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First YouTube video experience

falter

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So I just finished my first YouTube video. Well, not literally the first video ever.. I use YouTube all the time to post short clips to show off machines or request help on repairs. This was the first formal video I've ever done, a little documentary on my OSI 300, with some OSI history added for context. I'm not looking to make a career of it.. already have one that sucks up 7 days a week... mainly I wanted to see what it was really like to seriously do one, and vintage gear just happens to be something I'm interested in.

I gotta tell ya, I have a new appreciation for guys like LGR and 8bitguy. It is easy to shoot 'a video', but to actually do it with purpose... to script one, get it set up and cut properly, special effects, mistake correction... to say nothing of research... and man, OSI after the Cheikys sold it is a bit messy.. yeah. Took me 2 months. It has occurred to me that the average semi-successful Youtuber probably isn't making tons above minimum wage when you factor in the work involved.

The whole 'fair use' thing is kinda intimidating too. I relied mostly on scans of my own printed matter or pictures. I've seen plenty of videos on bigger channels where they pop up newspaper clippings etc without attribution.. I feel weird doing that. I'm surprised the copyright holders don't go after the bigger channels on that.

I didn't invest in lighting for this.. I'm not sure how many of these I want to do, and I really don't know what to buy or use. I assume the big dogs use some form of box lighting. Lighting for video and photos has always been my Achilles heel.

I did buy a Blue Snowball microphone. Learned all about pop filters. The hard way. :) Overall the microphone isn't bad but I find it very difficult to record consistently with it.. every time I record, even when I've carefully assumed the same posture and settings.. it comes out different. I don't know what's up with that. The volume and quality seems to be all over the place.

The 300 was a bit challenging to showcase because there's a fair bit to explain to people not familiar with binary switches and the like. I'm hopeful I got it correct and across ok.

Anyway.. was a fun learning experience. Would love to trade insights with more experienced videographers just to learn more and get a little closer to perfect next time... if there is a next time!
 
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falter

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Hasn't been posted yet. :) Still finding little mistakes and things to edit. It'll be up on my channel BradH probably before the weekend is up. I don't like promoting and going on forums and being like 'hey check out my video'. I just wanted to comment on the experience. I think watching other people make it look easy, you underestimate just what it takes.
 

daver2

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Yes, I presented some professional videos for work many years ago. It is amazing how much work really goes on behind the scenes that you never see in real life. You really get bored after operating the same set of controls 5 or 6 times on the trot for different takes for one reason or another. This is why so many amateur videos on certain websites suck...

Do a decent job...

An Oscar in the making perhaps?

Dave
 

Eudimorphodon

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I gotta tell ya, I have a new appreciation for guys like LGR and 8bitguy. It is easy to shoot 'a video', but to actually do it with purpose... to script one, get it set up and cut properly, special effects, mistake correction... to say nothing of research...

I spun up a new Youtube channel, what, a month and a half ago myself. (Because, you know, there simply aren't enough retro electronics channels out there...) And, yeah, I've been feeling the same way. My first three videos have been way too long and ramble-y; it's *really* hard to come up with a tight, focused presentation that gets everything you want to say out there in an efficient and engaging manner. LGR in particular has become a real pro at it. The only thing I take small comfort in is if you go back enough years in his archive you can see he did *learn* to be that good. The best way to learn is by doing, I guess.

I didn't invest in lighting for this.. I'm not sure how many of these I want to do, and I really don't know what to buy or use. I assume the big dogs use some form of box lighting. Lighting for video and photos has always been my Achilles heel.

I've been having huge issues with this. Among other things poor lighting makes your depth of field worse, which exacerbates the issue of getting decent focus when you're trying to present a topic that demands almost entirely close-up and macro-level shots. I haven't wanted to spent money on lights since, well, I know my chances of ever being a YouTube star are somewhere between nada and absolute zero, so I've been resorting to things like aiming a utility quartz floodlight against the far wall or ceiling and hoping for a good bounce.

There's also the issue of trying to record CRT contents, in focus, without flickering or glare. That depth of field thing is also a problem here; it's *so* difficult if you're trying to get a full shot of the machine to have both the keyboard and the screen decently in focus...

I did buy a Blue Snowball microphone. Learned all about pop filters. The hard way. :) Overall the microphone isn't bad but I find it very difficult to record consistently with it.. every time I record, even when I've carefully assumed the same posture and settings.. it comes out different. I don't know what's up with that. The volume and quality seems to be all over the place.

