“Did Rosenblum Abandon Us?”


Nice guy Kevin Johnson has been running a lovely website for professional cameramen for years called b-roll.net.

About 5 years ago, I was invited to participate on the site in a discussion about a rumor that ‘Ivan’ had heard about reporters carrying their own cameras. I was happy to visit and give my opinions.

A lot of time has elapsed since that first thread. And a lot of discussions.

Today, the VJ is pretty much a given in newsrooms from Network News to local news to newspapers and certainly video online. What was once unthinkable is today very thinkable, if a bit unpalatable to oldtime cameramen.

How times have changed.

I tend to think now that the VJs will percolate into the networks and local tv news ops in an ever growing trickle. We tried to go cold turkey and build full fledged VJ stations. They will come in time. Meanwhile, the skill and the craft continue to grow.

About 6 months ago, I simply grew tired of the endless and sometimes rather nasty berating on B-roll. While I have a great deal of respect for some of the members of the b-roll team, others I could certainly live without. Like all organizations, they come in all stripes. Make no mistake, some of them are among the most professional camera people in the business and they take their craft very seriously. Others, however, simply abusive wannabes.

About 6 months ago, I figured that I had overstayed my welcome – if there ever was a welcome. If I recall correctly, our pal Nino about 4 years ago invited me to leave the site entirely, telling me I was not welcome there. Well, times change and our opinions mellow, and after 5 years, I had simply had enough.

Now, ironically, it seems they miss me.

Today, they are running a thread entitled “Did Rosenblum Abandon Us?”

Really, I am touched.

Truly I am.

I am down in DC doing yet another TC Academy. I was gonna write about that today, but this rather touches my heart.

Fear not boys. I am still very much alive and kicking… with more surprises to come.

Trust me.

I got a lot of years ahead of me yet.

And we’ll always be friends.

Even if I don’t post on your site.


18 responses to ““Did Rosenblum Abandon Us?”

  1. I’m sure you remember your George Bernard Shaw:

    Those who can – do
    Those who can’t – teach
    Those who can’t teach – teach others to teach
    Those who can’t teach others to teach – criticize those who can

  2. “Those who can’t teach….teach gym”
    -Woody Allen

  3. Michael wrote:
    Really, I am touched.

    Michael, before you get all chocked-up, read on what the poster that felt abandoned had to say:
    “I merely used the word abandoned as a verb for the site itself…..he used to be all over this thing spouting his rhetoric but since the trouble….vanished. Perhaps I didn’t quite fully explain what I meant in my orginal thread post.”

    Then you wrote:
    “If I recall correctly, our pal Nino about 4 years ago invited me to leave the site entirely, telling me I was not welcome there.”

    Michael, either you have a very overactive imagination or you memory start playing tricks on you. I never said that I want you off B-roll, what for; I was having a ball calling all your lies. It was another poster only 2 months ago and not four years ago.

    10-09-2007, 11:06 PM
    Senior Member Join Date: Dec 2002
    Posts: 609

    Originally Posted by csusandman
    …PLEASE! Take a hint, there’s been only a million or so: Nobody here likes you. Nobody here likes, or cares about, your VJ crap. Nobody here likes to hear you toot your own horn about this “concept” of yours. Everytime you post, everyone here either ignores you or blasts you for “…beating a dead horse”. We don’t want to hear it, yet you continue to subject us to your nonsense.

    Just… Freakin’… STOP.

    You know what?
    You are right.
    see ya…

    If you recall you sent me a PM (or e-mail) about a year ago wondering why all the hostility against you and I simply replied that you brought it upon yourself. Your first post on B-roll was arrogant and cocky. You started with “Boys” and went downhill from there. You told us that we were finished, we were dinosaurs, out methods of production were a thing of the past, either join your VJ revolution, meaning hand you $2500 for your course or we’ll be out of business in two years because VJ will be dominating the broadcasting industry. What were you expecting that we do, throw roses at you? Mind you that you had no plans for the web or newspapers back then, these were add on after your broadcasting projections went nowhere. Five years went by since those early projections of yours. WE are still in business doing better than ever and you are still trying to convince people that you are the real thing.

