The Evolution Of Video Production

Because video production is so accessible today we take it for granted - but it took years of innovation and development to get video technologies to this point.

Making Video More Accessible

With a influx of 4k recording capability on iphones and other smartphones creating video content is easier than before. This doesn’t mean the quality of content or creativity has also increased however!

The historical concept of making a video is quite a simple one. A camera lens captures a series of still photographs (frames) – 24 to be exact (for an old fashioned standard rate) within 1 second. These are then played back quickly to give the impression of movement, though the basic principle is the same as adopted by the Zoetrope – the spinning wheel popular with Victorians that gives the impression of drawings actually moving.

Video Editing

Up until as late as the 1960s, television show producers were using large quad decks (about the size of a fridge lying on its back) to record video onto 2 inch wide videotape. Then, as the seventies rolled around, these monster machines evolved into smaller suitcase sized machines that used one inch or 34 inch videotape to record video.

Editing was even more archaic, rather than fancy digital editing suites, cutting scenes together was precisely that – as reels would need someone to meticulously “cut” shots out and stick them together with today’s equivalent of Sellotape. Hence why deleted scenes used to be confined to the “cutting-room floor”.

Today we are firmly in a digital age where anyone with a smartphone can capture, edit and project their films in a matter of minutes, this evolution has followed the course of the dramatic advances in digital technology, particularly in the last ten years. Experimental films have even been made using iphones. Parts of the critically acclaimed 'Sugar Man' were shot on an iphone.

How Has DSLR Video Production Evolved?

Right from 1967, when Sony introduced the first Portapak, the Sony DV-2400 Video Rover, as a portable video camera, people were able to record their own videos at home. Right up until 2008, it was necessary to use a camcorder to capture live action footage. However, it was in 2008 that a DSLR manufacturer decided to evolve their model to allow for live action footage capture. This was the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, which arguably, forever changed the way we shoot video.

Looking retrospectively, it seems like a natural progression, due to the close relationship between camcorders and SLRs in the way they capture frames. Though at the time it was seen as an act of pure rebellion, as pro filmmakers and novices traded in their dedicated camcorders and replaced them with a device that could capture still and moving footage. And here started the DSLR revolution, and with it, an entire raft of supporting gadgetry. This was just one of the key developments that gave easy access to an increasingly less specialised consumer. Many critically acclaimed films have been created on DSLR’s including ‘Hell and Back again’ – a feature length documentary that won the Grand Jury Prize as well as the prize for Cinematograhy at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival


In summary, the progression and evolution of video production has been extensive over the last 100 years, but most particularly since the introduction of the DSLR , mobile phone options but also the more widespread use of cinema-grade cameras such as the RED range and Arria Lexia. Spinning Clock used the RED Epic to shoot our Operatic promotional video for Agilemt Technologies:

There has been an existential evolution in technology and a dramatic rise in accessibility to high quality software and hardware for budding filmmakers. Never before have the tools needed for film production been so readily available, and there are no signs of this slowing down either, as people are more frequently documenting even the smallest aspects of their lives and readily sharing it on the web.

Though it does stand to be recognised, that whilst video production has been opened up to the masses, the technology behind professional equipment has also evolved dramatically. The latest technological developments in professional film equipment, require high levels of expertise, and the value and quality of the final production, means that mobile devices cannot replace professionals and their equipment.

For high quality video production get in touch with Spinning Clock by emailing us at or call 0115 9430777

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