Zero Budget Geek
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So, I've started a Youtube channel and among other things, I'm doing board game Let's Plays. I just posted my first two board game plays in two different styles and would like some input on what you as a viewer would rather see. Yes I want to get viewers but I really want to put out something of quality to the board game community. Since I am quite an amateur, I can't do this without some help.


In the first video, I filmed the game with lots of different camera angles, close ups and cuts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrVOCm_t2iE

In the second video, I filmed the game all in one take, in one shot with a static camera. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtF8dzFtVcY

So the first one takes me much longer to film and edit and extends the length of game time a bit but I like the closeups and different angles and feels more interesting to watch. However, it's not "real-time" per se so I'm not sure if that bothers viewers.

The second style is much easier to film and produce and makes for a shorter video but I feel is kind of bland and does not stand out from all the other board game Let's Plays out there.

Dynamic Cam Pros:
Better view of game and components
Looks more professional
Isn't boring to watch

Dynamic Cam Cons:
Takes more than 4 times the length of time to film
Editing is very lengthy
Video time is extended and makes for a longer video.

Static Cam Pros:
Easy to film
Easy to edit
Shorter video

Static Cam Cons:
Dull to watch
Not different from countless other Let's Play videos
More prone to gameplay mistakes

So tell me, which style would you rather watch? Thanks for your time!
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Samo Oleami
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I'm skimmed both.

I don't watch gaming videos for tutorial at all and think Calandale's 40 minute of talking into a static cam is pretty cool (was even better when it was shaking). So - I'm not your audience.

To me it looks kinda like this:
- All things being equal (content wise) the dynamic video gives a strong emotional impression, the static one is more usable (if you want to learn a game).
- I'd say that if you wish to stand out between countless people trying to make boardgaming videos there are two ways you can go about it. Maybe more. Anyhow:
-- Doing videos in "dynamic mode" catches attention, gets emotional response and that's probably the easiest path you have to gain a following (with 4 times as much work, I know). Though with time, when you have audience, you could change the format into something easier to do. Also with time you might find your personal style that makes your videos attractive without being too time consuming.
-- Going for static videos makes sense, if your content is above average. Either in insight (depth of a review) or in quantity (putting large number of videos out there).
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Lucas Smith
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edgd00 wrote:

Static Cam Cons:
More prone to gameplay mistakes

Why??
 
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Peter Bowie
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I think Static fits better. Dynamic is more suitable for factual content. The fade outs on the Dynamic video are a bit jarring too (since you're not cutting to a different scene, just a different shot).

Also, Static means you're less likely to burn out and more likely to be able to produce more content.

Kudos on making a video! It's cool stuff.
 
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Brian Andrews
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You've done a good job here.

I like the first video. I appreciate seeing the close ups of cards or parts of the board. Typically, I'm watching a video of a game that's new to me, so actually seeing the components up close helps.

And I'm happy that you are not just picking up the card and assuming the camera will autofocus. I see a lot of that on youtube.

I think you can greatly reduce the number of close-ups. IMHO, people just need to get a feel for the components. We don't need to see each and every card. So, I think you can combine these approaches into one where the majority of the game is done with static cam, then you have close-ups and cuts to help re-inforce topics or cool aspects of the game.

Some other video production tips:
Audio is key. In first video the audio is terrible in first few seconds. This will cause many people to close the video immediately. If you can, invest in a good mic. A good all purpose shotgun mic is the Rode VideoMic. It's about $150. Or use your smart phone as a second mic and cut that audio in.

Lighting. Try to avoid shadows over the game board. You need lights on both sides to kill shadows. A no budget lighting solution is Home Depot work lights or clamp lights. Just be very careful as they run hot.

Setup: In first video the cards were slanted, like going up hill. this was driving me nuts. Make sure the game is set up well, looks centered and clean.

 
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Richard Ham
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nice stuff, eriberto! i think the problem you're going to run into with that static camera (option #2) is that with any game other than something that's tiny & epic (i.e. small table footprint), you'll have to keep the camera so far away from the action to get the entire board on screen, you'll find it's not very satisfying to watch, and you may end up having to do lots of post work anyway to put in extra views of closeups of cards and the like...
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Paulo Renato
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Haven't seen the 2 videos you have filmed yet but I have to say I really don't like static Cam videos...

