WHAT'S A PROSUMER?
For the most part, I think your magazine is exceptionally informative and well-written: Thumbs' up to the “Tech's Files.” This mail is concerning the column entitled “The Column That Wouldn't End” by Paul D. Lehrman (“Insider Audio,” November 2001).
The cover of the magazine says “Professional Audio and Music Production.” This doesn't include video production, but that was the subject of Lehrman's article. I've worked as an assistant video editor/tech support person for two years-plus, and still consider myself a greener.
What astounded and annoyed me is that someone who teaches video production would saddle their poor students with a PC-based video editing system, and then gripe about the lack of professional results. There's a reason why almost every single video editing system runs on the Mac platform: because it's made for working with large files, i.e., video data. (Apparently, Windows NT was supposed to address this issue, but I heard it doesn't work very well.)
I understand not everyone can afford Avid, the industry standard, but shouldn't your students be learning it anyway? Second, what's with “prosumer”? Sounds like a catchphrase someone used to get the poor editing department in question to pay more than they should have for substandard gear.
One out of 10 MiniDV tapes (the consumer version of the professional DVCam system) will have errors imprinting or reading timecode, straight off the shelf. This is not up to pro standards yet. In my opinion, the modestly informed consumer using MiniDV should have been easily steered toward Final Cut Pro, any version. It works, and on a platform meant for files as large as your drive can handle. Everyone uses it.
Last, I'm one of those guys with a mini-studio. My speakers kick ass, and so does my production, which is largely loop-based. I'll charge whatever I can get to do sound because it's a dog-eat-dog world. Please inform yourself adequately and give people the right tools to do the job before complaining about unprofessional results. It's only professional.
I've owned about a dozen Macs, and if I had my way I would never even look at anything else. But the early Mac G3s, as I pointed out in the first part of the column (October 2001 issue), had a fatal flaw that prevented them from being used for video editing. (And Final Cut Pro was not an option, because it didn't exist yet.) So, my colleague made the decision to go with the PC platform for the college lab.
On the other hand, plenty of professionals work with Premiere and similar programs on the PC, with perfectly good results. In fact, our video lab has been using PC editing systems for more than a year successfully. It was only when we tried to do a relatively long and complicated film that the system fell down.
A system is only as good as its weakest component, whether it's hardware, software or the operator. In this case, it was primarily the software, and secondarily the computer operating system, not the video format. To dismiss MiniDV is missing the point — it would be as if I told you that your mini-studio couldn't possibly produce anything worthwhile, because it's not Pro Tools.
— Paul D. Lehrman
Many thanks for Paul Verna's wonderful coverage of the opening of Bennett Studios in Englewood, N.J. (Coast to Coast section, November 2001 issue). I was only sorry that the article missed mentioning the important role played by Professional Audio Design and Dave Malekpour. Dave and his crew worked closely from the beginning with us and studio designer Andy Munro to equip our facility with just the right mix of vintage gear and the newest technologies.
Dae Bennett, owner, operator
In December “Feedback,” Diane Renay, “hit singer” of “Navy Blue” (back in 1964), responded to the September 2001 “Insider Audio” article entitled “Living on Borrowed Culture.” Renay stated that “What has happened to music today is a crime!” Such a blanket statement is far from the truth. Her comment on a remake of “Can't Take My Eyes off of You” by multi-Platinum, multi-Grammy-winner Lauryn Hill was a perfect example of being too close to the source to be objective.
“Hip hop just doesn't cut the mustard,” she states. Why is it that so many of us so-called musicians never recognize that a style of music is not invalid just because it does nothing for our ears?
The state of today's music in schools, in general, is truly a tragedy, but specifically, there are many high schools in the country that have some of the best music programs in the world. I'm sure Renay would not be surprised to know that many of these so-called vocal whiners and scale-riding singing cheaters have had vast classical training. If she wonders if these singers, such as Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, can sustain a straightforward note, each of them has an extensive catalog that includes examples of their vocal prowess.
KEEP IT UP!
I am a longtime Mix reader. I have every issue going back to 1987. I thought your October issue was fabulous. The Roy Halee interview, “Mix Masters,” product reviews…I just wanted to let you know to keep up the good work. Music is my love, not my profession. Your publication has always added to my enjoyment of it.
I'd venture to guess that a lot of us in the industry are facing a common problem: the slow deterioration of our 20-plus-year-old analog tape masters. I just faced some difficult choices in the process of transferring several old analog master tapes to digital so I could pull them into a Pro Tools | 24 session here at the Chicago Recording Company.
It's been a while since you did an article on transferring old tapes. Would you please publish an update surveying the current state of the art, and perhaps listing a few specialized resources?
After all, when that old oxide's peelin' off the tape at 15 ips, you only get one shot at making a good 24-bit transfer.
“A faithful reader since the days when Mix was printed on newsprint and music was printed on tape.”
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