For my first few videos I've really half-***ed it on the audio. The built-in mic on the SLR I've been using to record with is pretty hopeless and picks up every hum or echo for miles, so the lame trick I came up with was donning a phone headset, recording the voiceover to a .wav using the phone, and synching that up separately with the video. It makes the voiceover clearer than if it were echoing off the wall into the camera's mic but it's still pretty awful and unfiltered.

I have given in and ordered a stereo mic with a noise filter that I can plug into the camera, I'll see if that helps, but I'm sure it still won't be easy.

One thing I know I really need to spend more effort on is moving the camera more often so there's a variety of shot angles; ten minutes of just staring at hands hovering over an object works for guys like Big Clive, I guess, but I don't think it works as well for these sorts of presentations. (I have been making an effort in trying to insert "B-Roll" footage and illustrations more often to break up the monotony.) This opens up a whole other can of worms about how awkward it is to *get* alternate angles when your "studio" is the dining room table and your rigging consists of a cheap and really annoying to adjust tripod... anyway.

I guess in the end all I can say is don't worry too hard about it. It's not like you're getting paid. ;)
 

falter

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Well I definitely don't think I'll be in Oscar contention Dave, regrettably! But I agree.. the whole cutting and editing process gets old fast. I've spent more than a few hours playing it through, thinking I finally have it and then.. nope. :)

The really hard part was my subject material... OSI. Because this was their first product I wanted to give some background on the company. There's so much conflicting info from authoritative sources.. and I kept finding more as I read through some of the printed material I have (like some copies of Peek(65) and such. One day while I was putting together parts to put into a Challenger 4 case I bought, I found a packet in the box of an unbuilt 540b card I'd bought ages ago and discovered a note from the seller I'd missed about MA/COM selling OSI to Space COM, including a brochure. Could not find anything about that on the internet other than another brochure. I basically said in the video what was my best guess.

I also stumbled a lot on explaining the 300 in a way that made sense to someone unfamiliar with binary switch operation. I *think* I have it correct.

And totally I agree on LGR. He has had over a decade of practice and knows how to plan and put it together. I cannot believe how rapidly he gets videos out. But I suppose he has an incentive since it's his day job. I'd love to know what a mid tier channel like that makes and whether it's worth the fuss at the end of the day. I know he gets about $6k/mo off Patreon, but I've heard ad rev lately for most creators on YT sucks. If you're making $6-10k a month that's not bad... but holy cow do you have to work for it.

For me this is just being creative and trying to fill in gaps. I don't know if I'll ever get around to proper lighting etc. I shot the video with my Note 10+.. and quite honestly, I'm not entirely disappointed.. the quality is quite impressive. Better lighting would help a lot.. although the 300 has this reflective coating on it that bounces light easily.
 

vwestlife

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I'd rather have a video that is engaging to watch, with real hands-on experience and full of nuggets of information, even if it was shot on a VHS camcorder (like LGR's early videos were) than one that is slicky-produced, scripted, and edited but wastes half its time on self-promotion and doesn't tell you anything that you couldn't learn from reading a Wikipedia article, or worse, parrots common myths and misconceptions rather than doing the research to see if they are actually true or not.
 

falter

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Yeah I suppose it depends what you're looking for as a viewer. For me, because I collect machines, I was always looking for videos that showed off the machine and how it operated. I was overjoyed when 8bitguy covered the Mindset. I have one but it doesn't work. I wasn't as into his Commodore documentaries as they were pretty much a recitation of what we already know, but stuff like Mindset, or when he explains how things work.. those are really neat. You could get that info from wiki or elsewhere (because you can get everything on wiki), but a video is really helpful. So the few I've done just do that, filling in gaps. I won't do subjects like Commodore, they've been covered to death.

I am wrestling with adding one last snippet to my video.. of the 300 doing sound generation. But I'm still figuring it out, and I didn't want it to go much beyond 20 min.

My next vid, if I decide to do it will probably cover my TV Typewriter build, so that I think would be somewhat unique. But this is not a career move for me so I'm not too worried about view count. More worried about accuracy.
 

