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Leo Wattenberg

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  1. Leo Wattenberg

    How to build Subscribers 2019 Edition

    Moin. It's time for this year's installment of the forever-burning question new creators have: "How do I get more subscribers on YouTube?" It'll start by covering the channel setup, followed by some guidelines on optimizing videos. After that come more advanced optimizations for both channel and individual videos, and lastly, strangely enough, the prerequisite for this all: Making good videos. This article serves as an addition to the fundamentals outlined here: Part one: The Channel Setup This part is about setting up the channel from scratch. It assumes that you don't have videos yet, but that you do have a clear vision of what you'd like your channel to be. 1.1: The Channel Name (Difficulty: Surprisingly hard, Impact: Medium) The channel name is one of the first things someone will see of your content. It's how people can find you later in case you impress them with the first video they watch so much that they want to see more of you. Goal: The channel name should match what you're doing to some extend without locking you in. It should be a name you can be proud of, one that you wouldn't be ashamed to tell your parents about, one that is memorable and one that isn't overly generic or has pre-existing meaning. Examples to avoid: CSGO gamer 42: This makes it difficult to justify making videos about anything other than CS:GO, it locks you in to just one type of game. More broadly, "gamer" does the same. Cool videos: This makes it very difficult to search for your channel as there are a lot of "cool videos" out there. xXbrsgnlXx: While it's possible here to find just your videos when searching for them, it also is kinda difficult to remember what one actually should search for. Tip: You can change your channel name at any time, but if you do it, all your viewers will have to re-learn your name which not all will do. The earlier you're set on a channel name, the better. 1.2: The About page (Difficulty: Easy, Impact: Small) The about page dictates the snippet that's shown when someone searches for your channel, which links show up on your channel page and establish contact information. Goal: Have an about page that... tells new people finding your channel what your channel is about tells viewers when to expect new videos ("upload schedule") has an "for business enquiries" email address has links to relevant social media accounts Tip: Have a dedicated business email address that isn't attached to your Google account in any way. This way, it becomes more difficult for a hacker to guess the password of your account, because they don't know which account to hack to get access to your channel. 1.3: The Branding (Difficult: Medium, Impact: Medium) The branding is the combination of your channel name, channel logo, channel art, channel trailer, about page, your video thumbnails, intros and outros, watermarks, graphics you have in your videos and so on. You'll notice that the name and about page are the two steps previous to this - that's because you'll need your channel description and name anyways to determine what the branding should look like. As YouTube puts it: -- https://creatoracademy.youtube.com/page/lesson/brand-identity?cid=bootcamp-foundations Goal: Make a consistent brand across your channel Tips: You can hire a graphical artist for this. You can try doing the branding yourself, especially if you're choosing to mainly go through typography. Don't expect good fonts and artists to be free. Artists and type designers want to get paid for their work just like you (probably) very much would get like to get paid for your videos later on. Part two: Video Optimization This part focuses on things you can optimize for on a per-video-basis. 2.1: Thumbnails (Difficulty: Medium, Impact: High) The thumbnail makes and breaks the success of a video. A boring thumbnail won't get clicked on, while a good one can make you click on content even if you don't know what the video is about ("clickbait"). Goals: Make clickable thumbnails that add to the title of the video and represent your video. Take thumbnails seriously Tips: There's so many of them that we have its own article on it, with the article linking to yet more articles! 2.2: Titles (Difficulty: Medium, Impact: High) Titles are the other half of the thumbnail when it comes to getting people to click on your videos. It always displays right next to it, so you don't need to repeat the information given in the title in the thumbnail and vice versa. Unlike thumbnails, titles also fulfill an search engine optimization (SEO) role: Search engines can read text, but have difficulties reading thumbnails. And titles are text. Goals: Have a title that accurately describes the topic of your video Have it do so in an SEO-friendly manner. Take titles seriously Tips: Keep the most important information first, branding and part number can come later YouTube has some tips on the topic (plus some more about thumbnails) You don't need to optimize titles for search if you don't want to get found through search. This can be a valid strategy for some Hub content. (What's that?) Examples: “Chocolate Ice Cream” is nice, but “How To Make Chocolate Ice Cream with Low Sugar” would be better as it contains more keywords that are very relevant for the video. "[SomeChannel] Let's Play The Game That Isn't Tetris: Extreme Edition Part 4: THE BLOCKS ARE MELTING" is bad, "THE BLOCKS ARE MELTING! #4 Let's Play The Game That isn't Tetris: Extreme Edition | SomeChannel" would be better because in the first example, the text would cut off after "Extreme", taking away vital information (part number and the actual title). Potentially better still would just be "THE BLOCKS ARE MELTING!" if this isn't content that requires people to watch the previous episode to get the current one. (see also: Why making a good Let's Play is hard - and being successful with it near impossible) 2.3: The first 15 seconds (Difficulty: Easy, Impact: Medium) Once you've got a viewer to click on your video, you'll need to keep them watching. A viewer who isn't hooked in by the first couple seconds may thing "meh, boring", and simply click the "back" button to watch a different video. This is especially true for tutorials and similar content where there typically is multiple tutorials about a single thing. Goal: Cut away as much fluff as possible from the beginning. Tips: Avoid using intros (aka title cards) or sponsor messages at the very beginning - people coming in may just have watched 2 ads just to get to your video (see also: Why intros are unnecessary) If you have to have intros or sponsor messages near the beginning, put a hook (aka cold open) before them. A hook is an exciting part of the video that also appears later in video (often the part just before the climax) 2.4: Description (Difficulty: Medium, Impact: Medium) A video's description is built out of 2 parts: 3 lines of "Above the fold" section, and a "below the fold" section. It's mostly the "above the fold" section that's going to be shown in search results or next to videos. Goals: Have an "above the fold" section that adds to title and thumbnail, especially for people coming from search. Have a "below the fold" section that features further information on your video, links to relevant pages and info on your channel. Tips: You can use the below the fold section for all sorts of SEO purposes. Any keywords that you haven't mentioned yet in the title go here. But do craft an actual description here, search engines will simply ignore it if you just put a list of keywords in it. You can put a sponsor link into the above the fold section if you want more people to click it. Very few people actually read the description. If you want people to know something about the video you didn't mention in the video itself, have a pinned comment. YouTube has some tips on the topic. 