250 official HV20/30 music videos!!!

This is such an unprecedented record for any consumer camera ever, and surely for many prosumer cameras too! There are out there over 250 official music videos shot with the HV20/30 cameras (update: they are over 320 now!!). It really shows how easy it has become to attain high quality output from a $500 camera and how people jump on the opportunity to take advantage of this great deal!

Here’s a recent music video by the Outsider, shot with an HV20 and a JVC camera, I love the song. Can’t wait to get released on iTunes soon!

The only thing that’s mind boggling and shows how slow and stupid big corporations are, is Canon not taking advantage of the huge HV20/30 success and fanatical community in the last 2 years. They do nothing with this unique opportunity, apart from slightly refreshing the brand with the upcoming HV40 model (which was basically a cheap throw in to shut us up). But when I am saying that they should do something about it is not about creating new HV models (their time is passed, people don’t want tape cameras anymore). What I am saying is, heck, where are the official HV20 t-shirts I could buy? Where are the paid firmware upgrades that could make thousands of us flock to pay that 50 bucks per year in order to get full manual control, or native 24p.

The problem is that Canon believes that the way to cater to these needs is to release a new camera. Like these new super-noisy and non-stabilized HF-S10/S100 models. Erm, no thanks. Canon fails to realize that a good percentage of enthusiasts like us don’t move to another product so easily. We are here for the long run. Users who already own the legendary HV20/30 won’t rush to upgrade as easily as someone who upgrades from a Sony HD camera, or from a plain DV camera. Reason being, we already have a “good enough” camera.

Canon needs to wake up and smell the money they are losing for not appreciating this thing called ‘community’. They see their buyers in a flat way, but unfortunately for them, the HV20/30 enthusiasts are not your average customers. And there are thousands of us. Not to mention the whole marketing game that they don’t take advantage of, as many HV videos are very popular and potential new customers keep asking over and over what camera was used.

7 Comments »

Music Careers wrote on April 15th, 2009 at 5:07 PM PST:

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interloper wrote on April 16th, 2009 at 11:45 AM PST:

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Canon, nor do I have any direct or indirect knowledge of how Canon made the decisions being discussed.

My guess is that what you see as stupid is actually rational business decision-making. In the end, it all boils down to cost versus benefit.

Where are the paid firmware upgrades that could make thousands of us flock to pay that 50 bucks per year in order to get full manual control, or native 24p.

How many thousands? 10,000 people x $50/yr = $500,000/yr. More thank 10k people? How many more?

That $500k revenue stream is not “free”. It doesn’t just go from the top line straight to the bottom line.

Do you really think that $500k per year (or even several times that) would cover the cost of maintaining a firmware programming team and code-base? And phone support people and infrastructure for you to call when you brick your camera when doing a firmware update? And spare parts and service personnel for repairing such damage? Etc. etc. etc.

And don’t think for one minute that large companies like Canon, Sony, HP, etc., have “spare capacity” (i.e. “underutilized staff” — people sitting around without enough work to do). Workers that still have a job are already very busy, so additional work would require additional staffing, facilities, etc. –> additional costs.

There are also complicated legal (i.e. implied warranties, consumer protection laws, etc.) and other issues and costs incurred by continuing to work on older, “end-of-life” hardware.

Not to mention potential technical issues, such as there not being enough free firmware memory on-chip to allow for some (or all) of these updates, etc.

The problem is that Canon believes that the way to cater to these needs is to release a new camera.

My guess is, that business model is what works best for most of the consumer camera market. I don’t see the consumer video camera market as significantly different from the home computer market.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I see similar market segments in both. Some people just buy one and stick it on a shelf, with occasional use, for years. Others use it frequently but casually. And then there is a small base of “power users” that are extremely savvy, dedicated, etc.

Power users tend to be a very small segment of the market to begin with. And as they splinter and divide their loyalties, they become even smaller in each area.

If a large portion of the market buys a new item every two or three years, then that’s probably where the money lies. If power users comprised as much as 10% of the market (ha ha, probably far less), they would have to spend (or generate profit) at 9 times the typical user, just to match clout with the typical user-base. That’s VERY unlikely.

Plus you have competitors releasing new cameras with new features, better optics, etc., at fairly frequent intervals. Canon couldn’t get off that treadmill without losing market share and mind share.

I’d bet Canon has looked at, and considered, all this. They probably realized that it would cost more than they would ever hope to get out of it, and decided to move on.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on April 16th, 2009 at 2:37 PM PST:

There are more than 10,000 serious HV enthusiasts. It’s Canon’s job to find out how many exactly. And it doesn’t require a full team to implement manual support, maybe a single person for a few weeks. The code is already there, it’s mostly a UI that’s needed and a few tweaks. IMO, this is a business move that makes sense.

I hear you on your arguments, and what you say is valid. I am not new in the SW/HW industry. But this case is a bit different.


interloper wrote on April 16th, 2009 at 7:20 PM PST:

I guess some of my larger points were lost in all the tactical discussion. Let me try adding some clarification.

It’s Canon’s job to find out how many exactly.

