Equipment religion

posted by Jeff | Monday, December 12, 2011, 2:16 PM | comments: 0

Philip Bloom made a great post detailing his experience with Red and the camera they sold him, and it was not pretty. The short version of the story is that he had all kinds of issues with the camera, blogged about his experiences and indicated that the value wasn't there for the price, and he was treated poorly by the company and the community that is rabid about the product. It's a fairly ridiculous story.

Red was started by Jim Jannard, the guy who started Oakley (who makes sunglasses) and eventually sold it for $2 billion. He decided that the industry wasn't moving quickly enough in terms of cameras that did super neat stuff, and that motivated him to create Red. Unfortunately, the cameras have been endlessly delayed, and apparently beta quality despite being super expensive.

We put up with software issues to some degree on our devices, but they don't cost tens of thousands of dollars, and usually the worst thing at stake is that we can't check our e-mail temporarily or play Angry Birds. People have to make money with their camera gear. How anyone can run a company and treat people like that with such huge money on the line is beyond me.

But what really strikes me is how religious people can be about the equipment they use. I can understand some degree of brand loyalty. To this day, most of the pro gear I've bought, whether for my job or my personal use, has been from Panasonic. It has been durable and relatively bullet proof, and I value that. It doesn't mean that I'm not open to stuff from Sony or Canon. In fact, outside of the cameras themselves, most stuff I've bought has been from other vendors.

What we see in the video/indie film market today reminds me a little bit of the computer gear chest thumping of the old days. People would go on and on about how a certain video card or something was the best without any regard to how it was used or how apps took advantage of it. In video, the context of your ability as a creative person is also left out of the discussion.

Which brings me to my biggest point about the video stuff. The best equipment in the world can't compensate for a lack of creative talent, but I really think some believe otherwise. In fact, much of the enthusiasm for the video DSLR market was a result of the fact that, with a little care and practice, you could do some pretty awesome stuff.

No, I don't have great photos or video because I "have a really nice camera," any more than an Iron Chef makes good food because he has a really nice stove.


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