Your Wildest Desires, Captured on Video

Ever since consumers got their hands on personal camcorders they have been making movies, but production values have kept wide the chasm between amateur and professional video. In the past few years many of the tools professionals use have dropped significantly in price. New consumer electronics have brought more and more capabilities to customers each year. The latest consumer “toy” is a $3700 camcorder from Sony with high-definition capabilities. It can store 63 minutes of video on $18 HD videotapes. Sony also plans to release a digital still camera with better video capabilities, including up to an hour of video on bigger capacity memory cards.

While cameras and camcorders are themselves improving rapidly, their capabilities are being built into cell phones, some of which are well beyond the capabilities of the first digital cameras that began capturing attention in the 1990s.

Thus, we find ourselves in 2004 able to store high definition video and thousands of still images on affordable devices with enormous storage capacities ranging in sizes from small cell phones to reasonably-sized camcorders. At the same time, Apple, Adobe, and other software makers have begun releasing reasonably-priced products to help create movies with professional looking special effects and excellent audio, all creatable on your laptop or desktop computer.

Interestingly enough, the cutting-edge devices of 2004 will be the cheap throwaway devices of 2009, with many such devices combined into a single and smaller form factor. It is very likely that a cell phone in 2009 will include all the above capabilities. Storage will of course be practically bottomless; the necessary electronics will have shrunk down to allow such tiny form factors; cell phone processors will have roughly the same capabilities as today’s desktop computers; and displays will be flat, flexible, and brilliantly HD.

This look forward, however, only taking into account what is today coming out of the world’s laboratories. It does not in any way take into account research over the next five years, let alone breakthroughs and new ideas about how images, video and other data can be captured and displayed. That means that in just five more years, consumer electronics will greatly surpass your wildest desires at this moment. Of course, in five more years, your wildest desires will have also progressed on an exponential growth curve.

Published by

Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype.  His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (, on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).