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Author Topic: How can this be worth doing? NOT  (Read 10233 times)
asf
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« Reply #40 on: March 25, 2011, 08:02:09 AM »
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Ah, I can see you have a wonderful gift for exaggeration.... Just to clarify - we are talking about a magazine invoice, not an investment bank collapse correct?

I am based in Toronto and have had to pursue payment on every continent, I have always been paid including unauthorized usage (hello Irish Guardian) and shocking as it may seem - without the benefit of a 'legal team'.

Any of us who do not properly paper our assignments with copyright license contingent on payment-in-full, are really not minding the store.

Dc

www.dermotcleary.com


Exaggeration? How so?

Have you had success collecting from a company in Spain or with the company rethmeier is having trouble with?

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TMARK
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« Reply #41 on: March 25, 2011, 03:22:57 PM »
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D-Clear,

Damn Dermot, show us how its done.  Step by step.  Seriously.  I want to know. 

Set up:  you finish a shoot, used the advance for expenses, paid your crew out of pocket, delivered the job, submitted the invoice. 

Invoice is good to go, as agreed.  On it is usage, expenses uncovered by the advance.  About $3800.  Terms are 20 days.  License doesn't transfer until payments received. 

Its day 30, magazine is at the printer.

What do you do at this point.
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D_Clear
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« Reply #42 on: March 25, 2011, 09:44:59 PM »
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D-Clear,

Damn Dermot, show us how its done.  Step by step.  Seriously.  I want to know. 

Set up:  you finish a shoot, used the advance for expenses, paid your crew out of pocket, delivered the job, submitted the invoice. 

Invoice is good to go, as agreed.  On it is usage, expenses uncovered by the advance.  About $3800.  Terms are 20 days.  License doesn't transfer until payments received. 

Its day 30, magazine is at the printer.

What do you do at this point.

Happy-to.

So I can understand the particulars of your situation;

- Where are you based, where did the shoot take place?
- Where is the magazine published, where is the head office for the publisher and if different, where is the editorial office located that assigned you?
- Is the publication still in business, have they restructured since the project you shot?
- Did you register the copyright on the images you created for them anywhere?
- Was the work published, if-so when?
- Did the publication issue a P.O. or provide an assignment contract of any kind? If-so what are their terms of payment?
- Did you provide the publication with an assignment contract, if-so did you get it signed-off?
- Have they given you any specific reason as to why you have not been paid?

DC

www,dermotcleary.com


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TMARK
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« Reply #43 on: March 25, 2011, 11:04:23 PM »
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I'm asking, not really for myself as I don't really shoot stills anymore, but as an example for the readers.  The hypothetical I gave happened to me over and over again.  It wasn't that I was never paid, it was that editorial always paid very, very late.  Hachette publications paid on time, but Conde NEVER paid without problems.  Only Vibe stiffed me, straight up.

In any case, lets assume the typical Conde Nast situation:

- Where are you based, where did the shoot take place? 
NY, NY.

- Where is the magazine published, where is the head office for the publisher and if different, where is the editorial office located that assigned you?
NY

- Is the publication still in business, have they restructured since the project you shot? 
Yes

- Did you register the copyright on the images you created for them anywhere?
CD to the Copyright Office with a check, pre publication.  Copyright on all metadata with scope of license.

- Was the work published, if-so when?
Any minute now.

- Did the publication issue a P.O. or provide an assignment contract of any kind? If-so what are their terms of payment?
My paper, which is really their old paper, with payment dates and copyright transfer terms modified to favor me.  This was part of the problem, as new PE's moved in they wanted me to use their new contracts which were/are abusive.  The machinery for paying invoices was geared to 90 - 120 days, which was the new contract, versus 20 days on my invoice.  I was tired of being their bank.

- Did you provide the publication with an assignment contract, if-so did you get it signed-off?
My paper, signed off every time.  Terms usually ignored, only key items such as license/scope of delivery/and amounts were ever honored.

- Have they given you any specific reason as to why you have not been paid?
You name it, I've heard it.

How would you handle this situation? 

