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Leo Wattenberg

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About Leo Wattenberg

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  1. Compilation channels are unlikely to get monetized.
  2. 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/
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Moin. When making educational videos, things rarely are simple enough to be fit into a video. Instead, the real world (or even digital worlds!) tend to have a lot of exceptions to rules, little details that may or may not be important, and countless of associated things you can mention. So if you aren't careful, a simple video intended to show a single thing ("how to tie your shoelaces") may end up becoming rather complex and convoluted (different methods of tying knots, shoelace patterns, some shoes don't have shoelaces, what to do with different shoelace lengths and slipperinesses, etc.). And here's where you aren't your audience: After researching a topic for a long time, you rightfully can consider yourself at least half an expert on the topic. So the obvious idea to go to is to make The Definitive Video on the topic. A video showing all shoelace patterns, all shoelace knots, all shoelace lengths and slipperinesses, and a list of exceptions to the aforementioned. If it's too long, you may even split it up into a little series, The Definite Shoelace Playlist. However, this is not what your audience wants to see. The Definite Video on a topic is usually only useful for people who are looking to become an expert on the topic themselves, or for you if you want to show off how much you know on it. So it's basically just a knowledge dump for you. But it's not useful for someone just wanting to learn the basics. In the case of shoelace tutorials, the audience wants to see a step-by-step guide on how to tie their shoes. This means that you should show them one method of tying shoelaces, and only one. The easiest one, if such thing exists. However, simplifying the topic down to the basics means that you may have to swallow your ego and not show everything there is to know. This is a thing that I have trouble with myself, check out for example this post: The message I wanted to convey here is that you have to pay attention to the write speed of your SD card. But when researching the topic, I also found out that there are various UHS buses, so I included that info as well. This post now is closer to The Definitive Topic than I'd like, but I'll keep it like that for demonstration purposes. You could end that post before the "but wait, there's more" line, that would make very little difference. Further, a thing I did cut out from that text after reviewing it: The highlighted information is technically correct, and possibly even funny, but it adds a layer of unnecessary information. Explaining the technical details of how it would go wrong is simply not relevant to the question "what SD card do I need when filming?". One way to prevent Definitive Videos or Knowledge Dumps is to try defining a message you want to convey before you start writing the script of the video, and try wrapping it in a story. This has the benefit that a defined message tends to be rather simple, and a story tends to be rather linear with a clear start and finish. This stops you from going too far onto side branches and unnecessary details, because you want your story to progress. So, in TL;DR: What you like from educational content isn't necessarily what your audience likes Simplify as much as possible when teaching, don't just dump your knowledge Define a message and convey it inside a story, This post was inspired by "The Storyteller's Sacrifice" by kliksphillip.
  11. Leo Wattenberg

    4 ways to make VODs watchable

    Moin. So, you have successfully streamed some content. You likely now have a some hour-long recording/VOD of it awkwardly sitting on your channel, perhaps in-between other forms of content. These recordings are however quite unpolished, and there's a lot you can do to make them shine! Live streams have a start-up time. Typically, the first minute of a stream is dedicated to figuring out whether technology works as intended, and then another five to ten minutes are spend on just greeting viewers joining. Having content like that is good during the live part of the stream; you're providing special attention to your most dedicated viewers. However, on a stream recording, this is rather dull to watch as the viewer cannot interact with the recording. To fix this, you can set a clear break point between the greeting and the start of the actual content, so that these first couple minutes in which nothing is happening can just be cut away. Live streams are long. Usually, anyways. Because of that, watching through an entire recording is a huge commitment and unlike a feature-length movie, the entertainment value isn't particularly high as the one defining feature of the live stream – being able to interact with the streamer – is gone on the recording. Because of that, very few people actually watch those recordings. To fix this, both the length and the entertainment value, that is, you can either compile highlights from the recording resulting in many short videos with just a few, memorable parts, or "unboring" it by cutting out the most boring bits (startup time, setup time between segments, backtracking/redoing attempts, silence, etc.), but keeping the live-streamy nature of it intact. Live streams are segmented. Apart from aforementioned startup time, live streams tend to be dividable into different segments. What these segments are in particular changes from stream to stream, maybe it's discussion of a certain topic, gameplay of a certain game or just a single round within a game. Locating a segment within an hours-long recording is as annoying as having to fast forward or rewind a cassette to the correct position in order to hear a single song each time you want to hear that song. To fix this, you can upload segments as stand-alone. The clearer the cut between individual segments, the easier it is for a viewer stumbling upon the segment to understand what the recording is about, even with the context of the previous content missing. Live stream metadata are different from VOD metadata. For livestreams, you primarily get found via directories of some sort (game pages, for example), or by people already following your channel knowing that you are streaming. So, during the live bit of the stream, you don't really need SEO, instead, you need clickbait a thumbnail/title combination that makes people want to click on your content, and because live content by definition is always new, you can keep reusing the same title/thumbnail combination that works (provided that whatever you're doing in the stream still fits). Further, the description doesn't need to describe your live content (it can't, really), so instead you can use it for CTAs, or stuff you want your viewers to click on (tipjar/donation links). To fix this for recordings, you can remake the title/thumbnail/description of each video to a thing that actually makes more sense on a recording: Something telling the viewer what they can expect in the video. These techniques can be used together, if necessary (redoing the metadata almost always is necessary). The more you edit your recording to make a regular video, the more watchable your recording will become – however, this also means that you'll spend more time microoptimizing your content instead of making new content. And there definitely is a point at which the cost of editing a recording outweights the benefit of having a heavily edited video. That said, if you are a streamer, you definitely should consider doing the following with your recordings: Make regular highlight videos. You need some content to convince people who stumble across your channel while you aren't streaming that your channel is worth subscribing to. This will vastly expand the audience you can possibly reach; if you stream prime time in the US, you'll be effectively invisible to Europeans. Highlight VODs can be watched anywhere, anytime. Think about how many of your stream recordings should be public, and for how long. Streaming daily is quite doable, but if you treat all raw recordings that come of it as first-class citizens of your channel, videos that took more effort to produce will drown out. Having your recordings unlisted, but put into a playlist will keep the videos available to people who really want to watch recordings, but free up your video tab. Compromises of this are possible, eg if you want the recordings to stay prominently available for a week before you upload a highlight video of them. Don't drown subscribers in VODs. This is especially an issue for channels that want to upload every single segment of their stream. Subscribers love you if you upload one video on a day. They like you if you upload two or three. But they will absolutely hate you if you upload ten, fifteen, twenty videos a day and then likely unsubscribe just to be able to use their subscription feed properly again. Offload some of your VOD work. Making recordings more watchable isn't exactly a high art, so basically anyone with a video editor and enough time can do it, and chances are that you have fans who would be willing to try their hand at it – just remember to pay them fairly. Even if this is a somewhat easy job, it's still a job, one that's repetitive and time-consuming at that.
  12. Moin. There is an update on the matter by YouTube: Announcement: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/youtube/Uxfdrq_tAlM Help Article: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1311392#cqg Both go into more detail on what's considered duplication by YouTube.
  13. Leo Wattenberg

