CV Buyers' Guide ideas

23 replies [Last post]
LscK
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Joined: Jan 16 2002

Hi to all,

It's a brand new year - no, I haven't just woken up!

Looking at the present way the CV mag does the 'Buyers' Guide', does anyone have any bright ideas on:

1) Any ways the mag could improve the style of these pages?

2) What other information they'd like to see on the pages - small description of product, photo of product etc.

Any helpful suggestions are welcome.

Chrs,

Mr BC's Deputy.

bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999

Just in case anyone overlooked this posting - it was from Lisa (Sara Catherine) Keddie, CV's new deputy editor!

Bob C

Stuart B-M
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Joined: Apr 6 2001

Dear LscK,

firstly welcome aboard the Forums, and congratulations on your new post.

I will have a good look through this section to try and come up with an inovative, positive suggestion
but do think especially in the "Hardware" sections, (Video recorders and the like) a small thumbnail print would be very helpful.

Kindest regards

Regards all.

Stuart B-M
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Joined: Apr 6 2001

Hi again,

Dont know of the general opinion, but would it be possible to add a "charge section" to the Web-site where past reviews could be viewed on-line ?

So instead of paying for reprint of review, you could subscribe and be able to view a "review library" on-line?

Then an on-line page link no, could be added to the sections in the magazine, so from the Magazine a direct route could be had to read ondepth review on-line.

What does everyone think?

Regards all.

col
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Joined: Jun 12 1999

Dump the pages.

They are always but always out of date and inaccurate, just because the item got 60% two years ago does not mean that it is still as bad, a case in point is if they did not improve their product drivers nobody would ever buy any Pinnacle or Matrox product.

You review a product and do not include the review in the pages.

Keep updated info on the web site and save a few hundred trees.

col

Mike Henson
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Joined: Oct 10 1999

I agree, dump the Buyers Guide, Glossary and the Contact List pages and reduce the cover price accordingly!

(Bob just fainted)

Seriously though, replace those pages with one-hit tutorials so anyone interested can learn about using a product in one month rather than four or six; some products are obsolete before the tutorial is finished.

Give subscribers access to online reviews.

Chris Lovell
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Joined: Nov 29 2000

I don't think they should be dumped - the glossary is essential for the recent arrival(and the not so recent on occasions). The contact list is also useful - you can go staright there and get any number/website/address you want without ahving to look in umpteen places. Yes, the buyer's guide is extremely outdated - FAST 601 became Silver nearly three years ago!

Why not provide these pages on a rotating basis - each set of pages gets printed at say six-monthly intervals and gets updated each time? Or at least an annual summary of everything that's out there?

Chris Lovell

beinghuman.com

Mike Henson
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Joined: Oct 10 1999

I said "dump" because like you pointed out some of the information is either out of date or inaccurate. DVMaster/SpeedRazor never sufferred under the 2gb file limit and Asymetrix stopped making 3DFX in about 1995. But let's face it, keeping the Buyers Guide up-todate is a monstrous task, maybe something along the lines of PCPro's "A-List" might be better because it would not only detail items that had been reviewed and should therefore be easier to update?

alan eades
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Joined: Oct 3 1999

I say dump them, replace with an index of the previous 12 months reviewed gear (including software) BUT only if it is kept up to date.

Alan

col
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Joined: Jun 12 1999

The "dumps" have it so far.

Come on Bob, you cannot take this lying down you must have recoverd by now!

col

bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999

Col,

We're looking for ideas and viewpoints; NOT taking a vote!

There haven't been enough responses yet for me to warrant doing anything.

quote:Originally posted by col:
The "dumps" have it so far.

Come on Bob, you cannot take this lying down you must have recoverd by now!

bcrabtree
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Joined: Mar 7 1999

Quite seriously, if we dump these sections and replace them with different editorial matter every month, the price would go up, not down.

(Mike just fainted)

Other comments duly noted, though.

Bob C
(Still wondering why anyone quibbles about the price of the mag when it's less than for a packet of cigarettes and less than for a round of drinks for two in a pub. And, no, I don't want to rehash the issue of the economics of specialist magazine publishing - these are available already in this forum for those who want to read them)

quote:Originally posted by Mike Henson:
I agree, dump the Buyers Guide, Glossary and the Contact List pages and reduce the cover price accordingly!

