The future of photography and the definitive answer to pineapple on pizza: Manfrotto tells all
The world is officially divided into two types of people: those who like pineapple on pizza, and those who are vehemently against it. Like the Valencians who sent death threats to the chef Jamie Oliver for putting chorizo in his paella, surely an Italian brand like Manfrotto would not support pineapple on pizza? In the interests of culinary world peace, DIYP spoke to Manfrotto’s parent company Videndum Media Solutions to find out, along with other more photography-related things.
You may not be familiar with the name Videndum, but for sure you know the brands Manfrotto, Lowepro, Joby, Gitzo and Savage Paper. Videndum Media Solutions is the name behind all of these ‘household’ photography names, and more. In fact, you could completely kit out a photography or video studio using products that are only produced by the Videndum umbrella. That is actually the company’s over-arching philosophy, explains Videndum’s Chief Marketing Officer Chris Carr. He tells DIYP about how Videndum has positioned itself to help content creators at every step along the journey.
“We have everything to help the end user,” says Chris. “the microphones, the light stands, the supports, sliders, lighting, reflectors. Adding paper backdrops was a natural addition,” he continues, “we will continue to look for adjacent products to help the content creator.”
The content creator is Videndum’s target market. And by that, they mean anyone working by themselves with an iPhone, to larger film crews. The company has moved with the changes in the industry and continues to look ahead to the future. According to Chris, the next big thing will be products in and around creating content for the Metaverse.
“We’ve seen VR recently,” says Chris, “but not to the degree that we’re going to see it in the future. As those lines blur, the Metaverse will demand content that is more than we’re seeing today. In 5 to 10 years that’s where it will begin to impact us in a big way. It’s about the digital reality blurring with the physical,” he adds.
“We’re in a unique and lucky place,” Chris continues, “we need to replicate the physical world with content, but we need to speed up the workflow.”
And that is exactly where Videndum Media Solutions steps in. Chris explains that the industry has already seen huge shifts from large specialised film crews to much smaller productions, and the days of the Mad Men era advertising campaigns are largely gone. The barriers to entry are much lower now, we now inhabit a world where everyone from your personal trainer to your nan is creating content.
“I had to have a physics qualification to be a photographer,” says Chris, “that’s not the same now. People have an iPhone in their pocket and they can create content.
Chris assures us that actually, this change is a positive thing. There will always be film crews, however, the newcomers are shaking up the traditional way of doing things, and refreshing everything in the process. “Ultimately it’s fantastic for everyone in the industry,” Chris says.
The user experience and feedback play a pivotal role in both product development and marketing these days. “People want authenticity,” says Chris. “To be authentic you need someone who is doing it day in, day out. Take a product like a tripod. It needs to be placed in the user’s hands and have them tell the story.” Chris says that a lot of their marketing content is actually being created by their users. And it all starts with product innovation, it’s a cyclical feedback loop which benefits everyone.
But what about all those different brands that are under the Videndum umbrella? Surely there are conflicting overlaps of products? For example, Gitzo, Manfrotto and Joby all make tripods. How does that work?
Chris explains that once again, they are user-centric, not product-centric. So yes, all of those brands create tripods, but they are all aimed at different users. To illustrate, Chris says that they divide their brands into framing, composing and creating. By this he is also referring to the end use of the product, and also the user that each product will attract.
Gitzo’s tripod will be aimed at ‘framing’. That’s the person who wants to capture the real world, in real-time, as it happens, documentary style, for example on a safari. Manfrotto is aimed squarely at composing. That’s people who are less ‘run and gun’ and more about taking the time to really think in advance about their shots. It also has a degree of flexibility between video and stills solutions.
Contrary to this, Joby is firmly aimed at creators. That is people who are in front, behind and sideways to the camera. They want fast, on-the-go, single-person operator solutions. You can clearly see that between these brands there is little overlap, even though they all sell tripods.
It’s this user-priority that has allowed Videndum Media Solutions to become such a giant in the industry. It’s able to look to the future and pivot when necessary but always keeps it’s user-base firmly at its heart.
And in case you were wondering, I’m with Chris. I’m team pineapple!
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Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe