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Doug Nelson 10-21-2011 02:51 PM

The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
I've got some serious thinking to do about the future of RetouchPRO LIVE.

RetouchPRO LIVE is more popular than it's ever been. My thanks to everyone for that continued support. I love doing the shows, and it warms my heart when I read the feedback about how much they're helping you.

But somehow the tail has ended up wagging the dog.

Most of the viewership has migrated to the rentals. I can appreciate how hard it can be to catch the live show, and how much simpler it is to simply watch a rental on your own schedule. Again, thank you for renting, I don't want to come off as ungrateful. And I'm not expecting anyone to attend in the middle of the night. But people who used to be able to attend live are now renting.

The purpose of RetouchPRO LIVE is to provide an opportunity for you to ask questions of a professional artist. That's why "live" is in caps, it's the most important part. It's never been intended as a tutorial. We're really only watching the artist's desktop to help inspire audience questions and demonstrate the answers.

With no audience questions you're pretty much stuck with whatever questions I can come up with, and after almost 100 of these shows I don't have a lot of questions in me anymore. I swear in a recent show it got so quiet I felt my soul leave my body as my mind desperately thrashed about for something to talk about.

If you include the rental volume, viewership is up overall. But the live viewership has dropped to the point where it's getting embarrassing for me to invite guest artists. I recently cancelled a show due to live viewer disinterest, though that same artist is very popular in the rentals.

So please, if you can, attend the live shows and ask questions. Even if you can't, try once in awhile. This is your chance to speak with Amy Dresser or Chris Tarantino or Ian Goode or any of the other guest presenters. Don't lose that opportunity.

John Wheeler 10-21-2011 04:14 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
Hi Doug
I agree that uping the live audience would be great. Yet it will still be impractical for others to attend. A supplemental approach in addition to uping the live audience might be to allow questions to be sent to you in advance. No promise that they would be asked with priority to the live audience yet they would be there to fill in the blank air or worst case for when live audience attendance is particularly low. That might cover for you having personally run out of questions. Just a thought.

skydog 10-21-2011 05:48 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
I've not been able to make many of the recent shows...not because I didn't want to but because of conflict with my schedule.

RobertAsh 10-22-2011 01:05 AM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
I think John's idea is great. You could post the presenters' demo images into a thread asking for questions, collect the questions and ask the presenter during or after the demo.

I'd recommend keeping the live feature, personally, unless it costs a lot of money. It's like the farmer told the preacher:
  • Preacher: It's only you here today, why have church services?
  • Farmer: Well, if only one cow came to me during feeding time I'd still feed her!
Typically if you set the right expectations with people they won't be disappointed. Just let the presenter know there might just be a few people but there are lots of questions from interested forum members.

plugsnpixels 10-22-2011 10:59 AM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
Back in the early '90s when working on my MA in Communications we discussed the concept of time-shifting (ie, taping a TV show to watch at a more convenient time). As recording technology improved and the audience became more fragmented, this became the norm.

Now, with the Internet, it seems even more odd to settle down to watch a show at a set time when you can go to ABC's website (for example) and watch at your convenience, starting and stopping as necessary.

And wasn't there talk about interactive TV? Whatever happened to that?

I know some plug-in developers have live webinars but even though I love my plug-ins I've never caught one because either I can't sit still long enough or have a short attention span or have to do other things at that time or whatever!

My point is, I think such factors are affecting LIVE. It's a great concept (like personal, remote seminars without the travel and hotel expense) but the bulk of the audience doesn't behave this way anymore. So perhaps John's suggestion is the best solution should you retain the live presention format.

Scott Kelby does The Grid live online (I think - I always just download it...). I wonder if whatever he's doing would help LIVE?

Doug Nelson 10-22-2011 01:50 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???

Originally Posted by plugsnpixels (Post 299362)
Scott Kelby does The Grid live online (I think - I always just download it...). I wonder if whatever he's doing would help LIVE?

Which part? Blatantly stealing ideas from his competitors? Or charging $100/yr for the right to be barraged with ads for his other products? Or building an empire by perpetuating the myth that there are "secrets" that if you knew would make your work "look like the pros, in 10 minutes or less"?

Sorry, bit of a sore subject there. But I know I can always count on at least one ticket sale so a Kelby intern can take notes.