2.5: Hashtags (Difficulty: Easy, Impact: Low) If you write a #hashtag in the description, it can be clicked on and searched for. YouTube displays up to 3 hashtags above the title. Goal: Put the most important keywords that aren't yet part of the title as hashtags in your description. Tips: 2.6: Tags (Difficulty: As hard as you make it for you, Impact: Very low) Tags used to have loads of strategies for them, but turned rather irrelevant in the past couple years. What we do know about them: The first few tags have additional weight Tags are only used for a while until YouTube figures out based on viewer interaction on who is or isn't going to like your video and does recommendations based on that. Goal: Put the most important keywords you had in title and description in your tags. Tip: Don't spend too much time on this. Maybe a minute or two while you wait for YouTube to finish processing your video. Part three: Channel and video optimization This part assumes that you already have a couple of videos. 3.1: Calls to action (Difficulty: Easy, Impact: High) A call to action is you telling your viewers a thing to do. "Subscribe to my channel", "watch this video next", "press like if you liked it", "support me on patreon" etc. Goal: Incorporate CTAs into your videos. Tips: 3.2: Cross-referencing content (Difficulty: Easy, Impact: Low) After having made a couple of videos, chances are that a new topic you want to tackle happens to contain very similar information to something you made earlier. For example, if you're explaining how flowers reproduce and you already made a video how bees eat. In this case, instead of repeating the information again, you can point to this other video and continue without the repetition. Goal: Identify other videos of yours that are particularly relevant to what you're doing at any part of a video and link to them using Cards. Tip: issue a call to action and physically point to where the card will appear if you want everyone to notice them. Note: Linking to other channels or to external websites will reduce the watch time on your video. 3.3: Endscreens (Difficulty: Medium, Impact: Medium) Just like cards, endscreens can be used for cross-referencing content of yours. The difference here is that a) endscreens can only be placed in the last 20s of the video, b) endscreens cannot be hidden and c) you want your viewers to click on end cards as much as possible, as they can only extend the watch time your channel receives. Endscreens are part of your branding. Goal: Use endscreens to guide users to watching more videos of yours, subscribing or supporting you otherwise. Tips: As said in aforementioned "Like comment and subscribe" - the worst way to end a video, don't overwhelm the viewer with things they can do. You have 20s to do it, you can space your CTAs quite a lot. Avoid covering still ongoing content with endscreens Focus on keeping people watching, either by having them watch more videos now (by suggesting a relevant video), or later (by asking them to subscribe) Always pair the endscreens with CTAs Be clear on what you ask. This isn't the place for subtleties. 3.4: Building Watchtime (Difficulty: Hard, Impact: Very High) Watch time is the most important metric on YouTube by far. You can have done any of the above, but if people don't actually watch your video, you won't be getting anywhere. Note that watch time is only the metric you have access to; YouTube actually likes session watch time more - ie how long you keep people on the platform. This means that, all other things being equal, YouTube would prefer a video linking to another video in the end screen more than a video linking somewhere off-site. Goal: Keep people wanting to watch more of your videos. This is a difficult and rather intangible goal to reach. I can give some tips on this, but you really are put to the test here to really know what your audience wants and how to satisfy them. Tips: Make as much good content as possible. Or in other words Make longer videos... Without adding any fluff, off-topic discussions or ramblings. While coming to the point as quickly as possible. Without reducing quality or upload frequency Livestreams drive a lot of watch time... But livestreams usually lose a lot of their value once they're done, so their recordings can be worthless and bury the rest of your content but YouTube isn't a live streaming platform, so a lot of viewers aren't willing to watch live streams on it but streams often are difficult to incorporate into a normal content schedule but it makes it more difficult to be relevant anywhere else on the globe other than your own time zone Make more videos without reducing their quality or length without overwhelming your viewers without burning yourself out Make higher-quality videos using e.g. B-roll, more camera angles and other film techniques without reducing the upload frequency or length without burning yourself out At the end of the day, "how to get more watch time" is as complicated as "how to get more subscribers". There is no clear guideline on how to get it, there's only "make as much good content as possible" with some compromises you can take. 3.5: Channel trailer (Difficulty: Medium, Impact: Low-Medium) Just like the about page, the channel trailer should tell the viewer something about your channel and in particular why they should subscribe to you. Goal: Make a trailer that explains what you do, when you upload (your schedule), gives examples of your videos, and a call-to-action to subscribe. In other words, make an audiovisual resumé of your channel. Tips: Just like a resumé, the channel trailer can change over time. You should update it probably once a year or so, because who you are and what skills you have now probably is quite different to what you had 3 years ago. Keep it short, below 2 minutes or so. You can let your work speak for yourself and just present your best video to date as your channel trailer. But, again, just like with a resumé, it's not that common to get hired simply because someone heard you did a stellar job somewhere else. 3.6: Playlists (Difficulty: Easy, Impact: Medium) Playlists let you group videos together. This is useful if people want to binge-watch your content. Goal: Make a playlist for every series/format you have going on. Tips: Put videos into their respective playlists as soon as you upload them. Doing it later only makes things more frustrating for both you, who eventually has to shift through dozens of videos at once, and the viewers, who want to binge-watch your content, but can't because you haven't set up or kept up-to-date your playlists. You can make playlists based on keywords, too. For example, if you have a car repair series, having a general car repair playlist as well as a Mercedes repair playlist may be useful. If you can't upload for a while, share some "best of"-playlists with your subscribers and followers on social media. For each playlist, put in a playlist description. 