Buying new systems... why not have a head-to-head ?

13 replies [Last post]
Mister Insider
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Joined: Aug 24 2000

A lot of people who are interested will be looking at CV with the intention of buying a new editing system.

Hardware is one thing - a working system is another.

Why don't CV do their readers a huge service in this area and go 'under cover' to see 'what is what' with the system vendors ?

I don't mean "Plenty of warning - make sure it all works - no worries - we'll call you if it doesn't"

I mean 'real life' hard core investigation where you blind buy from the main advertisers and see :-

1) What they actually know
2) If their advice is reasonable
3) If they deliver what they say they will
4) See if the system delivered will edit video 'straight from the box'
5) Ring their support to see (a) if they answer and (b) if they know what they are talking about

This might save a lot of people a lot of time and hassle.

Thoughts ?

Keitht
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Joined: Jan 8 2001

Sounds like a good idea. Also how about group system tests similar to those in PC Pro. There seems to be an ever growing number of complete system providers out there so knowing what is 'best of breed' would be invaluable. It might even help bring prices down. Working to price bands etc would give a sense of what is available. Same price, even same DV card, doesn't mean same performance.
Support standards would certainly help. I use a number of admittedly lower end systems and support varies from nil to replies coming back via e-mail at 10 in the evening from UK based company. Now that is support !!

[This message has been edited by Keitht (edited 01 August 2001).]

Regards Keith

bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999

Love it but, one likkle problem.

Let's say we do it half-heartedly, and buy five systems - total cost, say, between £10,000 and £15,000.

Or do it properly and buy 12 systems - total cost between £24,000 and £36,000.

Now, let's say we pay someone to do the work - add a minimum of £1,400, and possibly as much as £4,000.

Finally, tell me how I am going to fill the magazine for the next four months because the cheapest scenario would eat up my ENTIRE editorial budget for five issues.

Looking at the worst-case, we are talking about spending my editorial budget for SEVENTEEN issues.

Need I say more?

Bob C

David Pearson
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Joined: Nov 20 2000

Bob: One hates to quibble; but surely the PC magazines don't all *buy* the machines they are testing? I thought this was the equivalent of the motor industry "press fleet" of loan or demo kit. Now - if the relevant manufacturers wouldn't lend you a review system - that's another matter ... But I accept that it wouldn't be a trivial exercise to put together a review which would tell people effective things - if only because unlike general purpose PCs, these things are far more likely to be built and configured, tailored to a specific customer spec.

bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999

David,

But that was NOT what was being suggested; and I did respond to what was being suggested.

Bob C

winnie
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Joined: Jun 6 2001

I'd really love a "shoot-out", too, but just judging from the forum discussions (comlex and never-ending-details) about NLEs, such a shoot-out would:
1) take the next seventeen issues" to stage and report, and then
2) take the following seventeen issues to list, answer and quell open warfare over the debates and criticisms, and finally
3) be obsolete - because in the meantime, more new stuff has arrived replacing the reported stuff.

CV can - and does,marvelously, I think - help our "shopping", but I don't think it can (or should) replace our own ("shopping") responsibilities and judgement.

I WOULD like to see, even for one-at-a-time system (or equipment or camcorder) reviews, some common test or criteria, that can "relate" the current tested item to one done recently.

Example, A test for each camcorder could be in a room with controlled light and marked for camera position for color-bar and test-pattern cards - reporting on both camera and and playback performance. A camcorder done today would then have some comparability to one done previously - or later.

Yes, also "simpler said than done".

My 2-cents, thank you

winnie
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Joined: Jun 6 2001

I'd really love a "shoot-out", too, but
1) Judging just from the forum discussions (comlex and never-ending-details) about NLEs, such a shoot-out would:
- - take the next seventeen issues" to stage and report, and then
- - take the following seventeen issues to list, answer and quell open warfare over the debates and criticisms, and finally
- - be obsolete - because in the meantime, more new stuff has arrived replacing the reported stuff.

