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  #1  
02-03-2011, 02:20 AM
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In one of the other threads in the myths section, an excellent point was brought up ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by deter View Post
I have found only a few know what the hell they are doing. I have called many places on the phone, and they can't answer simple questions.
....
In the Video Industry you have many false prophets and a only a few wise sages. It takes ones intelligence to figure out what is correct.
Part of why the myths section was started in the forum -- and why anti-myth / anti-propaganda information has been present at digitalFAQ.com all the way back to the earliest of site guides -- is because it generally takes an actual professional to spot a non-professional. Consumers (and even sometimes corporate clients) generally don't have enough knowledge to distinguish the pros from the hacks.

Professionals generally don't take kindly to myth-spreading interlopers that "mess about" in their field, as it can cause extra effort on our parts. We're forced to answer stupid questions that would NOT have existed without the propaganda, and we often lose business because these hack "competitors" promise the impossible. From all counts, myths are a nuisance.

When it comes to the media fields I work in, I can generally ask a few very basic jargon-filled questions, as a test of knowledge and competency. I created this thread (and made it a sticky!) to put a few of them out there.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Example 1:

Claim:
Somebody tells me that they're a professional photographer, and have been doing it pre-digital.

My test:
"Did you ever mix the stop, or did you just run water?"

And if this person either does not understand my question, or does not have an answer, then he/she has clearly never worked in a chemical photographic darkroom. At very best -- BEST! -- the person may have used a darkroom in a school or college class for a short time. But they wre definitely NEVER in a production environment of any kind. And if they're lying about the film era, I can only assume their digital era claim is equally as fudged or bogus.

Example 2:

Claim: Somebody says that they do (or did) work in marketing.

My test: "What's your standard copy ratio in collateral? How much copy do you generally put in collateral?"

And if this person either does not understand my question, or does not have an answer, then he/she has clearly never worked in a professional marketing environment that involved any kind of creative production. At best, this person was in sales or telemarketing or something along those lines -- not "marketing".

Note: This test can also apply for public relations.

Example 3:

Claim: Somebody says that they are a professional video service, in the capacity of format conversions and/or encoding.

My test (1): "What do you use for ingest hardware, and what intermediary (if any) is used for NLE work? What NLE?"

My test (2): "What long GOP formats do you encode out? Which encoder?"

And if this person either does not understand my question, or does not have an answer, then he/she is most likely using consumer terminology, hardware and software to run their little non-professional hack operation. That's fine for their own personal needs, but when you start to run a service -- even a small one with a narrow niche -- you need to run it with professional grade tools, terms and methods.

Some of the answers regarding hardware and software require judgments, too, as they may have an answer for you that lists $100 or less consumers apps. So you have to know what is and what is NOT a quality item.

Example 4:

Claim: Somebody says that they are a web host.

My test: "Who's your bandwidth supplier?"

And if this person either does not understand my question, or does not have an answer, then he/she is clearly not a real web host, but merely a reseller -- or worse! (Lots of horror stories regarding "kiddie hosts" at Webhostingtalk.com!)

Example 5:

Claim: Somebody says that they are a professional layout designer at a print publication, such as a newspaper or magazine.

My test: "Is 'the' part of your official wordmark, or just part of the masthead version?" (Note that this question is specific to a possible scenario, and not a general use type question.)

And if this person either does not understand my question, or does not have an answer, then he/she is definitely not designing anything in any measurable capacity at any print pub. Knowing the terminology for laying out page 1 is basic Design 101 college material. At very best, this person was thrown into a layout position with no knowledge, no training, no skills. Sadly, I do see this. I've seen secretaries turned into "designers" because the company is being cheap (and lacks any common media-field sense).


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Interns and fresh-faced graduates are very guilty of professing "knowledge" when they (at best) had only mild experience at any of these things. And I used to love making them appear stupid in an interview. Watch the moron squirm. As a general consumer seeking quality media work, are you after a boastful kid, or a seasoned pro? You have to decide what you want. There's a lot of ballsy teens out there, especially in the all-digital services realm (web hosting, web design, etc). You REALLY have to watch for that, or potentially lose time and money from their inexperience and/or incompetence.

Not to suggest that adults are necessarily better.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Understand that this isn't just a collection of random jargon or some kind of "gotcha" question, but sincere tests of knowledge that would be required for daily activities in these media professions. These questions are also not something you can "Google" or find an answer to with a few minutes of web surfing. It would pretty much require a decent working knowledge of the field, either from actual education or from experience in the industry!