Suffice it to say that one of the many inspirations behind RP LIVE was to fight the cookbook approach propagated by virtually every other resource out there.

And no good idea ever started with "why don't you copy...", though I'll admit many successful ideas start in just that way.

Doug Nelson 10-22-2011 02:12 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
Thanks to those who helped today's show by tweeting about it. You might be amazed by how few people even know RP LIVE exists, and every little bit of publicity helps.

Of the couple of dozen guest presenters we've had so far, I think only 2 had heard of before I contacted them (not counting the couple I drafted from these very forums).

plugsnpixels 10-22-2011 02:40 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
Now I'm just guessing Doug because I never actually watched an entire episode [;-)], but they seem to read live tweets or emails or some form of communication from the audience during the show. That is the only part I was referring to that might be of use to you.

And I know what you mean; NAPP members have been vocalizing the same thing lately.

I can help spread the word about RP LIVE on my Training page, etc. Send me a little blurb with info and a link and I'll add it to the top of that page and tweet it.

JVEyck309 10-22-2011 10:14 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
I do agree with John's post about submitting questions in advance as a way to fill in points of dead air.. Tonight was my first time actually participating in the live show. I have been into the forum here for the past month or so only learning about RPL recently.
However, I'd like to give you some encouragement doug.. Just because a lot of folks are renting doesnt necessarily mean that the LIVE aspect is dying. For examply tonight I watched Ian Goode's show LIVE.. But now I've been informed of previous shows which I can rent which I hadn't known about earlier like Steve's Caplins show just focusing on the Pen tool.
In other words, if you are noticing a big influx of rentals, perhaps it's just do to people slowly learning about RPL and exploring what they've missed and not necessarily a lack of interest in attending LIVE!
Don't get discouraged! At least I'm one guy who will definitely be attending future LIVE shows.. as long as you'll have them!

rui198000 10-23-2011 02:35 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
last night was my first live show "Movie Monsters" with Ian Goode and i thought it was great, a chance to ask your own questions will def be watching more live show

Dropt 10-24-2011 03:18 AM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
Honestly, I'd love to participate too but I can't because of schedule purpose. On saturday when I'm not working I'd rather spend the day out of the computer doing something else. Also The live shows are going too fast for me, one/week is quite too much for me, I know refer take the one I want and rent it.

iangoode 10-24-2011 12:21 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
Hey Doug (and everyone else)
This is a tough subject to respond to without it seeming like a stab at you since it is your site. Also, you set it up in a way that has a very dire tone and I've seen you take some comments a tad personally which made me almost not wat to respond. I'm going to write anyway because I feel like I have a few good suggestions and I would like to put up them up for reaction. Please take what I say as constructive suggestions that might help you elevate and expand your brand.

I'll get right too it—Unfortunately, I think the LIVE model is on its way out and the next step is to adapt to that. People have steered away from almost all "live" video and on demand is the way to go. I personally don't even have live television. I stream everything I watch.

I think your elevated number in rentals is a VERY good thing. You should treat the show as more of a podcast that is geared towards a certain group. You are always going to have the issue of people not being able to sign up for a live show because they have life happening. (me included) Plus, you have the fantastic problem of being popular around the world. The shows started at 2 pm my time which is what, 11 pm or Midnight in Europe? (I'm not one for math) There are only so many things that will have someone up at that time for 2 hours, and most of them involve alcohol. I say do more to enhance the non-live experience and watch your numbers shoot up more.

One of the biggest things to advance those numbers are, and I hate to say it, less long shows. One a week is kind of a lot. Maybe you could switch to 2 big shows a month and do a few "tips shows" maybe 5 or 10 minute segments that are free to the public on youtube or something that get you more users and viewers. For instance, I think one of Deit39 favorite parts of my show was learning about how I use the history palette. That was only about 2 minutes of my show and I said it in passing. Maybe find a way to ping retouchers for a tricks of the trade segment or something. Things we do to make PS work for us.

This is my last comment, but it's the most important. It solves your lack of questions issue and the issue of less live attendees. I think you should stop hosting shows. Not all of them, just some. Maybe see about having guest hosts. A retoucher sitting with a retoucher. I think that would be a much more interesting show then you sending out questions to a retoucher and you running out of things to say. If you reduce your shows down, this element could make the shows more valuable and really boost the rentals. If you look at general podcast numbers, you have millions of people tuning into a single podcast with two professionals just chatting about the industry. You could one-up those by having the same forum, but instead of just a audio track, you have one retoucher working and the other asking questions. I'll volunteer my time as a host and I'm sure others would as well.

