This is a quick look at what it takes to make a semi professional looking video review for Youtube, I hope this is interesting for you guys even though you probably couldn’t care less, lol!
I would never have thought that doing video reviews for Youtube could amount to so much work when I initially started the HeadphoneAddict channel. Back then I was using (a very decent) Logitech C920 webcam and a cheap microphone from DealExtreme connected to an ASUS Xonar Essence STX soundcard – let’s just say things have progressed a lot from there and trying to optimize the quality and production value has become an interest in and of itself. :D
Audio quality of videos
The latest addition to up the sound quality of the channel is an Audio-Technica AT2020 (XLR-based) condenser microphone which will be driven by the earlier acquired Zoom H4N – a Swiss army knife of audio recording. The hope is that this will up the sound quality of the videos further and give you guys that nice, meaty radio voice that you all deserve, haha.
I realize that many of you consider yourself audiophiles and I want to give you the best possible experience within the scope of my knowledge, abilities and financial constraints and hope that is appreciated by ya’ll. So far I’ve invested far more in equipment for the channel than what I’ve made from it, but I hope that one day it will pay off, if not here, maybe in Heaven? :D Also, the rig is pretty much as good as I can afford it to be now, so it kind of limits itself too, haha. It’s very educational to run this operation though, so if it doesn’t pay of in monetary terms I can use the knowledge for other ventures which might do that.
Getting decent video quality
Furthermore, sound quality isn’t everything. A lot of you probably watch my channel for «headfi porn», which prompts for good looking visuals as well, and with that you need a good lens, a good camera, a decent slider, a video head, a hand full of ball heads, sturdy tripods, good lighting, screen for monitoring, adapters, cables and … well, you get the picture. It’s safe to say that by optimizing video and audio quality you’ve soon departed from the simple setup with a webcam and a cheap-o microphone.
Once you’ve got all this fancy pants inspector Gadget devices you need to learn how to use them properly, which I’m still practicing. Just to mention one thing, making those sliding shots without it looking like an earthquake is got damn difficult as long as you want them to be slow and stable, it takes time to work your way to surgical precision and frankly speaking, I suck at it, lol.
Motorizing the slider with the use of the official upgrade package for the Konova K2 slider was an expenditure that couldn’t be justified given the number of videos produced and the income derived from them. The compromise was to go DIY and build a motorized system for it – which is quite the undertaking in and of itself, and it’s still a work in progress.
After you’ve set up the lighting, done 300 takes to get the sliding shot perfect you need to sort the files, trash the mistaken ones, rename the left ones and synchronizing the audio and video, EQ to compensate for the frequency response of the microphone and video editing in general.
I started using Sony Vegas Pro, but thought that if I was going to learn about video editing I might as well use Adobe Premiere which is the industry standard. I’m still clawing my way up the steep learning curve in the science of video editing in hopes it will pay off in terms of better production value. Might even throw in a few awesome effects eventually when I get to learning Adobe After Effects. :)
So this takes a lot of time and effort, and there is a lot of research behind the choice of each component too. Aiming for perfection takes time even though the result is not always as good as one would want.
Here are a few photos of what I’m working in and on. Wish I had a bigger space, as this is quite cluttered as you can see, lol.
You won’t believe how much dust wiping and cleaning that goes into this to keep the products good looking! If this youtube thing doesn’t hit off I should probably shoot for a career as a professional house cleaner, lol.
As for workflow, in this review – which is the Objective2 with integrated ODAC – I’m trying an approach where I wrote a script to keep the communication clear and concise, then I decided which shots that had to go with the script, shot them and then do the voice over with the AT2020 microphone. Then everything has to be synced and edited with Adobe Premiere.
Hope you enjoyed this little inside look of the working conditions and the effort that goes into keeping you guys smiling and enjoying.