Last time! On Diary of a Video Noob!
After about two days I was feeling pretty good about myself. I was one of those new-fangled HD channels uploading some quality content. I had all sorts of ideas I wanted to try so I could get noticed but of course it would not happen all at once.
First thing's first: what is everybody watching right now when it comes to game play and commentary? I believed the answer was Call of Duty: Black Ops, so I got to recording that. Things were pretty straight forward for a while. Theater mode made it a breeze to pick and choose relatively good game play. I even had some fun playing around with Theater mode's built in montage editor which I then added text while editing the actual montage on Sony Vegas.
Oh, what fun that game was!
But of course, more ambitious project required more investment of time. So I decided to try my hand at my first big project: A live commentary session on something big. A multiplayer game sounded too much for my experience. Not only did it entail random games but my bandwidth was being tied up by my parents on their own laptops and watching Netflix at the moment. So I made do with playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. A game everyone remembers fondly, had a wide open world, and plenty of funny shenanigans to engage in and entertain viewers.
I didn't realize one important thing about the project though. For a suitable live commentary session, I'd play more than your typical YouTube length video. My game play clocked in at 40 minutes and the hours needed to render and upload this beast felt like it was triple that. I gained a newfound respect for my favorite YouTube directors, dedicating so much time just to render their videos and upload them. While rendering I have to pass the time with something that doesn't need my laptop. And during uploads I have to pass the time with something that doesn't need any bandwidth. And both meant I couldn't record new footage.
During my work on the series I came across countless problems that forced me to learn video editing on the fly. There were instances of the recorded audio desyncing due to hiccups on my laptop's performance such as screensavers kicking in or TV screens dimming. So in addition to syncing my live voice over to key cues I had to resync sound when it was obvious that it no longer made sense. My motorcycle would crash visually but the sound of the crash would happen a second later, all while making sure my reaction to it all still made sense. It was maddening!
My Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC play through also forced me to really learn what my laptop and HDTV could really handle. Several videos are a result of me experimenting on the bitrates, video protocols, and resolutions. It was a terrible blow to find out my TV was running 60 frames per second while my college bargain laptop could only do 30 FPS. This meant I couldn't watch any raw, recorded footage smoothly because of the difference in FPS. Entire renders would come out wrong because I couldn't preview my work. Hours were lost in learning how to manage my raws and there was no way to salvage that time. I had to start over.
It drove me crazy. And it drove me crazier to feel like my channel wasn't growing at all despite watching videos posted by commentators giving tips on how to grow. I actually forgot YouTube was a video sharing community! I rated more videos, favorited more videos, commented on more videos (intelligently I might add), and responded to every comment I received and accepted every friend request in an effort expand and was overjoyed at even a single email telling me someone subscribed to my channel.
Ultimately, what keeps me going through this funk is showing my girlfriend these videos and knowing at least one person for sure enjoyed the video and told me what they thought it.
Just when I thought I wasn't growing at all, I find out that the people at Fun Infused, the makers of Hypership Out of Control, had retweeted me. They saw my twitter feed of when I uploaded a live session with their game since my twitter account was linked to my YouTube. Even more, they seemed receptive of my video and my tweets thanking them. Was I getting anywhere? Well, Hypership is an indie game, so probably not a whole lot. But it was progress and it was certainly a cool moment.
It's still a long way to go before being some Blame Truth or being picked up by Machinima, but I suppose it's a start.
Next time, the final chapter: figuring out a routine, perfecting my editing, and finding an audience.