Now that I think about it, my problems were always solved with patience and sugar, which got me additional editorial and usually got me paid within 60 days.  I managed the process through shame, politics, and over drinks.  The more interesting situation is where you don't want to shoot for them again and they haven't paid at all, and they have exceeded the license.  How did you handle the Irish Guardian or Times?  Lets hear about that. 
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D_Clear
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« Reply #44 on: March 26, 2011, 01:38:29 PM »
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I'm asking, not really for myself as I don't really shoot stills anymore, but as an example for the readers.  The hypothetical I gave happened to me over and over again.  It wasn't that I was never paid, it was that editorial always paid very, very late.  Hachette publications paid on time, but Conde NEVER paid without problems.  Only Vibe stiffed me, straight up.

In any case, lets assume the typical Conde Nast situation:

- Where are you based, where did the shoot take place? 
NY, NY.

- Where is the magazine published, where is the head office for the publisher and if different, where is the editorial office located that assigned you?
NY

- Is the publication still in business, have they restructured since the project you shot? 
Yes

- Did you register the copyright on the images you created for them anywhere?
CD to the Copyright Office with a check, pre publication.  Copyright on all metadata with scope of license.

- Was the work published, if-so when?
Any minute now.

- Did the publication issue a P.O. or provide an assignment contract of any kind? If-so what are their terms of payment?
My paper, which is really their old paper, with payment dates and copyright transfer terms modified to favor me.  This was part of the problem, as new PE's moved in they wanted me to use their new contracts which were/are abusive.  The machinery for paying invoices was geared to 90 - 120 days, which was the new contract, versus 20 days on my invoice.  I was tired of being their bank.

- Did you provide the publication with an assignment contract, if-so did you get it signed-off?
My paper, signed off every time.  Terms usually ignored, only key items such as license/scope of delivery/and amounts were ever honored.

- Have they given you any specific reason as to why you have not been paid?
You name it, I've heard it.

How would you handle this situation? 

Now that I think about it, my problems were always solved with patience and sugar, which got me additional editorial and usually got me paid within 60 days.  I managed the process through shame, politics, and over drinks.  The more interesting situation is where you don't want to shoot for them again and they haven't paid at all, and they have exceeded the license.  How did you handle the Irish Guardian or Times?  Lets hear about that. 



I was under the impression we would actually be helping to get the unpaid invoice from Loft of 2007 settled, which would be a great thread to be a part of, something practically useful and not just armchair expertize.
For an editorial collection problem each one is too specific for hypothetical examples in my experience.

Based on your comments I will put it to you that there are expectations which need to be managed on the part of every photographer entering into an editorial assignment these days.

1. Yes in practical terms you are the bank, get used to it
2. Long payment terms are the rule, with some rare exceptions, blame corporate governance
3. Agreements are frequently rewritten to reflect changing times, this usually means a tilt in their favor.
4. Some publications hold the view they (may) never pay

As you said, you got tired of this arrangement and it sounds as though you no longer do editorial, we all have that choice it's up to each of us to make our own decisions accordingly.

Regarding the Irish invoice, it was an unusual situation because I had never shot for them, they appropriated an image I had shot previously for a feature in the London Telegraph Magazine - who BTW paid on time, every time.

I saw my work in the Irish publication and contacted them, by this time the portrait in question was very valuable to me as the subject indicated it was his favorite and it was licensed in many countries. So I felt it was important to deal with unauthorized usage firmly.

To make a long story short it took several months of them stalling and dodging me to a ridiculous degree, but I was paid. This was after making clear that I would take legal action - which I was absolutely prepared to do.
I also pointed out that I would publicize the incident in every means possible, including to all of their advertisers - which I would have done no question.

In general, I am told that I'm pretty good at collecting invoices, there is no secret recipe except maybe to properly attend to the business side of the shoot in advance and be prepared to play hard if it gets to that point. I find a lot of photographers to be afraid of the consequences if they go hard at those few clients who really deserve it. I also have seen photographers set aside common sense when a smallish publication from halfway around the world with a brutally long list of unpaid photographers calls for a shoot.

My view is simple, the images are my property, if an unintentional oversight occurred which delayed my invoice, or if there are unforeseen circumstances which precipitate longer terms then what was mutually agreed, then lets work it out.

If on the other hand I come to the conclusion it was a business strategy to not pay me, or pay me at some vague-maybe date in the future, then I will hit them with everything I've got until I am paid, including the individuals involved if necessary.