So there's really not a way to cheat.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now the point of this thread wasn't to "show off" how smart I am, or anything of that nature, but simply to provide examples of how complicated it can be to discriminate the professional from the hack. You almost have to be one to know who's NOT one. The main reason so many people think they're a pro is because access to once-obscure and once-expensive media tools are now somewhat mainstream: computers, cameras, scanners, DVD recorders, etc.

And it's not that a hack can't do a passable job, or give a "best effort", but rather it's the difference between a gourmet chef and the guy standing over the griddle at Burger King. Do you want fast food quality, or do you need something better? Are you satisfied by the "old college try" (possible even performed by a college kid!), or do you want a seasoned industry veteran to oversee your important project?

Anybody that wants help vetting a professional for info is most welcome to post questions in this forum. We'll help you create a list of questions to ask this person or company. Then you can post those answers here, and we'll help you analyze their competency on the subject.

While we may not know everything either, there's something to be said for decades of experience.

And a willingness to share it with you!



Thanks for reading.

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  #2  
02-04-2011, 05:23 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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Even those not in the industry can tell you some of these folks give you headaches.

I have first hand experience dealing with #4 on the list. A "kiddie host" had somehow got into contact with one of my computer repair customers. He convinced them to host their site using his services (it was a small non-profit that was hosting on geocities). A few months later he took the site offline and refused to respond to inquires and demanded some large sum of money due to bandwidth overages. My customer's description of the communications with this person were best explained as "erratic" and "bizarre". In the end I had to act as a mediator and contact this person directly. I was pretty lucky in that the person sent me a zip file of the entire site which I re-hosted on geocities for the time being. FWIW he was local and I knew where he lived.

That same person was in business for years for what was basically a "VPS with CPanel license" web hosting operation. Nowadays he claims to be a "SEO Expert" and hawks web design/search engine results tweaking.
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  #3  
02-10-2011, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJRoadfan View Post
A "kiddie host" had somehow got into contact with one of my computer repair customers. He convinced them to host their site using his services (it was a small non-profit that was hosting on geocities). A few months later he took the site offline and refused to respond to inquires and demanded some large sum of money due to bandwidth overages.
This is a typical strategy of kiddies hosts. They take out a reseller hosting account with the idea that they'll get rich -- usually because they've read some BS e-book sold by a Clickbank splog (spam blog) that doesn't know anything about hosting or the hosting business either. They somehow manage to sucker in a few dozen clients, but it's not enough to pay the bills, because they don't know how to price themselves in a sustainable manner. Their next move is to accuse their clients of "abuse" and then first trying to talk them into upping to a bigger plan. When that fails, they resort to extortion of clients who were not wise enough to maintain backups. And sadly, that's most hosting customers. Many times, this sort of host is run by a teenager out of his bedroom is his parent's house, or from a dorm room by a college kid. These are called "kiddie hosts" for a reason. In this scenario, the only winner was the person who sold the stupid Clickbank junk.

Quote:
My customer's description of the communications with this person were best explained as "erratic" and "bizarre".
Again, we come back to age, which generally indicates maturity or lack thereof. Teens and college kids don't always react well to stressful situations -- especially new (first experience) stressful situations. If you want to see "erratic" and "bizarre", then you should read the now 41-page thread at WHT about the British kiddie web host TopHostingUK.com a.k.a. NorthwestWebSolutions.co.uk, which appears to be run by some kind of 19-year-old extortionist sociopath. It makes for a great case study on why you should never use an unknown host. Between his absolute butchering of the English language, and discussion of his other careers (male prostitution), it's one of the most glorious train wreck stories I've ever seen. If you have an hour, I guarantee you that it's worth the read.

Quote:
In the end I had to act as a mediator and contact this person directly. I was pretty lucky in that the person sent me a zip file of the entire site
This is rare, but it does happen. We made the mistake of using Ion Hosting (ionHosting.com) about 5 years ago, only to watch the servers fail regularly over a period of 4 months. Support finally admitted that they didn't understand Windows servers, and suggested I move to Linux (which further showed their ignorance, because I was running ASP and ASP.NET sites). As it turns out, that host was, at that point in time, run part-time by a college kid who primarily worked at a UPS store. I can only guess that he hired his semi-knowledgeable buddies to act as techs, when he wasn't at his regular job or doing his homework. Their only decent act was to give me the broken MSSQL files from the crashed (and likely poorly set up) server, which I was able to repair and restore to a new host.