    Update your channel trailer regularly

    Moin. If you have a channel trailer, chances are, you've made one at some point and haven't updated it since. This is problematic, because you are (or at least: should be) constantly developing your channel, trying new formats and killing off ones that have become too repetitive or unsuccessful, all the while improving your audiovisual and narrative technique. Because of that, a channel trailer stops being truly representative of what content a viewer can expect after a while, so you should do a new one every now and again (maybe every year or two, or if you make drastic changes in content). see also: General info on making channel trailers: https://creatoracademy.youtube.com/page/lesson/trailers
  14. @Eyedol Pro 아이돌 프로 if you don't have commercial use rights for the kpop stuff, then yes, that would be the issue.
  15. Leo Wattenberg

    Planning livestreams effectively

    Moin. Live streaming in theory is the easiest kind of content to create: You hit the "Stream now" button and just wing it from there. But in practice, doing that will result in a rather unenjoyable stream. You can do better. A good stream has a plan to it, and there are two things you can plan for: The schedule and the content. As for the schedule, you should go live when your audience has time to watch. If your audience is school kids, you can reach them usually anytime between school's out and reasonably late evening, if your audience is adults, you can reach them usually between late afternoon and unreasonably late evening. Note that time zones exist, if you're living in Europe, but most of your audience is American, you may want to switch to more america-friendly times. If you're considering streaming professionally (towards full-time, that is), you may want to try to cover as much of the spare time of your audience as useful. "As useful" means that there are more considerations to than just that. For one, mental health is a thing; streaming all day every day for a year will likely burn you out. Even when streaming full time, you want to have at least one free day per week. For another, you may run out of content in the middle of a stream if the stream is too long. Planning content for a stream is almost a necessity. It allows you to deliver a constantly and consistently interesting stream. For example: If you're playing a game, try beating within the span of one stream. This will allow your stream to just take over the dramaturgical elements of the game you're playing, so you're building up towards the climax the entire stream and are able to end it right after. If the game is too long to beat in one go, try at least finishing the final stretch in one stream. Having to end the stream half an hour before the game ends is annoying for your audience. All of this of course requires you to inform yourself how the game is going to go. If you're doing something that doesn't really give you an overarching storyline, such as playing MOBAs or non-gaming, prepare some topics you'd like to talk about, preferably in a way that builds towards a climax again. Recognize what the natural breakpoints are in your content (you can use them for pee-breaks or to start wrapping up the stream). Recognize how long you can be entertaining. Being entertaining is exhausting, and after a while your audience will be able to tell that you no longer are giving your 100%. End the stream before your exhaustion becomes noticeable to the viewer. You may need to re-watch your previous streams to find out when this point is reached as it's hard to judge in the moment. There is a certain startup delay after starting the stream as people slowly join in to watch. During this startup time, you can have a countdown/idle screen, but I personally prefer having some sort of filler content instead, eg. some small casual game. It isn't always possible or even useful to have a stream follow a storyline leading to a climax. But in every case, you should have an explicit goal with your stream. This can be "I want to reach more people", "I want to connect with existing fans", or anything else you'd like. Having a goal allows you to work towards the goal, so for example, steps to "reach more people" can be "play popular games people care about" or "talk about recent and upcoming events", if you want to connect with your fans, you probably want to have more of a Q&A environment and not one where you need to intensely focus on a game. Schedule planning and content planning can conflict with each other. For example, if your schedule says you'll stream for 5 hours on a day, but you've reached your goal (eg playing through a game) already after 2.5 hours, you have to decide if you want to follow the content planning and end the stream right there and then, or if you want to follow the schedule planning and improvise for the second half of the stream. Resolving this conflict gets easier if you have backup content prepared, and even backup content for your backup content, so it should come to no surprise that most professional streamers stick to their schedule and go for the backup content. But if you didn't (or couldn't) plan for backup content and the only thing you had runs dry, don't be afraid to end your stream early. There is a saying in the showbiz attributed to P. T. Barnum "always leave them wanting more": It's better to end too early, than to drag your show for so long that people start getting bored and leave. With all that in mind, you should be able to answer these common streaming-related questions for yourself: How long should a stream be? How long can you be entertaining for on a regular basis? What are the ideal streaming times? When does your audience have time to watch your stream? (look at your analytics) What should I stream? What brings you closer to your goal? (What is your goal?) How often should I stream? How much can you sustain and still have spare time?
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