You don’t know what you don’t know. There is so much out there that I know I don’t know. And there’s so much out there that I don’t even know that I don’t know about. A few months back I wrote about a situation that arose where someone didn’t know something they probably should have.

I remember first getting started as a young professional video editor when the topic of compression came up. Those editing classes at JMU taught me something about compression but not nearly enough to be a competent professional. I had heard of H.264, knew that QuickTime Movies were “massive” files and WMVs were something else and my head just spun and spun. That was even before learning about bitrates and all that even tech-ier stuff. I was lost. But little by little, reading blog post by blog post and chatting in forum after forum, I finally started to get a grasp of the concept.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I only knew what I had experienced up to that point. Up to that point it was making high-quality QuickTime movies for my professor to review on the “huge” 50″ TV in the front of the classroom. It wasn’t about web delivery or making sure the videos were compatible with the player in the software I was making videos for.

The other day I was helping out a fellow video professional with a problem with the audio they had been recording. We were troubleshooting over the phone while I was in the lobby of convention center where my niece’s dance competition was taking place. Pacing back and forth with one hand covering my free ear so I could hear better I asked what kind of mic they were using and they rattled off some Sony U-something. I continued, “It’s a wireless lav, right?” And they said, “Ahh I don’t think so.”

Spoiler alert: it is. And I knew it was because I was fairly certain it was a lav that I used to use.

“Does the mic directly connect to your camera? Or is there a separate receiver?”

“Umm I’m not quite sure what you mean.”

Pause.

They didn’t know what they didn’t know.

“Ohhh…” I hear from the other end of the phone.

As someone new to the industry they had only used wireless lavs. They didn’t even know there was a difference between wireless and traditional wired lavs so there was no way they would know some of the troubleshooting tactics that would be needed to fix their issue.

I ended up giving them a couple tips on checking the frequency between the receiver and mic and they fixed the issue.

They didn’t know what they didn’t know.

Do you remember a time when a concept that seems so simple today was completely foreign and confusing? I’d love to hear about it below.

In the coming weeks I’ll be posting some more stories and quick tips on how to fix issues you may or may not have come across in the video world. To receive email updates for these posts go right here. It takes 15 seconds.