Sunday, 24 May 2020

A Humble Plea to the YouTubers who Shouldn't

I'd like to take this opportunity to make a humble plea to wargamers out there who are considering getting online and making a video, and putting it on YouTube, consider this:

"Is your video really necessary?

Now this is not a universal truth, but it is overwhelmingly the case, that many wargamers' videos shared on YouTube, shouldn't be.

Yes, I know, I'm an old curmudgeon, but bear with me on this one. How often have you gone to look at a supposedly interesting video, and found:

1. Monotone delivery, in a voice that cures insomnia, or alternatively is at a constant fever pitch of enthusiasm that makes you reach for the mute button?

2. Constant umming and ahhhing, repetition or irrelevancy. One video I watched purporting to be an instructional, ran for nearly twenty minutes before even starting on actual content.

3. Presenters who think themselves raconteurs and hugely entertaining, who aren't. Let's face of it, there are very few of us who can make a living as stand-ups.

4. Camera work that would shame a 4 year old after a two day diet of red cordial, including insufficient lighting, lack of focus, camera on presenter rather than subject, cut-aways to family pets, a passing sparrow etc..

5. Veering wildly between overestimation and underestimation of subject familiarity.

6. Sound quality. There are certain accents I have great trouble in following even at the best sound quality. Poor sound quality is a switch-off offence.

So before you go sending us video links, or having dreams of being a world-famous YouTube star, here are some things you might consider.

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- Is it something that needs video? Would it be better explained in text and/or pictures? (Remember, many of us read a lot faster than you can mumble and stammer, so I can consume content at least seven times faster than you can speak it.) Video wastes my time when it could equally be communicated by text.

- Do you know who your audience is? I mean, do you need to explain that the guys in Red are the British army, and the guys in Blue are French, and if so, why are you going into lace details at the start of the 45 minute mark? Know your audience, and consider that message.

- Now you know your  message - script it! Yes, extempore is a lot easier for you, but for us it can be tedious, unfocused and a waste of time. It doesn't need to be word for word, but just what are you trying to communicate, a beginning, middle and end, with the critical detail or facts you need to include. Go read a guide about giving a presentation.

- Do a dry run with the camera setup, get the lighting right. If your camera isn't good enough, get hints and tips on improving the setup, or get a different camera. Ditto with sound.

- And I can't say this loudly enough... go back and edit it.. even better, show it to someone else who is prepared to be critical. Listen to them! Then go back and edit it.

Harsh? Perhaps. But I'm much more inclined to click that link, or share it, when it's worth my while. 

9 comments:

  1. Couldn't agree more.
    Unscripted videos are very bad. Live wargames are terrible! Video it and cut out the rubbish! Even then some aren't good enough. Two Fat lardies have some good rules, but their video's aren't great to watch

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    1. I don't mind live wargames, some of them are very well done. And the TFL Oddcast I enjoy. But for goodness sake people, edit your videos! And be brutal.

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  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for belling the cat and saying this. Another pet peeve of mine, which could probably go under either your Point #1, or perhaps #2, is annoying mouth sounds: tsk'ing, ts'ing, and the like before every statement. DRIVES ME WILD!!! Not everyone is cut out to become a YouTube 'influencer'.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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  3. I "listen" to a lot of YouTube videos and podcasts while I work, I don't mind a long ramble as long is it holds my interest. I've also made a few videos myself & apologise if they have been less than stellar. You've certainly made me think twice before I have another go at one.

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    1. Sorry - PS - your painting is fantastic. Love it. I could spend a lot of time looking at the wargames porn on your blog.

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  4. Like you, I don't mind a ramble as long as it is interesting. All too often it isn't. There is one particular very popular podcast that just grates on me for some reason, but it's principally the video stuff that is really poor quality. I'm not getting any younger, my time is limited, and a video requires me to put on my glasses, look away from my painting and focus on a screen. It better be worth it. Sadly, a lot of times it isn't. I've switched off so many YouTube videos after 3 minutes because it's all about the presenter and their verbal tics. No. It's about content. Content is king, and if you don't have that, then no amount of rehashed old jokes, or supposed 'banter' is going to keep my attention.

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    1. Ah, I think I get you. I am subscribed to a number of channels on YouTube but must admit that there are only a few of their videos I actually want to listen to. Yes, it has to be pretty darn interesting to get me to turn around from my painting to look at the laptop which is off to one side. What are some of your current favourite channels on YouTube?

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  5. Well, to be honest, I am no longer watching as many YouTube channels as I used to. I still do Tank Museum, TooFatLardies, Wargames Illustrated, Pete the Wargamer for painting, Beasts of War (On Table Top), but I am also selective about which pieces I watch from each, otherwise it's too much of a time sink.

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