Ask anyone who knows me


DC
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ziocan
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« Reply #45 on: April 23, 2011, 07:17:48 AM »
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Amateurs ask me all the time should they buy the new Canon L lens?

Unless the question come from a very good friend, the answer is always yes.
Spend those lunch money!
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Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #46 on: May 02, 2011, 01:38:56 AM »
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I'm surprised that anyone is shocked by Willem's story - it's normal practice these days to offer photographers nothing or actually ask them to pay to work.

A few days ago I was offered a 6-page spread in a South African magazine. The editor wrote to me "I've also looked over your website - it's very impressive. I'm a keen photographer myself so I have a very good understanding of what it takes to get these kind of shots....Looking at your work I can tell that you are way more creative than most of the other guys I work with and it's quite refreshing to see your creativity."

I asked what the budget was, so I could come up with a concept that matched. The answer? $400. I asked if this was just the photography fee, or did it include location scouting, locations fees, prop scouting, prop fees, wardrobe stylist, assistant, hair and make up, equipment rental, photographer's assistant, travel costs and retouching (he was supplying the model). Yes, you guessed it - the price was all inclusive. He expected me to work for a week and make a loss (and no, the female bodybuilder I was asked to shoot would NOT have worked in my folio!)

So I replied that if he wanted me to do the shoot for that price, I would just head to the nearest beach with the model and shoot her there for 2 hours. In other words, the same boring stuff that he always gets. I wonder why. (And no, I never heard from him again, which is actually a relief).
« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 01:44:33 AM by Graham Mitchell » Logged

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fredjeang
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« Reply #47 on: May 02, 2011, 07:37:50 AM »
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I'm surprised that anyone is shocked by Willem's story - it's normal practice these days to offer photographers nothing or actually ask them to pay to work.

A few days ago I was offered a 6-page spread in a South African magazine. The editor wrote to me "I've also looked over your website - it's very impressive. I'm a keen photographer myself so I have a very good understanding of what it takes to get these kind of shots....Looking at your work I can tell that you are way more creative than most of the other guys I work with and it's quite refreshing to see your creativity."

I asked what the budget was, so I could come up with a concept that matched. The answer? $400. I asked if this was just the photography fee, or did it include location scouting, locations fees, prop scouting, prop fees, wardrobe stylist, assistant, hair and make up, equipment rental, photographer's assistant, travel costs and retouching (he was supplying the model). Yes, you guessed it - the price was all inclusive. He expected me to work for a week and make a loss (and no, the female bodybuilder I was asked to shoot would NOT have worked in my folio!)

So I replied that if he wanted me to do the shoot for that price, I would just head to the nearest beach with the model and shoot her there for 2 hours. In other words, the same boring stuff that he always gets. I wonder why. (And no, I never heard from him again, which is actually a relief).
Not surprised either about your story, whatever the location is. IMO it is not only the crisis but a deaper change in the comunication mediums and needs.

There is a reality in commercial photography and I'm quite surprised of the very little impact it has on the forum discutions.

Times are gone when a still photographer and its team where shooting with top models, heavy equipment and high budgets in the Bahamas with the 007 nonchalance any little campaign. The medium is obsolete, substandard, ready for the romantic museum.

Advertising is going to go more and more multimedia and interactive. And equipments cost less and less while their efficiency increase and that means that a photographer (and practises) as we knew it until now is not going to be profitable.

You need to be multitasks indeed, and the ones who (for conservatism or repultion) will resist to embrasse now video will be marginalised because what the market want is interactivity and mediums delivery.
Tasks, by the way, that can not be done by any good 300 euros snapper.

This is something that Michael Reichmann (to take an example) understood not today, but years ago and expressed many times. His intuition was right because he knows the market's evolution. Very little echoes within the comunity and now it's there.

I'm afraid thast the ones who don't see it, who can't adapt, will see more and more how true are those stories about "your work has 500euros of value" even if you are a genius of the still imagery.

And I'm afraid that the brands that don not want to embrasse those changes (Hello MF...) and put their engineer on the design boards in serious instead of increasing resolution will not survive the changes.

We need new devices, not those film age designs in a totally different world.

