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Camera Gear Reviews and Marketing Issues Exposed

A great overview by Gerald Undone on his experiences in the field of camera gear related videos! It is an important topic. The more open the better, I’d say.

After over 13 years making photography and videography gear videos, I’ve not had a huge amount of success comparatively, but I’ve also never been especially brand safe to begin with for these companies to consider me. 🤣 I think his mentions toward the end of the video are especially important. The unwritten pressure, or worse with companies like Insta360, shouldn’t be acceptable and should be publicly called out more often. That’s probably the only way things will actually change for the better.

I created a video detailing my opinion on the topic further:

More of my comments on the video…

4:30 I understand that’s what Gerald does, but are there situations where companies are paying for flights and hotel costs of other reviewers with the expectation of a video/article being produced? (EDIT: I’ve seen confirmation that companies pay for the flight and hotel in some instances, though there might not be an actual agreement that a video will be produced in return. But it goes back to the idea of unsaid pressure from brands).

I would like to see more disclosures. The same for long term gear loans which basically mean returning the gear once it is irrelevant. I’ve never understood the perceived harm from prominently disclosing these things directly in the video. Why would the viewer understanding the situation be scary? The goal is to provide information to them.

I enjoy the press trip videos as entertainment, but I’d prefer to watch videos where someone is sent loaner gear. I’d get more value out of that too. Loaner gear is good and should be more accessible to video creators as long as companies don’t play the same who gets what games they appear to do when reviewers mention flaws they find in their equipment. According to Gerald and Lee Zavitz, Sony is one of the more reasonable brands here.

I’d honestly be fine with video creators receiving money for production costs as long as it is disclosed and that money is shown to be used in the video for rentals and other expenses. Giving video creators resources isn’t a bad thing when it can be used to demonstrate what a piece of equipment can do. That said, it needs to be prominently disclosed in those cases so viewers understand it’s a feature/overview and not a review.

I also find these press trips an odd arrangement because the value of the flight/hotel seems like it would be taxable, at least in the USA, if there is expectation of a video/article being produced in return. That’s the case when “free” product is sent to me when it isn’t a loaner piece of gear that needs to be returned. I’m financially in the hole when I produce feature/overview type videos like that. My terms I send companies more often than not end up in me being ghosted. Too many people are willing to sacrifice control of what is said and shown in videos.

My company collaboration terms are public for that specific type of video:

Camera companies should be open to and offer more people of various audience sizes loaner equipment. I think that would be more effective for both sides than one big initial marketing push these embargo videos seemingly provide. I often don’t even take notice of when the gear is actually purchasable in the meantime. The more people that get access to the gear the better. Viewers would benefit and more video based reviewers would too.

13:00 The marketing sides of companies are comically out of touch a lot of the time. Especially bad when they appear to have some say in features that cameras receive. That Lumix marketing preapproved title thing they asked of Gerald is crazy. They don’t understand YouTubers need to have click-able titles and they don’t understand it’s not going to hurt a viewer’s potential interest in their products. Not to mention it’s ethically wrong for the brand to ask for that.

You’d think companies could focus more on producing a really good well-rounded product instead of trying to tippy toe around with marketing as their extreme risk adverse shield. If it’s a good piece of equipment then that will show in videos. Let the potential customer decide by providing as much information as possible, both good and bad from the video creator’s perspective and opinion.

These marketing departments act like the end user won’t notice issues once they buy the thing of they aren’t told beforehand. The goal should be a happy customer, so punishing reviewers or trying to control public information is such an odd perspective that these companies appear to often have. I don’t get it. An informed customer would be less likely to return a product.

(Hey camera companies, please contact me if you are interested in offering loaner equipment! As long as you provide some type of accident insurance to me so that I’m not financially liable in cases of accidents/theft, then I’d be glad to take a look at most types and brands of equipment related to photography and videography. If you can’t provide insurances about accidents then I might be open to your moderately valued equipment on loan as I’d be able to cover the cost of accidents in those cases. The email address is “info” at this website’s domain name)