Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Norman R. Swan

Committee Members

Barbara A. Moore, Herbert Howard


This thesis is a study of desktop video as an application to the traditional postproduction process utilized by corporate video producers. Desktop video involves the personal computer in the editing process; this definition includes the personal computer as an editing and special effects tool.

The purpose of this study is to measure the feelings and attitudes of professionals in the field of video postproduction about desktop video and its application to traditional methods of editing. The introduction of new technology inevitably leads to a period which the new technology is opposed by those who understand and are comfortable with the traditional modes of operation. The goal is to find out whether the desktop video technology is a threat to tradition, whether it is being accepted in everyday use by businesses who utilize industrial videos, or if the application of desktop video will lead to the opening of new markets. The promise of desktop video production is that it is cheaper than traditional processes, enabling industrial users to expand their usage and the markets they can afford to approach.

This qualitative focus group study was conducted with members of the International Television Association (ITVA) chapter located in Knoxville, Tennessee. The study involved the presentation of a 10 minute video, prepared by one person, which showed what the desktop presentation technology could do and its application to the corporate user. A group discussion followed the showing of the video, using a set of questions designed to elicit responses to the presentation and the field of desktop video in general. Next, a demographic questionnaire and a Likert Scale questionnaire were distributed with questions about desktop video and its application to the corporate video user. Responses from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree" were used to create a quantitative means of comparison for this study.

The results of this focus group study showed a variety of feelings and attitudes concerning the use of personal computers in the postproduction process. The majority of the professionals were familiar with the new technology, but felt that it only applied to those "high-end" professionals who knew how to use the present equipment.

The group agreed that applications for the individual user were limited, that the learning curve for personal computers was a deterrent for anyone to simply pick up a personal computer and instantly become an expert in postproduction editing. The general feeling of this group was that personal computers were an asset to the professional, but that the postproduction process was still one where trained personnel could best handle the job, with or without a computer.

The findings of this study point out an inherent weakness of the application of the personal computer to the traditional postproduction process. Working within the constraints of magnetic tape, an analog method of storing information, limits the computer to working within a system which it cannot simply optimize by becoming a part of it. For the desktop video use to create a difference, a change will have to come in the method of storing and recording video information. This study includes brief glimpses at the future of video, moving from magnetic tape to the compact disc and other digitally oriented modes of video production.

In order for desktop video to make a difference, the postproduction reliance on magnetic tape must be changed, for then a computer may enhance the process by working with digital devices instead of analog tape.

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