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A Brave New Chris and Jordan


Andrew Reid
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Fresh to misinterpret for your entertainment, another EOSHD YouTube video!

Shopping and conformity, these are the last pleasures we have left! So why can’t we all just sit down and watch a video any more without getting incredibly angry?

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As long as the review system relies on receiving review units early this problem will only get worst. Nobody is going to bite the hand that feeds them. Because eventually you will slip off the priority review gear list, and then not be invited to special events, and eventually receive nothing at all.

Why? Because it’s marketing and they by definition are seeking a ROI.

Simply stop taking free gear from companies to review and buy it on the market. Review it and be as brutally honest as you want. Re-sell to reduce losses and make up the balance wnd some profit with donation/memberships/subscriptions.

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6 minutes ago, Video Hummus said:

Simply stop taking free gear from companies to review and buy it on the market. Review it and be as brutally honest as you want. Re-sell to reduce losses and make up the balance wnd some profit with donation/memberships/subscriptions.

If your aim was to provide honest advice delivered with integrity, that would be the way forward. If that's not your aim, it seems like much harder work than just taking the free stuff, TBH.

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50 minutes ago, Video Hummus said:

As long as the review system relies on receiving review units early this problem will only get worst. Nobody is going to bite the hand that feeds them. Because eventually you will slip off the priority review gear list, and then not be invited to special events, and eventually receive nothing at all.

Why? Because it’s marketing and they by definition are seeking a ROI.

Simply stop taking free gear from companies to review and buy it on the market. Review it and be as brutally honest as you want. Re-sell to reduce losses and make up the balance wnd some profit with donation/memberships/subscriptions.

Or rent it!

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2 hours ago, newfoundmass said:

Or rent it!

Sure what whatever is fastest. 

 

3 hours ago, Tim Sewell said:

If your aim was to provide honest advice delivered with integrity, that would be the way forward.

That would be the aim for a real review without any outside pressure. So, yes.

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7 hours ago, Video Hummus said:

That would be the aim for a real review without any outside pressure. So, yes.

Unfortunately that's not the aim of many content creators in this space.

To be honest, if I were a marketing exec at Canikon etc, there's no way I'd send a pre-release camera to Andrew Reid. I'd have a budget for the launch and I wouldn't want to spend a penny of it sending units to people who might post a review video saying 'this is shit'. That, obviously, is because my budget is purposed for maximising sales at launch.

It's exactly the same as producing a trailer for a movie and stuffing it with all the best bits from the film - you want to get as many bums on seats for that opening weekend as you possibly can (especially if the film's a duffer - get as much cash in as you can before word of mouth gets out).

So there will always be a ready supply of shills, ready to receive pre-launch gear (often in the agreeable climes of some high-end tropical resort) and give a thumbs up, grinning broadly. The opportunity for honest reviews comes later, once the equipment in question is available to rent or buy; but of course those reviews will never get the view counts of the pre-launch encomiums because interest wanes amongst consumers, as opposed to users.

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The way it works in the camera industry is that you sign an NDA, with an embargo date. This way the manufacturer can orchestrate a coordinated release of reviews for maximum clicks on the announcement day. There is a select few - a handful of people - in each country that are privy to the camera launch details about 2 weeks before the release date for the public and are legally bound not to say anything until the embargo is lifted. However usually always 2-3 weeks before or even earlier, the scumbag rumours sites will leak it all out anyway. So that effectively mutes you on the topic, whilst everybody else is free to talk about it. So the only advantage of signing that NDA is you get the info from the official source rather than the same info from a rumours site. For sites like Camera Labs or DPReview then, it is 100% necessary to get the actual camera early and do your review in time for the launch, otherwise be left out of the circle jerk and launch day manufacturer publicity drive... The review would have to come out a week or 2 after most customers have got the first batch of stock in their hands. Also you save money this way naturally, by not buying anything and just taking loans that go back. There is no enjoyment for me in this, as for me the camera is a personal item and a long-term investment in my work. I only accept a loan if it is long term with no strings attached.

The manufacturers never stipulate that you have to write only good things about a camera. It is an unwritten rule that if you're too honest of course you'll be phased out of involvement in future. Even in feedback sessions and market research you get the sense that some marketing people only want to hear from the yes men. The marketing approach of each company differs. Panasonic is more honest and straight forward. Sony have a tendency to play the big hype game with social media influencers. Canon seems to delegate a lot of their marketing to outside PR companies.