(Bob just fainted)

Seriously though, replace those pages with one-hit tutorials so anyone interested can learn about using a product in one month rather than four or six; some products are obsolete before the tutorial is finished.

Give subscribers access to online reviews.

Chirpy
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Joined: Sep 7 2000

quote:Previously posted by Lisa (Sara Catherine) Keddie:
...does anyone have any bright ideas on...What other information they'd like to see on...the 'Buyers' Guide'... pages - small description of product, photo of product etc.

Lisa, would a 'compatability' column be possible, i.e. "this works well with this, but if you try and use it with that, you're asking for trouble"? I'm not talking about a comprehensive list of all the compatable items, just a code like "all items with an 'A' in the column will work happily with other code 'A' items". That sort of thing.

It may be an impossible thing to work out but it's just an idea.

Cheers,

Chirpy.

Chirpy's Big Breakfast can be heard on Radio England International. These are repeat shows (he's retired now) played Monday to Friday 8am-12 noon and repeated in the evening from 8pm-midnight. Also, Sunday 8am-12 noon. (Click link to listen) www.onlineradio5.com/2013/06/radio-england-international.html

Benfrain
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Joined: Feb 23 2001

Well, I was a firm follower of the guide is past months but I think it's one of those 'housekeeping' sections which requires to much time for little reward to the reader. Maybe a best buy round up every year or six months instead covering the standard bits and pieces.

However, I would gladly pay £4.99 an issue for more editorial content, covering a wider topic of computer video related issues...

Does anyone else feel the same??

Independent Film
www.spiralfilm.com

Stuart B-M
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Joined: Apr 6 2001

Dear Ben,

Yes i would gladly pay a little more, for more reviews etc..

I would also pay a subscription to have access to an online review database.

That way if i needed to skip back and view a certain reviewed product, i could do it immediately without keeping on pestering poor old (well he is now ) Peter Wells.

Regards all

SIFI
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Joined: Sep 16 2001

The buyers guide could be a useful tool if the right format were used. To be any use whatsoever it needs to be changed in two ways in my opinion.

1 More info is needed on each product.

2. It needs to be kept upto date.

With more info for each item there would not be the room for everything that is there at present so a rota system could be used. i.e. Capture cards this month, DV camcorders next month, VCRs the following month etc.

In its present format I find it completely useless other than as a product list. Give us upto date info and it will be a buyers guide.

On the pricing point I would gladly pay £5 for more material but I don't think too many would concur and readership would drop.

SIFI

Simon

Bruce
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Joined: Apr 20 2001

I agree that the buyers guide is a bit naff but every now and again it comes in handy for the contacts. The products seem to change every six months or so.
On the question of reviews can a few more be pinched from the sister magazines? Overall though the magazine is well worth the money and perhaps a little more. Please though no "free" discs with useless programmes on them.

Stuart B-M
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Joined: Apr 6 2001

I know i keep going on, about on-line reviews (subscription) but to add to "Bruce's point"

If the on-line reviews could also be linked to compare CV-reviews with Camcorder User/What Camcorder, that for me would be even better.

There has been a lot of times when i have "had" to come out of the forum to search google to find out what people are talking about
I would much rather pay a small subscription and access this database from this site.

Perhaps, another page to show forthcoming products/news ?

regards all.

SIFI
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Joined: Sep 16 2001

I agree with Stuarts latest post. If a subscription service were available and cross linked with sister magazines I would be interested in this. If it were just CV I would not because I buy it every month anyway.

Personally I refuse to buy camcorder user / what camcorder because 95% of the content is cak (in my opinion) but I wouldn't mind reading the odd review.

SIFI

Simon

Peter Golden
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Joined: Mar 21 2001

Could the buyers guide be tied into a subscription deal, like for example the way that PC Pro offer a CD Rom of all their editorials to renewing subscribers?

If that was updated twice (or better still, three times) a year, there would be a nice incentive for subscribers, and encouragement for occaisional buyers

LscK
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Joined: Jan 16 2002

All,

I have not gone silent on you, just cringing quietly in the corner to the full spelling of my name being revealed - "Cheers Bob. MUST make mental note to change letter-headed paper."

BC and myself are clocking your thoughts on the subject but please keep the ideas coming.

Thanks in the meantime.

