COVID-19 Affects Projects, Promises Lingering Industry Impact – Editorial by Dave Van Hoy, ASG President
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been staggering, causing significant and lasting changes throughout the vertical markets of the professional video industry. During these first few months, we’re seeing what I call cautious turmoil – while there has been little change in most projects, we are expecting to see change.
Why the delay? Clients are still trying to figure out what to change. At a minimum, there will be pivots in how we approach different aspects of various projects. Some will certainly be scaled back, but others will be expanded, though in different directions than originally planned.
Our industry’s technological solutions are based on the three-legged table of speed, quality, and cost. Some of our clients are compromising different elements to achieve short-term goals. For example, some are spending money just to stay in business, while others are compromising quality in ways that would not have been previously acceptable in an effort to deliver content. I expect priorities will continue to shift as video professionals adjust to social distancing and COVID-19 safety requirements.
With smaller or even non-existent physical audiences, there will be a greater emphasis on packages and other supporting production elements for live broadcasts this fall. You’ll certainly see changes in award shows and political debates, but the biggest impact may be in sports coverage. How will content producers incorporate remote attendee feedback? If they can access fan reactions from across the country, will they add a “cheer track” to the broadcast? Will they play reactions on loudspeakers in the stadium for the benefit of the players?
Meanwhile, let’s give credit to the broadcast technical community. They have provided some very creative solutions that have enabled at-home productions to deliver content to audiences. We’ve all learned a valuable lesson about reliable internet connectivity, but we’ve also seen the importance of professional cameras, lighting kits, and high-quality microphones for at-home productions.
To that end, ASG has been working with our clients to deliver more than 175 customized remote production kits since March, which have been built to meet the workflow requirements of specific production team members. For now and in the future, it’s important for broadcasters and other content creators to be ready to support on-camera talent and others with at-home solutions. And it’s not just about the technology – there also needs to be adequate training so the non-technical team members can be their own production support.