3.7: Collaborations (Difficulty: Hard, Impact: High) Making a video or a set of videos together with someone else is always beneficial for everyone involved. If two channels with 100 subscribers collaborate, both can end up with 200 subscribers after the collaboration, because the subscribers on one channel may not have known about the other channel. Goal: Find a channel similar to yours to collaborate with. Tips: While homogenous collaborations are more common (eg two tech channels working together), collaborating with someone in a different genre can lead to good results as well (eg. a game dev and an artist). Collaborating with channels smaller than yours is surprisingly effective; small channels tend to have a much more loyal and tight-knit community. Collaborations should at least consist of 2 videos, one to be uploaded on your channel with your branding, one on theirs with their branding. Just making one video and uploading it to both channels will have the videos cannibalize each other in terms of watch time. 3.8: Community tab and Stories (Difficulty: Easy, Impact: Medium) Stories are short, unedited videos and photos you can maybe slap a sticker on you can make in the YouTube-app. They can be used to show fans a behind-the-scenes of your production without annoying non-fans with fluff content they don't care about. The community tab is a feed where you can post text, photos and polls for your fans and eg. update them on the status of an upcoming videos, or ask them for feedback for new topics. Both of them are great for turning subscribers into fans and getting fans to support you through patreon or merch, however, both currently only are really visible on mobile. Further, there are subscriber limitations on both of them, so you may not be able to use them yet. Goal: Use the community tab and stories in order to remind your subscribers that you are a human being and not some sort of übermensch that through magic produces one good video after another. Or as the cool kids would say: "Use it to make yourself more #relatable". Tips: None yet. Do you have some? Share them below! Part four: The prerequisite All of the above requires you to roughly know and to be able to make good videos. A good video can be many things: Insightful, thrilling, inspirational, educational, artistic, technically impressive, entertaining and so on, in each case it's not boring, monotonous or hard to watch. However, I've seen more people than I'd like crank out video after video over months or even years, with all of them being either boring, monotonous or generally hard to watch. Some of them had shown that they care about their channel overall, they had quite a good branding, metadata and so on, but despite all that, they weren't close to making good videos and the videos also weren't improving over time other than maybe some gear upgrades at some point. I don't want you to be these people. So please: Evaluate your videos critically. You usually can see issues others cannot see because you had the vision of the video in your head for so long that you know where the shortcomings are. Spend some time on thinking about those, and on how to improve them. Challenge yourself with your videos. Go out of your comfort zone with your video and make something that's more difficult to do every now and again. For example, if you talk but have to cut every other sentence because you misspoke or forgot what you tried to say, make a couple livestreams where you can't do that. The livestreams probably will be rather unenjoyable, but if you then go back to your regular videos, you'll probably be a better talker that maybe can get paragraphs out at a time, making the any cuts an artistic choice rather than a necessity. Evaluate how much you are enjoying making videos critically every now and again. It's easy to fall into a "I'm grinding away now, I'll become easier later if I'm just persistent enough" mindset. But grinding is worthless if you aren't either enjoying it or at least learning from it. Fact is, the time you're spending on making videos is time not spent on something else you may enjoy more. With that said, I hope you all have a wonderful 2019! If you have some tips and tricks you'd like to share as well, feel free to post them here.
  2. Moin. Cannibalization of viewership is a concept that sounds very unintuitive the first time you stumble upon it: Why would making more content result in less views? There's usually 2 reasons to it: Your uploads are overwhelming the viewers. If you upload too many videos each day, non-fan subscribers will eventually get annoyed by you clogging up their feed. You can see this in stats on eg. the media.ccc.de YouTube mirror: Content was being created from 5 stages for 13h per day over 3 days, translated into 3 languages. The conference was featured on German prime time news and had coverage by basically every news outlet, but despite all of that the channel didn't grow during the conference itself. Only after the endless stream of video found its end, the effects of the large publicity became noticeable. Your additional content doesn't resonate with your subscriber base. For example, if you're a band rarely uploading music videos, starting a daily vlog series or livestream may be the coolest thing ever for your fans, but still will annoy people who only subscribed to the channel for the music. To avoid 1., you simply need to reduce your upload frequency. One video per day is plenty; you may even want to go below that if it allows you to produce better videos or take some time off. Don't take it too far though, uploading too rarely can lead to people not remembering why they subscribed to you in the first place. If you're coming from "multiple videos per day", anywhere from daily to weekly videos should perform better. To avoid 2., you may want to try using different websites or website features. For the music channel for example, instead of making a vlog, using stories some place where your fans can find it may be a good idea. Or you may want to start second and third channels for these kinds of content, eg. how Game Theory has a dedicated GTlive channel for livestreams. In short: Research how many and which kinds of videos your viewers would like to watch.
  3. Leo Wattenberg

