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Old June 11th, 2005, 07:38 AM   #16
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How about "video production equipment" as that is what it is!
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Old June 11th, 2005, 11:34 AM   #17
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Now you're just talkin' crazy. Must be the heat.
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Old June 11th, 2005, 12:08 PM   #18
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Jeff, I think you said it best with this statement:

"Cost should not be the deciding issue in determining whether a piece of DV equipment is consumer-level or professional. Functionality should be the major determining factor. After all, when the day is done, if I can get almost as good of quality from a $7k machine as a $30k machine, it does not matter if (and I repeat , if) the quality is sufficient for the project."

Not one of my clients, broadcast or corporate, has questioned the quality of my gear when I arrive. Your work and how you carry yourself will overshadow any doubts. If they like what they see with your work, then they automatically trust your gear. Of course, this does not apply to projects that specify a certain format for whatever reason. I have had a few people actually say, "that's DV?", because they were impressed.

Why do you think that DV is so prominently used in network shows now. It's because they finally came to their senses and realize that the quality holds up well enough to air it and most importantly, it is much cheaper to produce with. Broadcast networks were the last one's that you would have thought would accept this format and a few still don't. I guess the most important thing is to know your gear's limitations and not overstate its abilities. I think one of the most commonly overused terms in this industry to try to sound important is the word DIGITAL.

Last edited by James Emory; June 11th, 2005 at 12:51 PM.
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Old June 12th, 2005, 02:35 PM   #19
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Well, some of you have weighed in with your reasons to can the term MicroPro for a replacement to the term prosumer. Some of you even took offense at the word MicroPro, apparently because it made you feel inadequate. Well I'm not a psychologist and I don't want to have a discussion about lens size ;) so I'll put this thread back on track by revisiting the initial challenge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Sayre
... what should low-end, affordable, professional equipment be called?
I would like to expand this challenge by reforming it into two questions based on the real-world observation that in our realm, the term prosumer is currently used in two general ways--to refer to a person or business, or to refer to a class of technology (hardware and software).

To better understand the issues we're debating in this thread, here is an appropriate definition of the word prosumer:

Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/tp-pro4.htm
... a purchaser of technical equipment who wants to obtain goods of a better quality than consumer items, but can't afford professional items (older terms for goods of this intermediate quality are semi-professional and industrial quality). Here, the word is a blend of professional and consumer. Prosumers of this sort are famed for their enthusiasm for new products and their tolerance of flaws and, from the marketing point of view, have much in common with early adopters. This usage is common among those selling video equipment, digital cameras, and similar goods. Some manufacturers treat the SOHO (Small Office, Home Office) market as being much the same thing.
So, I believe there are truly two questions to discuss:

1. What should a person or business who produces professional-quality products but uses low-end, affordable equipment be called?

2. What should low-end, affordable, professional equipment be called?


The obvious answer to both questions is, you call them professional!

However, as you and I know, there is a very palpable chasm between those of us who use low-cost technology and those who use high-cost technology. Unfortunately, the term prosumer has become firmly ensconced in the vernacular of our industry to refer to the former set of people.

But, as we can see in the definition above, a prosumer is a semi-professional. They are people who may want to make a career in the film and video industry someday, or are simply content dabbling in the craft. Either way, these people have developed a skill set above the average consumer but do not produce professional-quality products.

However, as stated above, some manufacturers treat SOHO users as prosumers by default. This means that those of us who have small businesses (possibly based out of our homes) are still considered prosumers even though we make a career out of our film and video projects, even though the quality of our projects is very high.

So, if those of us who own small production houses are producing projects with exceptional production values, what differentiates us from the "big boys"? I think there are two factors: a.) the size of our business, and b.) the type of equipment we use.

So the two challenges remain:

1. What term should be used instead of prosumer to describe those of us who produce professional products but have small studios and/or use low-weight, low-cost acquisition equipment?

2. What minimum features and standards are required to elevate a piece of equipment or software above the level of prosumer?

(Many of us know from experience that there is exceptional "prosumer" equipment out there that truly needs to be relabeled to give us the boost in credibility that we deserve.)


Someday, the chasm will be filled, and all of us in the industry will be called professionals no matter the size of our studios or the size of our lenses :) The only factor that will differentiate a semi-pro from a pro is the quality of his or her work. Until that day, let's create a moniker that aptly describes our position in this industry and the equipment we use.

I still believe MicroPro is the term we should use. However, some of you may have better descriptors.

With all of this in mind, I resubmit this modified hierarchy and ask for feedback and suggestions.

