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Old January 11th, 2005, 11:48 AM   #1
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How Serious is Serious Magic?

Seriously...in a creative world where Macs are a standard in production at all levels and where FCP HD is becoming an industry standard, how can Serious Magic exclude this entire segment of the creative market? Looks like a killer app guys but, duh, talk about alienating a community.

When I first saw this, I naturally assumed (and you know where that gets you) that it was a cross platform program. We had visions of 2 or 3 G4 powerbooks running DV Rack on location...
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Old January 11th, 2005, 12:20 PM   #2
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I would have to ask the same question but for another reason.

I placed an order on their website on Dec 22 and was shipped a incorrect items and a torn backdrop. I have been trying to get someone to call me back to make the necessary corrections ever since. I email and call at least once a day, leaving a voice message each time, but no response from anyone. Last week I called the east coast distributer and he finally had someone call me. I received an RMA and was told the replacement items would ship overnight since it was their mistake and a recall tag would be issued with FedEX. Well six days later I still have not received the replacement items and still have the orginal package that has not been picked up for return.

I would say that this is not a good way to earn future business. Why have email and voice mail if they don't return messages.

If anyone has any contacts at Serious Magic please send them my way as I would like to get this matter resolved.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 01:57 PM   #3
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Well, they seem serioulsy confused as well <g>. On their FAQ page they say that they want to hear from Mac users who've downloaded their demo version and tested it on VirtualPC. Amazingly, a few lines above they say that DV Rack will not run on VirtualPC on a Mac.

Again...duh.

First and most obviously, it's the developers role to test their products for potential customers. It's about as amateur as it gets asking the segment of the market that they've excluded to download their product and test it for them after they've ben told it won't work. Did I say duh?

Then in another FAQ referring to the lack of Mac support they mention that "fortunately PC laptops are quite inexpensive". Yeah, like people who've invested a few grand in high end G4 powerbooks are going to drop a grand or two on a PC laptop to run their program. Then they can deal with moving the media into their FCP sytem...huh?

It would be a lot more honest and credible to just stick with the "we're not developing this for Mac users", and leave out the vague suggestions, and the silly assertions that buying a high end laptop with a different OS to run their $300 program is practical.

It's really too bad because the screens on the G4s are spectacular and would maximize the potential of this as a field tool for untold thousands of producers around the world.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 02:04 PM   #4
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Jim,
I'm in the trenches on the QA side of things and claim no insight to any high-level decisions, but I can assure you that releasing DV Rack for PC only reflects absolutely nothing about how serious we are. Our talented crew of developers are all PC-oriented, and we have our hands full developing and supporting an ambitious line of products. By nearly any measure you could point to, we've been quite successful, but not yet to the point that we have the luxury of hiring another dozen developers to rearchitect our products for the Mac platform. Ultimately, it comes down to cost-benefit analysis--what's the best direction to focus our resources. When deciding whether to invest limited resources in one opportunity or another, there's little if any room for worrying about how potential customers along the road not taken will feel about the fact that we went down the other path.

Incidentally, the reason that DV Rack is not cross-platform is that it makes extensive use of DirectX. Designing it to work on Macs would indeed require extensive rearchitecting.

Also, the clips that DV Rack produces are fully compatible with Mac-based NLEs. So, yes, you would have to invest in a PC laptop in addition to the program, but you could then plug the external hdd into your system of choice and edit away. [edited to add: Your second post appeared as I was writing mine. The idea of buying a laptop principally for running DV Rack clearly does not appeal to you, but a surprising number of customers have done just that, and they report that it's been well worth the investment.]

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Hart,
On behalf of Serious Magic, I apologize for the problems you encountered with your order and for the lack of a timely response. Between a high volume of sales in December, the holidays limiting the number of workdays, and CES diverting several of our support team members to Las Vegas last week, we've had a backlog of support calls and e-mails. We're making every effort to get caught up.
I've called your plight to the attention of the head of customer service.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 03:34 PM   #5
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<<I'm in the trenches on the QA side of things and claim no insight to any high-level decisions, but I can assure you that releasing DV Rack for PC only reflects absolutely nothing about how serious we are. >>

Hi Mark, I was obviously playing on your name, nothing pesonal, but in an industry so geared toward Mac, and Mac so geared to the future of our industry, I think it's a pretty accurate criticism.