All in all, I think RetouchPro is a great service. Just looking at the forum, you see that almost none of the threads are about the shows and if they are, no one responds to them. They are all looking for feedback in some way and information about the industry. "where can I find retouchers in London?" "which plug-ins should I use?" "What do you guys think about this?" Make the shows work with that model of what your site has become. RetouchPro is a close community of people who drop by and get some information they can't just google. They ask a question that is answered by a real person involved in something they are interested in. Two retouchers chatting could be the perfect fit for that.

CJ Swartz 10-24-2011 02:54 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
Ten dollars is a lot to spend for a webcast, and the value of renting and being able to watch/rewind for a period of time is simply a much better value. I've eliminated cable TV and use over-the-air antenna so that I can continue to afford the cost of internet. There are people who came to RetouchPRO who are NOT aspiring high-end retouchers (hence the popularity of the Art forum and the other forums) and are more interested in simply learning new strategies in Photoshop/Elements/etc. and in practicing their skills within the forums while sharing time with like-minded people. I now enjoy watching hours of free podcasts related to photography, ipads/ipods, and Photoshop/Lightroom as well as paying a relatively low subscription fee to Kelby training for many, many, many hours of educational videos from top-flight photographers plus some "normal" retouching tips. I'd rather watch David Ziser, Joe McNally, Moose Peterson, David Black, Cliff Mautner, Rick Sammon, Calvin Hollywood, Bill Fortney etc explain how to improve my photography than watch reality shows on television. Katrin Eismann, Bert Monroy, Taz Tally and others offer classes related to Photoshop and photos.

Google+ is filling fast with photographers - pros, enthusiasts, and hobbyists. I just updated someone's post who complained about RProLive not being available in Italy, but I don't see RetouchPro or Doug Nelson on Google+. Social media is supposed to be the key to spreading the word about a business, and I guess you see RetouchPro Live as part of your business, so consider marketing your business.

Janet Petty 10-27-2011 08:47 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
I've really liked the live shows and always take copious notes when I'm able to view one. But life and a job are getting in the way of shows; and that has slowed me down considerably for the last several months.

I would like to see the format changed somewhat. Other posts have addressed many excellent ways to do that. Some things I'd like to see (not necessarily in order of importance): 1. A video podcast that can be stopped and started at will. 2. A better method of "meeting". One gets really tired of all the citrix glitches. Seriously. 3. Guest moderators. 4. Being able to view the presenter and not just hear a disembodied voice(s). 5. The Q&As without the person's name being mentioned. I know that sometimes I feel put on the spot if I ask a question. And often, I ask a question even though I might already know the answer just to hear the response or have a cloudy point clarified for someone else. I also can['t type fast enough to have the question reach the presenter in a timely manner. Thus, questions are often way too late in relating to when the were actually asked & the subject has passed in the process.

I have to applaud presenters who have downloadable PDFs. Those notes have made the viewing more valuable. I'm not scrambling to take notes while fearing that I might miss something, writing it down wrong, or pausing to type questions. Even a basic outline would help those of us who take notes. I for one am not going to remember everything in detail a week or a month from the actual presentation. Those notes are essential.

Again, I believe the shows are very beneficial and have taken many of them. I would not like to see them pass into the ether for lack of "attendance". And at $10.00 they are way cheaper than the $$$$ that some other sites charge for their videos.


SteveB2005 12-13-2011 01:49 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
Doug, I love that we have this "Retoucher's University" Live and as a renter option. I am usually not available for the live events and have to use the rental show. But I understand your concern about the live interaction function being so important. Just my thought here. steve

JoReam 01-05-2012 04:34 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
I really enjoy the Retouch Pro live seminars I have attended and I personally would be sad to see live shows go. I subscribe to notifications about the live shows and this is the single most important way I find out about what is happening (maybe something that could be added in your promotions? I don't know). I think the shows are reasonably priced (NZ$ is worth less than US$) and having the two time frames means that I can at least catch one either really late at night or early morning Sunday (in other words its possible to catch a show even when you live down under). Also I have been able to access information and training that I couldn't get where I live - that is the wonderful power of the net - so thank you.
The ability to submit questions online or ask questions while the session is going is probably the main advantage of the live maybe that is a point that needs emphasized a little more.
For those who cannot make a session due to other circumstances, and that has happened to me, the ability to file questions in advance is a good suggestion and may help you when you are stuck for questions.....and I think if you let people know you need help with this to make a really good show then I think people will do this - maybe as a suggestion you could advertise in advance saying I need X amount of questions before running this show???