Yes, you need to be able to put on the table 20-50Mp of high quality still imagery + Red footage and high quality edited motion with a reduced team, equipment and whitin twice less time that you delivered just stills, then deliver many different formats for many different mediums (here for example for videos it is at least 5 formats for the same finished product). The commercial photographer is becoming an image maker in a large sense, has to be more prepared, knowing more aspects of the imagery because there is motion, it will be more like a chief orquestra.  Be prepared for that technically and artistically because the tendency is there and the budgets we knew for just one task are gone.

In less than a decade, we will shoot high quality raw still and motion imagery with the same device with very reduced lightning set, and probably we should get used of brands names like Red or Arri or Panasonic,  and special effects suite softwares will have a killer power to put army of high skilled technicians on the unemployment cues (and it's already happening). Any advertising campaign will be shooted by the same team and displayed in number of medias all interactive with the viewer. We'll have to tell stories. Not just the nice looking girl with the smoked background with stricking legs to sell a collection is not enough today. Interactive stories.

It's time to react, learning new things and put the resistance or orthodoxy into the bin.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 12:54:03 PM by fredjeang » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #48 on: May 03, 2011, 08:18:09 AM »
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Yes,  but who is doing the leading, who is calling the shots?

I sort of wonder if we might be seeing the results of photographer competition more than the results of client demand. It seems to me that the malaise started long ago (at least in the UK), when art schools and colleges began to do photo courses and sell the idea that photography was a common and acceptable way of making a living. It is not; it never was, and those in it in the past tended to be there for two main reasons: it was a family business; they couldnt live without doing it. A third reason was sometimes suggested, I used to think in jest, that also in the business were those who had failed at everything else.

The advent of the schools has, I really believe, bred a student who leaves so indoctrinated with the 'idea' of photography that he doesn't ever give sufficient thought to how it's going to make him money. As a consequence, he works for peanuts in the hope that that will open further doors to vast riches. The usual door it opens is to the labour exchange.

All technology does is make work possible. It was always there, and of itself isn't the monster. The monster is the idiot cutting his own throat and that of everbody else. Art buyers and designers were often people in their forties and older; today, I'm told they retire to pastures new in their twenties. What heritage of high expectations can they possibly have? In an age of instant gratification that need can only be achieved by supplying instant crap.

Now tell me the Golden Age was all in the mind...

Rob C
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TMARK
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« Reply #49 on: May 03, 2011, 12:13:20 PM »
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Rob and Fred,

For most stills shooters, video is being offered and requested as an add on by people who don't understand the potential power of narrative.  In short, most its more glut being requested by art buyers/PE's or being given away by shooters who have already given away everything else, in one way or another.  So I would say the photographers looking for an edge are pushing video more than it is requested.  DISCLAIMER:  This applies to commercial and editorial.  Photo-J and docs are different.  And again, I say this is a generalization.  I know there are exceptions.

The understanding of narrative, effort, skill and expense required to shoot high quality motion is beyond many actors in the commercial stills industry.  Art buyers and photo editors don't understand narrative, the budgets, the time associated with producing compelling video.  The traditional stills shooters, in the main, don't get it either.  The viewing public is so inured to all forms of visual spam that they simply ignore most anything they don't seek out to view.  Nevertheless, everybody wants to offer motion, the result is (mainly) half assed BTS video or a still image that happens to move every once in a while. 

I think that the need for high quality, highly produced, high concept artistic images for commerce is the same as it was in 1990.  Now we have more people trying for those few spots, while the middle is gone, or is busy giving away what little they have, and in fact finding new things they can give away, like BTS videos.  I'm glad I left the industry when I did.  I've settled into producing commercials and being a DP.  Its a different world from the shark tank of hustling stills jobs in NYC.
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Rob C
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« Reply #50 on: May 03, 2011, 03:01:48 PM »
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TMARK

I'm glad you've found your niche! I couldn't agree more about the differences between motion and stills, and I think that most of us really know within our heart of hearts just which type of photography is 'ours' and I wonder if trying to cover too much ground just spoils the individual's chances of shining at anything.

Quite a number of the 'big' names of London photography moved sideways and embraced the production of commercials - Bailey comes to mind as a huge example - and in fact if you find some of his writings here or there, you discover that he doesn't even think of himself as a fashion photographer at all... so that should tell the wannabe guys something! Assuming they have long memories, of course.

Rob C
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fredjeang
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« Reply #51 on: May 03, 2011, 03:27:32 PM »
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TMARK,

I rarely feel in disagreement with you but this time I do. Although your description is exact to my eyes and also matches what I see, I extract a different perspective.

