This forum...

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Chrisbitz
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This forum...

Post by Chrisbitz » Thu Nov 27, 2008 2:39 pm

I just got a call from someone at the IAC, checking that I really had stopped my subscription, and that it wasn't a mistake.

During the conversation, I had a bit of a revelation.

Ths forum (to me) is by far, the most vibrant and active aspect of the IAC.

What a crying shame that (This is a pure guess!) the majority of the IAC management are completely unaware that it even exists. and certainly don't visit it regularly.

I believe there's also a mailing list How active is that?I wonder if anyone's considered/thought about merging or something?

I wonder what the membership if the IAC is, compared to the active membership of this forum? It just seems such a wasted opportunity.
I like to make films, this is- my Youtube account. What's yours?

"all of the above is nothing more than nonsensical ramblings, and definately should NOT be misconstrued as anyone's official policy"

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Mike Shaw
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Post by Mike Shaw » Thu Nov 27, 2008 5:05 pm

Chris, I think you may find many of them do peek in here (I think its called 'lurking'?).

The email 'forum' system you refer to I find pretty strange I must admit - when I get the posts, if there's a question, chances are it has already been answered several times, with the answers included in the 'question' emailing. If I answer a question, the emailing with my response comes back with a host of other stuff and seems, often, to be totally out of context. Perhaps I'm not using the system correctly. How do others get their answers to a question posted before I even see thre question?

I think it would be better if all 'email' postings were directed to this forum - and I did ask once before why there was only one forum catergory (unlike other forums that have areas for different topics). An answer was given, but I don't remember it right now...

I also think the forum should be more publicised - it is probably one of the IACs best kept secrets.

And sorry Chris, I think postings here should be restricted to IAC members! (One of the perks, if you like!). Non IAC members can read, but not participate. Or have seperate 'members' and 'public' areas - That's how most society forums work anyway.

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stingman
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Post by stingman » Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:57 pm

Mike Shaw wrote: And sorry Chris, I think postings here should be restricted to IAC members! (One of the perks, if you like!). Non IAC members can read, but not participate. Or have seperate 'members' and 'public' areas - That's how most society forums work anyway.
Oh dear,that counts me out then!

Members areas are also for dedicated posters and reliable posters. They don`t always have to surport finnancely, but by just being there, ready and waiting!

Be good all......

Stingman
Ian Gardner
Film Maker

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Mike Shaw
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Post by Mike Shaw » Thu Nov 27, 2008 7:48 pm

Hmmm. Sorry about that. I stand corrected. Hadn't realised that some esteemed members, umm, weren't 'members'!

So. No secret handshake needed here then ... :roll:

But with all due respect, I ask the question - if one likes to enjoy the benefits, why not support the organisation by being a member? It costs money to run these web-sites, FVM, and organise all the events and so on. If the IAC doesn't provide the services required, then the best place to make the desired changes would be from within?

I am sure their are good reasons. There always is, are, am...

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billyfromConsett
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Re: This forum...

Post by billyfromConsett » Thu Nov 27, 2008 10:30 pm

Chrisbitz wrote:Ths forum (to me) is by far, the most vibrant and active aspect of the IAC.

What a crying shame that (This is a pure guess!) the majority of the IAC management are completely unaware that it even exists. and certainly don't visit it regularly.
Chris - this forum is a great active part of the IAC for me also! The forum, despite its low number of active contributors, it is one of the things worth looking after.

I looked in the latest mag, and after a quick skim, didn't find a single reference to our forum. Jan Watterson is going send Garth Hope some regular bits from the forum, though really, it should (as well as our website) be announced in every mag edition.
It makes you wonder if our committee (or our mag editors) worry that some people may simply axe their membership if they know that this forum is here to discuss whatever people want to talk about.

I have just joined the technical forum, the 'iac-nle Digest', and after a few days, I'm still trying to get my head round it. It's another non-publicised feature of the IAC. Though the technical NLE Digest seems even more secretive by a fair amount.

I haven't yet tried to use it, but the idea seems to be that you receive daily emails, and post a comment in response to something if you can add anything - by email. The system asks for your address to subscribe to the list, and it is available to IAC members only.

My opinion is that this forum is obviously valued pretty low in the IAC's thoughts. It's not actively promoted at all, (though it has a button on our front page) and instead we've an email technical help email newsletter which I, as a member of a number of public forums, don't find easy and attractive to interact with.

