The Dawn of the Age of Disposable Video

The Silicon Hutong Room, Wynn Las Vegas Hotel
Looking out over the lights of the insomnia capital of the world
0037 hrs.

I know it sounds like a really bad Kodak commercial, but there really are moments in your life that you wish you could capture and just hold. This is one of them.

My wife and son are sleeping – quietly for the most part, but occasionally the room resounds to the sound of rhinological rhythm – and the lights are out, but the room is lit by the screen of my MacBook Pro and the ambient light filtering in through windows that make up an entire wall of our generously-sized room at Wynn Las Vegas. My vista over southern Nevada looks to the northeast, which at this hour is covered by a carpet of mostly orange streetlights, punctuated by the bulk of the Las Vegas Hilton about a half mile away, and the nearer mass of Encore at Wynn, still under construction. The midnight sky is punctuated by occasional flights in and out of McCarran International Airport.

We’re leaving here tomorrow morning, which is not an entirely unpleasant thought: after four days in a city dedicated to serving the baser needs of its guests, all but the most devotedly amoral are in need of an escape and a very long shower. But I love a great cityscape at night – it is one of the things that makes business travel wonderful – and for the moment my 60-degree panorama gives this city a patina of beauty.

As I said, an amazing moment.

Speaking of Moments…

Before we drove out here from LA on Monday, leaving half our luggage at our hotel there to await our return tomorrow, we attended on Sunday night what can without pretense be termed a Hollywood wedding. At an exclusive club perched above the sea in Malibu, with ocean breezes cutting though the heat of an LA summer afternoon, the bride, groom, and most of the attendees were of that class of people who never show up in front of a camera, but who are the invisible generals of the film and television industries. It was an amazing wedding, filled with people who were warm, unpretentious, and who gave lie to the stereotypes and caricatures that for most of us forms our jaundiced view of the entertainment business. With the possible exception of my own nuptials, it was the most fun I can remember having at a wedding.

it was a memorable evening, and the bride and groom (the latter my cousin) had decided to help remember it by placing at each of the dozen tables something few of us had yet seen – a disposable video camera, capable of filming up to 20 minutes of whatever we decided to put on it.

Without instructions, each of us took turns recording greetings to the bride and groom, narrating the event, recording whatever struck our fancy before passing it on to somebody else at the table.

Fire the Videographer

It took me until much later to realize that beyond the novelty value of getting to play with Pure Digital’s new Flip Video disposable camera (out just six weeks), we all had an opportunity to give them something they could not get from the best photographer or videographer: six total hours of footage of their wedding shot by their guests, allowing them to see their own wedding from our eyes, and join each of us at our tables.

They will be able to enjoy their own wedding from our viewpoint. Forever.

Talk about completing an experience – your wedding as viewed and experienced by your guests. All for the price of a $30 camera on each table.

Laying aside for a moment the reality that even at the best wedding, not everything is sweetness and light, this to me is another example of how technology – elegantly applied – can create, enhance, and deepen the experiences we have in our lives.

If nothing else, it will tempt you to take video where you haven’t wanted to take it before out of fear of damaging or destroying an expensive camcorder.


About David Wolf

An adviser to corporations and organizations on strategy, communications, and public affairs, David Wolf has been working and living in Beijing since 1995, and now divides his time between China and California. He also serves as a policy and industry analyst focused on innovative and creative industries, a futurist, and an amateur historian.
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