Professional
MicroPro (small business and/or small equipment but both professional quality)
Prosumer ( a.k.a semi-pro)
Consumer
Huh?
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Old June 12th, 2005, 03:45 PM   #20
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Just a thought. You Americans are pretty famous amongst us Brits for wanting to label everything. There isn't actually a need to define a term! <sigh>

Would you believe that Steadicam are trying to patent the term 'iso-elastic' something which existed long before Steadicam ever existed. Its a standard engineering term!

No, no. You US guys are going to have to put a stop to this. Curb your urges! Nothing needs to be labelled. If you label somethign nobody will be satisfied.

Its video equipment. That is all. Some video equipment is better than others. Lets just leave it at that.
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Old June 12th, 2005, 06:24 PM   #21
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Simon-

I like the simplicity--and your honest assessment of us neurotic Americans :) But, it is what it is and labels are big here--for better or for worse!

Someday, it won't be an issue and that is the purpose of this exercise--to force the issue so that people will see how ridiculous all of this is and just start calling all of us who produce high-quality products professionals.

Our video equipment, on the other hand, is labeled by the manufacturers as prosumer versus professional. We want our tinycams to be recognized as great pieces of equipment--well, maybe not as great as your XDCAM!

But until that day in history arrives, we want our labels!!!
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Old June 12th, 2005, 07:52 PM   #22
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Perhaps the word "expert" would work. An expert may or may not be paid, but theoretically would have good experience with their equipment.

Also, since consumer equipment tends to be marked by it's simplicity, while professional equipment tends to be marked by it's more complex options - finding a word that's a balance between simplicity and complexity might do the trick.

All tongue in cheek of course.
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Old June 13th, 2005, 01:27 PM   #23
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In other words, "simplexity."

Hey, I'm a video simplexitist!


Then again.... ;D
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Old June 13th, 2005, 03:50 PM   #24
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I can't recall any manufacturer using the term "prosumer", so it must be us users that coined the term.

"professional" One who does work for pay.
"amateur" One who works for free.

Who said anything about quality (or lack therof)?
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Old June 13th, 2005, 03:52 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Kennett
"professional" One who does work for pay.
"amateur" One who works for free.
Does that make the conjuntion: professmateur?
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Old June 13th, 2005, 04:51 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Kennett
"professional" One who does work for pay.
"amateur" One who works for free.

Who said anything about quality (or lack therof)?
In other words, professional quality would not mean much since it could be poor quality or high quality.

Does getting paid for something truly make you a professional?
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Old June 13th, 2005, 05:03 PM   #27
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"Does getting paid for something truly make you a professional?"

Yes. If that is how you make a living, you are a pro. If you do not make a living from it, you are an amateur or hobbyist.
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Old June 13th, 2005, 06:37 PM   #28
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The Prosumer is Dead!

Keith, good point.

Okay, so let's stop using the word prosumer and ask all vendors who do so (when the opportunity presents itself) to do the same. Only then, will the negative connotations associated with the word "prosumer" gradually be a thing of the past.

Tiny cameras can still produce professional results. It all depends on the scope of the project and the clients' needs. For those of us that make a living doing this stuff, yes, we are professionals and our ability to make a living will be directly proportional to our ability to create high-quality products.

I declare the end to the era of the prosumer! Go forth and be professionals (that is, if you get paid).

Please do the best work you possibly can. Your reputation as a small studio can have an influence on the reputations of the rest of us small-studio owners. Being a professional is in your attitude, great client service, and quality of your finished deliverables.

The size of your company or your equipment does not matter--all though Keith seems to have issues with small equipment ;). Don't let the "big guys" tell you otherwise. And, if you are one of the big firms with the big, expensive equipment, help us tiny professionals out by referring to us as professionals.

We're all in the same boat trying to make a living doing what we love. Now, that is great, isn't it!
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Old June 13th, 2005, 08:17 PM   #29
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I think the true meaning of prosumer is far less negative than you might think.The GL1 I use, is far from the quality of a pro's $15,000 cam, as is the rest of my equipment. It is the same as the equipment that any family guy or hobbyist might use. What seperates me from the family guy or hobbyist, is that I use my equipment to make money... just not much.

The other thing that seperates us, is the amount of time I have spent learning my craft. Anybody with a camera and a new PC or Mac, already has the ability to do what we do. However, they probably don't have a clue what the difference between Pal and NTSC is, data rates, compression, or any of the hundreds of details pro's deal with on a daily basis.

That is where you should draw the line between Pro, and Prosumer.
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Old June 13th, 2005, 08:18 PM   #30
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And I really don't have any issues with size... My GL is just the right size for me, and I haven't had any complaints about how I use it ;)
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