Andrew B. 01-05-2012 08:28 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???

Originally Posted by Doug Nelson (Post 299339)
So please, if you can, attend the live shows and ask questions. Even if you can't, try once in awhile. This is your chance to speak with Amy Dresser or Chris Tarantino or Ian Goode or any of the other guest presenters. Don't lose that opportunity.

Could you solicit questions from members before the show? And then just have the artist answer them, in addition to any from people who show up.

jesterjeni 01-12-2012 08:41 AM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
1 Attachment(s)
what about a "free download" with a paid "live" attendence? you get the best of both worlds!....
due to the geographics , and the time differential it is much simpler just to rent. live is great if you can have an interactive classroom. the economy here is not great, I am always finding myself in utube looking for free tutorials because thats all I can afford right now. but with so many different time zones it would be odd to wake up at 2am to watch something live..knowing I would have to be up at 5am to get the kids ready for school

Fog 01-21-2012 10:10 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
I'm just reading this thread for the first time, but as far as I can tell the LIVE shows are still going up. —GOOD!

I am rarely able to schedule uninterrupted time to catch them live myself, but I have appreciated the unpredictable and diverse questions at all levels from those who do. It makes viewing them as rentals much more informative. I definitely prefer the live format even if only a few questions make it in.

I will throw in a few suggestions as others have:

-Having another retoucher hosting/interviewing the "performing" retoucher sounds like a really great idea. Doug, you must seriously have your hands full producing, monitoring questions, listening to the guest and following their spontaneous thinking, etc.—simultaneously. I'm impressed. (Not to mention everything else you must do at RetouchPro.) Why not perhaps produce and field questions, and bring in Carrie Beane to share her curiosities about Chris Tarantino's or Amy Dresser's choices and technique as they work? I think Amy, and frankly most of the guests I've seen, could offer lively interaction and an excellent variety of perspectives on the moment-to-moment decisions that make up another pro's workflow. That's what so valuable about the live format. I see some good, but differing opinions on similar issues I'd love to see dialogued.

-Don't drop the live format! Their are thousands of tutorials out there and inevitably the forethought nature of making them in a thought vacuum leaves out the most demystifying elements of the actual work of retouching. Live interaction/interjection teases out exactly what a retoucher does best—so intuitively that it would never occur to them to mention it on their own.

-A setting shot, even just at beginning or end, would help humanize the experience as well. Seeing a retoucher and his or her workspace and set-up briefly can be surprisingly informative.

-Yes, Kelby's NAPP business model leaves much to new desired and that is reflected in the quality of his materials. RetouchPro webinars have exposed me to more genuinely high end retouching realities than any other resource on the web, in print, or at a crowded NAPP seminar.

Anyway, thanks for all the great shows. I especially enjoyed Erik Hattram's Prime Minister show. He has some really solid subtle techniques for building a high quality image.


Deanster 01-25-2012 07:57 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???

Originally Posted by Doug Nelson (Post 299339)
I swear in a recent show it got so quiet I felt my soul leave my body as my mind desperately thrashed about for something to talk about.

Doug, don't take this the wrong way but IMO I think that you talk too much in these videos anyway. I've rented several of the videos and in every single one I thought that you talked excessively. If you're doing an interview, I can see that you feel the need to talk at every moment where there is a space to speak. But if you've invited an artist to teach their craft, please give them the space to do that. Ask a few questions and then pull your mic and let them fly solo for a while. Then jump back in with a few questions and then pull your mic again. No need to continuously blabber on and on and on.

I watch live web-presentations all the time from companies like Nik, Wacom and others. None of their hosts feel the need to talk as much as you do. They introduce the artist and then they let the artist run the show. They'll jump in here & there with a question but for the most part they keep their mouth's shut. As someone who is there to watch, learn and listen to the artist, I can appreciate that approach.