    DEMONETIZED AFTER COPYRIGHT STRIKE BY REUPLOADER

    I do not work for YouTube. This forum is not affiliated with YouTube in any way.
  4. Leo Wattenberg

    DEMONETIZED AFTER COPYRIGHT STRIKE BY REUPLOADER

    I'm not talking about your recent videos, I'm talking about your most successful ones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDFaD4Rx7EI looks like it was shot from someone in the audience, not an authorized film crew, as does https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff60XboUCCA Your most successful video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_13HAGW1LI, appears to also be just reuploaded from another source - as do the other videos mentioned. In other words: Youi'll need to delete anything you didn't produce yourself.
  5. Leo Wattenberg

    DEMONETIZED AFTER COPYRIGHT STRIKE BY REUPLOADER

    I don't think that the issue is this one copyright strike. I think the issue is that most of your videos appear to be just you filming shows that you have no part in.
  6. Moin. I hope everyone had a chance to answer the survey. There will be a more detailed analysis further below, but let's start at the tail with the actions that will come out of it. Discord Pings Our community is pretty much exactly halfway split with one half wanting to get pinged for all updates, and one half wanting to get pinged for the most important updates and one smartass saying we should just people the option to choose whether they want to get pinged. Annoyingly, the smartass is right on this one, so we'll be changing it a bit. From now on, @everyone only gets used if there's important stuff happening. This means in particular: New features on YouTube that relate to gaming or live streams, anything that impacts large amounts of channels (like sub purges), anything involving the server as a whole (such as future surveys). So if you're interested in those kinds of things, enable @everyone for us. @YouTuber and @Artist get pinged for anything that's particularly relevant for them. For YouTubers, this will be tips and tricks, and as such will likely be mostly happening on #creator-tips. Further, smaller updates that wouldn't got everyone'd in the past would go here as well. If you made a tutorial, or just want to tell others what you learned, feel free to post on this forum's Tips&Tricks section. For Artists, this will also be tips and tricks. For now, I'll be posting them in #creator-tips as well. That said, I'm no artist, so if you're an artist of some description and want to teach others, feel free to post on this forum's Tips&Tricks section. you no longer need to assign a role to yourself in order to post on #youtubers and #youtube-help. The roles solely are for the pings now. (unlike Community Dev, Game Publisher and YTG Team. Those still give you some permissions. If you are one, ping an @Admin.) Channels As expected, nobody reads #readme. Further, nobody reads #channel-checkup, #collab-finder and #artists-alley. Because of this, these channels will get archived. (not #readme though, we need that one ) For #collab-finder and #artists-alley, we're currently working on a tool that allows you to actually find people you are looking for. Basically a dating site for collabs, so to speak. Until we're ready, you can post on #gaming if you're looking to game with someone now, or you can post on r/creatorservices if you're an artist. As for #channel-checkup, all discussion belonging to it will move to #youtubers. In other words, if you want others to look at your channel for feedback, go there. That said: It still is not okay to promote your channel on it. You can ask for feedback on specific videos or the channel as a whole, but don't do it on every single video. The point of feedback is not to let others make creative decisions on your videos with you being in auto pilot, you'll have to actually listen. I want to add more useful content on #creator-tips. If you have any special knowledge about anything regarding creativity, please share it on this forum's Tips&Tricks section. I'm asking you to do it here because on Discord it's kinda difficult to link back to single posts for future reference, and on reddit they'd drown out between the various question and help posts. Also, if you make YouTube tutorials, you can post your videos there, but please summarize the video in text so that the text still is useful without the video. As mentioned above, #youtubers and #youtube-help are now available for everyone. Further, #game-promotion also has been opened, if you want to recommend a game, you can do it there. #youtube-help has been renamed to #youtube-techsupport to further emphasize that the channel is meant for technical support and other things that require an employee to look at your issue, rather than for "help me grow my channel" kind of things. Reddit For reddit, the majority of respondents would like to see more news updates and resources. I'll try posting more of that. Other than that, reddit will retain its current support forum spirit. We don't think a large-scale restructure is necessary here. That said, if you have any ideas on how to improve it, the form is still open. The Big Picture and what 2019 else has in store The overwhelming majority of our community is either