Seth Godin recently wrote a blog post titled Defining Quality. Like most things he writes, the short, but succinct piece, is packed full of big thoughts and deep reflections that challenge convention.
He starts out by saying we can describe quality at least two ways:
a: Quality of design: Thoughtfulness and process that lead to user delight, that make it likely that someone will seek out a product, pay extra for it or tell a friend.
b: Quality of manufacture: Removing any variation in tolerances that a user will notice or care about.
We spend a lot of time here talking about quality and what it means for video, and Seth’s blog only tossed more fuel onto the fire. At our core we are creators. We want to take something that has no form, and figure out a way to make it sing. We see blank canvases not as wasted space, but opportunities to be filled, and then enjoyed by many. And lots of times we talk first about the quality of the work.
Seth’s observation about the quality of design is something we try to do on a daily basis. We want to lead our viewers to delight through the story we are telling. We want to inspire them, make them think, push them to action and entertain them. Sometimes this can be done with a simple iPhone video, while other times it takes a full crew and multiple days to shoot 30 seconds of footage.
And that’s the rub in this whole conversation. Quality doesn’t necessarily mean big budgets and fancy equipment, but many times that is where filmmakers start when it comes to creating something of quality. We all have our biases and our dreams, but something as simple as a single photo shot on an iPhone can have a bigger impact than a drone shot that took two weeks to get.
When we work with clients we always want to understand how they define quality, and many times their answers surprise us. It’s no secret that video production has been disrupted over the last decade, and that budgets are shrinking and things need to be cheaper and faster, but what hasn’t changed is the need to create something of quality for the client.
And that quality can be drastically different for everyone. So, next time you’re starting a project, think for a moment what quality means for you, and work backwards from there.