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24th April 2009
Old 24th April 2009
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Alan Parsons - Art & Science of Sound Recording DVD

#2
24th April 2009
Old 24th April 2009
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I'll definitely be all over this when it is released. Alan is obviously a master. Have to say though that just watching the short trailer they have on the website, there are scenes that scream product placement from Auralex and Universal Audio. Nothing really wrong with that, I guess, but it gives me flashbacks to the Charles Dye DVD (which I thought had some great info and content) when it's "let's hang out at Guitar Center" time.
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#3
24th April 2009
Old 24th April 2009
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Originally Posted by BIGT-1 View Post
there are scenes that scream product placement from Auralex and Universal Audio. Nothing really wrong with that, I guess, but ...
I had to think twice about addressing this, but what the hell. What I have to say is surely relevant.

I was approached by the DVD's producer last year. He told me they have a very high regard for me and my company's products, and he thought it would be great for me to be interviewed for the DVD and talk about the importance of room treatment and all related topics. Of course I was thrilled to be part of this, so I agreed.

Next thing I know I get another email saying they need $10,000 from us to "help cover our production costs." WTF?! So donating my 40 years of industry experience and expertise for free for their commercial gain is not enough?

I really hate this kind of "advertorial" marketing, where consumers think they're buying a quality education, when in fact they're being taught by the highest bidder.

I hope this doesn't come off as sour grapes, because that's not my intent. It's just really sad that Alan Parsons would compromise the educational content of his DVD for a little more profit. But flame me anyway if you want to.

--Ethan
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24th April 2009
Old 24th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I had to think twice about addressing this, but what the hell. What I have to say is surely relevant.

I was approached by the DVD's producer last year. He told me they have a very high regard for me and my company's products, and he thought it would be great for me to be interviewed for the DVD and talk about the importance of room treatment and all related topics. Of course I was thrilled to be part of this, so I agreed.

Next thing I know I get another email saying they need $10,000 from us to "help cover our production costs." WTF?! So donating my 40 years of industry experience and expertise for free for their commercial gain is not enough?

I really hate this kind of "advertorial" marketing, where consumers think they're buying a quality education, when in fact they're being taught by the highest bidder.

I hope this doesn't come off as sour grapes, because that's not my intent. It's just really sad that Alan Parsons would compromise the educational content of his DVD for a little more profit. But flame me anyway if you want to.

--Ethan
Geez!
Actully thanx for your post Ethan. Really good to know...
It sounds really sleazy from their behalf!tutt
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24th April 2009
Old 24th April 2009
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#6
25th April 2009
Old 25th April 2009
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Very interesting how things sound when they are out of context like this.

A small company trying to create a useful and good production has to ask all potential sponsors if they can support the project. This product is being made by a company that doesn't have a fraction of what's required to do this on it's own.

A good number of contributors to this program were not able to be "sponsors" in a financial sense, and of course some were asked if they could contribute financially.

What the company did, was offer other companies that might have the capital (it's always hard to tell in this industry) to be a more integral part of the process as well as get a good portion of their sponsorship's value in copies of the program. This was done, and companies were approached, based on what products were to be discussed and used in the program to begin with. Obviously all products that would have been spoken of and shown still are, whether they contributed or not, because the actual history and preferences of master producer/engineers are what this is about.
The better part of the program is more technique and experience, rather than specific product based, until it comes down to vintage devices of historical importance.
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25th April 2009
Old 25th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundgeek View Post
Very interesting how things sound when they are out of context like this.

A small company trying to create a useful and good production has to ask all potential sponsors if they can support the project. This product is being made by a company that doesn't have a fraction of what's required to do this on it's own.

A good number of contributors to this program were not able to be "sponsors" in a financial sense, and of course some were asked if they could contribute financially.

What the company did, was offer other companies that might have the capital (it's always hard to tell in this industry) to be a more integral part of the process as well as get a good portion of their sponsorship's value in copies of the program. This was done, and companies were approached, based on what products were to be discussed and used in the program to begin with. Obviously all products that would have been spoken of and shown still are, whether they contributed or not, because the actual history and preferences of master producer/engineers are what this is about.
The better part of the program is more technique and experience, rather than specific product based, until it comes down to vintage devices of historical importance.
Are you part of the company releasing this product

Im asking as its generally best to be upfront about these things on Gearslutz
#8
25th April 2009
Old 25th April 2009
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Yes. However I am an individual, and my views will not necessarily reflect the views of the company, but I do personally want to set the record straight.
Absolutely no one was told their experience and information mattered more if they were a program sponsor, most of the time it was who said they would be able to interview when, and in fact most of the interviewees were not related to sponsor companies, but rather producers, engineers, and artists.