here to be able to report and solve technical issues, or to interact with fellow creators. We will keep the server this way and expand on our strengths. In 2019, the Creatorshub team will do anything in its power to help r/youtubegaming and discord.gg/youtubegaming. In particular, we are working on: An easy-to-use library for free music to use in videos. (this is going live very soon on music.creatorshub.net) A tool to connect creators with artists and other creators A database of other tools, gear, programs, etc. that helps you find the things you need to further improve your videos A statistics tool, so you can more easily compare your stats to others. If you have any knowledge on anything creative, please (and I'm feeling like I'm saying that a lot today) post them on this forum's Tips&Tricks section. If you know how to program and would like to help out with our tools (or want to build an entirely new one), please contact @Paco. The Stats discussion For the first question, what's the most burning feedback, most responses were directed at the YTG team. I'm not them, but I forwarded all of them. As for the others, here are some I have something to say about: This is what my personal feeling of the discord is well, and a thing we're taking action on. Incidentally, this also is why I asked further below which channels people use, so I could find out which ones to kill. So yeah. "Data-driven decisionmaking", basically. However, We decided to keep #game-promotion around, because I suspect the reason it isn't read as much is that very few people can post there. #tweets also stays. While it may not be as useful, it also kinda is a mini-announcement channel, plus for the few people that want it, it shares kinda interesting videos from time to time. As for the roles, because we restructured what they do, we won't be changing anything here quite yet. The overwhelming majority isn't interested in watching self-promotion, so allowing it would be pointless. However, half would be willing to watch creator tips, which is why we're loosening the rules on that kind of content. Feel free to meme around in #general. If enough memery is done there, it may become its own channel. As per above, one of the reasons for this survey is that we wanted to eliminate some rarely-used channels, so we won't just introduce channels in the hopes they get used if there's no demand for them. And looking at the stats, the vast majority of the community is more into the "boring" bug reporting and creator interaction side of things. This is the part where I'm a bit stumped, honestly. Let's look at the stats, again: Roughly half of the respondents look at the server regularly, with the other half only looking at it when there's something going on (a question or announcement). We did try having channel review livestreams previously, but for the most part, only the people that were going to be featured where willing to watch. We then tried to transfer it over to #channel-checkup, but that sort of died out as well. As far as I can tell, this is because YouTube Gaming isn't a community. You see, with twitch, there is a community sense because ever since its launch it's had a mostly continuous culture: Kappa means a specific thing, if you don't know what that is, you aren't a real twitch user (twitcher?). Of course, over time things came (LUL) and went (Dongers), but you were either in this huge cultural network that assigns meaning to things, or you were not. And as a streamer, you (and even companies!) get assimilated into the network by chat. YouTube never had this kind of large-scale community network, even a decade ago there were only smaller networks of culture spanning a dozen channels or so and their fanbases. Outside of this network, nobody would understand whatever cultural references people came up with. This means that basically anyone joining our server has nothing culturally in common with anyone else, other than "I also create gaming videos or live streams." There is very little ground for any sort of conversation. And why should you spend your precious time on sharing knowledge with people you don't know if a) you could make another video instead and b) could teach people from your community instead? I personally would love bringing creators together, creating a place where creativity can thrive, where constructive criticism can be given and received well, and where collaborations can be planned. Which is mainly the reason why we made creatorshub. But so far, it looks like we'll be providing resources for creator that creators will take, thank us for, and then go back to the networks from where they came. I don't know how to fix this. Maybe it's the meme channel after all?If you have any idea, please ping me @Leo Wattenberg, either here, on Discord, reddit, twitter, whereever.
  7. Compilation channels are unlikely to get monetized.
  8. Leo Wattenberg

    Tips from around the web

    A guide to Camgirling: https://knowingless.com/2018/11/19/maximizing-your-slut-impact-an-overly-analytical-guide-to-camgirling/
  9. Leo Wattenberg

    Tips from around the web

    TL;DR: If you have a recording of a loud bang on-location, you can use it to make any recording sound like it was shot in the same location
  10. Leo Wattenberg