Yes, documentary, photo-J are not over exploiting video. I fully join you that the commercial-editorial (specially the editorial) video uses is more than enough, in its current form.
But the changes are IMO deeper than what you consider more as a continuity of quality need in 1990 than a real break. I smell that what is happening can be compared to the arrival of printing in the renaissance. I'm not sure I'm right, I admit, maybe as you point we are more or less in the same just that there are more people to share the same cake but I'm feeling deeper changes from the very roots. I'm not sure either we measure the impact of the current and short coming changes.

One of the very big difference is that the customer will not be passive any more but active. Campaigns will be build arround this fact and the use of multimedia, included video is not going to be in the same language than the cine narrative neither the useless craperies we are all seeing today. I think that today it is a transition moment where nobody seems to really know what to do and how.

Hollywood or big prods will probably keep exploiting 3D with structures that will be impossible for us, that is not this kind of high-end video I was thinking about.

The costs of production are really going down. Just take a look at what can be acheived by a 2000 euros Canon in available-light, a Red One or Arri Alexa. Not a long time ago it would have cost a fortune to access such imagery that can even be produced by a reduced team now with less cost than a 10 years old still campaign. It does not make anybody a Godard but it gives access to a kind of production that will indeed fully come into the photographer's task, specially in advertising campaigns.

The equipment is really incredible. I'm working now, for ex, on the script tool in Avid with a guy that is writing the scripts on a note-book and if I have 10 takes of the guy saying this or than sentence, the media will immediatly display the sequences so you can take and managed the best takes. The time saving is incredible and time is money in the wonderfull world of Homo-Sapiens and as Rob said, in an age of instant gratification .

Yes, the potential of narrative and being good at it requires a lot of training, learning curve, technical skills etc...it requires as I'm experimenting now, a lot of commitment, dedication, seriousness and years of practise. As you said. This is another story than mastering the C1 and Co fancy buttons and you don't even start to tell a story and that is the hardest. Some photographers won't make it properlly, others will shine. But who said it was easy and fast? At least it is more exiting and potentially creative than the pond where stills imagery is swiming today where the only preocupation seems to be incrementing the number of pixels and DR curves in outdated softwares and cameras and those pathetic lunchs with the make-up artist or the boss that spend all conversation complaining about how bad it is for the profession while they are having fun with their i.phone applications.

I agree that the current results in video are generally not very moving, but T, don't you honestly think that it happens in all? In painting, in dance, in cine, in photo, in fashion, arquitecture, social...we are bombed by an overdosis of everything except the things we would like to have. One of the niche I think they are really doing better is the documentary.

But after all, Recuenco shoots stills and motion for quite a long time now and is very good at both. A today's Loewe campaign done by the same team will cost much less and with much less people involved at equal quality and this tendency will grow.

But my point is that a tomorrow Loewe campaign will differs a lot of the Recuenco's. It will be interactive with the customer and will be displayed in different medias that will require that the team can managed professionally all the aspects. The lightning devices will be hybrid and manufacturers have already put into the market such products etc...I'm not guessing, it's there already.

« Last Edit: May 03, 2011, 04:13:28 PM by fredjeang » Logged
TMARK
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« Reply #52 on: May 03, 2011, 04:46:04 PM »
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Fred,

I don't think we disagree much, if at all.  I was really addressing the great majority of stills shooters trying to "pick up" video.  Recuenco and Nick Knight are exceptions.  I think the tools are there.  I can shoot a video for $25,000 that would have cost $150,000 - $200,000 just four years ago.  I think the problem is the technology is outpacing the tactics, to use a military analogy.  (The Battle of the Somme would have been a success before the machine gun and barbed wire were invented.  As it was, the Napoleonic tactics resulted in a machine age slaughter.)  I think it will shake out, but it will follow media.  It may be like the days of the printing press, but imagine that paper wasn't invented yet. 

The one point I have about interactive is this:  I've seen the numbers, I've talked to media planners, and interactive is NOT driving sales.  Motion on the web is NOT resulting in sales.  This is a problem, and led to some resignations at agencies, and cast a shadow over the "all digital" agency.  That is not to say there is no value, as interactive tends to build brand interest, but not nearly as effective as a GOOD stills campaign or GOOD commercial on the old TV.  This is right now, not the future. 

