Preditory Thinking: Will 2017 see the dawn of the Preditor in advertising?
The term Preditor was first coined in broadcast TV production in the early 2000’s. The role was originally the amalgamation of a Producer/Director and an Editor, hence Pr/Editor.
The reason the role came to exist was largely due to budget pressures. Independent production companies were required to create TV programming for much tighter budgets than before and advances in affordable digital editing software such as Adobe Premiere, meant that freelancers could now edit from the comfort of their own home on a decent-spec computer.
Since then, technology has taken several leaps forward. Digital SLR cameras can now shoot in 2k and 4k and, in the right hands and with the right brief, can be used to capture amazing quality content with a crew of just one.
Complex offline and online editing can now be achieved with a Macbook Pro wherever you are in the world and a new breed of filmmaker is emerging with skills across all formats, creating self-made films of a quality which 10 years ago would have been unthinkable.
Enter the new breed of Preditor.
Since the credit crunch in 2008, the advertising industry has seen similar pressures to those which faced broadcast TV production in the early 2000’s. Budgets have been dropping consistently for more than a decade and brands are under pressure to release content across more platforms than ever, especially since the emergence of social media. In short, everyone has less money to create more content than ever before.
In these times of the soft sell, many brands recognise the need to maintain a constant conversation with their customers and prospective customers, as opposed to the occasional spikes offered by traditional TV adverts alone.
The same soft sell has helped create a trend in recent years to create documentary-style “real” advertising, often manifesting itself in longer-form branded content, shooting with smaller crews to produce a series of films for the kind of budget which would previously have been just enough for one 30 second TV commercial.
The problem is, advertising agencies haven’t always known where to turn for such executions. Many broadcast production companies have tried to muscle in on the advertising market, with some success, but often these are large, cumbersome companies, set in their ways, and often simply don’t understand what’s needed to work with agencies and brands.
In addition to the practicalities of creating such content, many TV production companies aren’t used to creating work with quite the high-end polish which agencies and brands demand.
This is where the next generation of Preditor are coming into their own. Their skill set is extremely impressive. They are not just cameramen who can edit a bit, or editors who can shoot a bit. They’re the complete filmmaker and, with the right support form a commercials-focused production company, they can create awesome quality content films for a fraction of the price of the traditional production model.
We’re fortunate enough to have our own shining example of this new breed of Preditor. Brandon Li not only self-shoots amazing footage, he is an excellent editor, a serious tech-geek; thinking up new ways to create different in-camera effects with the latest tools available. On top of this he grades all the footage himself, does most of his own sound design, conforms, creates titles and he knows how to get what he needs. All to an incredibly high standard.
The new breed of Preditor is not only the future for high-end branded content, they’re the now. Agencies and brands need to start Preditory thinking and fast. Those that embrace this way of working will not get left behind.
Shaun Nickless is Founder & Executive Producer of Beast, a London-based production company specialising in producing content films for brands.