screens wherever they are: in the car, on their cell phone, wherever.

Wow. That’s a lot to think about. And those were just the conversations in the shuttle ride to the hotel. I think EduComm and InfoComm is going to be quite an experience! 🙂

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One response to “Prepare now for the 10,000+ channel future”

  1. Anne Avatar

    I think the EventHD television guy’s view on education and techhology is backwards. He’s assuming that schools have to teach kids how do use video production equipment. In reality, it seems kids have discovered how to use technology on their own. Many times, kids know more about technology than their teachers and parents do. They are the ones driving the trends in new technology. And they are the ones driving the popularity of youtube and facebook.

    Schools, however, do play a role in leveling the playing field by teaching kids who don’t have the financial resources or the interest in learning technology on their own. Most important, schools have a major role in creating students who think so we don’t have a society of passive learners who get swept away by the bells and whistles of technologically sophisticated digitalstorytelling. And rather than trying to catch up with technology, educators would be better off creating students who write well and think about the ethical, commercial, environmental and personal implications of the things they publish online.