Quote:
That same person was in business for years for what was basically a "VPS with CPanel license" web hosting operation.
One of the biggest issues in the hosting world right now is "Alpha/Master Reseller" programs, which is basically a terrible (STUPID!) hierarchy server structure. You have a dedicated server with the ability to resell, which is sold to clients who resell to resellers, who then in turn resell cPanel accounts, which can (of course) act as pseudo-reseller accounts via the "add-on domain" structure. So a single machine can be abused to hell and back. Such a structure is not built with stability in mind, but as a way to maximize profit at the expense of users.

Quote:
Nowadays he claims to be a "SEO Expert" and hawks web design/search engine results tweaking.
Most so-called "SEO experts" are little more than keyboard warriors that pretend to understand the complex workings of search engines' algorithms and their indexing policies. Most of what they think they know is myth and misinformation, and quite often their information is severely outdated. Many self-proclaimed "SEO experts" still believe in meta keywords or C-class IP differentiation, which are both outdated and flawed concepts. More often than not, these people just try to game the system, rather than provide useful content. And as you've guessed, it's generally kiddie hosts, or the uneducated, that believe in this sort of nonsense. Actual SEO experts tend to be too busy to write about the subject, and those that do are generally found in publications like Website magazine or writing their own bound-and-printed books.

Quote:
with one of my computer repair customers
Quote:
which I re-hosted on geocities for the time being.
If you run a computer service, and want to expand into providing web design/re-design (with or without quality hosting), then you should get with me via email sometime. While this site is currently heavily dedicated to analog-to-digital (i.e, VHS to DVD) video conversion, and related restoration topics, our actual professional media services are much broader. In 2011, I'd like to partner with 5-6 local services in various geographies. I've personally put together a number of small business demo sites in the past two months, which will allow for high quality (but still affordable!) professional sites. And these are custom templates, which can be further customized for the client -- not some generic junk you're likely to find via Google.

Your post also prompted me to create this new site sticky: http://www.digitalFAQ.com/forum/show...-web-2866.html

Good conversation.

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  #4  
06-13-2011, 01:52 PM
Joekster Joekster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
you should read the now 41-page thread at WHT about the British kiddie web host TopHostingUK.com a.k.a. NorthwestWebSolutions.co.uk, which appears to be run by some kind of 19-year-old extortionist sociopath.

Oh.
My.
God!

KP, you now owe me over an hour of my life back, because once I started reading that thread, I COULDN'T STOP! Oh, it was a train-wreck you could see coming. . . and then after it came, then ANOTHER one you could see coming. . .and then ANOTHER!

That was one of the most entertaining hours of my life that I'll never get back!

Thanks!
J
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  #5  
06-14-2011, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joekster View Post
once I started reading that thread, I COULDN'T STOP! Oh, it was a train-wreck you could see coming. . . and then after it came, then ANOTHER one you could see coming. . .and then ANOTHER! Thanks!
Ah! Glad to see that somebody else gave it a good read. It started as any typical hosting complaint, but turned into something that would rival a soap opera! My favorite part is where he was running a site that sold monthly advertising space, and the dummy ad stated "10 per mother". The only downside to that now-47-page story, along with the 14-page addendum (don't miss that one!), is that I have no idea how it ended. There were near-daily updates leading up to the legal proceedings, and then after the court date passed --- nothing. Not a word, not a peep. Nobody is saying a thing. It's like reading a book and the last chapter is missing. Or watching a cliffhanger-ending movie that didn't get the planned sequel.

At one point, all of the sites owned by the lunatic went down for weeks. In other threads on WHT, it was confirmed as being down due to non-payment to the actual host (he was just some kiddie reseller). If you visit tophostinguk.com/billing/announcements.php (not linked, copy/paste to browser), you can see he's back again as of last week, complete with the usual near-total butchering of the English language. To go back to the train wreck analog: The engine is on the track, pulling what's left of the train wreck. I can visualize cars bouncing and scraping along the tracks, knocking over barns and cows as it plows through the countryside! Every time I look back at what's new, I think to myself "Really, there's more?! He still doesn't know when to quit?!" Of course, that's how most pretend-professionals are. They'll continue to run something so far into the ground that it's almost painful to watch.

_______________________________________________

If topics like this make you both laugh and cringe, you have to visit the site ClientsFromHell.net and/or buy the book. Because it's a two-way issue! Sometimes the "professional" is just an amateur, and other times the client is a blithering idiot. This is my favorite recent bit, from the CFH site:
Quote:
During production of a film we were doing, over the phone with the client, we were discussing a scene where the actors begin fighting each other with lightsabers. We explained how we’d create the effects, work it out in post-production. Then the client speaks up and says, “Why don’t we just use real lightsabers?” …And it took us 30 minutes to explain to her why we couldn’t.
I've had people ask me questions that were so totally beyond stupid that I'm generally stopped in my tracks -- a monkey wrench to the brain. I almost don't even know how to respond. To date, my favorite personal "dumb question" comes from a stubborn smartypants lady who suggested I hire librarians to help me "index Google results". But that's a story for another day -- it's going to be in an editorial series I'll be writing this summer, with full details.

