No. Sora Won’t Put Videographers out of Work.

Appropriately, Generated with AI ∙ February 21, 2024 at 12:59 PM (Bing Images)
Appropriately, Generated with AI ∙ February 21, 2024 at 12:59 PM (Bing Images)

OpenAI showed off Sora a few days ago, a major upgrade on AI-generated video. Is it the end of video production as we know it? Yes. Is it the end of videographers and cameramen? NO. To draw lessons on what Sora might do to the use of video in the tech economy (or for workers in any industry for that matter), let’s take a quick look at generative AI’s impact on writing.

Anyone dealing with the rise of AI-generated text over the last 18 months can attest that while it’s impacted the industry, it hasn’t eliminated the need for professional writers or writing in the course of day-to-day work. The economy for tech has been poor since the end of 2022, but layoffs cannot be solely blamed on the rise of AI.

Sure, some have; but the bosses who made those decisions haven’t exactly produced the same level of content – quantity or quality – that they were before they started relying on new AI tools.

We can even see how AI has impacted video marketing for a decent share of time, particularly in that it has increased opportunities to use video more than eliminated the need for videographers. Sure, there are a ton of video marketing tools using generative AI already – Deepbrain, Veed,, Synthesia, Pictory, just to name a few – but they haven’t destroyed the cameraman’s prospects at work.

I can see improvements making video marketing even more accessible and practical, so a slow drip of improvements could actually increase gig opportunities.

But we do need to consider use cases where video changes would be, potentially, even more significant. Adding Sora into the mix will probably shake up one specific industry: cinema. The expensive budgets for modern movies come from two places – big-name actors and the extreme amount of work put into CGI.

Use Case Scenario: Big-Budget Movie Studios

Now, just like writing, AI will only shake up the industry to a certain extent. It has changed the way writers, marketers, whatever you wanna call content people are drafting and publishing their stuff. But it has not replaced them.

ATMs didn’t replace bank tellers, but it changed their job descriptions. The same will happen with Sora and videographers, altering the toolset for their jobs but not eliminating them.

Of course, there’s a good chance that video AI will not be made open-source like ChatGPT’s back code was. There are so many security, data, and misinformation concerns with realistic video to allow that to happen; but more importantly for the creators, there’s probably too much MONEY available to allow that to happen.

Imagine you are running a movie studio. You have to put out a few dozen movies every year. You’re dealing with a budget in the billions.

Imagine shaving $100 million off of the budgets of 10 of your action blockbuster movies every year. Not just on the CGI but the videographers, too! You get to save millions on expensive cameras and camera crews.

Would you pay Microsoft and OpenAI a ton of cash to do that? I would.

Sora Can’t Out-Compete Videographers…Yet

Ah, but the tech inside Sora still isn’t there. Why? Look at the cloud-computing costs. Sam Altman is trying to raise money in the literal TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to finance further development of AI (likely because it includes considerations for computing-intensive video AI). That’s astonishing, especially since a lot of their cloud compute power is provided by their biggest investor, Microsoft.

So, no, don’t think that your favorite CGI artists are going to be kicked to the curb. Corridor Crew will still be making YouTube videos for years if they want to. Change is coming.

All things considered, anyone who deals with video – producing it, commissioning it, tinkering with it – will come out better 12-24 months into the future if they start right now considering how to work video AI into their work pipelines, just the same as the most common advice for marketers dealing with incorporating generative AI into their work stacks.

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