Anyone can make video film, right? Why do we need professionals?

Anyone can cook, right?

Anyone can cook, right?

I really enjoyed the Disney/Pixar film Ratatouille (2007), which won the year’s best animated feature film Oscar award and deserved it.

Here’s the plot summary from IMDB: Remy is a young rat in the French countryside who arrives in Paris, only to find out that his cooking idol is dead. When he makes an unusual alliance with a restaurant’s new garbage boy, the culinary and personal adventures begin despite Remy’s family’s skepticism and the rat-hating world of humans. Read full synopsis on IMDB

The movie opens with a TV show featuring Chef Auguste Gusteau, owner of the best restaurant in Paris, talking about his bestselling cookbook, which proudly bears his mantra “Anyone Can Cook!”

Well, that’s heretical to the fine artistes of gourmet. But it’s revived the age old debate between fully-trained professionals and new-entrant amateurs, and inspired some interesting discussions online. One blogger thought: “Remy the rat is a perfect metaphor for the non-expert Web 2.0 knowledge maker. He has no credentials and must prove himself through his actual knowledge and application of knowledge rather than through credentials.”

He added: “What’s the moral of the story? Even without being an acknowledged expert on a topic, if you work hard to express your ideas in clever ways, you too can be respected for what you know.”

I’ve only just read these views, but they resonate with what I felt when I watched the movie in late 2007. The story certainly reminded me of a heated debate in my own field of moving images: can anybody and everybody make video, now that the tech barriers and costs have come down? If this is the case, what’s the point of having highly trained, better paid professionals who do it for a living?

I shan’t try to resolve that debate here. But here’s an interesting take on the debate from the Onion News Network. They report: YouTube is offering a cash prize to the first user to upload a video with a shred of originality or artistic merit.