help @

A help-by-email service for Media PeopleAnnouncing a new service of help @

This is a service where the staff here at will endeavor to answer your Production, Post-Production and Distribution-related questions. Basically, if it has to do with anything in the media field, we’re going to give you our best answer.

For the time being, there is no set fee for this service. We ask that you donate an amount you think your answer is worth. We aren’t trying to get rich here, just spread knowledge we have about this new media stuff and share the wealth in that way. If you do find the answer useful, please consider compensating us for the time by donating what you can to our effort. Funds received will go directly back into to expanding the service we can provide and reducing the time it takes to get an answer.

To start with, we’ll answer some of the questions you may have about what this is all about:

Q: What is it, exactly?

A: An help-via-email service. You send an email to help @, a ticket will be automatically generated and our minions will set to work answering your issue. All messages between us refer to the ticket number, so we can easily track your issue and make sure it gets resolved. In the automated response to your initial question, you’ll get info on how to log on to our system and track your issue(s).

Q: What kinds of questions can someone submit?

A: The field is wide open. An attempt will be made to answer any reasonable question. Hopefully, your question will fall in the realm of media production – which is our best area, but we’ll try to answer whatever you ask. Anything from: how to get a digital file imported into an NLE? to How best to convert files for playback on YouTube!? to How do I get these P2 files backed up? We haven’t yet met a question we wouldn’t at least take a stab at answering, so bring ’em on.

Q: How much does this cost?

A: What is an answer worth to you? You get to decide how much you’d pay for the answer we deliver and better yet, you get to decide based on the quality of the answer. It is an honor-system, to a degree, but we think our answers are worthy of some renumeration, so we provide you with a chance to show us some love. Every message you get from us will have a link to our PayPal account, so you can donate however much you feel the answer was worth.

Q: Are you going to be, like, my personal tech support team?

A: How much are you sending us via PayPal? (wink, wink) While we would love to be able to be on-call, 24/7 for your productions, it just isn’t feasible at this time to offer that kind of turn-around or service. Maybe we will be able to offer that kind of service in the future – we’ll let you know as soon as we do. We will, however, respond to all initial questions within a few hours and make sure we have enough info. We will also give you an estimate as to the amount of time we think we’ll take to give you and decent answer. We make our best effort to answer all questions within 72 hours.

Q: Are you going to make fun of me by posting my question somewhere?

A: We will do our best to keep the questions and who asks them confidential. We do reserve the right to use or otherwise republish questions and answers to show off how awesome we are at answering this stuff, but we’ll ask your permission first and will 100% honor any requests to change names, dates, & places to protect the innocent.

Q: But, my problem is really serious and if I don’t get it solved in 1 hour then I’m gonna miss our deadline and we’ll get fired and I don’t know what I’m gonna do unless you drop everything and answer me right now!!!!???!!!!

A: OK…take a deep breath. While we wish that it doesn’t come to this, please understand, that (most of the time) we can’t help you in this situation. Think about what it would take to have that kind of support available. We’re talking retainer fees and phones staffed 24/7 and the Batmobile idling all the time. There is a possibility that your issue could be really simple for us (we’ve been up against a few deadlines before & we’re pretty good at pulling our own butts out of the fire). So even if you might not get an answer right away, take the few moments to send your issue to us. The asking is free. And often, we find that just taking a moment to formulate a question about a problem helps you get a better handle on what the problem may be & where best to attack it from.

Q: My computer won’t boot. Or the thingy doesn’t load when I press the whatchmacallit. Or how come I can’t get (a really large item) into this (really small box)?

A: There are a certain family of questions that we just can’t answer – we can guess, but that won’t help you in hour of need. This isn’t because we’re being mean to you, really. These questions just cover a really huge set of variables and would take a much greater volume of knowledge about your set up for us to even try to answer. We will be the first to tell you when you’re going beyond our scope. However, we have found that often the questions we might toss back to you help get us both onto some common ground and then we can begin to explore your issues and get you, at least, pointed in a direction that we hope will lead to an answer that will help. Generally, a good rule of thumb is: if it is a problem that Geek Squad could answer, then they’re probably your best choice. But, I dare you to take a fully-loaded MacPro with a BlackMagic Decklink card and a SATA drive array in to them and ask, “Can you help optimize this RAID to work with Uncompressed, 10-bit, HD?” That’s the kind of question we salivate over.

Q: I know Ben’s cell phone number and he’s always been there for me in the past…

A: Ben here: I can’t prevent friends from calling and asking for help, but be prepared for a 30-second commerical from me about the new service. I won’t cut anybody off. My hope is that folks will move over to this new service, mostly because of the benefits of the ticket system and a way to track the arc of question and answer.

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