I prefer videos that are dynamic, that are closer to the "action" and that give close ups of important things...

I know that if you are going to edit them it will be a lot of work but since you gave me that option to choose, that's the one I would prefer

It's always great to see new people starting doing videos... the more the merrier

Good luck and good work

Thanks
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Paulo Renato
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One more thing...

I don't think the background music should be there... it's distracting and makes it more difficult to understand what you are saying...

I prefer things clear... adding music is not necessary and introduces "noise" to the content (by noise I mean things that aren't necessary, not that the music is bad)
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rahdo wrote:
nice stuff, eriberto! i think the problem you're going to run into with that static camera (option #2) is that with any game other than something that's tiny & epic (i.e. small table footprint), you'll have to keep the camera so far away from the action to get the entire board on screen, you'll find it's not very satisfying to watch, and you may end up having to do lots of post work anyway to put in extra views of closeups of cards and the like...


This. For a really effective static video, you'd need to add in close-ups when editing - and that may take longer than filming it dynamically. But I like what you've done so far, and I've subscribed!

Muse23PT wrote:
One more thing...

I don't think the background music should be there... it's distracting and makes it more difficult to understand what you are saying...


And this, too. Background music can be very distracting.
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Satan Himself
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I'm pretty fond of slasher flicks. You should do your let's plays in that style.
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sgosaric wrote:
I'm skimmed both.

I don't watch gaming videos for tutorial at all and think Calandale's 40 minute of talking into a static cam is pretty cool (was even better when it was shaking). So - I'm not your audience.

To me it looks kinda like this:
- All things being equal (content wise) the dynamic video gives a strong emotional impression, the static one is more usable (if you want to learn a game).
- I'd say that if you wish to stand out between countless people trying to make boardgaming videos there are two ways you can go about it. Maybe more. Anyhow:
-- Doing videos in "dynamic mode" catches attention, gets emotional response and that's probably the easiest path you have to gain a following (with 4 times as much work, I know). Though with time, when you have audience, you could change the format into something easier to do. Also with time you might find your personal style that makes your videos attractive without being too time consuming.
-- Going for static videos makes sense, if your content is above average. Either in insight (depth of a review) or in quantity (putting large number of videos out there).


Thanks for taking the time to watch and comment! I do want to provide something that is entertaining and informative to watch. I think I will be going with the dynamic approach. Too many videos out there have the static cam and I find that very boring.
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smithlucas wrote:
edgd00 wrote:

Static Cam Cons:
More prone to gameplay mistakes

Why??


When I'm doing the static cam, my attention is really divided between the game, what I'm saying and plotting what I need to do in the game. I also tend to rush my decision making because I don't want the video full of long pauses and I want to keep the overall length of the video as short as possible.
 
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C3Gaming wrote:
I think Static fits better. Dynamic is more suitable for factual content. The fade outs on the Dynamic video are a bit jarring too (since you're not cutting to a different scene, just a different shot).

Also, Static means you're less likely to burn out and more likely to be able to produce more content.

Kudos on making a video! It's cool stuff.


Thanks for the comments! I went with the fades between shots rather than immediate cuts for two reasons. I found the straight cuts even more jarring, the fades give the viewer that extra second to process where it actually cut to and the fade hides my ugly editing skills!

I've been researching on how to produce a successful Youtube channel and more videos does not necessarily equate to good content. I'd rather take the time to produce fewer, better quality videos than a ton of crappy content. Also there is the concept of subscriber burn in which you can actually produce too much content and lose subscribers because of it. This happens for two reasons, either they realize they don't like your content/ upload frequency or you produce so much content that some subscribers will actually miss a video or two which the system reads as non-engagement and will show those viewers less of your videos.
 
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I don't suppose you have two cameras and can do both, getting the best of both worlds?

If not, I'd do the dynamic can as its different and will attract more viewers. You can probably still do static cams for some games though, like small boards and lightweight/short games.
 
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rahdo wrote:
nice stuff, eriberto! i think the problem you're going to run into with that static camera (option #2) is that with any game other than something that's tiny & epic (i.e. small table footprint), you'll have to keep the camera so far away from the action to get the entire board on screen, you'll find it's not very satisfying to watch, and you may end up having to do lots of post work anyway to put in extra views of closeups of cards and the like...