What I enjoy with Panasonic is the technical side, the ability to send feedback direct to the engineers in Japan. I value this very much. I deal with Panasonic in the UK who do a very good job on all fronts and sometimes Panasonic in Germany who just aren't as helpful at least in my experience. After 11 years in this industry, Panasonic are the only company who have stuck by EOSHD and made sure our voices get heard in the development of their cameras. Almost all the other companies I have dealt with see this community as purely a marketing channel to be exploited for their own gain, and not for the advantage of us. Fujifilm in particular, once sent me an interview in a fucking spreadsheet of one line answers and expected me to publish a strictly censored version of it with key questions taken out. Needless to say, I sold both my GFX 50S and 50R afterwards and GFX 100 is next.

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I take all reviews with a pinch of salt.

All launch reviews with a very big one because of course they can say whatever they like, as long as it is mostly positive.

Then there are the reviews that happen later by 'smaller' channels normally that have bought or loaned the gear.

These I take with a smaller pinch of salt. Smaller because I'll still make my own mind up thanks.

 

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@Andrew Reid I am enjoying your videos more and more!

You are a unique, voice putting into words what people are thinking and feeling about the consequences and benefits of working against or for the "machine" that is devouring our freedoms by a system of economic damages or rewards.

You have made a great point that those taking the rewards offered by the machine are as much of the problem as the fact that the machine damages those economically that do not comply.

Freedom of speech is the key to breaking the corporate information monopoly.

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7 hours ago, MrSMW said:

I take all reviews with a pinch of salt.

All launch reviews with a very big one because of course they can say whatever they like, as long as it is mostly positive.

Then there are the reviews that happen later by 'smaller' channels normally that have bought or loaned the gear.

These I take with a smaller pinch of salt. Smaller because I'll still make my own mind up thanks.

I would phrase it differently.  

I know a few people who do real research before making large purchases, and I think it's more like being able to read through the reviews to see the truth.  In that sense, we practically cover everything in salt rather than just a small amount of seasoning...

Basically, you want to know the strengths and weaknesses of the product.

The approach seems to be:

  1. If a review is emotional, either good or bad, ignore them.  They obviously either have an axe to grind, or are euphoric, in either case they're not solely focused on seeing the truth, so although they might believe what they say, they won't be seeing clearly.
  2. Look for known reference points.  If someone has reviewed something you don't like positively, then that's a warning, or vice-versa.  It might be an issue with their bias, or a lack of intelligence, lack of thoroughness, or simply a misalignment of what they value compared to what you value.  Taste comes in here.  I look for music reviewers who share common taste - if you don't like the taste of whiskey then it doesn't matter if it's the best whiskey in the world, you still won't like it.
  3. Look for meaningful criticisms.  No product is perfect (you can't please all the people all the time), look for criticisms in a review, and only accept real ones, rather than token or BS ones.  If a review is level-headed and detailed, maybe you can take the criticisms as true, otherwise, get more opinions.
  4. Look for patterns.  If lots of reviewers, who all make it through the above criteria, say similar things about the products weaknesses then they're probably true.
  5. Smell out marketing.  If you're looking for the benefits or strengths of something and you've seen a pattern of positive comments from level-headed people who also made criticisms, then look for specificity.  If the pros of something are generic then it's more likely to be marketing talking-points, but if they're specific then that's more likely to be true.  Also, look for how people say things, and if there are patterns in the phrasing, or if they seem natural.  Even unconscious positive bias (be it to the brand, product, or just an agreeable personality) will be influenced by marketing, so a manufacturer can shape the way you think about something with their PR statements and framing, so that when you get the real product you 'see' it in those terms, regardless of how objective you actually want to be.

It's a tricky thing.

I think that's why people like Gerald Undone are so useful.  
He's level-headed, speaks in specific terms rather than marketing fluff, and mentions things that others don't.  Does he have huge film-making pedigree?  Probably not.  But if he says that I can't film in 10-bit 4K at more than 30p then I am inclined to believe him.

It's also why I unsubscribed to Chris and Jordan.
After watching their savage review of the XC10, which was a flawed product to be sure, I realised something - they don't understand film-making.  Sure, they mentioned the weaknesses of that camera, which I had verified with other sources and the specs, but they also ripped into aspects of the camera that weren't weaknesses at all.  When I watched their review I was completely puzzled, because I was simultaneously watching videos on how people use cine cameras, which was saying the completely opposite to what they were saying and it was then that I realised that they might understand video, but not film-making.  Reviewing a cine camera and criticising aspects that all cine cameras share is just silly.  Unsub.

Having said all that, the whole thing is fraught with peril as I have ended up on many occasions with products that were poorly reviewed and yet worked great for me for years of real use, and also with products that I did the research on and were terrible in ways that no-one mentioned at all.  
I think of a small part of my budget as R&D purely for writing off stuff that doesn't work out, or for buying things that seem ok but I can't be sure of.  Sometimes things work out and other times they don't, but thinking about it like that makes me feel better about it.  Certainty is an illusion after all.