I would consider merging the two help outlets, and if felt necessary, allow non-members to read the forum but not post into it. After all, if everybody ceased with their subscriptions, this forum would be become history.

And Stingman, your Youtube movies with those lovely ABBA songs were illegal in every way possible! Or have you made your tough tightening of the belt after the ABBA movies.... :wink:

PS. I've just had the brilliant idea of posting a message on the NLE digest asking if people who ask questions would like to visit this forum too! If I get fired from both services for doing this, all the best people. :cry:

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Dave Watterson
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Post by Dave Watterson » Thu Nov 27, 2008 11:15 pm

Dearly Beloved,

A long time ago when the world was young and (for home use) the internet was new, a group of the wise elders of the IAC tribe met to discuss how best to establish a community there.

The web site in its original format had been started by Mike Donlan - you can still see part of it at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/IACFILMVIDEO/

Your humble narrator had taken over from Mike by the time this story starts. I argued for a free and open forum so that we should not always be talking to ourselves. I also believed then - and still do now - that if people chance upon these messages and find them interesting they may go on to join the IAC. Too often IAC can appear like a closed, secretive group - even though it is not.

Other elders worried that careless words might attract the wrath of companies if their products were criticised - as had happened in other hobbies. There was concern that intemperate remarks might bring the IAC into disrepute. Some of our technical gurus also made clear that while they were willing to help and advise IAC members, they were not prepared to take on all-comers.

In classic British style a compromise was reached. This forum began and remains open to all who negotiate the tortuous registration process. (And that is only tricky to stop the spam-robots.) There are also two "round-robin" email groups which are restricted to IAC members or members of affiliated clubs.

I refused to join the email groups because I believe in openness, but based on what Mike and Billy say it seems that some of its members have not mastered email etiquette: trimming off redundant information before hitting "reply".

Mike is right, of course, that IAC does need supporters and those who can do so, should - please, pretty-please - consider joining if they are not already members. But I for one do not want to lose the contributions of our non-members. Some of them add wonderful life, ideas and energy to this forum.

Chrisbitz - be assured that
  • (a) some senior IAC figures have joined this forum though they do not contribute often and
    (b) you are right - a lot of Council members and others in the organisation scarcely know that the forum or the website exist.
Things are changing. The IAC Council of today is far different from the one that sat round the campfire to discuss this new-fangled system of electronic smoke-signals all those years ago. Even before he formally took office our new Chairman, Alan Atkinson, visited the offices of Merula Limited who kindly host the website and this forum. He went to talk about how we can develop our e-services. He was accompanied by Rob Day (CEMRIAC Vice-Chairman).

As for publicity ... yes, we can try to promote the website harder within the IAC.

I hope that all our contributors - and lurkers - will stay with us here. Checking the postings is one of my daily delights ... and I love the craic.

-Dave

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billyfromConsett
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Post by billyfromConsett » Thu Nov 27, 2008 11:40 pm

Sounds like you've enjoyed this thread Dave.

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Mike Shaw
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Post by Mike Shaw » Thu Nov 27, 2008 11:40 pm

I understand the desire to make this a forum open to all, but I still think that to post here, one should 'join'. I visit quite a few forums for information - one can read but not ask. If you want to ask the questions (or respond, as it happens), then the forum must be joined. This seems to me to be a quite reasonable and acceptable policy - people can see how active we are, but cannot participate unless ...

I can also understand the need to keep the bot-crawlers off the site as much as possible, but it should be made easier to find I think - FVM would be a good place to announce it on a regular basis (perhaps it already is - but I have missed it!").

If and when the visitors here grow in number, I do think a breakdown into separate forum 'rooms' or categories would also be very useful: there could be one for club/regional activities (particularly useful for those clubs that don't have their own web-site), one for the techie questions, a 'coffee room' for idle (or idolic!) chit chat, and so on.

However, I know that this would take more management effort. So it isn't as straightforward as simply 'doing it'.

And I agree as well that the email 'forum' system, which I find extremely cumbersome and slow, be integrated with this forum if possible. (In a 'members only' section if so desired.

And ... Maybe with more options, more of the 'lurkers' would be enticed to post?

