A Photogenic Look At The Future of Film Making With Paul Xavier

The future of photography is increasingly through the remote eyes of drones. GETTY

The future of photography is increasingly through the remote eyes of drones. GETTY


Every hour, more videos and photographs are taken today globally (some one hundred million) than were taken in the history of photography from the dawn of the daguerreotype in 1839 to the advent of the first cell phone camera (on a Nokia phone) in 2002. The advent of charge-coupled devices, tiny light sensitive electrodes capable of gathering light without the cumbersome, awkward process of chemical baths of silver iodide or more esoteric chemicals made it possible to bypass chemistry (and with it, film) altogether.

Exponentially decreasing memory costs and solid state hard drives the size of near microscopic stamps have meant that videographers could take high frame-rate video in a single session rather than struggling to capture that one perfect take.

For all that, the art of taking good quality videos and photographs remains elusive, especially for marketers attempting to make headway in a world where fame is a fleeting five-second spot on Instagram before prospective audiences move on. We live in a world where content creation is key, yet where the likelihood of going viral can be challenging when competing against cute cats wearing GoPros and barely clad Brazilian models strutting on the beach.


Paul Xavier has made it his business to help others master digital video marketing PAUL XAVIER

Paul Xavier has made it his business to help others master digital video marketing PAUL XAVIER


Filmmaker and entrepreneur Paul Xavier recognized a niche and started focusing on the problem of teaching digital marketers and budding video professionals. Creating the Next Level Creators Program, Paul began to teach the fundamentals not only of effectively creating videos, but how to incorporate them into online business channels. I caught up with Paul recently to ask him about what he was doing and where he sees digital photography and video going in the future.

It used to be that video production was a fairly high-end proposition, but with the advent of phone cameras and relatively inexpensive GoPro and related cameras, creation of video has changed fairly dramatically. How are you seeing that change in outlook and awareness impacting your students, and for that matter, media professionals in general?

With professional gear becoming more affordable, tens of thousands of young filmmakers graduating with film degrees a year and people primarily consuming content on phones - video production professionals that want to succeed in business are adapting away from traditional industries. Fortunately, for entrepreneurial filmmakers, video production has never been more in demand as a service offering but only the creators who specialize in not just producing content, but leveraging it, will succeed long term in today's rapidly changing market.

People don’t pull out their credit card and tell their friends, “Hey I’m going on Instagram, do you want me to buy you something?” In reality, no one is sitting around hoping and praying that they will receive your video ad. When it appears on their screen, it is most likely an unwelcome pest. Instead of producing content geared towards selling your offer, the approach that produces a higher ROI is one centered around connecting with viewers by adding value to their lives first, and then presenting your offer only after the viewer resonates with your message.

What would you recommend to readers as the best strategies to promote their work today? Where does social media fit into this process, and do you think that social media has been a positive or negative factor for photographers and videographers today?

I abide by the marketing principle that you shouldn’t try to be everywhere everyone is, but instead only be everywhere your ideal client is! Creators are experts at crafting videos, which are the most powerful form of communication because it uses words, tone & body language to transfer certainty to the prospects watching the video.

Filmmakers should absolutely be leveraging video to get the attention of their ideal clients on social media channels, depending on what services they are offering and to whom. If you’re offering video retainers to business owners, a powerful platform to generate business would be LinkedIn; where as a wedding filmmaker would prioritize Instagram & YouTube to target new customers.

Social media has positively changed the video production industry and will continue to do so for years to come.

I see creators argue all the time that a video ad should be 30 seconds, minutes or hours. What we tell our students is The ideal length of your video ad is the length that generates the best results.

This is the only universal answer to the question because creating a powerful video ad that pre-frames, pre-sells and pre-qualifies your ideal client on taking the next step in your marketing or sales process could be 30 seconds or minutes depending on who you’re speaking too, the price of your offer, how ready to invest your clients are and a variety of other factors.

You've been helping filmmakers & video creators get the maximum impact out of video content for a long time. What do you see as the three most powerful ways to make or save money-leveraging video as a business today?

The simplest way for business owners to make more money leveraging video is by turning their best sales presentation into what we call a “value video” which can be watched by prospective clients 24/7/365 days a year creating new sales opportunities. Another way to make money-leveraging video is to create an info-product on an under-leveraged skill, process or procedure you use to get better, faster or more cost-effective results than the competition.

We work with many business owners that have dozens of ways of winning in business that could be packaged into a video “info-product” and sold as a new profit-producing product line. A fast way to leverage video to save money would be to automate a company’s procedures, workflows, employee education or onboarding so that HR departments can stay lean.

Drones have revolutionized video production - making it possible to create video sequences that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago. What's your experience with drones and videography, and how do you see them impacting the videography profession?

Today, a filmmaker can fit the equivalent of what would have been $50,000 (4k drone, 4k camera & stabilizer) in video production gear into a backpack for less than $5,000. Affordable high quality drones have opened up massive opportunities in the agriculture, marketing, film and entertainment markets that didn’t exist for filmmakers before.

I see a lot of viral filmmakers that feel their jobs are being threatened now that a kid with $2,000 can break into the market.  However, the entrepreneurial filmmakers will thrive as new opportunities continue to reveal themselves for drone operators.

Any last thoughts?

As they say in the newspaper business, “don’t bury the lead!” Developing a powerful hook is not just about getting attention, but also promising the viewer if they continue to watch your video they will be entertained, enlightened or gain value in some way shape or form so that it’s worthwhile to keep watching. We leverage a variety of proven hooks to capture the dwindling attention of today’s social media viewers such as intrigue, predictions, big promises, problem solution and many more.

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Kurt Cagle is Managing Editor for Cognitive World, and is a contributing writer for Forbes, focusing on future technologies, science, enterprise data management, and technology ethics. He also runs his own consulting company, Semantical LLC, specializing on Smart Data, and is the author off more than twenty books on web technologies, search and data. He lives in Issaquah, WA with his wife, Cognitive World Editor Anne Cagle, daughters and cat (Bright Eyes).