Eudimorphodon

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I'd rather have a video that is engaging to watch, with real hands-on experience and full of nuggets of information

Well, that's the trick, though; real quality hands-on experience/information doesn't automatically result in an engaging presentation. Production values per se are actually a separate variable; I'd certainly rather watch a "good" (informative) video made with cruddy equipment and slapdash editing than a lazy, uniformed, content-less but very slick work of video art myself. But if you actually need to get people to sit all the way through a video (or give it a watch in the first place) there is probably some minimal level of "showmanship" that's going to filter out the "YouTube Stars" from the mere smart people. :p

I guess I already mentioned Big Clive as an example of someone who can get away with just waving his hands around under a camera for 15 minutes, and he seems to manage it without any sort of script either. So, I suppose if you are simply telegenic *and* informed enough then "production values" really don't matter. If only we were all so gifted.

(Ashens and his brown couch might also fall into the "amazingly successful despite not giving a darn" category as well, although he's more of a comedy than tech channel.)

Of course, I'm not the one to ask about "engaging". I actually prefaced the title of one of my videos with "Boring Lecture Time:" to prepare the potential viewer for the sheer quantity of geek spew about an obscure nobody-cares tech subject they were about to endure by clicking on it.
 

vwestlife

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That depth of field thing is also a problem here; it's *so* difficult if you're trying to get a full shot of the machine to have both the keyboard and the screen decently in focus...
Cheaper cameras and lenses are actually better in that regard because once you get beyond about 3 feet away from the lens, everything will be in focus. More expensive cameras and lenses typically have a shallower depth of field because it is so trendy these days to take photos with a totally blurred out background -- it's that "pro photographer" look.
 

Eudimorphodon

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More expensive cameras and lenses typically have a shallower depth of field because it is so trendy these days to take photos with a totally blurred out background -- it's that "pro photographer" look.

It is remarkably more difficult to get a not-obviously-flawed closeup picture out of an SLR you're using for video than it is a decent smartphone, that is true. It's really a combination of both aperture size and focal length; a smartphone is practically a pinhole camera compared to an SLR by both measures so they can usually get to "infinity" far sooner. One thing that helped a little was ditching the crazy 18-300mm zoom lens that was on the camera when I started fooling with it and going back to the 18-55mm it came with. Although *technically* the minimum focal length on both is the same the effective angle and aperture weren't. Up close the depth of field on the mega-zoom lens was comically shallow in inadequate light. (But totally awesome at producing that Bokeh effect people love the snot out of, no denying that.)
 

Trixter

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There's also the issue of trying to record CRT contents, in focus, without flickering or glare. That depth of field thing is also a problem here; it's *so* difficult if you're trying to get a full shot of the machine to have both the keyboard and the screen decently in focus...

The shutter-ISO-aperture triangle is fairly easy to work with, but you have to have a camera and lens that allows you to manipulate all three independently in manual mode. For shots of CRTs+keyboards (or anything, really), this is a good rule set of steps (in order!)

  1. Get as much light into the scene as you can without glare showing up on the CRT. A blinding amount, preferably.
  2. Set shutter speed to 1/60 to match NTSC lighting frequencies and vintage CRT display frequencies
  3. Set aperture as wide open as possible, then focus on the subject. If you can't get everything in focus, step the aperture down (ie. close it, make it smaller) until everything is in focus
  4. Adjust ISO up or down to brighten or darken the result
That's really all there is to it. Common caveats:

"My scene has too much noise in it after this." Add more light and start over.
"I can't get everything in focus and still have a blurry background." Move the camera back a few feet so that you can make the depth of field shallower.
 

Eudimorphodon

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  • Get as much light into the scene as you can without glare showing up on the CRT. A blinding amount, preferably.

That's the fun part, at least without spending money.

I do shoot in manual mode, or at least semi-manual; my camera has several options which vary between "set everything manually" and "manually fix the shutter speed or ISO or some combination of other settings, try to assist on the rest" and I've played with various combinations. I find its native inclination in full auto is to keep adjusting the ISO ridiculously high to keep the shutter speeds fast and, yeah, that and CRTs do not mix.
 

Trixter

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The only way to shoot CRTs is full manual. If you aren't comfortable enough yet to do that, at a bare minimum, shoot in shutter-priority ("S") mode and set the shutter to 1/60, and then at least the screen won't flicker. But other settings in auto means that the image is going to go bright and dark on you as the auto-exposure kicks in, and that's not good, so it really does need to be manual.

The good news is, there's no penalty for learning how to shoot in manual mode :) Tinker away.
 

