The Wolfcrow Review Framework

This document and video explains the Wolfcrow.com gear and software review framework. First, the video:

What is a review?

There are many kinds of reviews:

  • ‘hands-on review’,
  • ‘first-impressions review’,
  • ‘first-look review’,
  • ‘quick review’
  • ‘product’ or ‘expert review’
  • ‘consumer review’
  • ‘puff piece’ and so on.

 
What do I mean when I say ‘review’? Here is how I define a review:

A critical analysis of a product or service’s capabilities against pre-defined goals

This means, a review is always more practical and beneficial to you if you know:

  • What I’m testing it for – the goals. E.g., if I’m reviewing a camera for wedding videographers, then documentary filmmakers must note it’s not for them.
  • What my own confidence level is – how much of it is BS according to myself? This is subjective at best, but at least you know what parameters I operated under. You either believe me or you don’t. I put my cards on the table using the star rating system (below).

 

The rating system

My reviews are always going to be critical reviews. Every review that is not critical (If I ever feel the need to do them) will be a non-critical review. Here’s how they score:

  • Critical review – the one you should pay attention to. I give this 1 point.
  • Non-critical review – don’t take this one seriously. I give this 0 points.

 
Either I take sufficient time to conduct thorough experiments with the gear to evaluate its performance or I don’t. From this, I get three confidence levels:

  • Complete – the best I can do in this life and time. I give this 2 points.
  • Overview – didn’t do very well or didn’t spend the right amount of time with the product or service. I give this 1 point.
  • Experiments did not yield conclusive results. 0 points.

 
The rating is the total of the two parameters. The best being 3, and the worst is 0.

Judge a review like this:

  • A critical (1) and complete (2) review, the best possible, gets 3 stars.
  • A critical (1) overview (1) gets 2 stars.
  • A non-critical and complete review isn’t possible.
  • A non-critical overview gets 1 star.
  • A critical review with inconclusive results gets 1 star. Treat it like a non-critical overview.
  • A 0 star review isn’t possible.

 
So, should you buy that camera if my review is 2 stars? I don’t know, that’s where your belief in my review comes into the picture. The star system isn’t intended to be a judgement. The review does that! At best the star system tells you what kind of review you are going to read or watch. That’s it.

If necessary, there can be multiple reviews of a product or service, based on the passage of time, firmware upgrades, etc. A product or service might meet goals not considered in the review, and the reviewer will be guided in this by the marketing materials for each product or service, and his personal intuition on what matters. Don’t like it? Watch another review.

Goals of a review

The needs of a professional are simple. Will the gear or software help your career or hinder it? Will it help you push further, earn more, expand your creativity and motivate you to produce great work? From a small battery to a full camera rig to a color grading suite, this is what it all boils down to:

  • Motivation – does the gear inspire confidence? Is it an extension of your body and mind?
  • Creativity – Does it hinder your creativity or enhance it?
  • Income – Will it help you get ahead of the competition? Is it a worthwhile expenditure? (No gear or software is an investment)
  • Expansion – Will it help you expand your operations when your business grows?
  • Service – Will the manufacturer deliver professional-level service?

 
As a reviewer, it becomes a responsibility to talk in terms of absolutes. Either a product meets a goal or it doesn’t. Every review of wolfcrow will start with the goals of the review. No grey areas.

Who pays for these reviews?

Nobody, that’s who. Wolfcrow does not solicit for gear or software, nor does it respond to manufacturers or their agents. This policy might change, but until there’s an official announcement, this is how it is. Either way, you’ll know at the top of every review what gear was sponsored or free, and whether or not I was paid. Decide to read after that, and it is your own responsibility.

You are responsible for your own actions, and whatever I say are just that: opinions. Also, I can be wrong about facts and figures, and that comes with the territory.

The gear I review must be on my radar, something I feel is worthwhile. Because I’m based in Mumbai, India, it is difficult to find new gear, or even get it shipped here and back. Therefore, do not expect a review of every product out there. I’ll be sure to miss out on many products, but the products I review will be ones I will bet my career on.

Remember, no grey areas.