Thanks Rahdo, I'm definitely going with the dynamic approach. I'm not sure if you remember me, we chatted back when I was with Griggling Games and we talked about Destination: Neptune and we met briefly at Gen Con. These videos I'm doing are inspired by you, I really like your videos and I think you are one of the few shows that can do a gameplay run through and still maintain my attention. Like I've told others, I'm not a professional filmmaker but I care about putting out something to the best of my ability that is also a contribution to the hobby and community I love.
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Richard Ham
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edgd00 wrote:
I'm not sure if you remember me, we chatted back when I was with Griggling Games and we talked about Destination: Neptune and we met briefly at Gen Con.

Yup, I remember you... a very enthusiastic Destination Neptune barker you were! It's no surprise that you would create a very watchable video, as you are quite charismatic!
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rahdo wrote:
edgd00 wrote:
I'm not sure if you remember me, we chatted back when I was with Griggling Games and we talked about Destination: Neptune and we met briefly at Gen Con.

Yup, I remember you... a very enthusiastic Destination Neptune barker you were! It's no surprise that you would create a very watchable video, as you are quite charismatic!


Thanks, I'm very enthusiastic when it comes to gaming. I don't generally script my videos because I like to speak from the heart and I want my viewers to understand the genuine passion I have for the hobby.
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Dan Lokemoen
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The music was way to loud in the mix. Personally, I find music really distracting when I'm trying to learn a game, anyway, and would get rid of it, but if you want to keep it, lower the volume. The choice of music was fine for me, but it made it very tough to listen to the video.
 
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Editing the Static Cam would solve the problem of making more mistakes, just cut out the long pauses rather than leaving a solid play through.

I agree that the music is distracting. I think you should remove it from the intro entirely, but if you simply turn it down (the bass on this piece is super distracting and overpowering) in the other areas you can probably keep it.

Do you have a mic for your camera or are you using the on the camera itself? I hear you just fine when you are at the table but the dynamic intro is super quiet and muffled. A relatively inexpensive mic can make a big difference in equalizing the sound throughout the videos.

I think the most important thing is to ask you: What do you want to accomplish with your videos?

- Are you trying to make something we could learn the game through? (Static Cam)
- Are you trying to give an overall demo so we can decide based on a bunch of factors (look, play, etc) if we want it or not? (Dynamic)
- Are you trying to make us feel like we're playing with you? (Dynamic)

Which shooting style you use needs to compliment your goal so telling you what I like best also depends on why I think I'm watching.

I'd also suggest you look at the other play through videos already out there Rahdo, Watch It Played and Box of Delights come immediately to mind - look at what they are doing and, more importantly, look at what they AREN'T doing. Also, see if you can determine why they are making their videos from their style of filming. Now make something that fills in a gap: appeal to a different audience (which I think you are anyway), have a different style of filming, etc...
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First of all, good luck to you with the LetsPlay videos & Youtube channel! I personally like to watch a nice-made playthrough, IMHO it's nice way to get acquainted with a new game .
I have watched your videos and I have few thoughts.
1. The music itself wasnt annoying. I wasnt distracted by music during gameplay, but it was too loud at the beginning of the video.
2. During the videos sound volume changed few times, so that you voice sometimes was hard to hear. So, you will have to normalize the voice/sound volume or to do something like that
3. I like Rahdo's runthrough a lot. I watch the dynamic (not static) variant of his videos. So, choosing from the both of your variants, I prefer the static one It's more live. It feels like you really playing the game.

I think it's not correct to say Dynamic vs Static in this situation.
It's more like Post-edited vs One-Cut-Made. I like the second option better.

The other thing, is that the game, you have chosen to do your first LetsPlay is a microgame, so there are not much difference between the both of the videos. Even in the static variant we can see all the components clearly enough. When you'd like to do a gameplay of any big game with a lot of components the results may vary a lot.
So, to make a static video, you'll have to buy some kind of a wide angle camera or to put a tripod on a bigger distance from the table. In any case, the zoom level will be insufficient to recognize the cards/components. Tim Norris is doing the great job, making the live play static videos with adding some zoomed photos of components into the video (like this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgkMUlYBR-s)

So, I think you have to try to do a Live play of some bigger game, and than the difference may be more obvious. Maybe you'll find any alternative variants for your videos.

