March 20, 2011

How To (Not) Make A YouTube Video...

by Chris Randall

Okay, here's the deal. Either you're a media professional of some sort, or you want to be one. Concurrently, you got a new piece of kit and want to show it off on the 'Tubes, to amaze your friends and amuse your enemies. So why, oh why, do you insist on doing something like this?

The days of "Fucktard Of The Week" are long gone, and I didn't pick this video just to give the dude who made it a hard time. Rather, it embodies virtually everything nobody likes about YouTube gear demo videos in one fell swoop.

1. The Disembodied Hands. I'm guilty of this myself on occasion; sometimes it can't be helped if you're demonstrating a product, or making a video for eBay or something. But seriously, if there is any way you can fit an elbow or something in that frame...

2. That Boy Can Play! Jump? Blue Monday? Born Slippy? You're fucking killing me here. This may come as a shock, but we can all play those parts. Most of us can play them right, even. Unlike you.

3. The Rarest Of The Rare. The reason for making this video is obviously the super rare blue JP-8000. Nobody ever sees one. Seriously, if you're gonna put up a video of parts everyone can play, on a synth everyone has, at least wear a funny costume while you do it.

4. The Shit Quadrella. In short, shitty video, shitty audio, shitty performance, shitty gear. This is the very definition of a waste of bandwidth.

That video has 45,000 views. If you put all those people in one place, that place would need to be a football stadium. If you were going to play a stadium show, is this how you'd want to present yourself?

Crandall's Golden Rules Of YouTube Videos:

1. Play something we've never seen before. Either gear or technique, but ideally both. That way, you're adding to popular culture rather than taking from it.

2. Never apologize. If you plan to spend the whole video or description box telling me how your performance or gear or whatever isn't the best you can do, why should I watch it? Go back and do the best you can do, then hit the "upload" button.

3. Ditch That Cell Phone. The shittiest camcorder currently available takes video that is an order of magnitude better than the best cell phone. And for fuck's sake, buy a tripod, unless your BFF is a steadicam operator.

4. The Mic On Your Camera Is Fucking Useless. Record the audio of your performance anywhere but via the camera's mic. Record in the DAW you're using as a mixer, render, swap that shit out in iMovie.

Seriously, it's not that hard to put up something that is at least mildly interesting, if not outright entertaining. It's harder than recording a video on your iPhone 3GS and pressing the "Upload To YouTube" button, I'll grant. But if you're the sort of person that wants to do things half-assed, you wouldn't be reading this part of the article, anyhow.


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Mar.20.2011 @ 10:41 PM
Amen to rule #2.

I am on a few music forums and I like to listen to clips and watch vids but I can't stand when they say, "don't mind the playing, i was drunk" or something along that line. It's the first indicator that the video or clips isn't worth your time to me.

Mar.20.2011 @ 11:05 PM
Computer Controlled
Heh, this is why i make very little videos. No good camera, i hate my voice, and i can't play worth a shit. I'll only make a video if i'm demoing something.

Things i've demoed:
Flight Of Harmony V'Amp
Bitchin' Sync Box
My modified SH-101
Casio CZ-230s

That's it.

(OT)BTW, Chris, how are your SysEx chops? Or anyone here for that matter, i really need some help with my Kawai K3 editor.

Mar.20.2011 @ 11:09 PM
i pretty much hate every youtube KB/gear demo video.

amen to CR's rules...

Mar.20.2011 @ 11:22 PM
I'll just throw it out there that I'm a Steadicam op happy to shoot some demos (assuming other above rules are met, but funny costume is mandatory).

Mar.20.2011 @ 11:24 PM
Yeah, but the hand flourishes to change presets are what sets this video apart!

Rule #2: My pet peeve of the internet. If you aren't happy with what you are posting, why do you think anyone else would be?

Mar.20.2011 @ 11:58 PM
Chris Randall
I believe that #2 is a defense mechanism, honestly. I think that if someone isn't comfortable with their performance, and they point this out, they feel they're less likely to be belittled for it.

The simple truth of the matter is that people, for the most part, don't notice minor fuck-ups. e.g.: In the video above, obviously any of us that plays keyboards knows that he drastically fucked up the turn-around in "Jump." But would a civilian? No.

I think a simple rule of thumb applies here: if you're making a music performance video for civilians, and you bone a couple little things, especially if it's you're own music, don't say anything. If you're making a demonstration video for other musicians and you bone something, press the "delete" key and start over.

In either case, not saying anything is the only real course of action. The same rule applies to the stage. If you can pull it off with humor and such, then by all means. I have years and years of practice at fucking up on stage, and I have a fairly large arsenal of witicisms I can draw upon should the need arise. I also have every possible comeback to every possible heckle handy. But that's me. If you're just starting out, and you fuck something up on stage, just don't say anything. The audience really has no fucking idea.


Mar.21.2011 @ 12:00 AM
haha I agree wholeheartedly with all of your points for videos uploaded in this day and age.

In this kid's defense, he was 17 at the time and this was 3 years ago when youtube videos were mostly of much shittier quality than they are today. Finally, at least the kid states that he programmed all the patches himself.

If this was uploaded yesterday, he was a 35 year old man, and played this badly while demonstrating only factory presets with video quality exactly the same as this upload, he should be punched in the neck. Since this was filmed a few years ago by a younger dude(amateur) who at least programmed his own patches, I can give him a pass on it. Just this one time.

Mar.21.2011 @ 12:03 AM
Chris Randall
Yeah, I was gonna caveat that part in to submission, but then I thought "fuck it. He's gonna put it out there." The music industry is a hard, hard place.


Mar.21.2011 @ 12:24 AM
Speaking of the music industry being hard, I think this whole train of thought brings up another point about how alot of musicians and artists can't take criticism. If you want to get anywhere, you need to just embrace criticism and stop leaning on the thought that art can't be criticized because it's art. Just because it's art doesn't give you a license to crap out a turd and expect instant praise. Some people need to learn to either take criticism well or just go hide backstage and cry in the corner.

If someone takes the time to tell you that your music, performance, artwork, website or whatever sucks, you'd do well to ask why they think that and use that insight to improve your work. Chances are if one person says it, there are more people who think it but keep their mouth shut. I'm not talking about hecklers here though. Those guys are just rude morons.

Mar.21.2011 @ 1:24 AM
Having just today published my first video to youtube, I can honestly say that I now have a very different perspective on youtube criticism than I did 24 hours ago. I used to think "what a fucktard" for about 90% of the stuff I watched on youtube, and I was happy to voice that opinion. But now that I'm on the other end of the criticism, every time someone posts a negative comment to my video, I just keep thinking, "who gives a fuck what your opinion is?" I want to point out to them that:

a. I didn't force them to watch my video
b. It was made available 100% free of charge
c. I went through a lot of hassle to edit and post this shit, and the only compensation I get for my time is a few random people I will never meet telling me they like my video, so please don't rob me of that satisfaction Mr. Critic.

Some guy even went out of his way to point out that "this guy is getting all of these great comments, but if you look at his soundcloud link, the song only has like 20 actual downloads, so it shows that this remix really is shit." I had to remind him that I only put the video (and the soundcloud link) online 18 fucking hours ago! I'd like to see him do better thankyouverymuch.

I fully expected the criticism (especially given the particular nature of my video) but I didn't expect it to have such an effect on me. I've learned you definitely need to have thick skin if you post shit on the internet, which makes me wonder why somebody would ever post such shitty videos in the first place. What satisfaction do they even get out of it?

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