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Editor's Note: Continuing Education

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When I first started editing StreamingMedia.com in 2004, I was also working on EventDV, a magazine covering the world of event videography. There wasn’t much overlap then between streaming and event video, but we could see it was coming and tried to nudge things along a bit with feature stories about the difference between streaming and progressive downloading, and a regular column I wrote called Studio Streaming.

Maybe we were ahead of our time, but none of those articles caused much buzz among EventDV’s readers (and trust me when I tell you that event videographers are even more opinionated and outspoken than anyone on the StreamingMedia.com discussion lists). So we pulled the column in 2005, and nobody seemed to miss it except me, but I was soon editing this magazine.

Event videography—particularly wedding videography—has exploded since then, in no small part due to EventDV evangelizing the craft and advocating for its practicioners. One professional organization—Wedding & Event Videographers Association International (WEVA)—begat another—the un4tunately named 4EVER Group—and now the industry has two thriving trade shows each year.

From this year’s 4EVER Group show, VIDEO 08, in Orlando, Fla., in January, Streaming Media columnist Tim Siglin (who also does a fine column on worship videography in EventDV) emailed me to say that the conference was "bouncing around streaming—they’re using it but don’t really know how to use it." At least videographers were interested in it, I thought, even if they still hadn’t mastered it.

A day later, Tim emailed me again. Seems a VIDEO 08 attendee saw him talking with EventDV editor Steve Nathans-Kelly and came up to them with a copy of Streaming Media. "You gotta read this," he said excitedly, not knowing that Tim probably had read it, much less that he wrote for it, too. The reader declined Steve’s suggestion that Tim autograph the issue for him, but he did say that he was getting out of shooting weddings, moving into corporate videography and, in particular, short video clips that small businesses could use to promote themselves by streaming from their websites.

Kind of like the 4EVER Group itself is doing, using Flash Video montages from VIDEO 08 to get a headstart on promoting VIDEO 09. Less than a week after the show ended, videographers who didn’t make it to the show could see what they missed—one clip for each day of the show—at http://4evergroup.org/convention08/home.shtml. Even if you’re not a videographer, the videos are worth a look.

While the clips are a little cheesy, with music that NFL Films might reject for being melodramatic, the camera and editing work is stellar. No surprise there; after all, the footage was shot by some of the best videographers in the business. The surprise—the thrill, really—comes in the fact that a group that’s all about video but doesn’t even include a session about streaming in their conference is able to use it so skillfully on its own website, and that it recognizes the value in doing so.

Streaming Media executive vice president Dan Rayburn has often said that our goal in the streaming industry should be for video to be just another business and communication tool, like the fax machine. We don’t think about the technology inside the fax machine, nor do we spend much time pondering the telecommunications technology behind how it connects to the fax machine at the other end.

Streaming’s not there yet, but the 4EVER Group’s video clips remind us that the tools of our trade have become both ubiquitous and simple enough that people are able to use them while still focusing on the tools of their trades. The videographers at the 4EVER Group didn’t need to worry about how difficult it would be to encode and deliver their clips, which meant they could focus on the thing they’re best at: shooting and editing compelling, artful video productions.

We’ve all spent a lot of time mulling over the promises and challenges inherent in streaming video’s two extremes—user-generated content on one hand, Hollywood productions on the other. But the 4EVER Group is just one example of what is clearly a fertile middle ground of professional-quality productions employed in the service of everyday business needs.

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