<<Our talented crew of developers are all PC-oriented, and we have our hands full developing and supporting an ambitious line of products.>>

That exclude me, my company and most producers and facilities that I know.

<<By nearly any measure you could point to, we've been quite successful,>>

Obviously not the specific measure being discussed here though <g>.

<<but not yet to the point that we have the luxury of hiring another dozen developers to rearchitect our products for the Mac platform>>

I doubt a dozen developers is even remotely needed, and I think you guys know that DV Rack is the one product that Mac users are very interested in and should be cross platform.

<<Ultimately, it comes down to cost-benefit analysis--what's the best direction to focus our resources>>

Which is ironic coming from a company that reccomends that it somehow meets that threshold for your potential customers to invest in systems costing much more than your program just to be able to run your program

<< there's little if any room for worrying about how potential customers along the road not taken will feel about the fact that we went down the other path.>>

Now there's a marketing slogan for the ages.

<<Incidentally, the reason that DV Rack is not cross-platform is that it makes extensive use of DirectX. Designing it to work on Macs would indeed require extensive rearchitecting.>>

And you've made abundantly clear to the countless thousands of Mac producers and facilities that it's not worth your time or effort to do. Too bad, it sounds like a great tool that some of the best will never get to use, even though a lot of us were ready to invest in your company's products...you just don't want to invest in us as customers.

<<Also, the clips that DV Rack produces are fully compatible with Mac-based NLEs. So, yes, you would have to invest in a PC laptop in addition to the program>>

A ridiculous request from a software company in 2005. Sorry, but it is.

<<but you could then plug the external hdd into your system of choice and edit away>>.

Which would require yet another investment rather than using the existing laptop drive. These aren't solutions from an innovative company, they're road blocks to a lot of potential customers.

<< [edited to add: Your second post appeared as I was writing mine. The idea of buying a laptop principally for running DV Rack clearly does not appeal to you, but a surprising number of customers have done just that, and they report that it's been well worth the investment.]>>

It's not a matter of appealing to me or not. I would be a knucklehead to go out and buy a $2k laptop and external HD setup as well as investing in DV Rack with absolutely no idea of the quality of the product. Obviously no Mac user can demo DV Rack so who exactly is going out and buying new computers and your software with no way of testing it in advance?

I mean let's be realistic Mark, you're in marketing, I'm a marketing consultant. You're product is a low price solution to normally high priced field monitoring and aquisition. Your company's stated solution to me and the hundreds of thousands of Mac users is: too bad, we're not interested in you, but if you're interested in us, go out and spend more than you would on new Sony field monitors and dedicated FS systems.

Sorry, but wrong answer.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 04:24 PM   #6
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Jim,
Since I have no way of knowing which of your comments are serious and which are sarcastic jibes, I'm going to limit my response to just a few of your points.

1) on the cost-benefit analysis point, you're out of line. We make our analysis on what to produce. Potential customers make theirs on what to purchase. We don't claim to be serving the Mac market. However, in response to inquiries from Mac users we point out that clips produced by DV Rack can be edited on Mac software. It's then up to each customer to decide whether our product is worth the substantial investment in a laptop. I feel it's to DV Rack's credit that several people have found it so valuable that they did just that.

2) <<Now there's a marketing slogan for the ages.>> This one I presume is meant to be sarcastic, so I should let it drop. But since you bill yourself as a marketing consultant, I can't help asking: Do you do many marketing campaigns for products that a company decided NOT to develop?

