AS THE PROJECTION AND LIGHTING INDUSTRIES — NOT TO MENTION the rental and staging market — grapple with the issue of convergence, it's worth noting that much of the talk has been centered on the hardware: media servers, digital lights, LED this and that. But an equally important parallel discussion is taking place in many circles on the content driving this new technology. Content creation, which has long been the sole domain of designers, artists, and video production houses, is now suddenly up for grabs.

Obviously, there's plenty of stock footage out there, as well as the content embedded in many of the media servers now on the scene (though much of it is, how shall I say, underwhelming.) And obviously in many projects content has already been created by either the client, or designer, or both.

But there are also opportunities out there. I know of at least two companies that have cropped up in the last year which cater to the creation of original content — Idyll Hands Imagery and Media Modes. Both businesses are booming. The flood of software programs now available means that almost anyone can learn to create simple moving images. And let's face it, if you're a rental house, having the capacity to create additional media server content for a client on the fly is going to give you a leg up on the competition.

That's why you'll find in this issue two articles that can help you take a step in that direction, if you haven't already. Projection and lighting designers Bob and Colleen Bonniol, who head up a design firm called Mode Studios (as well as the aforementioned Media Modes) and write the “On Projection” column in sister publication Entertainment Design, take a look at a range of new still and video cameras that are ideal for creating content. You can find that roundup on page 20.

Moving beyond hardware to solid tips, two staffers at Media Modes, Tommy Hague and Tony Furr, offer up their “Notes from the Pit” — their take on key points all creators of video and still content need to take into consideration when putting hand to mouse. You can find that on page 16.

Of course, taking a step in this direction requires not only the time but also the ability. Still, you never know what future Rembrandt (or Jules Fisher, or Martin Scorsese) might be lurking back in the stockroom, or perhaps you're ready to see if those design skills you learned long ago as a theatre major might translate to a modern medium. The learning curve tends to be relatively low, and the results could be rewarding, not to mention lucrative.