One thing I can tell you is that being a very small company, the time and energy put into projects - and especially with this one being the largest by far - is focused on making a product that is high quality, creative, and as accurate as possible to the original goal set; in short, a program we can be proud of, and that we feel provides something of value.
#9
25th April 2009
Old 25th April 2009
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My take -- not that anyone asked for it -- is that in this day and age we're all pretty savvy when it comes to overt product placement or ham-fisted cheesy product references. We live with it on a daily basis in so much of our media interactions. And we know too that even though that treatment company paid $10K to "defray" the production budget, they're not doing it out of the kindness of their heart. They're expecting to see some of that back in sales.

I think it's an implicit, if not outright unspoken agreement between the consumer and producers that there'll be some aspect of this involved. Even programs like Full Sail have corporate "donors." Again, as long as it's not crass or intrusive, and as long as it's obvious that Alan's not schilling, then I can live with it to get to the good stuff. In fact, many companies are moving away from traditional product placement because consumers are so sophisticated. The want "viral" marketing and seek "grassroots" to create raving fans. Bottom line, grassroots or astroturf, buyer beware.

But c'mon, this guy produced Dark Side of the Moon for cyrin' out loud. Even if they got him dressed up as a Neuman U87 sitting in a chair made completely out of Presonus cardboard packaging, he's gonna share something with me that I can take with me on my next lil' project.

Again, my .02. Your mileage may vary.
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#10
25th April 2009
Old 25th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundgeek View Post
A good number of contributors to this program were not able to be "sponsors" in a financial sense, and of course some were asked if they could contribute financially.
All cool. Ethan said that he first was contacted to join in the DVD. After that he got an email that asked for a contibution. Ethan, if you didnt contribute, could you still be in the DVD?

Or did the producer rejected you after he heard that you were no gonna pay?

Essential for this discussion I guess. Still interested in the DVD tho.
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25th April 2009
Old 25th April 2009
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I have immense respect for Alan Parsons and Richard Dodd. I can also see Ethan's side of it from his perspective when being asked that. I don't know if that changes my view towards the DVD production or not, without knowing more.

I hope it is a good DVD. I hate to say it, but everything for sale is about money...and making a profit doesn't always mean simply relying on the sales dollars but maybe other investments etc. Every documentary you watch on TV was made not only to inform, but the main purpose was to make money (ie sell advertising breaks).

Lets be careful on this one, I think the questions asked back to Ethan are fair at this point and I await his answer too.

War
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#12
25th April 2009
Old 25th April 2009
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Ethan, if you didnt contribute, could you still be in the DVD?
No, which is the whole point. The guy who called me on the phone initially said he's a big fan of my work and my company's products. Then after I explained (one or two emails later) there's no way a small company like RealTraps can pony up $10k to be part of it, they no longer wanted my input. In fairness, the guy who first called me was really nice and I'm sure he was sincere! I believe the decision not to interview me for the DVD was out of his hands.

I'll also mention that RealTraps was part of a different DVD by a different company a few years ago. In that case the fee we had to pay to be in the video was "only" $2,000 plus a roomful of treatment products. It was a total disaster for us, and we never got even one phone call, let alone a sale, based on my participation. So maybe I'm a bit jaded by the whole process. (We did get most the traps back eventually.)

I'm not impressed by claims that a DVD is so expensive to produce that it can't be done without payola. It's possible to make a full-length educational DVD for less than $5k, and a really excellent video can be made for under $10k.

--Ethan
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25th April 2009
Old 25th April 2009
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It's unfortunate if it seemed that any potential program contributors were being rejected, however there generally weren't specific decisions made not to include anyone. It's was not quite organized enough in the initial stages to have thought that out, as it is a huge project between just a few people.

As far as the cost of making a program like this, it is a very different thing in this case. We have done many full length DVDs and this is very different process. It has had well over a year put into it to date, many locations, many terrabytes of HD footage, and is striving for a higher production value than most instructional type programs previously made, as beyond the purely informational/educational factors, it also has a lot of energy put into the historical and general interest aspects. It is also 3 DVD 9's worth of content.
#14
25th April 2009
Old 25th April 2009
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I have to say I was hesitant to even mention my product placement uneasiness in the first place since I obviously haven't seen the full DVD and it's pretty low to criticize a product before seeing or using it.

However, it is so interesting that you've chimed in with your info Ethan, because literally - when I saw the big Auralex catalog-style shot in the trailer - I thought about Real Traps (and GIK and others) and in comparison, Auralex just strikes a "my-first-studio" note and undermines the pro feel of a project associated with Alan Parsons.