3) You're using loaded language when you state that we've made it clear it's "not worth [our] time or effort" to make DV Rack cross-platform. You seem to be taking personal offense at a business decision to invest in one opportunity rather than another. Yes, a Mac version of DV Rack might be quite profitable, but our executives and board decided other avenues were more promising.

4) on external hard drives: <<Which would require yet another investment rather than using the existing laptop drive.>> Nearly all customers with whom I am familiar prefer external hard drives both for increased capacity and for efficiency--they do their editing on other systems, and external hdds are the quickest, easiest way to get their clips from System A to System B. For people who are editing on Mac, this solution just happens to add additional value.

5) <<you're in marketing>> No, as I stated up front, I'm in QA. I also write some of the content for the manuals/online help. I suspect our marketing people would cringe at my posts here.

And finally: <<Sorry, but wrong answer.>> You're entitled to your opinion, Jim. But remember, the only occasions when we at Serious Magic have discussed the DV Rack/Mac issue is when a Mac user has asked us about it. To repeat from above, we are not marketing this product to Mac users. At this point, all we can say is what we've said, which needn't be repeated here. We look forward to the time when we have DV Mac on the market.

btw, thanks for calling our attention to the contradictory statements on the FAQ page.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 04:33 PM   #7
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I just wanted to post an update as I did get a call today shorlty after posting my message here.

Mark - Thank you for helping me out on this as I now have received a overnight tracking number for the replacement items and was told to keep the other items at no charge.

Jim - Sorry for hijacking your thread but it was along the same lines.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 05:00 PM   #8
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Well I'm as much of a Mac fanatic as anyone, and I'd also love to see a DV Rack type product. However I certainly understand how a company has to choose its battles and define their market. You don't have to look much farther than MacOS X itself for a similar example. Rumor has it that Apple has kept a working Intel port of OS X up to date with each revision, yet they stubbornly refuse to market it (understandably since it could kill their hardware business).

Anyway I appreciate Mark taking the time to share some of the thought behind his company's strategy. I'd like to nicely suggest that we try to keep our comments constructive on this topic.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 05:03 PM   #9
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Hi Mark,
Well, jibes aside, I'm guessing that you understand my points as I understand and appreciate your need to be "Serious".

I'll leave it at this one more contradictary position. You close with:

"btw, thanks for calling our attention to the contradictory statements on the FAQ page." after saying. "We look forward to the time when we have DV Mac on the market".

On said FAQ page, you state specifically that you have no plans to develop a "DV Mac". You guys need to get in the locker room, get your story straight, and come back at me in the second half <g>. (by the way, you can in fact tell when I'm busting your chops....I smile).


Anyway, it's cool, but as I stated in another thread, I think you guys are missing the strongest, growing segment of this particular product's market. As a producer, that bothereed me because I don't like being boxed out of a potentially powerful resource because of the systems that my company is built (wisely) around.

As a consultant you might give the big dogs in your company my email. I might be able to help them revisit that cost/benefit decision from a new and profitable perspective.

On the other hand, as an entrepeneur and business owner, I see it as an opportunity to perhaps take advantage of the market that you guys have chosen to ignore.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 05:09 PM   #10
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<< I'd like to nicely suggest that we try to keep our comments constructive on this topic.>>

I'd nicely reply that my comments were precisely constructive as well as intentionally instructive regarding my concern: the lack of availability of this seemingly great tool to the Macintosh brethren (and sistren) on this list.

It's not like we're producing on Ataris ya know Boyd <g>.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 05:40 PM   #11
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Sad, nobody seems to care about the customer unless their is some bad publicity coming out of it.
There's a bunch of excuses running around but no reasons.

As far as the no Mac version of DVRack. That's just near-sighted business people with no grasp of the market. That coupled with some lame programmers who didn't know their craft very well. I have found, that many programmers are just lazy from the past computer boom and got spoiled by corporations who were Windoze dominated. Yes, the "business" world is mostly PC but, the "creative" world is mostly Macintosh. They are both viable platforms (in some peoples eyes) but to design a product excluding one or the other is just plain stupid. In fact the one thing I love so much about OSX is that is is relatively (relatively is a relative term) easy to port Unix and Linux and Mac OSX versions of the same programs. If someone would really make some decent Linux programs I would be so happy. I just hate Windoze.