Eudimorphodon

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I usually have it in full manual when it's fixed on the CRT, I've just tried to use the hybrid mode a few times when I'm desperately trying to get a longer shot to work... and I can't offhandedly say it helped, it's basically desperation. Should probably just give in and tinker up some kind of Heath Robinsons floodlight and reset expectations.
 

bladamson

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I film a lot of stuff, but I find that I never seem to have time to actually *edit* it into something worth posting.

Too many projects, not enough time. D:
 

NeXT

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Ohhh man, I've waited for one of these threads to finally arrive.

I can't speak for in general as there are other people on this forum who also post to Youtube semi-regularly (that includes you, vwestLife and Eudimorphodon) but I'll try and answer a bunch of stuff posted in the thread so far from my own observations.

I gotta tell ya, I have a new appreciation for guys like LGR and 8bitguy. It is easy to shoot 'a video', but to actually do it with purpose... to script one, get it set up and cut properly, special effects, mistake correction... to say nothing of research... and man, OSI after the Cheikys sold it is a bit messy.. yeah. Took me 2 months. It has occurred to me that the average semi-successful Youtuber probably isn't making tons above minimum wage when you factor in the work involved.
It's all about momentum. When I upload videos I use the scheduler to arrange videos to go live weeks or even months ahead. This means I can cram on several videos at once (at the risk of burning out) and then be left with a gap in time to do other projects, or just work for said minimum wage while videos release on a regular basis, eliminating "when are you gonna make another video?" comments.

The whole 'fair use' thing is kinda intimidating too. I relied mostly on scans of my own printed matter or pictures. I've seen plenty of videos on bigger channels where they pop up newspaper clippings etc without attribution.. I feel weird doing that. I'm surprised the copyright holders don't go after the bigger channels on that.
Youtube's money is made on views and ad revenue. Penalizing the most popular of the genres runs a risk or impacting their own profits, so the more successful you are, the more they'll let things slide.
Or they give you an internal phone number/email to go to when things go sideways. I got no idea here.
There are also weird and (unfortunately common) glitches in the copyright system that cause unresolvable content claims from people who don't actually own the copyright or licensing changes years down the road and suddenly your admin panel explodes in claims on previously fair use content. It comes down to homework, emailing people for written permission and keeping an eye on your copyright tab when you upload and schedule videos. Sometime you can catch problems before they go live and immediately cause problems. I have a friend who emailed Mike Jittlov a few years ago about uploading the laserdisc copy of The Wizard of Speed and Time with some fixes to errors in the final cut to Youtube and now he has the official nod in case Youtube tries to strike him on it.

I didn't invest in lighting for this.. I'm not sure how many of these I want to do, and I really don't know what to buy or use. I assume the big dogs use some form of box lighting. Lighting for video and photos has always been my Achilles heel.
If you are working in one room, track lighting is your friend. You can move lamps around, you can use different types of lamps (incandescent, LED and even fluorescent) and the technology has been around for decades so 50 feet of track and a dozen heads usually won't cost you more than $150 at a used commercial building supply store. My ceiling has track arranged in an E-shape to allow for front, down and fill lighting for when I'm filming and I can just swivel lamps back around or turn ones off again when I'm not using the room for recording.

I did buy a Blue Snowball microphone. Learned all about pop filters. The hard way. Overall the microphone isn't bad but I find it very difficult to record consistently with it.. every time I record, even when I've carefully assumed the same posture and settings.. it comes out different. I don't know what's up with that. The volume and quality seems to be all over the place.

I use a Peavey lapel mic myself though that understandably requires a recording device capable of phantom powered XLR. Linus actually did a "five under 50" review of the snowball and for the price it seemed fine to him. Consistency in your audio comes down to either playing with static microphone positions (even if it's clipped to you), standardizing configurations and settings and post-processing when something screws up.

