In the past things were clear – broadcast television required a specific level of production. Lighting, sound, camera quality – all were parts of the definition.
Not only that “fit to broadcast” affected quality of TV images and videos – it also affected the cost per production minute of TV material. This, coupled with ownership of screens and TV channels created a high barrier of entry to new players in the video and TV market.
YouTube, mobile phones, and citizen journalism changed it all. These three factors made sure that poor quality video crossed the boundaries of the Internet to prime time TV. average TV viewer is used to see poor quality video, taken with low end mobile phones video cameras or web cams, as part of news flashes and entertainment shows.
But why these grainy and pixelated low quality videos are on broadcast TV? Because they tell a good story. Whether it is a Tsunami footage, extra funny lipsync, or unique view on a hot topic, viewers are willing to see low quality footage in case it is a high quality story.
In a past post I’ve argued that viewers are willing to accept low production quality in exchange for a good story. The fact that we take for granted YouTube clips on news flashes proves this point.
Therefore, a creator without a dime, that has limited resources, should remember that production value, though important, is just part of the equation. Great story, timely news flash, in-depth analysis, and believable characters are crucial for success, much more than HD camera, and great effects.