I've seen the future in the hands of skaters.  These kids produce these skate experiences, on the web, multimedia, with digital Canon Rebels and camcorders, then edit it all together on pirated software, make web sites and videos that are a little crude but really good.  These kids make little distinction between video, stills, web, multimedia, whatever.  That is where the future is going, but it will take a while to get there because the current structure of media isn't really there yet. 

About the Alexa:  Holy Shit it is a an amazing device.  No doubt about it.  The files LOOK like film, more like film than RED.  The ungraded footage looks great, the graded footage is amazing. 

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fredjeang
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« Reply #53 on: May 03, 2011, 06:04:09 PM »
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The one point I have about interactive is this:  I've seen the numbers, I've talked to media planners, and interactive is NOT driving sales.  Motion on the web is NOT resulting in sales.  This is a problem, and led to some resignations at agencies, and cast a shadow over the "all digital" agency.  That is not to say there is no value, as interactive tends to build brand interest, but not nearly as effective as a GOOD stills campaign or GOOD commercial on the old TV.  This is right now, not the future.  

I've seen the future in the hands of skaters.  These kids produce these skate experiences, on the web, multimedia, with digital Canon Rebels and camcorders, then edit it all together on pirated software, make web sites and videos that are a little crude but really good.  These kids make little distinction between video, stills, web, multimedia, whatever.  That is where the future is going, but it will take a while to get there because the current structure of media isn't really there yet.  

Totally agree with both paragraphs. I was also thinking of those skaters. But you are absolutly right, it will take a while.
The analogy with "la bataille de la Somme" is great.

The Alexa...aahhh...I soon (this summer) will start to edit ArriRaw in MC. I'll report the experience in the video section. I'm generally not excited by a device, but this one, I'm ready to go to the church and get married...to Alexa of course.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2011, 06:14:22 PM by fredjeang » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #54 on: May 04, 2011, 04:46:22 AM »
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Brands, and why you select them seems to be the main driving force behind advertising - probably always will be - but even there we find strange backgrounds to the choices people can make.

Take Binaca toothpaste, for example. When I was a kid, Radio Ceylon use to run a music show called the Binaca Hit Parade where my young ears first picked up on Jo Stafford, Perry Como, many of those folks. Now that was around '53. We never bought Binaca products, but in the last couple of years since my wife died I have been buying Binaca toothpaste because the local supermarket stocks it. Why did I swap from family Colgate and habit? Memory; romantic notions of my past youth and the connotations of the musical experiences associated (only in my head) with the brand. What has logic to do with any of it?

My wife always swore that she was totally immune to advertising. She might have been, I could never really decide, but she was a very well educated girl, far more technically minded than I, and I suspect her motivations when confronted with multiple choices in a shop were based on looks, price and practicalities in whatever order was more important as determined by product.

On the matter of computer internet ads, I have disable the damned things as far as I know how, and they offend me very much indeed. This isn't to do with anything moral, of course, but with what I feel to be an almost inescapable intrusion into my peace and quiet. I resent that like hell: it's like somebody breaking into my home to hand me junk mail. I am certain that the end result of such intrusion is to crerate animosity towards a brand.

Rob C
« Last Edit: May 04, 2011, 04:47:59 AM by Rob C » Logged

pschefz
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« Reply #55 on: June 01, 2011, 04:16:20 PM »
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willem, sorry to hear but it does not surprise me at all...
the problem is that they will find someone to do it...happily...wallpaper and phaidon are big names and everybody with a camera and a lot of time on their hands jumps on the opportunity to get somehow affiliated with those names....will it pay off for them?
the problem is that it has gone too far....when i started shooting in NY(and was still assisting) it was mostly little editorial assignments here and there that none of the people i assisted for wanted to do...but they always paid for my expenses (film and process was handled through labs conde nast or whoever had accounts with) and there was always a rate and no matter how small the image was it was at least $300 (early 90's)....compare that to today and the number willem was offered...which includes expenses and several days of work.....
it has actually become a common practice that photographers "pay" for editorials....they cover production,....
here is a funny/sad story/rant involving several people i know and several i have heard of...this is almost 2 years old now....

this is a race to the bottom and as long as photographers keep going lower and lower it will only get worse...
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