Other than that, I have to agree with one of the earlier posters who talked about social media. In this day and age, companies who have a handle on social media are the ones who'll do well - especially small businesses. You should either learn about all the social media possibilities that exists or hire someone to take care of that for you. If people don't know that you exists, they won't come.

Happy New Year Doug! Here's hoping that RetouchPro prospers in 2012!!!


gc0067 01-26-2012 09:17 AM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
Just joined Retouch Pro and looking forward to attend future web casts!

cricket1961 03-25-2012 12:36 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
Quite frankly I'd never even thought about this Janet. I'm sure that others are providing this and that its helpful. This is good info for me to think about providing for my next LIVE show.



Originally Posted by Janet Petty (Post 299597)

I have to applaud presenters who have downloadable PDFs. Those notes have made the viewing more valuable. I'm not scrambling to take notes while fearing that I might miss something, writing it down wrong, or pausing to type questions. Even a basic outline would help those of us who take notes. I for one am not going to remember everything in detail a week or a month from the actual presentation. Those notes are essential.


Merqury69 10-31-2015 03:26 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
I love the live shows - that opportunity as you watch if you haven't quite understood something to ask a question is so valuable. I also like the idea of posing questions in advance (although I am sure this would add to your workload and you do so much already).
Generally shows for me mean getting up at stupid o'clock in the morning, but it is worth it and I think it is also up to your community of patrons to help spread the word to others.

joer 10-31-2015 06:58 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
I enjoy and value your live shows, and hope they will continue. But the Saturday shows are sometimes difficult for me to schedule because there are just so many other things competing for my time. I try to squeeze your shows in anyway sometimes to the dismay of my family simply because I've learned so much from them.

Anyway, with my experience in mind, I wonder if it might be helpful to survey your members to determine the optimum day and time for your show?

JoReam 10-31-2015 07:18 PM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
Love the live shows and try to watch them when I can. Its great you also put them up on Your tube afterwards and that you have the longer tapes to they also have lots of really useful information.

Thanks to all your speakers - the live element of watching some one work and seeing their setup is really valuable.

Pamela027 11-01-2015 07:07 AM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
I like the live shows.. !!

JoanEG 11-01-2015 10:07 AM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
As the banner on the site reminds me, I've not posted before, however I recently have watched as many of the live webinars as I could, and it IS possible to multitask, especially if you have two monitors. I often like to work side by side with the webinar, and I try to ask questions. I like the informal venue, the professionalism, and so I became a patron. And I will donate more than the minimal fee asked. Whether or not I use the skills everyday on what I am learning, I always come away with a new skill, idea or possibility.
For that I thank you.

ray12 11-05-2015 09:19 AM

Re: The End of RetouchPRO LIVE???
Ive been to a few live shows. I have to set a clock timer for 40 minutes before show starts so I REMEMBER TO COME...and even then I often get distracted away by some issue or attention grabber.

I love that they are on You Tube...I have watched more delayed broadcasts than live...because its on my own TIMETABLE on some OTHER DAY. We have become a nation of time-shifters!!

DOUG, I hear ABC, NBC and CBS all have the same agnst...Why are my live (news + specials) ratings down? 2-3% share of households for a major production??? They advertise the show and still people are coming home late from soccer, being too tired that day, a wife wants to talk, time is wrong, my kids need a story etc

People are renting because they are willing to pay to have the training available at their own convenience (after the kids have been in bed for over an hour) I can concentrate on MY STUFF!

People want training on demand, on the subjects they need right now, they want to pick and choose... How about 11pm on Wednesday night...Nope. Then its gotta be 9:14pm on Sunday night...finally got a few free moments...I have to scrub the video some...dont have time for the full show...ill take small tidbits of good info...this retouching thing is a hobby you know!!! Takes 6th billing right after my boss, my wife, my kids, my sanity, my favorite show, my ability to to absorb etc...

Dont be in agnst at your Live Ratings and the great material you do with 3 live viewers...more of us will see it in time shifted version and really still enjoy the content...when we are ready for it. I wasnt really needy about last weeks subject...but when that subject comes up in a project im working on... I will find it... and I will watch most of it!! Gosh...I wish it had a table of contents by time and subject...then I could get what I N E E D ... from 20:15 to 35:06


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