    I told you that you made a major mistake with this entire VJ thing of yours. It could have been a good thing but you let your arrogance get the best of you. You insisted that this was a better way to do production and you’ve been spending years trying to prove that. Maybe you thought that broadcasters are all bunch of dummies too. It takes very little experience to see that quality is not even close. The only ones that you could fool were people like Cliff. I told you that you should have introduced as a new method and not as a better replacement. Anyone that has a little knowledge can see that its not better and that sends your credibility right down the drain. As something new it would have had the change to work it’s way into mainstream production and had nothing to prove but everything to gain.

    Too bad

  4. At some point it becomes an excercise in futility.

    I can see why MR left B-Roll. The debate was getting circular.

    The “either this” or “that” debate was frustrating many readers.

    It should not have been presented as “this is the right way, or the only way.”

    It is a pure fact that video journalism is being revolutionized, by technological advances. Its a fact. It’s also a fact that the internet has allowed and now demanded that video be produced. That has opened up doors….floodgates actually. Michael is on top of that wave. He is definately leading the way – teaching and preaching about the need to adjust. He has produced cable and network programming. He is a veteran. He is just working with the new style of video journalism.

    Many are working with the old style, crews, large cameras, and production budgets. Many television stations still operate with large format cameras and lenses, and reporter/camera crews.

    It’s no surprise to me….that BOTH ways of producing content are viable. And will continue to be. People just need to be smarter…because the gravy train isn’t running anymore for networks. They need to adjust. Some are incorporating small VJ approaches to storytelling. They should. Yet they should also continue to produce higher quality Craft work, with higher quality cameras, and specialists in their respective fields.

    There are always debates. There are always going to be the “polar opposites.” The debate with MR and Nino … is still going on…just not on B-Roll. It’s now here.

    Michael, I believe, has admitted taking too strong of an approach – with rhetoric and hyperbole in the past. Have those on the other end of the hyperbole also admitted it? Because I believe there were also people who have said the VJ approach would never last. (I don’t keep records.) But certainly the VJ approach is real. It may not have worked full fledged in some newsrooms….but certainly the times are changing.

    Today, I cover Mitt Romney campaigning. Tonight, I go to see Van Halen, with the original lead singer, D.L. Roth. Times change. What that has to do with this topic….I haven’t figured it out yet. But I probably could come up with a spiffy analogy. Who cares. Tonights going to be a blast. Priorities.

  5. Then again, perhaps Michael was kicked out of the band?
    Maybe, like David Lee Roth…. he should reunite? Put behind the bickering, and get together again with B-Roll for old times sake?

    I knew there was a Van Halen analogy in there somewhere.

  6. EB wrote:
    “He is definitely leading the way – teaching and preaching about the need to adjust.”

    Adjust what Eric?
    Have you looked at any of the VJ videos? The only adjustment that I can think is that I have to forget 98 % of what I know in order to get down to the VJ level. Eric, do you know of any photographer who doesn’t know how to use a toy camera and a laptop? Do you seriously think that established photographer can not come up with those cheese stories? Nobody does it because there’s no money in it. Put some $$$ in it and they all become VJs in a heartbeat. This VJ stuff is first day of school. We are market driven, to succeed you don’t get ready for the lowest level, you learn and aim for the top and take everything in between. Lately just about every job that I do is also for the web in addition to broadcasting, I don’t do anything different, the true success of the web is not because of new ventures looking for video but established entities who now also have another outlet for their products, they are the ones that needed to adjust and they did, wasn’t very difficult. Name recognition and upfront quality is what makes them successful on any front and this is why most new ventures created strictly for the web without any other major affiliations fail. For us the transition was transparent. We are however more valuable to our clients than ever because the added outlets and distribution make our services a considerably better value. And the beauty is that we had nothing to do with all this, it was all our clients doing it.

    Anyway, about all this work and all this unlimited potential, can anyone actually show any web site that has been paying for independently produced VJ videos? Or any web site that has been hiring independent VJ photographers to produce videos for the web?

  7. Nino,

    You make good points.

    The adjustment I am talking about…. is to the economic changes that have and will continue to affect our industry….due to the technological advances which allows anyone to publish video.

    Video content is expanding. Yet there are still only 24 hours in a day, and so much ad revenue.