And the concept of anyone buying another Laptop to run this program just makes me want to laugh out loud! I've heard it all now! I've got a better idea. How about you give me a laptop with the purchase of the software! Makes about as much sense.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 07:02 PM   #12
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Guys,

I hope you take me at my word when I say that Serious Magic is listening to requests for "DV Mac." It's all about business decisions. I'll confess that at times I don't understand or agree with every strategic decision that's made, but I always remind myself that I'm not privy to much of the info that the folks in the board room have before them.

I can vouch for the fact that the decision not to release DV Rack on both platforms was not made lightly. The people in charge here have considerable experience in the movie/TV/video industry and are well aware of the potential market for a Mac version. If you were so inclined, you could take the fact that they opted not to develop it for your market as a sign of big things to come from Serious Magic--we bypassed one golden opportunity for others that are perceived to promise platinum returns. Would that we could pursue them all. As for the discrepancy between the statement on our FAQ page and my comment on looking forward to offering DV Rack for Macs--no, we're not working on it presently, but that doesn't rule out the possibility of moving that direction when one or two other goals are met.

For the record, Boyd, I take no serious <g> objection to any of Jim's comments, and I certainly meant no offense with mine. [But Jim, I don't see any smiles--just a bunch of "g"s in angle brackets. I'm not a huge fan of smilies, but I don't remember turning them off for this forum either. Is there some box I need to check somewhere?]

And to you, Rhett, I respond simply that you're in absolutely no position to make such judgments about the vision of the management here at Serious Magic or about the quality of our programmers. Further, as I've noted a few Mac-ophiles found DV Rack valuable enough to buy a computer just for this app. These are professional people who are smart enough to see that a program that does not happen to run on Mac might actually benefit them and in turn help their businesses. I'm tempted to give you some of their names and contact info, but from the tone of your post I suspect that if you took time to write to any of them, you would simply ridicule them for being saps rather than learning from them how DV Rack has been a welcome addition to their toolkits.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 07:19 PM   #13
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<<But Jim, I don't see any smiles--just a bunch of "g"s in angle brackets.>>

Okay Mark, this is the last computer consulting I'm going to do today, <g> is the internet equivalent of a smile (grin abbreviated). <G>, is of course a big smile, and I wasn't being sardonic enough to require that.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 07:21 PM   #14
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LOL. Not ROFLMAO, but LOL. (see, I'm not utterly internet illiterate. I'm still getting used to these forum things, though.)
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Old January 11th, 2005, 08:00 PM   #15
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Hi Mark, I wouldn't say the corporate business mentality was a shot at just Serious Magic but it does kind of fit. There are tons of companies that feel the same way. I know quite a few programmers and tons of corporate monkeys so I'm not really stating anything out of the ordinary. The truth is a lot of programmers would just as soon write only for windows because it's easier than trying to write or plan for both simultaneously (regardless of their talent).
I think it looks like an interesting product but come on, do they really think I need to carry my Powerbook AND buy another PC laptop to carry as well. As if I don't have enough gear to drag around? I've actually been in the market for a PC laptop (I do own 4 PC's currently) but everybody stopped making the really nice small ones. All the Windoze machines are getting so huge, heavy, have no real features, and if you can find a nice small one it costs more than my Mac, which I prefer anyway.

If you look at the Pro video market, besides the Apple/Sony battle, most of the software and hardware is dual platform. Consider companies like Avid, Media100, Canopus, Pinnacle, AJA, Matrox, Adobe and such. They apparently learned something different from their market research.
I'm not doubting your product is really cool, and if it were available for the Mac, I'd probably buy it. I'm just saying it was ridiculous for them to not even consider building or planning a Mac version from the beginning. It's just short-sighted from any business perspective.
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