    Not using 16:9

    Moin. When making a video, 16:9 is the ideal aspect ratio. Or is it? 16:9 certainly is the current web standard for video. Monitors, Smart phones, and web players all are primarily made with this aspect ratio in mind. Or rather, they were. Some smartphones and TVs now go more towards the ultra-wide side, with ratios like 2:1 (aka 18:9) or even wider. Some laptops and tablets started using 3:2 aspect ratios. And web players now, rather than having a fixed aspect ratio, will just fill whatever content you throw at them. In other words, until now, you basically were stuck creating videos in a format that was designed for TV, designed for an audience sitting at home, unmoving. But if your audience is different from that, 16:9 may not be the ideal format for you. Try it yourself: I made a playlist with a couple different aspect ratios: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYSYTk9mfzwIamYOr35d_7HTrszzK-kSn Look at the videos from different devices and different modes (default, theater, full screen) and see what's happening. Some of my personal findings were: ultrawide fills the theater mode completely The squarer the format, the more towering it is on desktop. On ultrawide, there was so little video on my screen (16:9) that I could see 3 comments without scrolling down, whereas on 6:5, not even the description would show up in default view. The squarer the format, the more usable it is in default view on mobile. Ultrawide videos are unwatchable on mobile default view, but good in full screen, wheras for squares and almost-squares it doesn't really matter how you hold your phone Square formats (1:1) and slimmer (vertical video) have their controls reaching out over the sides on desktop, adding whitespace instead of making the video larger. Vertical video remains difficult to watch on desktop, but is surprisingly okay to watch even on mobile default view. Note though that any of this benefits only apply if the video you upload is correctly trimmed. Simply adding black bars around your video will not achieve these results! With that in mind, picking an aspect ratio different to 16:9 can benefit your video, depending on your use case: ultrawide still is the format of choice if you want people to get immersed in your video. Cinema makers have known this for years, now you can join them! For old games and such, 4:3 is awesome now. Don't put fancy bars around your content to fit to 16:9, you don't need them anymore. For mobile audiences, vertical video is a good option, though be aware that the top and bottom of it won't show up until the user scrolls them into view or goes full screen. Square video (1:1) is not the way to go on YouTube. Because of the vertical-horizontal illusion, it looks like it's a vertical video. That it's controls hang over the actual video just like a vertical video only adds to the illusion. 6:5 and 5:4 video look like they're actually square videos, 4:3 looks pretty close to that, too. Because of their relatively larger display size, both on desktop and mobile, they're ideal for things in which the user is unlikely to switch to full screen. Tutorials being watched side-by-side with a different application come to mind in particular. 3:2 and 8:5 are on a good middle ground between immersiveness and default page screen usage. None of this is to say that 16:9 is bad and that you should move away from it now, immediately. At the end of the day, the aspect ratio is just a frame for the things you're filming, and while framing matters, it's possible to tell basically the same story using any aspect ratio. There is no ideal aspect ratio for everything, despite it being technically true that vertical videos show up larger on twitter and such. But it can be handy to have a larger frame into one direction, for example, a large-scale Napoleonic battle may benefit from 4:1-Polyvision (or if you don't live in 1927: VR, probably), while a rocket launch may benefit from 9:16-vertical video, and a game of chess filmed from overhead may just be ideal for square video. All that said, I absolutely love how towering 6:5 is in comparison to 16:9.
  11. Leo Wattenberg