And totally I agree on LGR. He has had over a decade of practice and knows how to plan and put it together. I cannot believe how rapidly he gets videos out. But I suppose he has an incentive since it's his day job. I'd love to know what a mid tier channel like that makes and whether it's worth the fuss at the end of the day. I know he gets about $6k/mo off Patreon, but I've heard ad rev lately for most creators on YT sucks. If you're making $6-10k a month that's not bad... but holy cow do you have to work for it.
This is a feedback loop that's amazingly hard to get into and discourages a lot of people because you run the risk of spending hundreds or thousands on hardware and the viewers and crowdfunding never materializes. If you also have problems with anxiety self-esteem or even depression this can make it even worse. Because LGR was in on Youtube for so long he was able to develop a viewer base. The viewer base recommends the videos to others and as a result your view count increases. Eventually you hit that watershed moment where incoming ad revenue sharing or the incentive to start asking people to help fund future videos lets you upgrade your hardware, recording location or style and this returns back to the beginning of the loop, eventually generating enough money on a consistent basis that you can justify separating from your employment and go full-time. On the other hand if you diversify like Linus and also operate as a production firm for third parties like Linus Media Group you basically use your work on Youtube as a base for your portfolio. This not only creates a secondary revenue stream but a reliable solution you can fall back on should Youtube collapse.
The downside however is that because they are so well established you are now competing against them for often the same viewers and thus the same revenue sources. If at this point you fail to retain consistency for quality, content and release dates you can very easily end up suddenly scrambling to find a job again to pay the bills.

Right now you can just get away with still being Standard Definition so long as you are widescreen, progressive scan, stereo and your production qualities are modest, which is great because professional SD video equipment got dirt cheap once HD was standardized in the industry and older versions of your editing suite of choice (I use Premiere Pro CS5) are both cheap and will help you step up to HD once the switch happens. This is how I currently operate. Three prosumer MiniDV/DVCAM era cameras with hard drive-based recorders connected to them over firewire to modernize and drastically speed up the video transferring from hours to tens of minutes.
Likewise once you want to go HD I know a lot of people who are buying older DSLR's like the Canon Rebel T3i and using the video mode almost exclusively in them to produce their content AND get a good digital camera.
 
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falter

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Thanks NEXT!

The fair use (or fair dealing up here in Canada) is a bit intimidating. I've watched a lot of videos with newspaper or magazine clippings or even short snippets of TV ads and the like, and I'm pretty sure they haven't gone to each one and asked permission first and are probably relying on the fair use defence. Would that be likely? I have original OSI material like booklets, sales brochures and stuff - I have scanned and put those into the video as I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be sued there. I also have snippets of headlines, etc from papers like Infoworld.. not nearly the whole article, just a line or two relevant to the point I'm making. I've tried reaching them and got silence. I'm not sure how much they care about two sentences out of an article from 35-40 years ago. I also found a video clip of Michael Cheiky from his own channel... I put a 10 second snippet of it, volume muted just to put a face to a name kind of thing. It came from his Youtube channel (which I credited), and of course he recently passed away, so I'm not sure who to go to for copyright permission in a situation like that. I'm thinking of just yanking that one specifically since it came from Youtube. It's tough; there aren't really any public domain pics of Mike Cheiky out there I don't think.

Like I said, I don't plan to do this as a money earning thing. It's a ton of work and I have a day job. I started off just doing a short video of the 300 in operation, but then thought it'd be nice to include some background on the company. I'm probably not going to go much further on this than nicer lighting. Camera wise I would only upgrade if I had a legitimate reason to do so outside of videomaking.
 

NeXT

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I found for stuff like newspaper clippings, credited photographs and portions of magazine articles Youtube does not bother as much with its use, especially when the purpose is to cite evidence or facts within the video, therefore being fair use. Most web forums are the same way in that it's okay to paste portions of news articles but things get iffy when full articles are posted, potentially bypassing paywalls. Likewise youtube DOES get iffy when you are pretty much uploading video (and this is a thing, believe me) of complete documents with a text-to-speech engine reading it out.
Music and video+audio is the two big ones that cause people the most trouble. They do at least provide a free-use library of audio, however I find a lot of that is useless when a subject had a particular song in mind and now you are scrambling to find something "close enough" but you know NONE of the listed available songs. Even the free-use stuff from Nine inch Nails has been a minefield.
IMHO stick to producing your own video content wherever possible and again, do your homework when you use third party audio.

I don't do this for the money either. For what work I do create I believe it's not at the tier in which I should be asking people to fund more of it. It becomes an obligation, not something fun to do.
 

falter

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Audio is not a problem.. nothing I do would require anything but the royalty free kind, and I've found YouTube's own selection to be adequate, although I do wonder why the people producing it often post their wares with no credit requirement. Most of the video in this specific case is my own footage and work... but of course with historical stuff it would be very difficult to avoid needing some reference material.
 
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