Jump to content

Photo

Attempt at a video review and the lessons learned...


10 replies to this topic

#1 hex65000 OFFLINE  

hex65000

    Stargunner

  • 1,470 posts
  • Wait, What?
  • Location:Earth ?

Posted Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:59 PM

So I've been dorking with Youtube again.

After I FINALLY posted the opening up of Golden Ax's Box-O-Crap, the bug hit me again. I wanted to talk about some stuff that I thought may be interesting to others. However, I'm super low-tech when it comes to video editing which made me think I should do a test run to see what shakes out and help with the learning process.

My YouTube Channel...

So let's talk about lessons learned.

The first being that if I am going to review a game, I need to just simply voice over it and merge me talking with gameplay footage. It was clear the entire time I'm demonstrating the game I am distracted. That 12 minutes of me playing a single level was done in one take, and it's not a good take. While I think enough is happening to convey how the game plays plus me talking, it's a rather long segment, and I wrestled with the idea of chopping that up more. Especially when I realized the video would span into two parts.

The other more annoying thing was the summary at the end, I just wasn't coherent. :( Even after writing out notes on what I wanted to cover and the 3 takes I threw out. <grump> I did want to avoid giving a "score" of any kind. I am more interested in conveying the current price range of the game, if I thought it was worth that price, and if it is worth playing at all. I figure if you don't like what you see in terms of the extensive gameplay footage it doesn't matter how cheap or costly it is. It does at least present an idea of what you should expect to pay.

The next game I'm targeting is pretty complex. So the question is, am I on the right track or do I need to rethink this? The video footage is a technical issue that is going to rear its head again, since I'm going to be pointing my camera at a LCD monitor and hoping for the best. The DSi XL did an okay job of showing stuff, but it wasn't the best video footage that's for sure.

Thoughts?

Hex.
[ Has considered some other things in his world to go on about for a few minutes... we shall see. ]

#2 moycon OFFLINE  

moycon

    Quadrunner

  • 21,366 posts
  • moycon?? What the hell is that??
  • Location:Acworth, GA

Posted Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:34 PM

I like the video. The screen shots are clear and gives a perfect overview of how the game plays.
I could understand everything you said perfectly, and I thought the summary was just fine.
I especially like the fact you mention how much the game should cost, $15-$20 in this case.
Good job! :thumbsup:

#3 Austin OFFLINE  

Austin

    Quadrunner

  • 8,737 posts
  • Location:Fairfax, VA

Posted Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:23 PM

For your first main video, it seems pretty good to me. Many (if not most) people start the YouTube thing with shoddy equipment and little to no direction. They simply want to show off their games and voice their opinions about them, and that's certainly not a bad thing. However, it does often result in poor video/audio quality and mostly-incoherent speech patterns in trying to get comfortable with the process. You've already surpassed these issues with your review, though! Your video quality is nice and sharp, your speech was fine for the style of video it is, you have dabbled with chopping things up a bit and you are even already talking about improving! That's pretty cool.

Anyways, like I said, everything seems good so far! However, if you want to continue this style a little bit longer and need some tips, here are a few I think may help. First, see about playing with transitions in your editing software. Some of the changes seemed rough in your review but that can be easily remedied with a simple cross-fade (anything else looks cheesy, in my opinion, but to each their own!). Second, if you are dissatisfied with your first take, do another, or even a third or fourth one! Third, if you feel things sound a little barren when you're not talking, add a music track to the video (with the volume fairly low to not be distracting). This will fill up that empty void outside of your voice when you're, say, introducing a game or talking about the packaging. Lastly, adding a voice-over on top of gathered gameplay footage will be a lot more work. However, you will most-likely be much happier about the results!

Anyways, I hope that helps! :)

#4 the.golden.ax OFFLINE  

the.golden.ax

    Tear down this temple

  • 12,424 posts
  • I'll rebuild it in 3 days

Posted Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:16 PM

Hasn't seen you around much, still with us in the Earthly realm?

AX

#5 hex65000 OFFLINE  

hex65000

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,470 posts
  • Wait, What?
  • Location:Earth ?

Posted Thu Mar 8, 2012 7:12 PM

Thread Necro!