Production values are all well and good, but I'd buy a master class DVD by Alan Parsons that was shot in one go with a fixed camera on a tripod. No need for $10,000 sponsors.
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25th April 2009
Old 25th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundgeek View Post
Yes. However I am an individual, and my views will not necessarily reflect the views of the company, but I do personally want to set the record straight. .....
Well, you could have fooled me - each of your posts addresses the issue in detail from a company perspective and your tone very much suggests that you are commenting from a position of knowledge and authority within the company.

C'mon, we're all adults here - please grow a pair and identify yourself. Your 'mystery posting' really isn't enhancing the company image. Quite possibly the opposite.
#16
25th April 2009
Old 25th April 2009
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This isn't intended as mystery posting - we are adults, and my name is Jason. Oops looks like I need to find a new job now

I was just hoping to be informative about something that I happen to know (many of) the details about, and sometimes factual information can be transferred a bit more efficiently when it's not about me but rather the information itself, but once again the fundamental flaw of the forum medium shows itself.

This thread started with some interest in the program and that's actually where I had wanted to start in the hope of offering more information about what it involves.
#17
26th April 2009
Old 26th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGT-1 View Post
Production values are all well and good, but I'd buy a master class DVD by Alan Parsons that was shot in one go with a fixed camera on a tripod. No need for $10,000 sponsors.
Hey aren't we all recording engineers who value production values? You know that it costs money to hire a recording engineer and a nice studio, and it costs much more to hire a camera man with camera package, lights, grips, producers, talent, video editors and their gear, audio mixer/ studio, music rights, DVD production, distribution and advertisements.

I do a lot of mixing for videos/ TV/ commercials. They spend a huge chunk of change for small videos and fairly cheap labor.

I'm not a big fan of using sponsors because usually the viewer can see right through it, and it can be a distraction.

Sounds like a DVD I would like to see though!
#18
26th April 2009
Old 26th April 2009
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Thanks Ethan for replying and telling what the story is. Sounds like that was not a chique way of doing business from their side.

Really interested in the DVD now, to see how good it is. With those 10 bigname sponsors backing this one up I hope there wont be too much namedropping on it. The Dodd interview looked good I must say. But like BigT said: I'd buy a DVD with Alan Parsons on it sitting on a couch talking about the industry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
I have immense respect for Alan Parsons and Richard Dodd. I can also see Ethan's side of it from his perspective when being asked that. I don't know if that changes my view towards the DVD production or not, without knowing more.

I hope it is a good DVD. I hate to say it, but everything for sale is about money...and making a profit doesn't always mean simply relying on the sales dollars but maybe other investments etc. Every documentary you watch on TV was made not only to inform, but the main purpose was to make money (ie sell advertising breaks).

Lets be careful on this one, I think the questions asked back to Ethan are fair at this point and I await his answer too.

War
Couldnt agree more, and respect to everybody involved in this thread.

Sven
#19
26th April 2009
Old 26th April 2009
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Quote:
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Every documentary you watch on TV was made not only to inform, but the main purpose was to make money (ie sell advertising breaks).
I strongly disagree! Documentaries are mostly for ecucational/info purposes that's why they are funded by all kinds of organizations.

"The NFL Superbowl" maybe...!
#20
19th May 2009
Old 19th May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I'm not impressed by claims that a DVD is so expensive to produce that it can't be done without payola. It's possible to make a full-length educational DVD for less than $5k, and a really excellent video can be made for under $10k.

--Ethan
Although I have no doubt that they asked you to sponsor the DVD, my personal opinion is that they intend to sell this DVD at a reasonable price that the average person wanting to learn engineering is going to be able to afford. (The rumours I have heard is about $150 for the DVD set).

I used to own a multimedia company, and we charged $10k just to produce a 30 second commercial, so suggesting someone can produce a full length DVD at that cost, that requires travel throughout the US, Britain, and possibly other countries is not realistic.

This DVD obviously has multiple cameras, professional lighting and sound, and would require several dozen people to produce.

I wouldn't be surprised if it cost several hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce this DVD set, and I would consider it a bargain to purchase it.

On top of that, from what I have read, there is a gigantic amount of information on this disc that I have not seen anywhere else.

I am really looking forward to it... and have been for over a year. (It was supposed to be out in April timeframe, and it seems they are still recording footage for it.)
#21
19th May 2009
Old 19th May 2009
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Did Alan Parsons have to pay to be part of this project?

I understand the need for contibutions to complete a project, but if it is from the presenters, the project by definition automatically becomes a commercial. It is not ethical for an educational distribution to be payed for by the highest bidder for promotional credit. That is a major compromise in the ingetrity of the project. Could't funding have come from somewhere else?
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#22
19th May 2009
Old 19th May 2009
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I love Parsons!

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#23
20th May 2009
Old 20th May 2009
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Cool looking video. Always great to hear the opinions of tried and true engineers right from their mouth.