(I've always thought forums with a 'joke' section always attract a lot of interest. Trouble here is, I guess, put up a joke, and three clubs will rush off to film it! :) :lol: )

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Michael Gough
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Post by Michael Gough » Fri Nov 28, 2008 5:18 am

Oh dear!. The trouble with all games of Chinese whispers (and this forum is often just an electronic version of that confusing game) is that a piece of mis-information is quickly assumed to be a fact. And another untrue urban myth is created.

At 2.39pm on Nov.27th Chrisbitz admitted that he was guessing that “the majority of the IAC management are completely unaware that (this forum) even exists”

Within a few hours Dave Watterson (who should know better) assures Chrisbitz that “a lot of Council members … scarcely know that the forum or the website exist.”

What level of disinformation will be in vogue by tomorrow morning? Perhaps that the Council voted that the forum and the website should be discontinued immediately?

As a member of the Council, who has also contributed to other threads on the forum, I can assure you that EVERY member of the Council is aware of both the website and the forum. We support both and have discussed issues that have been brought to our attention via both. The very financing of the website passes through the Council so it is ludicrous to claim that they are ignorant or uncaring.

A perceived problem from some Council members (myself included) is that once you are known to be a Council member it is difficult to become embroiled in discussions without it being assumed that you are speaking on behalf of “The Management” rather than as another member. The same dilemma occurs over club coffee breaks. So if some Council members prefer to “lurk” on the forum that is their choice. They certainly know what is being said and respond if they think it is appropriate.

I also disagree with BillyofConsett (we are old buddies really) that “this forum is obviously valued pretty low in the IAC's thoughts”. At least I disagree if he is meaning in the official eyes of the IAC Council. However he may be right if he means that there is reluctance of the general membership to participate. If that is the case then perhaps he and all other forum contributors should look critically at the image that the forum sometimes presents of itself. Perhaps the problem lies closer to home.

After all access to the forum is directly off the IAC Home page. You can’t get much more accessible than that. I agree that a regular article in the magazine would help, perhaps including a selection of recent topics (but why wait for Jan to do it? It is not her job! Why not an ordinary member of the Forum?)

So why are there so few contributors? (I note that a recent thread attracting 5407 viewings could only muster 17 actual contributors)

I have met members who have looked at the Forum and were not happy with what they found. Quite often it seems like “electronic incest” with the same very small handful of friends patting each other on the back. Sometimes it seems like “electronic bullying” as they gang up on blaming everyone else. (An ironic example is Billy’s suggestion that “our committee (or our mag editors) worry that some people may simply axe their membership if they know that this forum is here to discuss whatever people want to talk about.”) Considering the very small percentage of membership involvement in the Forum that should be the least of our problems.

In fact the opposite may be true. I know of members who have withdrawn their active support for IAC events because of personal criticism heaped on them from ignorant forum writers with no personal knowledge at all.

Sometimes internal Forum votes are held on the most negative and destructive terms. Despite the dismally low voter turnout the results are viewed as revelations of the truth. Recently I noted that a quarter of the votes came from members of the same club, which doesn’t say much for the breadth of input across the IAC.

So please let the Forum put itself in order first. Have constructive discussions that more people actually want to become involved in. Promote it’s existence and encourage more people to give it a try, but don’t frighten them off with attacks on their age and abilities. Get rid of the technological arrogance that believes that this Forum is the only way forward. I don’t care if you think this Forum is “the most vibrant and active aspect of the IAC.” I’m glad you find it valuable but don’t assume that it should be true for everyone. Don’t forget that there are many other reasons why people join the IAC.

I have been a member of the IAC for 40 years. There are some facilities that I have never used yet. But Richard Curry doesn’t have a “hissy fit” just because I have never used the Music Advisory Service. Please give IAC Members (and the Council) the same rights to use the Forum as they see fit.

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Dave Watterson
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Post by Dave Watterson » Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:52 am

Here is proof that at least one Council member notes what is said on the forum. The speed of Michael's response shows he keeps up to date with it.

One thing I like about this medium is very quick feedback and correction. Over the years I have heard lots of misleading and unlikely stories about IAC. When these are literally whispered, there is no chance to put them right. Even if a mistake is noted, corrections in FVM will be published months later. So for me the speed and openness of the electronic world is, on balance, a plus.

IAC Council is perceived as remote. There is little sign that it pays close attention to members.