Do you know for certain that they did not? Do you know for a fact that there was no market analysis, or cost/benefit analysis? Do you have access to information regarding what Canon’s projected level of effort and costs would be?

I certainly don’t. So I can’t comment either way.

And I’ve been out of the tech manufacturing industry for the last 5 years or so, so I can’t comment with any confidence on those points.

The code is already there,

Here is the rub. Do they still have the code?

In the companies I worked for, it was standard, documented procedure to completely throw out the ROM source code after a product went end-of-production. No archives, no copies, etc. (It was deemed cheaper to reuse infrastructure than to try to keep archives. Plus the destruction of code limited various legal liabilities and exposures as well.)

And that’s in enterprise and mission critical products, which have very demanding support expectations and agreemtents.

So I suspect it’s not any different in consumer products. I expect it would be considered even more acceptable to tell consumers “get a newer model” than to tell enterprise customers that. (And plenty of enterprise customers were told exactly that — by us and our competitors.)

I personally know of a couple instances where the ROM teams actually had to reverse engineer the ROM binaries to patch some issues (due to legal requirements). That is very time consuming and expensive, yet was deemed a more cost-effective and legally safe approach than keeping around old code bases.

I’m not talking about some mickey-mouse manufacturing operation, either. I’m talking Fortune 100 companies here.

IMO, this is a business move that makes sense.

I don’t know if you have insider information or not. In the absence of providing such information, though, it appears you are making some assumptions that may not be true.

There were a number of times I disagreed with data gathered by our marketing groups, or how the data was collected. Especially when it contradicted all the feedback I got directly from the field and from customers.

But at the end of the day, the appearance of “scientifically collected” data trumps anecdotal feedback.

And I couldn’t fault management for making the decisions they did, given the information they were provided.

I guess my main point is, Canon might (and probably did) engage in this kind of analysis.

These studies were done all the time on products I worked on, no matter what company I was at. Maybe I just got lucky and worked for good companies, but I suspect not.

I think it’s perfectly fair to disagree with their decision.

But I don’t think it’s fair to assume they did no analysis, or are stupid, or whatever. And I think it’s very likely they have some studies or market research, and cost projections, to back up their views.

It’s also fair to disagree with that data, or its collection method, and so on. But don’t expect them to listen if you can’t bring a different and concrete set of data to the table.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on April 16th, 2009 at 7:36 PM PST:

I am a moderator at HV20.com, the No1 stop for HV users. So yes, I have a good idea how big the enthusiasts’ community is. And that involves only the fanatics, not the casual users. Not to mention the fact that Vimeo’s ~1/3 of all HD uploads are all HV-based. This is a huge number, there’s meat there.

Also, yes, Canon does have the firmware source, they didn’t throw it away. They even released a firmware upgrade once for the PAL version of the HV30.

I maintain my position that Canon did not do anything to work with the community. Heck, there were huge fights in many video forums as to what cinemode “really is” in these cameras, but Canon never made any kind of official comment, ever. They didn’t give a shit. They never bothered to even find out what were the community’s questions, or needs.

Because if they had done their homework, they would know that the HF-S10/S100, which is supposed to replace the HV series in the minds of the enthusiasts, doesn’t do as much as we, ex-consumers and now hybrid consumer-prosumer users, need. The kind of people who have “grown up” artistically with the HV camera in the last 2 years, needed a camera that’s at around $2000, and it does more than the $1300 HF-S10/S100 offers. But there’s nothing like this, because Canon really didn’t do their homework.


interloper wrote on April 17th, 2009 at 8:43 AM PST:

Canon did not do anything to work with the community.

If the user community feels this way, and feels as strongly about this as you do, then I have to ask this: What attempts, preferably concerted attempts, were made by said community to actively engage Canon? Say, calling sales reps, e-mailing, writing letters, etc.?

Discussions and arguments in forums are not even *remotely* as effective as directly contacting the company. Even if those forums are the number one stop for enthusiasts or the general consumer base, they will not garner anywhere near the attention that direct contact will.

I’m not saying this to try to point fingers or assign blame, or make excuses for Canon. Ideally, customers should *never* have to make the effort to reach out to a company, it should be the other way around.

But by contacting the company directly, you are giving product engineers and product management (and hopefully marketing/sales management as well, but sadly not always) solid feedback and justification they can use to go back to executive management with a business case, or to argue for new features or against cancellation.

Especially every e-mail or letter I have from an identifiable and contactable customer that says “I want one of your widgets that does X, Y, and Z. I would pay you $2,000 tomorrow for one” provides the ammunition needed to help make or combat such decisions.

If the community did this, and Canon still didn’t produce such a product, well then that sucks, and there’s not much else you can do. At the end of the day, executives presented with all the evidence still made the decision that it wasn’t profitable enough to do. You’ll just have to cross your fingers and hope conditions change in the near future to make such a product viable.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on April 17th, 2009 at 1:23 PM PST:

Yes, many of us have called Canon about these things, and about the 24p thing on HV20/30, which was the main thorn issue with these cameras. I personally have called 2-3 times and sent 2-3 emails to product directors too. I have given information about our community, and what kind of camera many of us need. No response, if I am to judge by the poor release of the HF-S10.


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