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13 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

The way it works in the camera industry is that you sign an NDA, with an embargo date. [...]

Yes, those new cameras bring in millions of hits on the usual photocentric sites.

I would not be surprised at all if the vast majority of new camera sales are made within a two-week time frame when most sites still feature the "review" on their home page. Ergo the critical mass of reviewers flaunting their new gear after the NDA has ended.

Amazon has played a huge part in this new marketing standard.

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11 hours ago, kye said:

It's also why I unsubscribed to Chris and Jordan.
After watching their savage review of the XC10, which was a flawed product to be sure, I realised something - they don't understand film-making.  Sure, they mentioned the weaknesses of that camera, which I had verified with other sources and the specs, but they also ripped into aspects of the camera that weren't weaknesses at all.  When I watched their review I was completely puzzled, because I was simultaneously watching videos on how people use cine cameras, which was saying the completely opposite to what they were saying and it was then that I realised that they might understand video, but not film-making.  Reviewing a cine camera and criticising aspects that all cine cameras share is just silly.  Unsub.

On the flip side though, if you're looking for info about a camera from a hybrid photo/videographer perspective, then Chris & Jordan can likely hit that spot better than a hardcore DoP's review would. 

Just like for sound, if you're wanting info about being a boom op in the film industry, then Curtis Judd is going to be a terrible terrible source for that as he's got zero experience (or close to it) in that specific crew position. And you should instead listen to Allen Williams. But.... if you want a more gentle intro to an audio for videography perspective, then Curtis Judd is a better place to start with than Allen Williams, as Curtis covers that ground awesomely. 

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2 hours ago, IronFilm said:

On the flip side though, if you're looking for info about a camera from a hybrid photo/videographer perspective, then Chris & Jordan can likely hit that spot better than a hardcore DoP's review would. 

Just like for sound, if you're wanting info about being a boom op in the film industry, then Curtis Judd is going to be a terrible terrible source for that as he's got zero experience (or close to it) in that specific crew position. And you should instead listen to Allen Williams. But.... if you want a more gentle intro to an audio for videography perspective, then Curtis Judd is a better place to start with than Allen Williams, as Curtis covers that ground awesomely. 

I see what you're saying but speaking from experience...

Jordan did nothing but sugar coat the EOS R5 overheating issues upon launch and refused to even touch on how big an issue it was until Canon's PR people sent him an advance preview of the firmware update, which they likely only panicked into releasing because of the highly publicised criticism raised by myself and many other customers online. At that point, rather than mention all of our hard work and investigative reporting / user experiences about the R5 overheating and timers - he went and ignored all that and once again sugar coated it with unrealistic recording times and usage scenarios based on non-real world usage and once again did a little PR jig for his paymasters.

Recently I got an EOS R6.

I read the DPReview video page about this by Richard Butler before purchasing it.

He does not even mention the missing aperture priority mode when you switch to video mode.

Something like that is exactly what a hybrid photo/videographer shooter needs.

It was a total surprise when I first used the camera to see it missing. Basic stuff gone.

So do Chris / Jordan / DPReview really hit the spot better than a cinematographer?

Well in my experience no because there is always something important missing or some weird glaring omission.

And you have to ask yourself why?

Is this sugar coated consumerism or a camera review?

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26 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

He does not even mention the missing aperture priority mode when you switch to video mode.

Something like that is exactly what a hybrid photo/videographer shooter needs.

Maybe because it is a use case that is not important to him (this is not a endorsment to Richard).

I'm an amateur and use my cameras as hybrids, but never used aperture priority mode in video (will try, indeed); your use case for aperture priority in video (get sudden moments that appears) is very valid, but for me (until now, this could change) is a non-issue.

Some things that are glaring faults for me probably are non-issues for others. For example, in my transition from m43 to Fuji, the thing that I'm hating most is that when you change the ISO, a full screen overlay enters (as in a lot of Fuji changing settings screens) and the only info that appears is the ISO number. You don't have EV metering and, most important, the histogram on screen to adjust the ISO until the highlights are not blown (ok, zebras appears); but why the change could not be as aperture / shutter changes, only the value change in the full info screen?

For me is a big hassle, and saw zero references of it in all Fuji reviews that I've saw.  Probably is not an issue for other people. And all reviews could have these kinds of personal bias.

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2 hours ago, IronFilm said:

On the flip side though, if you're looking for info about a camera from a hybrid photo/videographer perspective, then Chris & Jordan can likely hit that spot better than a hardcore DoP's review would. 

