Youtube – Baby Steps
I have been playing around with creating Youtube videos for a couple of weeks now and have stumbled many times among the way!
This post is a short collection of the challenges and issues I’ve run into so far. I’ve also included a few of my current solutions for reference!
Making videos – Youtube Editor
The Youtube built-in video editor is good for making some quick videos without much complexity, but has a lot of limitations. I used the Youtube editor for the first few videos I produced, but found that I couldn’t make anything particularly complex or customised.
You can’t add audio itself, only another video – so adding a soundtrack means uploading the whole video with the song you want.
The limits on the editor appear to be 1 hour, so any long play videos can’t be tweaked.
The editor also seems to have a delay on finding videos, especially those uploaded to Google Drive/Photos, so making quick changes and uploads can drag on for longer than anticipated while you wait for the apps to sync up.
Finally, the editor is only available on desktop (i.e. not phones or part of the Youtube app) and even on desktop it can be sluggish and temperamental.
Making videos – Desktop applications
This requires a decent PC, which I am lacking. I can run video editing apps but every action lags for a few seconds and the whole process is laborious.
I also ran into difficulties with the filters and layers in the editor, as they seemed to degrade the quality – although that could be my lack of understanding in using the editor.
The delays – and occasional crashes – made using the desktop editing apps a massive chore. As I had so many issues with smaller projects, I don’t really trust these apps for anything more significant. Spending 2 hours joining a few clips together and adding a voiceover, only to lose the whole lot, is totally disheartening.
Until I invest in a much better home PC, desktop editing apps aren’t really an option.
If anyone can suggest a *really lightweight* video editor for lower spec devices, I would be happy to give it a try!
Making videos – ShareFactory PS4 editor
The PS4 video editor has been my saving grace, allowing a (fairly) flexible editing app which gives plenty of options for adding sounds, screenshots and imported content so works for me.
The editor allows for multiple tracks (for recording voiceovers and maybe video footage in the future) plus a separate music track. I’m still working on getting all the levels right – voice, music and game sounds – but the tools all appear to be there.
With a bit of practise, I should be able to make something a bit shinier and funkier – but it’s baby steps as I say.
I have found a number of limitations to ShareFactory as well, which aren’t especially obvious to new users. You are limited to 50 video clips per project (and some of my gameplay reviews include more than 50 short clips stitched together), you are limited on the voice recordings you can use in a project (so cutting together short voice overs is not an option – I am recording around 5 minutes at a time), and the memory limits mean that working on two projects at once is not an option.
There are some ways around these limitations, but they are time-consuming. Editing part of a video and then exporting it with voiceover and graphics frees up the memory, and you can then import this video part into a new project. This part of the video is now a single clip, which allows you to add a further 49 to the rest of the project. If you are working on a very large video, then working on each section of the video separately, and exporting them once edited, may be essential to stay within the memory limits. Deleting old projects and imported videos is also essential to ensure you have the memory available to work on your next project – so tidy up after yourself!
Making videos – The Process
My current process for making videos runs like this:
- record footage/content on mobile/PC/console *
- transfer that by USB stick and import into ShareFactory
- download music from dig.ccmixter.org to use for the soundtrack
- edit the project by cutting/moving/tweaking clips and adding a voiceover
- add the soundtrack, and ensure I give attribution to the artist
- export the project as a video
- upload to Youtube and make sure the video details are all accurate
*annoyingly any mobile footage needs an extra step where I take the captures and use my phone’s video editor to stitch the clips together before exporting as a landscape video (because the PS4 can’t handle footage in 720 x 1280 resolution!)
As mentioned above, the limitations of ShareFactory may mean that I repeat steps 4-6 several times, exporting parts of a video and then importing them into a larger project.
Time-consuming, and a lot to remember, but once I get into the swing of things it should get easier…. surely?
Finishing Touches – Audio
Recording the voiceover has been one of the bigger challenges, as I first had to overcome hearing my own recorded voice. It’s weird, and trying to decide what sounds “natural” is near impossible when it all sounds odd to yourself.
The voiceovers will change as I start to get into the swing of things but for now it still sounds either robotic or fake – even though it’s just me talking over the games I’m playing.
I want to give a shout out to http://dig.ccmixter.org who have provided the soundtrack to my videos so far. Some incredible talent on the site and lots of music licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license so free to use in my projects. So long as the artists get the credit they deserve, I get to use their excellent songs in my videos. We both win!
My particular favourite is my first intro/outro song, Drive by Alex Beroza, which is featured in my channel trailer:
Finishing Touches – Graphics and Interaction
For the most part the graphics in the videos are made with canva.com (see my previous blog post for examples of the graphics created). These form the title screens and channel graphics, but I may tweak those over time as I hone my craft.
The stickers within videos are assets which come with the ShareFactory editor and, while limited, I can produce a range of wacky and silly overlays to enhance the video footage. Not especially professional but fun and makes videos a bit more active.
Live Streaming – Internet Connection
The live streaming hasn’t worked out very well so far, as I don’t have the best connection speed. Each time I have tried, either sections of the stream get cut out, the audio, or the video drops out.
I have resolved to upgrade the internet connection – as this will also help with downloading/uploading videos – but in the meantime I will avoid live streaming.
Copyright Strike (the least fun daytime gameshow ever)
And then once the video is uploaded to Youtube, another game begins – COPYRIGHT STRIKE – where you get lots of notifications that the game audio is copyrighted so you get a slap on the wrist.
Youtube has a “handy” feature to automatically remove the copyrighted songs from your videos …. along with any voiceover as well *face palm*. So…. videos ruined.
In particular, avoid recording the game music for Tropico 5 – as virtually every song is copyrighted! Really annoying as it’s good music as well, but oh well. I now record those videos with game music on silent.
Social Media is a whole other side to this game, which I will write about in a separate blog post later on.
It’s still something I’m working on – along with everything else, I guess – but finding tools which allow me to share quickly and easily has proven difficult. Check back later for more on this topic!
That’s about it for this post, come back soon for more!