    Rendering a video: The basics

    Moin. When rendering (or "exporting", "producing" or "save as video"-ing) a video, you'll be faced with a lot of options, some of which are pretty self-explanatory, others being a bit more obscure. I'll be going over the basic, most important ones here. The advice given here will be mostly be of the safe, boring "how to not fuck up" kind; I'll be covering more advanced options later on. Resolution The video's resolution is what you usually see as "quality" option on websites. It's effectively the size of the mosaic the individual pixels of the video create, measured in width and height in Pixels (px). So for example, FullHD is 1920×1080px. Websites often call resolutions by their height, so FullHD is 1080p. You generally want to render your video in the same resolution as your source material. Aspect ratio The video's aspect ratio is what fraction you get if you divide the width by the height. So, for FullHD, you have 1920÷1080, which is the same as 16:9, which is the same as 1,77:1. Other common resolutions are 4:3 (old TVs) and 18:9 (modern smartphones, aka 2:1). As with the resolution, you generally want to render your video in the same aspect ratio as your source material. Sidenote: When filming on mobile you may be producing vertical video. So if you're filming a FullHD video in portrait mode, you're not producing a 16:9 video, but a 9:16 video instead. This means that your render should have a 1080×1920px resolution as well. Bitrate While the video's resolution is the size of the mosaic, the bitrate is the details within the mosaic. In other words, the bitrate is really what drives the quality in your video. It's usually measured in kilobits per second (kbps, kBit/s) or megabits per second (Mbps, MBit/s. 1MBit/s = 1000 kBit/s). As such, how high of a bitrate you need heavily depends on what you're filming: A blue sky can be perfectly captured with a low bitrate, while a bumpy ride through a forest on the same bitrate would be a pixelated brown-green mess. There often are two options to choose from for bitrates: Constant bitrates (CBR) and variable bitrates (VBR). It's a good idea to use less data where possible, so you can have some left over for difficult scenes, so VBR is what you want here. Your bitrate depends on your resolution, content, codec, as well as target website. In general, you want to have your bitrates in this range: SD (480p and anything below): 2-5 MBit/s 720p: 5-10 MBit/s 1080p: 8-20 MBit/s 1440p: 15-30 MBit/s 2160p (4K): 30-80 MBit/s Sidenote: For live streams, bitrates lower than this can be acceptable. Codec Codecs are a bit more complex to conceptualize, so I'll be explaining them in a bit more depth here than the rest. The codec is software made out of two parts: The encoder, that takes the video, does math to it ("encodes it") and makes the file size a lot smaller while keeping it on a similar quality, and the decoder, that takes the encoded data, does the math in reverse ("decodes it"), and gets your video out of it again. There are a lot of different codec standards: Some slower, but very good at making the video's file size tiny; some faster, but not as good in making the file size small. Slow, but efficient codec standards include VP9 and h.265 (aka HEVC). Fast, but not-as-efficient codec standards include h.264 (aka AVC). There are many more than these, both much more efficient and much less efficient, but they're either too new to be widely available, or too old to be really useful anymore (for the web anyways, you'll need the older ones for DVD creation and such). Each codec standard has a lot of different implementations. The implementations are just different people and organizations making the standard into a real thing. It's basically like HTML being a standard, and browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, Vivaldi, ...) being implementations of it. They mostly behave the same, but have some benefits and drawbacks. For h.264 and h.265, the most common codecs are x264 and x265, while for VP9, the codec usually used is libvpx-vp9. Now for a comparison between them: (source: rbultje's blog) The x-axis shows the bitrate measured in kilobits per second, the y-axis shows structural similarity, a measure of quality, in decibels. Note that both axis are logarithmic, so if an increase from 12 to 13 means that the quality (SSIM) increases 10x, an increase from 12 to 14 means that it increases 100x. As you can see, the differences are largest on the low-bitrate end and not nearly as important on the high bitrate end, and the difference between VP9 and h.265 is basically non-existent. So, to answer the question "What codec should I use?": Slow PC, but fast internet? x264, with a higher bitrate. Fast PC, but slow internet? x265/VP9, with a lower bitrate. Slow PC and slow internet? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (try testing which one of the above is quicker) Fast PC and fast internet? Not willing to compromise quality for anything? x265/VP9, with a higher bitrate (and slower preset, if possible) Sidenote: Sometimes, there are more options, allowing you to pick presets (among other things) that tell the codec how much thinking time it has for the video. For x264/x265, there are options ranging from veryslow to ultrafast. You generally want to go for the medium preset as slower things than that yield diminishing returns: veryslow helps about 3% compared to the slower preset, slower helps about 5% compared to the slow preset, and slow helps about 5-10% compared to the medium preset, while also resulting in much higher rendering times: (source: ffmpeg) Websites Pretty much regardless to which website you upload your video to, the website will transcode it to their codecs, bitrates and resolutions. This means if you have a square (1:1) video in 480p at 100 MBit/s, viewing it on the website will have it in 16:9, either stretched or with huge black bars on the side, still in 480p, but at 2.5 MBit/s or so. So before you finalize your settings, you may want to do a few test renders lasting maybe a minute and see how they look on various platforms. And, of course: If your video has an option called "upload to <website>" that actually works – just use that for now. It can save you a lot of headache. See also: Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/help/compression YouTube: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1722171
  12. Leo Wattenberg

    Tips from around the web

    so, here are two series by creators that aren't necessarily known for doing "how to YouTube" videos. I like these quite a lot because they show their experiences with "real" channels, so while their insights and advice may not be applicable to you at all, they show how many different things can go to a channel owners head.
  13. Leo Wattenberg