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  #6  
11-24-2017, 04:52 PM
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I can claim to know that yes I have done (very little and B&W only) conventional photography, and well there are basically 3 baths and the final being distilled water. But it has been many years, so yes you bascally have the process, the stop, and the fixing, and then water to remove any chemical residue, and then you hang them up on well I used a string and clothespins the spring type, and hang them usually by the corner. Now, I also know that you time each one as you move the photo from bath to bath, using tongs to handle them. And the dark room has a dark red light or no light but to see what your doing a dark red light. I know it is different for color photos in that the temperature of the baths needs to be specific. I did it in Junior High class also it was fun actually and cool to watch your efforts come to life before your very eyes.
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07-15-2019, 05:57 PM
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So, I was reading this thread the other day, failing to understand the questions in the OP, and feeling reminded that I indeed have no professional experience with media. But then when I came to this section:

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Understand that this isn't just a collection of random jargon or some kind of "gotcha" question, but sincere tests of knowledge that would be required for daily activities in these media professions. These questions are also not something you can "Google" or find an answer to with a few minutes of web surfing. It would pretty much require a decent working knowledge of the field, either from actual education or from experience in the industry!

So there's really not a way to cheat.
...it was hard to suppress a *Challenge Accepted* response. So I tried to see if I could understand the questions with just a few minutes of web searching. All of the questions, was able to find the terms of art in under 5 minutes, however, once an article explaining it was found, I still had to think about the questions a bit more before I thought I might understand them. Some were harder than others.

I PMed lordsmurf asking if he'd be willing to check my answers in PM, because I didn't want to spoil the questions for others here, but he said to go ahead and just reply to the thread.

So here we go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Example 1:

Claim:
Somebody tells me that they're a professional photographer, and have been doing it pre-digital.

My test:
"Did you ever mix the stop, or did you just run water?"

And if this person either does not understand my question, or does not have an answer, then he/she has clearly never worked in a chemical photographic darkroom. At very best -- BEST! -- the person may have used a darkroom in a school or college class for a short time. But they wre definitely NEVER in a production environment of any kind. And if they're lying about the film era, I can only assume their digital era claim is equally as fudged or bogus..
This question refers to a "Stop Bath", a chemical solution used to halt the development of film. I am guessing this is important in a chemical darkroom setting because the development time will effect the properties of the film negative, and thus, the photographic prints or film/tape produced therefrom. I further assume professional studios would prefer a stop bath to running water, because the latter allows them to more definitely and precisely halt development, and thus give them more control over the negatives and downstream results. Though, I could also see just water being preferred if time/cost/high volume was the main consideration, or if perhaps the creative type driving the process was chasing a particular aesthetic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Example 2:

Claim: Somebody says that they do (or did) work in marketing.

My test: "What's your standard copy ratio in collateral? How much copy do you generally put in collateral?"

And if this person either does not understand my question, or does not have an answer, then he/she has clearly never worked in a professional marketing environment that involved any kind of creative production. At best, this person was in sales or telemarketing or something along those lines -- not "marketing".

Note: This test can also apply for public relations.
There are two terms of art here: "Collateral" and "copy". The first refers to brochures, visual aids, spec sheets, videos, and other media used to support the sale of a product or product line. Copy refers to the written text therein. So, what I think you're asking here is how much the sales/marketing material depends upon written information vs photos, charts, etc. I suppose there's a range of ratios considered ideal depending the purpose of the collateral and to whom it is targeted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Example 3:

Claim: Somebody says that they are a professional video service, in the capacity of format conversions and/or encoding.

My test (1): "What do you use for ingest hardware, and what intermediary (if any) is used for NLE work? What NLE?"

My test (2): "What long GOP formats do you encode out? Which encoder?"

And if this person either does not understand my question, or does not have an answer, then he/she is most likely using consumer terminology, hardware and software to run their little non-professional hack operation. That's fine for their own personal needs, but when you start to run a service -- even a small one with a narrow niche -- you need to run it with professional grade tools, terms and methods.