Lisa.

tonyalex
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Joined: Nov 28 2001

Hi

I'm pretty new to all of this - both CV mag and computer video/NLE in general and first I have to say that the magazine is great and has been a fantastic help to me (as have these boards). For me one of the most important features of the mag has been that, from the very start, enough of it was accessible/understandable to me as someone with some laymans knowledge of computers and of filmmaking but absolutely no knowledge of how to combine the two, that it encouraged me to read more, learn more and to dive in and enjoy the possibilities that the current technology allows. Although some of it still goes waaay over my head!

As a naive newcomer I did and still do rely a lot on the opinions of those more experienced so the reviews of CV magazine are obviously an important feature for me.

Right, having got the nice bit out of the way, heres the "but".

But, I have to agree with the general view here that the buyer's guide is of very limited use. First, I would have thought that it is primarily aimed at those, like myself, who aren't that confident in the world of computer video. The problem with this being that all the information in it has to be so distilled to list it that it becomes somewhat overpowering. Second, when I looked at it I automatically disregarded any review older than about 9 months and all the unreviewed items that had no date of release. Instead I relied on current reviews, letters, articles and resources such as these boards to get up to date info. This seems a fairly good rule for anything to do with the world of computers but especially in regards to video as both the soft and hardware seems to be moving so fast.

My suggestion would be to just list the items reviewed within the last year (and perhaps any "editors choices" that merit special mention) and give details of other resources such as manufacturers websites, message boards, etc.

Oh, and the reason we may complain about the price is that magazines are still a luxury whereas beer and fags are an obvious necessity

Tony.
(Jeez, I gotta learn to be more succinct).

[This message has been edited by tonyalex (edited 25 January 2002).]

elbow
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Joined: Dec 21 2000

Hello Lisa

Seems like you opened the floodgates with this post! It is however something about the magazine which definitely needs addressing.

Of the three sections
1. Buyers Guide
2. Glossary
3. Contacts

Personally the only one of any use is the contacts. I appreciate that keeping the buyers guide properly up to date is an impossible task but anything would be better than leaving it as it is now. Even more adverts would be preferable.

Three suggestions for consideration: -

Have more content from the Interactive message boards. Although I frequently browse topics I have to admit that Bob often finds good threads I've overlooked and as he is moderating them anyway I wouldn't assume this would have too adverse effect on the price.

Secondly many reviews are rightly critical of products because of software /compatibility problems caused by companies rushing to release before sufficient beta testing has been carried out. This gives CV the dual job of beta tester and reviewer. I think a good number of these articles could be re-run with updates on the fixes and re-scored accordingly. Again I would imagine this would not be too onerous on the workload of the editorial team although Bob may think otherwise!

Lastly a tips and tricks section each month might be an idea. Rather than structured articles/reviews or editorial columns it could just contain fragments the knowledge base already swimming around in your head and even extending the invitation to contribute to the collective heads of the forums. It could be completely eclectic in style, lowbrow pointers aimed at the less experienced or Techie tips on compression algorithms for compositing for the hardcore. I'm trying to think of an example.
Ligos Mpeg Encoder 3.5
Does not like to take files with a DV codec. Greatly improved results can be achieved by rendering the movie to Indeo 5.04 before encoding. (I’m revealing my mere mortal lowbrow status here – I’m sure though there would be a queue of members keen to share their knowledge about the pitfalls of rounding errors in recompression compositing and so on.)

Well that’s my lot - I must say that I’m glad to see you’re reviewing the section anyway.

Good Luck

Jan aka elbow

PS I think the idea of on-line access to old reviews would be a very good idea.

Dual eyes and ears, single nose and one very large mouth.

andrewh
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Joined: Oct 4 1999

The main product that people look for in CV is editing cards. That market has now clearly split between OHCI and "more advanced" cards.

In the buyers' guide, it would be nice to have a simple OHCI matrix that could easily be updated monthly (so that prices and bundles are up to date).

The matrix would show:

Bundle name
No. of connectors (internal external)
Score for ease of installation/compatibility (should always be 5/5)
The make of chip (Texas/NEC/Argh!)
Main editing software (MSP6, Videowave, Premiere, etc.)
Secondary editing software
List of other packaged software (maybe under headings: audio, titles, special effects)
Price and place where you can get that price.

For the "more advanced" cards, you could have a similar comparison chart but that is really more difficult.

Andrew