Friday, August 14, 2009

Follow Up

Commenting on my last post, A. Reid said:

“This is part of the "anyone with a PC" can be an expert syndrome.
My friend who is a professional photographer says digital has killed her industry. No one wants to pay for something they can "do themselves- just as good" NOT.”

I wasn’t sure which way to take this. Are you saying that the advertisement’s creator was an ‘instant expert’ or are you saying I couldn’t do better and *I* have ‘anyone with a PC’ syndrome?

Well, both ways I have a similar response, so here goes:

I am far from a video editing/special effects expert. My only official training was Media Studies at college and considering that was back in the mid-90’s, that training is hopelessly out of date. Since then, however, it has been something of a hobby…meaning I’m reasonably skilled at Photoshop, AfterEffects and various video editing programs.

My point was that the ‘Better Upstate Jobs’ ad wasn’t just unprofessional looking, it was so bad that I, as a hobbyist, thought it was terrible. Imagine if a 90 year old grandma had never touched a computer before and for some reason decided to take a week-long course in video effects and editing at a crappy night school. This ad would be her coursework.

Basically, I wasn’t saying I was good with video editing and effects, I was just pointing out that someone has paid some real money for someone to create this ridiculous advertisement for them.

That’s the best way I can describe it. It was the teenagers Myspace page of advertisements. All spinning writing, lens flares and hopelessly ugly and difficult to read fonts in clashing colors.

Just as a comparison, take a look at this:

This is something I made a few days ago in about 10 minutes because I was bored. I didn’t post it before now because I didn’t like the way it turned out. I don’t like the way the black bars on the ‘hologram’ move, when I motion-tracked the background video, I only tracked X and Y motion and not depth or rotation (which is why in a lot of places the hologram moves independently of its ‘projector’), the sound needs work and there are a few sync issues.

My point is that this video is something I made on an aging PC running almost ten year old software in ten minutes…and this is Industrial Light and Magic quality next to the ‘professional’ video. I’m not saying this in an ‘I’m awesome’ kind of way, but I honestly could do better with half an hour and ‘Windows Movie Maker’.

As for your photographer friend, the 'digital revolution' is a two edged sword. It's not just that people think they can do just as well with a digital camera, it's because a ton of people think a five hundred dollar Digital SLR and an ad on craigslist or in their local paper makes them a professional photographer.

Personally, I never hire photographers, and it's not that I can get 'professional results' with my digital camera, it's just that I've seen way to many 'professionals' who are nothing of the sort.

For example, when I worked as a bartender, I was working at a wedding and started to talk to the photographer they'd hired. Again I'm a hobbyist (albeit one who used to develop his own pics in his own darkroom before digital came along) so I started to 'talk shop' with the photographer.

Turned out he didn't know what a f-stop was and had never manually focussed his camera. He said, and I quote:

"Nah, I don't need any of that, I just set my camera to 'A' (automatic), and it does all that shit for me."

Basically, it's not just people who think they can get just as good results as the's also the people who buy a digital camera and think they are professionals.


MC Etcher said...

You have to remember that most people are full of shit, and make boastful claims as readily as breathing. People get accustomed to ignoring most claims they encounter.

I do not make such claims, and I don't think you do either - but most people who say "I could do better" could be classified as no-talent assholes who in fact, could not do better.

There should be an accredited source that one can submit an application to, and be awarded a "I am not a boastful ass, but actually have the talent and skills I claim." card, which can presented at need.

I may have told this story before, and if I have, sorry: I was once invited to a lunch meeting where I would present a video game concept to a developer. I gave my sad little presentation (a Word doc and some images copied from Google Image Search) and the developer liked the idea - and said all I had to do was deliver a working Alpha build, and we could proceed.

The woman who orchestrated the meeting, presenting herself as my agent, starting making assurances "Sure, sure, we can do that." and I corrected her quickly as she had no idea what she was talking about. After the meeting, she freaked out, explaining that I should never correct her during a meeting. It was our last.

I explained to her that what the developer was asking for was thousands of hours of work - the equivalent of a movie studio asking for all the completed footage of a movie - after writing, producing, set dressing, costuming, acting, filming, sound recording, and etc - and they would edit and distribute the movie for us. Needless to say, nothing ever came of the project.

Anonymous said...

I am mortified to find my name at the top of a blog.....

I was attempting to say the "better upstate jobs" people most likely did it themselves or hired one of the so called professionals but in either case really were part of the " anyone with a PC" syndrome.

True professionals, really can make a better product at perhaps a bigger cost but in some things,you really can get what you pay for.

& I don't mean " I have a PC & took a class" professionals.

I was perhaps was not expressing myself well, in the spare minutes I steal from my job to log in and read your mostly comical and very well written words. I was on your side on this. That if you, as an amateur could tell it was crap, why couldn't they!

going back to