    Using premieres effectively

    Moin. Premieres allow you to present pre-produced content as if it was live if you're on Twitch or YouTube. This has various benefits: Your viewers get notified beforehand when new content will appear and can count down until the video goes live There will be a chat when watching a video, giving opportunities for live interaction on a channel that doesn't live stream Because there is chat, chat-specific revenue streams (bits/super chat/...) can be harvested that otherwise would not be an option for non-live channels. This all sounds exciting, but to use premieres as effectively as possible, be aware of the following things: Firstly, it takes a while until videos are properly processed. This means that you should have finished the upload a good while before you have the premiere go live, else your viewers may see only a poor quality version (360p) of the video. Secondly, it's possible to hurt your channel performance with premieres. Let me elaborate: A premiere is designed to be annoying and teasing. Teasing, because your viewers get told about a video before it goes live. This is expected for things like movies (hence the teaser trailers), but for regular videos, people aren't used to it whatsoever. Annoying, because it wants your viewers to watch the premiere on a specific time, so the reminders for it are a bit more aggressive than usual. This together means that premieres can be just as frustrating as they can be exciting. And this often shows; premieres tend to get a ton of dislikes even before they go live just because people want to watch your video, but can't yet. Further, a non-fan subscriber, ie a person who subscribed to you but only occasionally watches your videos, may be okay with your videos showing up in their subscription feed, but not with premiere notifications on their phone. So if you upload daily content and premiere it all, non-fans may unsubscribe simply because this constant stream of annoying notifications is driving them nuts. So, before you go and premiere every single video, consider whether it's worth getting hyped up about: Regular, daily content probably doesn't need premieres, just as daily TV episodes don't get teaser trailers. If you have a fixed upload schedule, people already can plan around your content. Season beginnings probably can benefit from premieres, again, just like TV seasons. Especially if you haven't done the format in some time. Fortnightly or monthly content probably always can be premiered as people probably won't remember an upload schedule like this. Irregular content, eg. specials or the occasional short film on a channel that otherwise does vlogs, probably always can benefit from premieres. On twitch, of course, none of this matters because you don't have a choice anymore. Thirdly, premiere times matter. This is true for both when the premiere is taking place and for how long you announce it. As for the taking place, a premiere effectively is a live stream, so you want it to go live at a time when most of your audience can watch it. Your real time analytics should give you a picture on roughly how views get distributed over the day, but note that there are differences due to weekends, holidays, other premieres (both online, on TV and on cinemas). As for the announce times, there doesn't appear to be a standard yet. Some creators announce their premieres earlier that day, some announce it days in advance. Both have benefits and drawbacks: A short announcement may cause viewers to go "alright, just gonna do laundry and then watch this premiere", but people only logging in once per day may completely miss it. A long announcement makes sure that everyone checking in daily has seen it, but by the time the premiere is actually starting, they may already have forgotten that it happened. Fourthly, you matter. The primary benefit the viewers get out of a premiere is that they can chat in real time with you, the creator, and with each other. Especially for larger channels, this can bring back a sense of community that otherwise would be lost among the void that is the comment section. Further, it allows viewers to say "thank you" with a super chat. The primary benefit for the creator is that you can see exactly what people are reacting to in real time, instead of seeing a "like" or "dislike" at the end of all it. Further, you can say "thank you" to any super chats rolling in. But all of this sort of breaks down if you aren't there when the premiere is happening, so: Be there. Lastly, premieres don't get watched as much as you think they should be. Even with all this extra promotion that goes into premieres, the numbers for people that actually are as it's going on tends to be way lower than you expect it to be. If 10% of your subscribers usually watch a video of yours within the first hour, prepare for 1% of your subscribers to be there during the premiere.
  14. Leo Wattenberg

    Tips from around the web

    Moin. This post is a mere collection of other sources of information from around the web. We of course have a lot of tips in the Tips & Tricks section ourselves, but we aren't the world's primary source of creator information, so if you found something interesting from elsewhere, feel free to post it below.
  15. Moin. At the start of this year, there was a trend in Japan drastically taking off: Virtual YouTubers. These virtual YouTubers are creators who just use a virtual avatar instead of sitting in front of a camera themselves. Content-wise, these channels still are normal channels, so you get vloggers that do challenges, tech reviewers, Let's Players and whatever else, the only difference being that you don't look at a human doing it, but at some anime girl or dinosaur or something. But it's probably better to show, not tell. Using an avatar comes with a sizable amount of advantages: It has a strong branding built-in. Humans tend to look more or less the same, but with an avatar, you can simplify and exaggerate features until they are really unique and standing out. It has privacy built-in. Showing your face is often beneficial for videos because facial expressions can convey messages that you otherwise wouldn't be able to convey. However, actually using your own face is quite a large sacrifice of privacy, if you get anywhere near successful with your channel, you won't be able to live a normal life in public anymore. Avatars combine the best of both worlds. It's different. Even doing what everyone else does will have you stand out. It reduces abuse. If you think you're ugly but want to talk about beauty and glamour, chances are, you won't because you already know that you'll just be opening yourself up to a stream of abuse. With an avatar, you have a layer of abstraction between the abuse and you, which causes many of the easy insults ("you look like...") to be completely irrelevant to your person. It however also comes with disadvantages: Usually easy things can become super difficult. For example, putting on or taking off clothes is very easy in the real world, but are rather difficult to do in a convincing fashion in a 3D animation environment. If you use free avatars that come with your software, the branding advantage completely reverses as chances are that loads of creators try using the very same avatar. It requires some advanced technical knowledge and setup compared to normal video shooting, and potentially additional and quite costly software. At a more abstract level, success primarily based on doing a format similar but different isn't that new. Hitchcock made his name by using the tool of suspense that had been known since forever, but never really been used before him on film. And when zefrank invented the deliberate and frequent use of jump cuts in vlogs, it lead to a delivery speed and entertainment density that hadn't been seen before. Overall, as paradoxical as it sounds, going where noone has gone before may actually be the easiest option. Even if you don't immediately get successful with it, you'll at least learn a lesson, your lesson, and not just copy someone else's behavior for better or worse.
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