I disagree.

I'm a dad who makes travel videos of my family while we're on holiday and shoots my kids sports games - I'm about as video as it gets!  I've found that some aspects of what cinematographers do fits with how I shoot, and some really doesn't at all, like, AT ALL.  However, I've never seen another YouTube reviewer who reviews "hybrid cameras" get it so wrong as they did on the XC10 review.  I've since moved on from that camera, and I found that actually it didn't suit my needs at all, so I don't have rose-coloured glasses about it in the slightest.

I know this because before I watched their review I had watched literally hundreds of camera reviews online from dozens and dozens of YouTubers (gotta have a hobby!), but when I watched their XC10 review a strange thing happened.  They said some things that made me double-take.  My reaction wasn't like "oh, that seems plausible but I don't care" and it wasn't "that doesn't apply to how I shoot" which is common in other reviews..  it was "they're describing exactly how I shoot, and they're reviewing the camera that I own, and they're saying that this feature won't work for me, and yet, I've used exactly that camera in that situation (or worse) and found it fine - WTF is going on with this review".  

It stood out as being so fundamentally wrong that at first I didn't know what to make of it.  I re-watched it the next day to make sure I didn't mis-interpret them, or to look for signs that it got messed up in editing (which I would imagine can happen when you're churning out videos), but there were no signs of that.  I began to think about it, trying to understand why they'd think such a strange thing, and then when I was reading an article about cinema cameras from a cinematography site I realised that they said what they said because they had a fundamental misunderstanding about cinematography and what shooting on a set is like.  I realised they only understand film-making from the perspective of filming a YT video.  

Then I re-watched their review and everything fit, that they'd get most things right but the critical thing so wrong.  Mostly YT and shooting a controlled production would be basically the same, but there are things about the equipment that differ, for example cine cameras not needing very good high-ISO performance because everything can be lit or catered for with crazy fast primes because the set revolves around the camera and not the other way around.  If you only learned about making YT videos you would get most of what happens on set correct and only a few specific things wrong, but you would get them spectacularly diametrically wrong which they did.

So I am actually very appreciative they made that video.  I learned a lot from it.  

I learned that not everyone who makes videos knows about film-making (I was involved in film-making before I got into shooting video myself, so that wasn't something I anticipated).

I learned that my shooting style was actually a mixture of how you'd shoot a narrative, how you'd shoot a doc, and how you'd shoot a guerrilla available light run-n-gun home video.

.....and I learned that Chris and Jordan didn't know enough about film-making to be able to provide reliable advice to a guy who makes home videos.  And no-one else involved in their entire corporate channel knew or cared!  You know that you're in trouble when your cine camera review isn't informed enough for the home video dad!

Anyone can say anything online, and popularity certainly doesn't indicate reliability of information, which is definitely the case here.

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A summary could be as follows...

Who do you rate?

Is it someone you has a track record in your opinion of reporting without too much bias or rose-tinted spectacles and actually has a proven track record of doing things in a similar way to you?

Or are they just A. N. Other reviewer who quotes specs and opinions, never seems to shoot with the gear to back up their opinions and it's virtually if totally impossible to find any evidence of their work other than YouTube videos 'reviewing' other kit?

I quite like Chris & Jordan, but only as a bit of entertainment. I wouldn't make a business purchase based on their opinion.

I like Gerald. I think he's a pretty straight up guy. I wouldn't call him a filmmaker and he appears to make most if not all of his living from YouTube. And there's nothing wrong with that.

And then you have McCanon and his bajillion wannabees with their 2 minute intros featuring themselves jumping off one wheels and gazing off into the distance before showing you their latest meaningless 'cinematic' B roll.. Again, no problem with that, there's a market for it and they are entitled to be sheep if they wish.

I like the folks that are full-time photographers and filmmakers who simply take the time to make content every now and again, part of which at times, is gear review. 

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In the automotive review space, we deal with embargoes all the time -- just like camera reviewers. One thing I want to point out is the embargoes aren't just about "clicks" for the maker, they also enable car/camera makers to get their products into the hands of reviewers without having to pick who goes first. Embargo windows allow them to circulate review products to multiple reviewers before the embargo lifts, giving all review outlets equal opportunity in the launch of their reviews on a set date and time. 

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It all boils down to two models:

There's the ad based business model

And the paid content model.

Every time a YouTuber comes out with free stuff or clickbait it undermines everybody's ability to earn money by doing a site like EOSHD which does not follow the ad based revenue model.

So eventually you are going to lose the non-advertiser friendly, non-shills entirely from the internet.

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