So let’s move on to the actual content. I purchased two videos form the Utopia range, Amanda, which is a long layered look and Kat, a short classsic bob vibe. I also snagged one from the Poetica range, Egle, which is a short androgynous pixy look. As far as presentation goes, they’re all high quality videos, the player can automatically change the download quality based on your connection and are captured clean and crisply as you might expect. If you have seen the ABC videos before, we get the same narration over the top of the videos and each video includes both the cut and colour of each look. That, you might think is an awful lot for £3. Well, it is, however this does present some problems. Balancing value with content and framing the videos for what they are is a tough one.
Firstly lets talk about the cutting sections of the videos. The work on display is impeccable as you’d imagine, it is so clean and this definitely helps following along and is an inspiration in itself. Repeated steps in the cut are often edited out, this is not an immediate problem and keeps the video moving along at a solid pace, however, this does mean that with the edits, you’re constantly trying to play catch up in your mind as you watch. Things are not always explained that clearly or shown that thoroughly before we’re moving on again and with so many edits, you’re often left trying to connect the dots between what you’ve just seen and what you’re watching now. The narration also leaves a little to be desired, with some things clearly explained and others seemingly ignored, this can again present challenges. I understand why these decisions were made and the videos being kept short like this do make them very watchable and you never feel like you need to skip along a bit, but the flipside of that is that things are not always as transparent as you might like or need them to be. Again, the narrator will often say “notice how…” and as a watcher you’re left sort of feeling like, well, no I don’t really notice to be hoenst.
This isn’t my biggest gripe here however. That lies in the complete ommision of integral parts of a cut. The entire fringe section in Egle for example is noticably absent. This might not be a problem for the advanced cuttter, but for a student or someone with less experience, this presents a huge difficulty. I found the steps in the videos I watched from the Utopia collection to be slightly more thorough than the Poetica collection, but both moved along at a real clip, with said edits and ommisions making it a constant game of catch up. This is all looking at it purely from a students perspective, these aren’t really begginer styles in the first place and it’s important to understand that from the outset to avoid dissapointment I think.
As far as the colouring goes the work is all stunningly beautiful. It’s all very creative. All of the formulas used are given, which is excellent and you can choose the narration to give you formulas for either Sassoon Chromatology or Wella Koleston products. From here a little work either from experience or google can lead you to formulas in whatever line you use. Again here however, it tends to lean much more heavily towards the experienced as it clips along at a real pace and sectioning and technique is often left to be gleaned by the observant watcher. It’s important to remember that this is creative work, allowing you to get a grounding in the basics of their techniques and letting you run with it. And that, I would say is the value in these videos.
So all in then, what’s the story? For £3, each video is very reasonably priced. You get the cut and colour of each look in a collection, a serious amount for less than the price of a sandwhich. It is really important to understand what you’re buying though. This is all very creative and inspirational work and I’d argue that as far as educational materials go, this is what the Sassoon streaming options give you: inspiration. In a classroom environment or to a more experienced stylist, you’ll get the most out of these videos from the outset. Using them as inspiration or following along will be an interesting, exciting and fascinating affair. For the more beginner stylists however, watching these videos as a standalone experience might be something of an exercise in frustration, especially if you enter into them with a goal to follow along. For these people, I’d reccommend relaxing and watching them more as inspirational pieces with education sprinkled on top. It’s really integral, like I mentiontioned before, that these are viewed for what they are: high tier, creative works absolutely not for the feint of heart.
Ultimately, I think for the price they’re fantastic, you’ll feel inspired and they’re a great display of the Sassoon methodology, which is always exciting to watch. If you are hoping to see in-depth education however, it might be best to skip on to something else, like MHD or TheFactory.TV and come back when you’re looking to be inspired or are at a level where following along is either a seperate learning challenge in itself or something you can easily do. I already have them on DVD, so didn’t check them out today, however I have to point out here too, that the full ABC sets are also available and they present a much more complete education experience for the more beginner stylist. At the end of the day, the Sassoon Academy streaming service does make the videos affordable and available in ways they weren’t previously and that in itself is something which I feel can’t be sniffed at and commend Sassoons for doing. There is value here for everybody, you just need to buy into it with the appropriate expectations.
The Sassoon streaming site can be found here.