(Having served on Council I know that members of Council do care ... that is why they volunteer for the job, as there is no glory or reward in it. But how many of them even talk to their fellow club members about issues, let alone to wider groups of members? There is a risk of parochialism. Another plus to the forum is that it offers the opportunity - not yet fully realised - for wider consultation.)

One reason to doubt the importance placed on the website and forum is knowing that it seldom occurs to Council members to announce things on the electronic arm of the IAC. If a decision is made about library hire fees, dates and attractions at events, an invitation made to propose candidates for fellowship and so on ... people often neglect to tell the webmaster (or her assistant!)

I certainly agree that it would be good to have more active contributors ... to the forum, to the magazine and to IAC in general. As an organisation we do not seem encouraging or welcoming enough ... or maybe we get too defensive and respond poorly to comments. (Think of how badly the BBC comes across in programmes like Radio 4's 'Feedback' where staff hardly ever admit they might have made a mistake.)

Of course the people who write here do not speak for all the IAC members, indeed not all are members. But they are people who are interested and enthusiastic. They come from all parts of the British Isles and overseas. Like "customers" anywhere they talk more about perceived faults and problems than about what goes right.

For members of IAC National and Regional Council, I can't think of a better use for 20 minutes time than popping on here now and then to see what's cooking.

- Dave

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Mike Shaw
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Post by Mike Shaw » Fri Nov 28, 2008 10:11 am

So please let the Forum put itself in order first. Have constructive discussions that more people actually want to become involved in. Promote it’s existence and encourage more people to give it a try, but don’t frighten them off with attacks on their age and abilities.
I think that hits the nail bang on the head. The variety of threads/topics is fairly limited, partly (in my opinion) because they all fall under one broad heading. It rather implies that all topics should be of a general nature.

Sadly, there will always be 'whingers' on a forum: recently I was invited to join a forum of a company that offers a different item for sale, extremely cheaply, every day: you could either go for it or not, as you wished (https://24gone.com/ - if you're interested). The reason for the invite was the very first item was free if one 'signed up' before a specific date. Guess what ... even before the freebie arrived (and I'm still waiting!), posters were seriously complaining that they wouldn't have a choice and that the freebie probably wouildn't be worth anything ... and etc. Complaints galore. Even if it is nothing more than a paper clip, what is to whinge about? Its obviously just a sales ploy to attract people to a new 'net company.

I rather imagined that the council people were all well aware of what goes on here. To have more people posting, I thinki one needs to open up the variety of discussions - create an area where techie problems can be sorted - we have the members who know the answers.

Perhaps there could be areas for each of the major editors people use for example - where questions can be answered and tips passed on by the experienced. Not easy to do under the current forum structure, sadly. With a specific area for Premiere and Cassablanca (and Avid Liquid of course!!) and so on for example . promoted in FVM and possibly even regional mags, I'm sure the 'traffic' would build up.

It would require a few additional 'moderators' to support Dave in his work - but I am sure there are people who would be prepared to do that (I'd add my name as a candidate for the few topics that I know a little about).

The foruim could become a beacon for all who have problems or are looking for tips, or who simply want relevant discussion and help.

I have a dream ... :lol:

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Michael Gough
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Post by Michael Gough » Fri Nov 28, 2008 10:56 am

Despite the positive start I still find Dave’s reply disappointing. His use of the phrase “There is a risk of parochialism” is aimed at the Council. It is my belief that the main contributors to this forum are more parochial than any volunteer member of a Regional or the National Council.

I am concerned if in Dave’s words the “IAC Council is perceived as remote” because perceptions are important even if they are inaccurate. However I see no evidence that “there is little sign that it pays close attention to members” Every point raised in the AGM Members Voices are discussed in Council, and sometimes result in changes. I have discussed many points raised by members at Club level and brought to Council through Regional representatives. Personal letters to Council members are also discussed and so are suggestions raised on the Forum.

However the latter does suffer from the problem that if no–one brings the thread to Council’s attention it may pass unnoticed. This is where the Forum’s own “parochialism” is at fault. It is like complaints being muttered in the corner of the clubroom but never being mentioned outside the small circle. You cannot assume that every word written on this forum will be seen. I for one only open a thread with a vaguely interesting title. Sometimes if the trend seems to be an excuse for the expression of personal kite-flying agendas I switch off.