    If you are unaware of the advertising revenue streams…which are currently being spread thinner and thinner…then you are putting your head in the sand.

    I don’t think you are unaware. You simply have established yourself, and have a niche…and will continue to ride the wave you are on.

    And yes… I have always said… that BOTH ways of producing video content will have a market. You are in the top tier. You could say (you have said) that VJs are in the bottom tier.

    BOTH will have a place. The top tier will charge more, because of their investment, and their talent, and the higher ratings of the companies they do work for.

    You speak for yourself, and your dynamic, your business, and your level of talent and client base.

    You are not competing with VJs.

    Yet… there are many television stations, newspapers, websites, who need to adjust to lower viewerships, fractionalized advertising, competition from upstarts, etc…

    It’s just the beginning.

    At our TV station, we are now inviting user generated content for the web. For free. Websites and newspapers, etc… are putting up low quality video for free, or for little pay. Newspapers invite citizens to post stories and still pics…for free.

    Ignoring these changes, isn’t smart, is it? Adjustments may need to be made. Plans certainly need to be made.

  8. SSDD Nino – Blah Blah Blah.

    I find it ironic you recommend Michael leave b-roll, yet you have no problems coming here to voice your particular POV ad nauseum – which doesn’t align with those who have chosen to align themselves with the new VJ’ism that is gaining momentum.

    So I’ll put out the recommendation: Why don’t you leave since you have made it redundantly clear that your perspective is not in alignment with what is presented on this site.

    Of course I personally doubt that happening since you’ve taken the position of the “all knowing all seeing wizard of oz of the VJ profession” and we have to see things your way because we’re misguided in this new way of shooting and delivering video content. Your ego won’t allow you to just sit and observe.

    The more I read your rants, the more I smile knowing how much your ego controls your narrow world view – and your responses.

    It doesn’t matter what you believe or say, I seriously doubt anyone who frequents this site is going to change their position on the new VJ paradigm that’s taking place by reading your constant adolescent diatribes.

    So pretty much the only person you’re convincing with your position is yourself.

    I look forward to reading more of your one person discussions promoting your perspective on shooting video.

    It makes for entertaining reading.

  9. Cliff, you need to read a little better.

    Nino never told Michael Rosenblum to leave even though the fairy tale fits Michael Rosenblum’s need to play the vicitim and falsly accuse someone of something they didn’t do.

  10. Michael – I just notice your sign about removing personal insults from your blog.

    I understand we all get busy – so I would like to offer to do it for you. If I start now I should have it completed by Valentines day.

    Does $2000 sound fair?

  11. eb – I was typing my previous response as you posted yours and you have stated it quite clearly.

    The challenge I have with the self-righteous attitude from posters like Nino is they seem to come across as being too good for anyone else when it has been stated in several ways and different times that there is more than one type of shooter – yet Nino, $ and others seem to enjoy pontificating about how great their type of shooting is and that all others are a joke.

    That is the issue I have with this perspective.

    I don’t believe anyone has said that there won’t be a place for the upper echelon type shooters – but it seems that the detractors don’t like the idea of the Solo VJ paradigm – which I still haven’t figured out why other than the notion that it might cut into their over inflated profit margins eventually (which it might very well once the Solo VJ paradigm goes through its birthing pangs and we develop a solid work flow methodology that is time & cost efficient).

    Dneying there is no such thing as internet broadcasting is laughable at best – TV stations havent got a clue on how to contend with thinning ad revenue – yet they persist in doing business as usual instead of being at the cutting edge of content delivery via the net. Newspapers are kicking their butts and they know it – newspapers are usurping the territory that was once the domain of TV – and they are doing it better and for less money – deny it all you want, entities like the Washington Post do this better than any traditional broadcast outlet that I have seen so far.

    Burying ones head in the sand is the worst thing one could be doing to maintain a competitive edge in this field. Shooters like Nino have established themselves already – but the arrogance of seeing things differently as being deluded is just another egoic mind game on their part to somehow self deludingly appear to be superior to the rest of us.

    It’s that very thing that comes back to bite you in the butt when you least expect it.