My second whack at a review is up. I did do a voice over for the summary at the end. It still sounds a little like I am reading a script though. (I am reading a script. I wrote it out so I could have my thoughts in order before I started talking.) Still, not as painful to watch (I hope) as Ninja Town was.

Hex.
[ And DO NOT watch the 8051 construction video unless you like watching me solder for an hour... o_0 ]

#6 Austin OFFLINE  

Austin

    Quadrunner

  • 8,737 posts
  • Location:Fairfax, VA

Posted Thu Mar 8, 2012 7:47 PM

Reading off a script isn't a bad idea. It does take some practice to make it sound natural though, so just keep at it. :)

#7 onlysublime OFFLINE  

onlysublime

    Stargunner

  • 1,309 posts

Posted Thu Mar 8, 2012 9:37 PM

Your video was actually pretty good (only watched Nervous Brickdown).

If you're recording a portable device, then you have to use an external camera. But if you're using an external camera, make sure you have a clean environment. And cut those fingernails! :-D

So you can just play the game with or without the voice over. Then use editing to trim out the bits that are unnecessary (for example, the extra footage of you turning on the system, opening the system, etc.) If you're worried about having distant-sounding audio when you're doing the voice commentary while playing it or talking while playing distracts you from playing well, then just play the game. Then do the voice over afterwards.

Doing voice overs afterwards does add a bit of work but gives you a lot of flexibility. Also, if you're worried about giving yourself enough time to do a voiceover afterward, you can do your commentary during the video and then replace that commentary with your new voiceover that you produced afterwards. Like what they do with movies where the characters act their parts and then they rerecord the audio at the studio for clean audio.

Upload to Youtube a video encoded with the settings that they recommend (h.264 video, AAC audio all contained in the MP4 container). Try to record in at least 720P HD. Many cell phones and personal cameras can do 720P now.

If you want to just have text annotations, you can just upload your video and then use their system. Very easy to use.

If you want audio commentary, either 1) do the commentary while you're playing and be done with it or 2) while playing back the already-recorded video, record your audio commentary into a sound file using a nice mic (with the gameplay video muted so you don't record the video audio as well). Make all the necessary audio adjustments (changing volume levels, cutting out excessive bits, etc.). Then use a video editor which has a timeline and add the original video and overlay the commentary audio. Then produce your video and upload it.

If you're recording a console, try to use a PVR. Do not aim your camera at the TV or monitor if you can. It's very ghetto and ugly. If your only purpose is to get the video out early, that's your choice. But if you want to be above the standard junk on Youtube, put some effort into it. If you're doing strictly SD stuff (like for an older console), use something like the Roxio Game Capture. If you're doing a modern console that has 720P output, use something like the Hauppauge HD-PVR, Colossus, or BlackMagic cards.

If you need to show yourself doing something while the game is playing, then you can always do picture in picture. For example, you want to show off Six-Axis functionality for a title. Or you want to show off a Kinect. But recording the TV is not a good option unless expediency is your goal.

And I would never recommend reading off a script. Remember back to your speech class days. Do not do this. What you can do is have notecards (placed off screen of course) with things your going to talk about (bulletpoints) and then talk about each of those topics. The point is to sound natural. You can practice what you're going to say by looking at those bulletpoints and then saying what you're going to say but do not read what you're going to say. Do not read sentences. No matter how natural you may think it sounds, it doesn't.

But your video seems good. If you were just aiming to get more hits by having people check out your vids this way, it worked! :-D

#8 hex65000 OFFLINE  

hex65000

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,470 posts
  • Wait, What?
  • Location:Earth ?

Posted Fri Mar 9, 2012 11:04 AM

Wow. That's a lot of stuff. I don't see myself hitting the look of the more 'pro' looking videos anytime soon. My goal is that what I post meets within reason the following requirements:

- Watchable (basic) : You can see what I'm doing and you can hear me / the target ambient audio that is of interest, and the camera isn't CONSTANTLY wobbling about. I noticed in the nervous brickdown video that my hands weren't very steady and so the case and instructions are moving around. At least the camera was on a tripod. :)

- Watchable (flow) : While not perfect, I tried to break up the flow of Nervous Brickdown stages by not showing me play whole levels in most cases. Partly because I am AWFUL at the game. :) And partly to hopefully retain the attention of the watcher. In the summary, it probably felt more disjointed because of the abrupt game mode transitions. In that case I was focused on what I had to say and the gameplay footage was to fill the visual void in that case. This was a mistake I made with Ninja Town. The gameplay footage goes on for a while. In that case, I started to get bored watching it too; that means I have lost pretty much everybody else.