Also looks like a lot of it was shot at Blackbird. I def. saw their mic cabinet in there, studio a, c, and I think g.
#24
20th May 2009
Old 20th May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
Did Alan Parsons have to pay to be part of this project?

I understand the need for contibutions to complete a project, but if it is from the presenters, the project by definition automatically becomes a commercial. It is not ethical for an educational distribution to be payed for by the highest bidder for promotional credit. That is a major compromise in the ingetrity of the project. Could't funding have come from somewhere else?
My understanding, based on my interpretation of what I read, is that they solicited people/companies for donations... that doesn't mean it was contingent upon their participation in the project, nor a determining factor that they would be a presenter.

I don't think that Alan Parsons would be only be allowing presenters which donated money to the project... if that was the case, I don't think they would have a high school choir as part of the participants... not to mention that if word got out about it, the recording industry would probably boycott the DVD... the Internet voice is amazingly fast and furious for people fudging standard business ethics.

I completely understand the solicitation of funds for a project of this size... otherwise, it wouldn't have been made. Something tells me that the audience for this project is so small it would never make its money back if it relied on sales alone.

If the production cost $200k, it would have to sell over 1300 copies just to break even! How many recording engineers are there, and how many will buy the DVD?
#25
21st May 2009
Old 21st May 2009
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Parsons and Co. hope to benefits from DVD sales, which a dollar estimation is really unknown. It's hard to get credit these days and the production people need to be paid NOW. So that money has to come from somewhere. Sponsors are no surprise to me.

I've worked with music festivals. Even though we drew great ticket sales, we'd never be able to pay and operate all that we'd need to before the event. Same sort of thing. We needed sponsors and we pimped their brand every chance we got.

Plus, this thing is in HD. It probably cost $10K to buy mr. dude's HD camera alone--maybe more, plus another few grande to buy the converters, editing software, bla, bla, bla.

Everything costs too much and none of us get paid enough!!!
That said, I wouldn't have paid either because it's not likely you'd be able to measure a return. That's not to say it wouldn't improve your brand, cuz it would. But you still need that give and take of actual dollars noted. Will Auralux get their $10K back? Maybe, yeah, but it's a whole different thing.

Maybe you could have just offered free bass traps???
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#26
21st May 2009
Old 21st May 2009
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That's true, but Mr. Dude doesn't need to buy a camera to shoot a project; Mr. Dude can rent it.

Why should he offer anything? He was asked to be interviewed, then the interest was lost when he didn't want to financially contribute to the project.

Were the other potential interviewees also asked for "donations"? Wonder how many people interviewed were asked to fork up cash before shooting.

- "Hi sir, we would love to have you contribute to our project. We will send the crew to shoot an interview, would you mind footing the bill for the crew?"
- "What? **** you."


Nothing but respect for Alan Parsons here though.
#27
22nd May 2009
Old 22nd May 2009
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Quote:
is that they solicited people/companies for donations... that doesn't mean it was contingent upon their participation in the project
According from our friend Ethan Winer, he was approached to participate and later asked to pay for the exposure. He could not participate unless he gave the money.

I'm sure they only asked for money from companies whose products would be featured in the video, but that is a problem because the wealthiest companies are not exactly the companies that make the best products.

At least it didn't go as far as "Alan Parsons brought to you by Turtle Beach Audio Cards"
#28
15th December 2009
Old 15th December 2009
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According to the web site, the first scenes will be up later this week. On the pay to play thing, I think that's become the norm these days. Any time some company is featured in a magazine, they probably paid for the nice professional pictures to be taken and for any other expenses.

Our company was approached a couple different times by producers, who 'heard about your product and would really like to make more people aware of it. And I thought, wow, cool, we'll have our product featured on a cable 'how to' TV show and that sort of thing. Then they tell you that it will cost you $40K for the two or three minute segment. So basically, though it's presented as a 'hey look at this cool product we've found', it's really an infommercial, pure and simple, which was paid for by the company.

What they really mean is, we know you have a product you'd like hyped, pay us to do that and we'll pretend like we think your product is cool and hype it though we have no idea what it even does probably.

For something like this DVD, I'm willing to be a lot more forgiving because it's something that will have a fairly small audience but looks to be very instructive, and without the offsetting contributions they might not have ever been able to do it since probably the sales wouldn't cover the costs because the market is just too specialized.
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#29
18th December 2009
Old 18th December 2009
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art and science of sound recording

the first six scenes are up on their site artandscienceofsound.com/online. i just streamed all six scenes and then pre-ordered the dvd set. really great program.
#30
20th December 2009
Old 20th December 2009
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I checked out the website and really like it. Immediately wanted to order, but the shipping cost calculator didn't work so I couldn't order.
Big projects, big sponsors, but placing orders doesn't work... LoL
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