  12. Hey Peter
    Thanks for the offer, but you should see the stuff I edit out!! 😉

  13. EB wrote:
    “The adjustment I am talking about…. is to the economic changes that have and will continue to affect our industry….due to the technological advances which allows anyone to publish video.
    Video content is expanding. Yet there are still only 24 hours in a day, and so much ad revenue.
    If you are unaware of the advertising revenue streams…which are currently being spread thinner and thinner…then you are putting your head in the sand.”

    So Eric, what do you suggest we do to get ready for all these changes? I could have 98% of my brain removed surgically so my skill level would be the same as a VJ. The truth is that there’s not a damn thing that we can do, we are at the mercy of the industry. If during your career you have diversified your skills then you are ready for anything that comes your way; if you are a VJ and you only know how to do one thing then wait and see what happen, if the one thing that you know so well does not happen then you are screwed. Do you think that this is the first change that I’ve seen in my 38 years career? This business goes in 7 years cycles, meaning that there’s something new happening every 7 years. I started my career with film and editing with knives and glue, today I work and edit with High Definition cameras and computers. If one day all video work will only offer $300 a day then I can go along or quit. In any event $300 or $3000 I can do it both or anything in between. Michael has been preaching his gospel for over five years and nothing has happen yet. Business is all a matter of supply and demand. He is the only one in the history of modern business that is creating supply for a non existing demand under the notion that one day it will happen. It would be like hundred years ago people learning to be drivers in anticipation of somebody creating automobiles, or starting police academies in anticipation of someone one day committing crimes; doesn’t work that way. The demand comes first and the supply follows. In this case however the supply is already abundant even before the VJ; every educated photographer in this country with diversifies skills can become a VJ on the dime if the demand happens, but it hasn’t yet and take my word, it will happen but not in the way that everybody here is anticipating. Trust me, if a web site can not afford to pay $1000 for a photographer, they can not afford $500 either.

    The same argument that Michael makes about when 20 years ago we only had five TV channel for 200 millions people, and now we have 200 channels spreading the same audience thin, the same argument also goes for the web, how about 5 million channels for 200 millions people. Do you seriously think that the public will waste time searching for a site that shows VJ videos? Good sites are already here NOW and doing very well. Here in Tampa we have TBO.com “Tampa Bay OnLine” It’s a local web site that combine the local daily paper and a local TV station. It happens to be my home page too. Every morning I check the local news that also includes the traffic, weather and other items of local interest. I then check regional and then world news. I can even get discount coupons from local business. I can read the news from the newspaper section or see videos from the TV. They have a solid advertiser base as they package the 3 media together. Bottom line is that they have a good site and they did not use any VJs at all. This is not unique, there are 4 more similar sites in this market and equally popular, there are also hundreds more unaffiliated sites that nobody looks at them. Frankly I can’t visualize many people getting up in the morning and go looking at the web for some VJ clip of Afghanistan.

  14. Cliff, do you realize that you never posted anything intelligent or useful to anyone? All you do is complaint, you must be the only man with chronic PMS, get a life man. If you would spend as much time learning this trade as you do bitching about other people you could be working for National Geographic by now. If you don’t understand the discussion just ask, I can always draw little pictures for you.

  15. Anyone yet?

    Anyway, about all this work and all this unlimited potential, can anyone actually show any web site that has been paying for independently produced VJ videos? Or any web site that has been hiring independent VJ photographers to produce videos for the web?

  16. Michael, Cliff, anything yet?

    “Anyway, about all this work and all this unlimited potential, can anyone actually show any web site that has been paying for independently produced VJ videos? Or any web site that has been hiring independent VJ photographers to produce videos for the web?”

    Just as I thought, talk, talk and more talk, more projections and even more excuses, and not a shade of substance behind it.

  17. Nino,

    I will give you this website mediastorm. org

    I know Brian Storm. This might not be what you are looking for as an example…but check it out.

    Again, I think BOTH levels will succeed. The new VJ movement is in fact…. a new revolutionary technological change that will in fact change the economics and dynamics of the media delivery.

    Will you still do HD work? Absolutely. I also shoot HDXD Cam. Will VJs get jobs…shooting for newspapers, TV stations, websites? Absolutely.

    This circular arguement is silly, I think.

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