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Ignoring standards

First of all let me declare that this is a rant, based on my very recent utterly bitter experiences in the post production audio industry, mainly locally in Hungary. Because of obvious reasons I won’t mention any specific names, nor companies.

Standards are not evil

Our industry has standards. And frankly, there are very serious reasons for this. These standards help us to do our daily work, be compatible with any other fellow engineer or company no matter how far away they might be from us. We can always argue over some minor issues or minute details, but I think it is fair to say that most of our standards are extremely beneficial to our job, they give us the opportunity to provide high quality end result no matter what genre or type of production we are working on.

Obviously these things are not just born out of thin air. Every rule we have to follow or adhere to has a very long and very well thought out grow-up path. Enormous amount of research and thought go into one specific thing, many very talented and professional expert spend countless ours over one standard. After the planning, pondering, re-planning, developing, testing and checking period there are two paths. One is to drop the whole project, the second is when this diligent work formed together and a real professional standard is born out this dauntingly long process.
Only to summarise this: standards are born after very meticulous work of some very talented professionals and companies.

And this is the reason we (almost all of us) are relying on them, use them in our every day life in work. It has nothing to do with any personal flavour. I mean one don’t have to like any of these, but if a person would like to work in this (or any other) industry, then he/she must use the given standards.

Being unorthodox?

While I thought, maybe too optimistically, that these things are not complicated, it still seems to me that even in 2013 some people and/or company think that these are just some foggy guideline and they can ignore any of it whenever they choose to. Use whatever DAW, file format, delivery method, channel order, etc. they like, and honestly be surprised when the recipient is stamping your delivered hodgepodge with a big REFUSED stamp.

Even worse, these self-appointed candidates take the refusal as some sort of ad-hominem attack, and they feel the need to start a huge carpet bombing against anyone who try to convince them to adhere to the well-known international standards. They try to list all their half-truth assumption to prove their point. Even willing to call you an utter idiot as you (obviously) not share their point of view.

To be more specific, the post audio industry is almost completely based on Pro Tools. Like it or not, this is a fact. When you’re getting involved in high budget production: TV, Film, Music, etc. you simply cannot avoid Pro Tools. It’s very likely that at some point of the production the audio will meet this industry standard DAW. Before we go on: you don’t have to like this, but this remains a fact.
If you collaborate, if you need to deliver, if you need to be compatible, if you want to work at different places and facilities you must know and use Pro Tools. Yes, even if you think you have a better idea or some shinny new DAW. As long as you’re not send your project to another place or don’t collaborate with others, use whatever you wish, but if you want to be in this industry, use what the majority use.

The same with file formats, naming conventions, certain workflows. Frankly no one cares about your genius ideas. Got a spec sheet? Deliver the material exactly as asked. It is not rocket science.

The point is, if you’re ignoring the standards, you’re ignoring the industry and your fellow engineers, but then prepared to be ignored. I’ve seen so many self-proclaimed geniuses ridiculed, and finally ignored because they thought that their idea is the only truth in the world. Well, bad news for them, the vast majority is very happy with our standards and not interested in some bloody unorthodox ideas. And finally no, I absolutely don’t believe the nonsense that Avid payed huge money to the engineers to say something nice about their DAW. Don’t try to prove that all the Grammy, Oscar, Emmy, etc. winner engineer is only a payed dummy who would say what they told. Not willing to abide by the rules – to put it at its mildest – is ignorant negligence.

Rant over, go on, record, edit and mix.