- I am not on camera: I have a job currently where pictures of me on the Internet doesn't impact things much, but at a future job, it may. Call it a combination of healthy paranoia and plausible deniability.

- I don't make a total ass of myself. I'm sure I do it anyway, but I do attempt to do damage control there. This kind of harks back to the previous point. While a 15 yr. old having an insanity fit breaking his stuff is a train wreck that everyone seems to like watching. It's not my style. If I review or comment on something the last thing I want to do is come off sounding like a 15 yr. old stating how 'ghey' something is. If I do that, SOMEONE PLEASE say something! :D

- A semi consistent format: I try to have my more recent videos have a little bumper in the front with a title and at the end something similar.

I have tried shooting footage of LCD screens (water cooling project video) and it just isn't readable. For now I'm going to stick to using the DSi XL for my future game related projects. If only because it lends credibility to how the game handles.

Technical things:
I have a so-so digital camera and while Nervous Brickdown was shot in 640x480. I can go higher, and will try to remember to do that for the next game. What I can't do is zoom in and out while shooting video. <grump>

I typically wind up with renders in an open source format, and honestly, the format is the least of my concerns. I'm more interested in verifying that it renders correctly. Which leads to the video editing tools I use to do this.

What is likely atypical is that I use Linux to meet my video editing needs. I use PiTiVi to crop and splice individual clips, OpenShot to glue the render together, the audio recorder and a webcam to capture voice over audio, and Gimp (or Paint Shop Pro 7 for Windows) does the stills. While there are Windows apps out there that are likely easier to use, I got what I paid for with these programs. <Free as in speech> :D

I tried the note card thing with Ninja Town and it just went poorly. I was pretty frustrated after bombing take after take and forgetting stuff in between. Typing it out and polishing my thoughts felt better. However, as I read it aloud it became readily apparent that I was reading a script. A few edits later and a conscious effort to add inflection to my thoughts, it sounded 'good enough to ship'. You can tell it's not me talking into the camera microphone. I may consider improving that by buying a better voiceover microphone, but I'm not in a position to drop a ton of money on upgrading what gear I have.

Annotations is a piece of the technology I'm not ready to dig into yet. I know it's not hard, but I'm after decent composition first. I think some people annotate because they slapped it together so fast that they forgot the content part. I see it as an element if used correctly is awesome, and if used incorrectly is just annoying.

Your suggestions on video capture for computers and TVs sound like good ideas. I'll likely do that sometime soon.

Thanks for the feedback. Although, you raise a good question, how do I promote this stuff without being too annoying?

Hex.
[ Put on another pot of coffee and shake the rust out... ]

#9 the.golden.ax OFFLINE  

the.golden.ax

    Tear down this temple

  • 12,424 posts
  • I'll rebuild it in 3 days

Posted Fri Mar 9, 2012 12:43 PM

Humor and making a total ass of ones self is what youtube is all about. If you incorporate these elements in to any topic, you will be a very popular youtuber. :thumbsup:

AX

#10 Austin OFFLINE  

Austin

    Quadrunner

  • 8,737 posts
  • Location:Fairfax, VA

Posted Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:21 AM

Thanks for the feedback. Although, you raise a good question, how do I promote this stuff without being too annoying?


There is no way to promote (successfully) without being too annoying, unfortunately. :(

Actually.. Paid ads on other web sites. But that costs money, of course.

#11 onlysublime OFFLINE  

onlysublime

    Stargunner

  • 1,309 posts

Posted Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:36 AM

if you want to stand out, you need to find a niche. seeing the 10000th review of Mario Kart isn't going to work. watching someone review Modern Warfare 3 is a snoozefest... if you're reviewing games that everyone knows about, it's not going to work.

your niche can be puzzle games, kinect games, move games, classic games (old consoles), etc. stuff that don't get a lot of media attention but people have interest in.




0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users