On what evidence can Dave possibly question “How many of (the Council) even talk to their fellow club members about issues, let alone to wider groups of members?” Who does he think are the principle operators of the IAC Ambassador Scheme, visiting clubs to promote the IAC (and incidentally raising nearly twice as many new members last year as the internet) Who does he think mans the stands at Video Exhibitions such as the IOV, answering queries and again attracting new members?

These face to face outreach activities are certainly not involving many of the contributors to the forum, who only seem to talk to the converted.

In fact, with very few exceptions, the majority of Forum contributors make no commitment of their time to stand for election to any Regional or National Committee.

If you really feel you have positive answers to the way forward then stop sitting crouched over your keyboard blaming everyone else. Put your mouse down. Stand for a Regional or National Council and make a real contribution.

Actions speak louder than words.

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fraught
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Post by fraught » Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:57 am

I agree with what Michael is saying here, but i also agree with Dave.

Michael mentions an Ambassador Scheme... does that mean i can expect a member of the Council to turn up on my doorstep soon? You see I am not a member of any club. I do not meet once a fortnight with any groub of people to discuss film making or to put together a production. I write my scripts and share ideas, Online. I Edit my films and get ideas on how to improve certain techniques etc, Online. I discuss and show my films, Online.

I don't know if its just me, but seeing as this forum is on the IAC's "Official" Website, i just thought that by contributing here... perhaps the people who make decisions within the IAC were listening? I agree with Dave in that it would appear that the
there is little sign that it pays close attention to members.
Actions speak louder than words.
Couldn't agree more Micheal.


I've blown the IAC trumpet more times than i could wave a stick at, with adding IAC groups to places like Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo. The membership for these are low, but they need to be advertised. The IAC need start thinking about how it can push its agenda forward. I've read (in these forums) about how people are very reluctant to put their films online... I have to ask why?! Why do you make films if its not for others to enjoy?! And what better way for people to enjoy your work than giving the world a peek! My film Overtime, has been viewed by more than 40,000 people from around the globe. Some of my older films are now finding new fans, and are getting new leases of life.

The online community can be bigger and more productive than you think... you just need to believe in it... and plug it as much as you can!
Only Boring People Get Bored
http://www.fraught.net

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Mike Shaw
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Post by Mike Shaw » Fri Nov 28, 2008 12:38 pm

To answer about the Ambassador's scheme ... the regional IAC committees (well, ours anyway) have elected members who are 'Ambassadors', who visit clubs by arrangement to talk about what the IAC has to offer, and to show one or two IAC films as appropriate. In my experience the response is very encouraging - people usually know one or two of the benefits, but invariably don't know them all. (The one that opens most eyes is the use of the membership card as an indication of bona fide when filming in a 'public area', and the arm of the law feels the collar, as it were, with a "You can't do that there 'ere"...)

I don't think the Ambassadors are in to visiting individual's homes though!

But it is an interesting challenge - perhaps, without a local club to 'enjoy', membership of the IAC is even more apposite for non-club visiting people? Short of knocking on everyone's doors, how does one reach such people? By definition they don't get FVM, and there are now no Video Editing magazines in which to promote the IAC's activities.

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Dave Watterson
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Post by Dave Watterson » Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:31 pm

If you really feel you have positive answers to the way forward then stop sitting crouched over your keyboard blaming everyone else. Put your mouse down. Stand for a Regional or National Council and make a real contribution.
Of course Michael is talking about involvement in IAC, but let's make it clear that most people here are not just bashing their keyboards ...

Not counting me our top-ten posters are:
  • STINGMAN - active in his club and in Church film group "Hope 08" with UCB Television
    BILLY FROM CONSETT - award-winning film maker, much involved in publicising his club
    WILLY - Mr. Van der Linden, award-winner, speaker, judge in many countries and president of two film clubs
    NED C - award winner, retired professional, very active in AMPS in the USA
    FILM THURSO - part of a team which does almost everything connected to cinema, film, music and festivals in his area
    MIKE SHAW - award-winning film maker, active in SERIAC Council
    BRIAN SABERTON - award winner, FVM columnist and active in SAM Council
    STEPHEN - active film maker and award winner
    FRAUGHT - very active film maker, recently used his skill to encourage support for Nystagmus charity
    TOM HARDWICK - professional wedding videographer, FVM columnist, speaker and judge.
It is always difficult to find people to run organisations. It is always difficult for those people to hear a wide range of views from members, ex-members and potential members. This forum is a resource for IAC, if Council chooses to use it that way.

Dave

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