the ever changing angry reader of Creative Cow
as we approach NAB 2016, I have found it increasing "amusing" that I seem to offend readers with my replies when I try to explain to them that their old antiquated equipment is obsolete and they have to purchase new equipment. As if it is my fault that Apple, AJA, AVID, Blackmagic, Adobe, etc. have NEW products and that the stuff from 2010 is no longer usable. But I find that as I point out this hard fact, more and more people seem to get increasing offended, as if "how dare I say" that their equipment is no longer supported, and if I cannot offer constructive answers to their questions (like buy some new PCIe boards, or new equipment), they feel as if I am insulting them. As our industry continues to evolve, and as equipment in fact continues to become obsolete, there are MORE AND MORE users out there that simply do not want to deal with the fact that their OLD CRAP is no longer usable, and that countless manufacturers no longer support their hardware, and that if someone (like me) points that out, they are completely OFFENDED by "the facts of life" in our insane industry. Should I become more sensitive in the future, and offer "well, I know that you have spend a lot of money for this equipment, and it is truly unfortunate that this manufacturer no longer supports your product", or should I continue to say "sorry sucker, you got screwed (by Apple, etc.) and it's time to crack open that wallet and shell out some more money, only to be screwed again in the next 5 years out less".
Of course, I could remain silent, and not reply, as so many do, but nahhhhhhhhhh..........
Rescue 1, Inc.
I'm gonna guess the people that take your news badly, Bob, are generally older types, who were used to "durable goods" actually BEING "durable", i.e. long-lived and not designed for near-term obsolescence. People "of a certain age" have expectations for consumer products that last and don't need frequent replacement or upgrades, and by extension, they expect things to be similar in the pro broadcast electronics world.
Millennials, on the other hand, grew up in a world of continuous churn for upgrades, with devices, formats, brands, all rising and falling with the lifespans of mayflies. It's easier for one of the "yong-uns" to come to grips with the need for an upgrade, than the "oldsters".
They're really not angry at you, Bob; you're just the handy physical focus for their anxiety. I think one thing that needs to happen in these conversations is to frame, for the client, what the modern expectation of "value" is, for broadcast gear, in accounting terms, and not in terms of how a consumer expects a car to last ten or more years.
The company accountants think of depreciation in standard terms of four or maybe six years. The rule of thumb in TV is, a computer ought to hold up for two years ( the time period in which it's expected to pay for itself) before needing an upgrade or replacement. So, it's not outlandish, I hope you agree, to expect a peripheral to that computer to be viable for up to four years, at which point, the technology has advanced enough to make it attractive to replace or upgrade, for the new, better performance. Certainly, after 4 years, the gear's efficacy should be reviewed. If you actually GET 4 years' usage out of modern video gear before you swap it out or upgrade, you've actually done very well. Anything beyond 4 years is gravy.
When you install anything in a client's space, a little speech might have to go with it: "This is the top of the line model as of this week. It should last at least long enough to pay for itself. Beyond that point, nobody can say how long it will function or be relevant to the job, and that's just the price of progress. Ask yourself: did I get the minimum performance out of this in the time it paid for itself? How much longer did it continue to make money for us, beyond the expected EOL?"
We have robot probes driving on Mars that are thirteen years past their 90-day operational life expectancy. If Opportunity goes "Tango Uniform" tomorrow, NOBODY has a right to complain about shoddy products.
We are at an age where $1200 cameras create better imagery than $50,000 cameras of 5 years ago. Yes, if you have equipment older than 5 years, it's obsolete. Doesn't mean it's worthless and can't continue to make money, mind you, but it is obsolete and you really shouldn't expect the manufacturers to offer full support. The manufacturers have moved 5 years down the road. They expect you to move along with them.
I just tried out the iOgrapher for the first time on a recent cruise. Yes, I absolutely CAN shoot episodes with my iPhone 6 and I intend to start doing that very soon.
The world is changing, it's generally getting cheaper and yes you can continue to use that obsolete equipment or you can sell it today while it still has some value and upgrade to the newer, cheaper stuff.
Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media
Craft and Career Advice & Training from real Working Creative Professionals
Blog Twitter Facebook
There's a lot of people that can't stand to hear the truth of what you say, that's ok. They're only fooling themselves by throwing their money away. That's ok, because that's what makes the world go round and let them support the economy. Bob, you're ok in my books and keep speaking up on what's happening because I myself like hearing what you have to say.
All true, and I totally enjoy your curmudgeonly observations. But there are two wrinkles to this question of new technology, one from the client POV, one from the producer's.
1. Most clients are oblivious to the technology you use, and are focused on results. There was a time when I had to explain that my relatively small camera was an improvement on my big old "professional-looking" camera. That is no longer the case. Now, you can even bring out a GoPro for that extra POV shot, and clients don't react in horror at how small it is.
2. From my own POV, if something works, has been battle-tested, and I know it like the back of my hand, I'll use it -- even if its creators have replaced it with some new whiz-bang software or device. Hey, it's their job to sell us new things; it's our job to decide: "Naaaah." Every time I postpone a buying decision, something better comes out a few months later anyway.
See, Bob, there are curmudgeons on both sides of this issue.
Bob you ignorant slut....(SNL reference)
There is still some life left in some "legacy" gear.
At some point, every piece of gear hits the wall.
Try the old "slap and tickle" approach. See how ingenious you can be with how to squeeze the last iota of capability from the old stuff, then explain how th new stuff does so much more, or so better.
Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog
Bob you ignorant slut....(SNL reference)
I love Dan Ackroid !
Rescue 1, Inc.
I would add that I've personally seen you install tens of thousands of dollars worth of this equipment through the years at companies like Alphawolf....LOL....so maybe you are partly to blame! Can't believe I came across you here Bob! But it was a great surprise!
Producer/Assistant Director, DGA