CV can - and does,marvelously, I think - help our "shopping", but I don't think it can (or should) replace our own ("shopping") responsibilities and judgement.

I WOULD like to see, even for one-at-a-time system (or equipment or camcorder) reviews, some common test or criteria, that can "relate" the current tested item to one done recently.

Example, A test for each camcorder could be in a room with controlled light and marked for camera position for color-bar and test-pattern cards - reporting on both camera and and playback performance. A camcorder tested/reviewed (by that method) today would then have some comparability to one done previously - or later. Yes, this also, is probably "simpler said than done".

My 2-cent wish-list. And thanks for the forum to wish that.

David Pearson
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Joined: Nov 20 2000

Bob: Apols for reading your reply out of context compared to the original "do it under cover" request. 100 lines - "Bob usually really does know best - honest"! Er ... that request certainly does sound even more like a non-starter ... :-(

bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999

winnie,

We (ie wViP) have got over £30,000's worth of Tektronics test equipment but all it does is take an analogue signal, even from DV camcorders (I don't know how much an upgrade to DV analysis would be, or even if there is one).

What I do know is that I am FAR happier to publish the subjective opinions of people who I know are experts on judging picture quality (such as Peter Wells), than I am to publish charts, graphs and the like in which I have no faith whatsover!

Bob C

Mister Insider
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Joined: Aug 24 2000

David - you are right that manufacturers will probably send you stuff.

The problem (as I am sure Bob has seen many times) is that the kit that gets sent to review will have been hand assembled by 20 people - and may bear no resemblance to the kit that will be shipped to end users.

One last pair of suggestions (don't want to flog it to death)...

1) What if you only looked at companies that offer a money back guarantee ? That way you can recoup your beer money

2) What if you did 1 or 2 a month over a period of time... it would spread the cost - you might be able to get refunds - and the fear of knowing that it might be CV on the phone... might buck up the ideas of all of the manufacturers

Thoughts ?

simond83
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Joined: Sep 5 1999

Only a suggestion, but this may work.

Phone up a company like DVC and say,

"Hello, my name is Bob. Can I have a storm edit system for one week to test and try out. I will review it for my magazine. If you come out top of the pole, you are sure to have a lot of business! If you don't give me one, I shall also mention that in my magazine and the prospective buyers will see that from the start, your company is not at all helpful!"

Do this for about ten companies each month, with a different card each month. If they can build a good system then they will have nothing to worry about. If the can't, then that saves us all a lot of time and money (and bl**dy court cases with companies like ....!)

Just a thought

Si

dmorgan
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Joined: Apr 26 1999

I've been following this thread with interest and also note the more detailed responses expressed in the back of this month's magazine. Given that a head to head shootout is a no-no on ground of costs, what about this half way house compromise -- why don't CV run a regular column profiling a typical CV NLE buyer as he or she shops around for the best system? The column would weigh up the buyers needs and budget and track their experience of dealing with various vendors and products. The buyer would of course pick up the tab for their kit, but would have the added bonus of accessing the opinions of CV on how their requirements might best be served. CV could build a portfolio of these users and sporadically go back to them to find out how satisfied they are with their purchases.

Any thoughts?

Dominic

Keitht
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Joined: Jan 8 2001

Suppliers of systems for PCPro labs know who is requesting the kit. The control on provision is that systems provided to the public for a period after the test appears in print must be identical to that tested.

------------------
Regards

Keith

Regards Keith

willyoung
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Joined: Oct 2 2001

I also have been reading this thred with interest. I am inthis very situation at present - and having had some strange reactions from various companies, even on the telephone - why these companies spend all this time and effort and cash to get you to call and then DON'T LISTEN TO YOU I have no idea - I have settled upon a full sytem from planet pc who I may add are brill and have a great place for you to try before you buy - I tryed a pro1, digisuite and looked at some high end gear I could not afford, but so far so good my order is in and I am waiting the birth of my first NLE TURN KEY!! sytem. I settled on a storm based system p4 1.7 ghz