Some of the answers regarding hardware and software require judgments, too, as they may have an answer for you that lists $100 or less consumers apps. So you have to know what is and what is NOT a quality item.
(1) gets to the the issues discussed frequently in the capture forum. What I believe you're getting at here, is making sure they understand the criticality of getting the highest quality analog stream they can, up to and including the analog front-end of of the ADCs in the capture device they are using. Digital will happily represent with precise accuracy what it is fed. So, a capture done on a cheap conversion chipset with noisy ADCs and almost no chroma bandwidth, will look like exactly that: a capture done on noisy ADCs with almost no chroma bandwidth. A capture done on an excellent chipset fed by a garbage vcr with more jitter than a kid who just drank a half-gallon of coffee will similarly look bad.

I understand NLE to be referring to a "Non-linear Editor" I've not played with those much, but I understand they're now the most common method of editing, as opposed to literally cutting and splicing together physical film frames or tape as was done in decades past.

With regard to intermediaries for NLE work, my best guess is that you are querying whether the formats fed to the NLE and used therein are lossless in nature so as to minimize the number of encoding artifacts that can enter in prior to final encoding to distribution format. My guess as to why you are querying *which* NLE is to see if they're using some limited consumer device/program like MyFirstVideoMaker as opposed to a professional program with professional capabilities like Adobe Premier, or something like that.

(2) was harder to find. I believe GOP refers to "Group of Pictures", the structure of the frame types within a video stream. Reading up on that, it seems to me that the choice of the length of GOP length can improve compression efficiency (good for final distribution formats), perhaps at the cost of ease-of-seeking through the file. The latter is probably more of an editing concern than a distribution, distribution formats are meant to be watched, not seeked through. Certainly, the videos I've watched never seemed to be able to seeked-through with a precision of more than a few seconds.

So, following this chain of guesses, I think your question here is using an industry term of art to obliquely be specific that you're asking about final distribution codecs/formats. As to why you're asking about which encoder, different encoders can have different results with regard to performance or output quality, even when encoding to the same nominal codec and settings. Monty of xiph.org used to be able to tell the difference between MP3s encoded with different encoders[1].

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Example 4:

Claim: Somebody says that they are a web host.

My test: "Who's your bandwidth supplier?"

And if this person either does not understand my question, or does not have an answer, then he/she is clearly not a real web host, but merely a reseller -- or worse! (Lots of horror stories regarding "kiddie hosts" at Webhostingtalk.com!)
Ah! A question near my wheelhouse! Watch me get it comically wrong.

Here, you're asking who the supposed "web host" uses to connect their network of web servers back to the wider Internet. They could be buying direct from one of the major carries like Level 3 or AT&T, or they could be getting bandwith resold to them by their colocation provider. There's a number of layers of reselling that can happen here. And as you note, if someone who's reselling web hosting doesn't know or control their upstream bandwidth, then you are at the mercy whomever does. The more layers of reselling involved, the greater odds that you'll be bit by incompetence or negligence at one of those intermediate layers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Example 5:

Claim: Somebody says that they are a professional layout designer at a print publication, such as a newspaper or magazine.

My test: "Is 'the' part of your official wordmark, or just part of the masthead version?" (Note that this question is specific to a possible scenario, and not a general use type question.)

And if this person either does not understand my question, or does not have an answer, then he/she is definitely not designing anything in any measurable capacity at any print pub. Knowing the terminology for laying out page 1 is basic Design 101 college material. At very best, this person was thrown into a layout position with no knowledge, no training, no skills. Sadly, I do see this. I've seen secretaries turned into "designers" because the company is being cheap (and lacks any common media-field sense).
Last one. A ""wordmark" is a textual kind of logo (e.g. Coca-Cola or IBM), as opposed to a pictoral kind of logo, (e.g. The Apple Computer logo). A Masthead" is a printed list of owners, departments, offices, contributors and address details. It will always be found in the same place in each edition of a publication.

Why does this matter? Let's take the example of The New York Times famous and recognizable wordmark. If the word "The" was not part of the wordmark, then the wordmark would be different, it would take up less space and have different proportions. The size and proportion of sections is a huge deal in layout when it comes to publications. However, that wouldn't necessarily change the layout of the masthead, if "The New York Times" was indeed the official name of the publication despite "The" not being part of the wordmark.


lordsmurf, how'd I do?

One thing I want to point out to others, is that in a way, he was right about not being able to cheat at these questions. Even though I was able to find all the bits of jargon used fairly quickly, I still had to read what they meant and understand them, and then *think* about the implications of those meanings. That's not something I could have easily done on the spot were I porporting to be a media professional and someone like lordsmurf came to me with these questions.

But, on the other hand, I learned a bit while researching these questions enough to understand them, which is seldom a bad thing.


1. https://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html (Section labelled, "Genetic gifts and golden ears")
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