Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds

Let me not to the marriage of true minds 
Admit impediments ...

Last year, I introduced you - gentle reader - the President's Subcommittee on Forensic Science. One of the themes of the work from this body, and the NAS report, is that if there's a certification in your field of work ... you should have it.

LEVA has their certifications. Some argue that the value of LEVA's certification is outweighed by the high cost to attain the title, Certified Forensic Video Analyst (CFVA). The IAI now as a competing offering - Certified Forensic Video Examiner. The IAI's path to certification is inexpensive in comparison to LEVA.

I received an e-mail asking about the difference between the two - and the semantical difference between "analyst" and "examiner."

Bing's dictionary defines analyst as an "expert who examines something: somebody with specialist knowledge or skill who studies or examines something by separating it into its constituent parts and gives an assessment, description, or explanation of it." The root of examiner is examine, "to inspect or scrutinize carefully." Given the Subcommittee or NAS, should a person engaged in FVA have either of these, or both? Is one more valuable vs. the other? Should an analyst be thought to outrank or be superior to an examiner? What's in a name?

Before you answer that ... what about Adobe's ACE program? Again, the premise is that if there's a certification, you should have it. Do you use Photoshop or PremierePro? There are separate ACE exams for these products. What about Acrobat? If you make PDF presentations, should you need to be an Acrobat ACE? How about Avid? Avid has a Media Composer certification. If you bought a MC system from Ocean Systems, do you need to be Avid certified?

Herein lies the problem. The goals of the certification programs of Adobe and Avid are not centered on law enforcement. In order to be certified on their products, you will have to master tools and techniques that you may never use in the course of your work. Folks further argue that LEVA's training path is too Avid centric and that the IAI test focusses too much on broadcast TV. You name the test or certification, and there'll be folks with arguments against it. With this in mind, what's the real value to certification?

Yesterday, I said that while I still love Photoshop, I'm falling out of love with it. The manufacturers of Photoshop and the other commercial products that I use are targeting a different audience. If my workflow only uses specific pieces of Photoshop, should there be allowances for this practice in the certified user/expert test? What if the manufacturer of your tool of choice offers no certification?

Just some things to consider. More to follow ...

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