4. And the last one It's more pleasant to watch a video of whole gameplay, than only a few first rounds. BTW its the only complain to Rahdo's runthrough. I dont know who is the lucky winner, he or his wife

 
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Serhiious wrote:

3. I like Rahdo's runthrough a lot. I watch the dynamic (not static) variant of his videos. So, choosing from the both of your variants, I prefer the static one It's more live. It feels like you really playing the game.

This!
On his youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/rahdo Rahdo lists static cam vids and normal (dynamic) cam vids seperately so you can easily watch two of those and see what you like better. He has done both a static and a dynamic version for some games so you can make a direct comparison. This is what I have done yesterday (I watched Eclipse). My impressions: The static cam vid was so boring! When I saw Richard doing a close-up with the second cam I always felt like "Hey, I'd like to see this right now!". Also, his gestures work better with the dynamic cam, the angle focused the element that is currently important etc. Eclipe has fairly many components, so things were quite small. (especially when watching in non-full screen mode.)
I don't mind the "shakiness" in Rahdo's videos. (YMMV)

So much on Rahdo's videos. Now let's come to your videos:
First of all they look very proffesional! You have chosen a very small ("tiny") game, so the static cam might still work for this one. (see above: "Eclipse") The way you are holding the camera in the dynamic vid is perfect, so just keep things like this. Go for the dynamic camera!

(btw: I didn't find the music distracting.
I haven't watched the full vid.)
 
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Serhiy Saf
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smithlucas wrote:
...(I watched Eclipse). My impressions: The static cam vid was so boring!

I totally agree, that Rahdo's static runthrough videos are not so interesting to watch as his normal/dynamic. I mentioned that earlier.
smithlucas wrote:
You have chosen a very small ("tiny") game, so the static cam might still work for this one. (see above: "Eclipse") The way you are holding the camera in the dynamic vid is perfect, so just keep things like this. Go for the dynamic camera!

Eriberto asked, which style is better. So, considering, that he posted two different videos in two different styles :
a) dynamic (lots of different camera angles, close ups and cuts)
b) static (the whole game in one shot)
the better one (of the listed two) is static one.
IMHO its more similar to Rahdo's dynamic runthrough than to Rahdo's static that's why I liked it better!

When Eriberto will do a LivePlay of any bigger game, the situation may change radically.
 
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Hey everyone, thank you so much for taking the time to give me your thoughts and suggestions. It got hard trying to answer everyone individually so I'll try to answer everyone with this one post. Of course if there are more questions and suggestions afterwords, I will address those.

Music: So first let me apologize about the sound quality and the music. My toughest challenge has been audio quality and I'm learning and improving as I go along. Some of you have suggested I remove the music entirely. I'll have to politely say no. There are a few reasons why. First, the music can give the whole thing a cohesive and thematic feel, obviously. Second, the music can cover short awkward pauses that are too small or frequent to keep doing jump cuts. Lastly, almost no gameplays of boardgames have music and this is one of the things I want to do and perfect to be different. So, I'll be putting the music in but verrry low!

Audio: I did finally get a microphone for my camera and will start using that. Zero Budget Geek isn't just a nickname, I literally do not have extra income to spend on these videos so I need to be as frugal as possible and get equipment as I can.

Other gameplay channels: Some have suggested I look at other gameplay channels such as Rahdo, Watch It Played and Box of Delights. Well first of all, I'm a long time subscriber to all of those and have watched many of their videos. I have the utmost respect for them and they are inspirations for me. I've even talked and met with some of the creators of those and had to try really hard not to geek out! The hardest was when I met Wil Weaton and Boyan Radakovich and talked to them about Tabletop. While I love all of those shows, I'm not trying to be them. Rahdo has a style all his own that I couldn't and wouldn't try to replicate. Rodney Smith's Watch It Played is so much more professional than I can muster right now. I'm Zero Budget Geek and my "gimmick" is a low budget, amateur production that strives for big budget quality. I also want to be relateable to my viewers because I'm a gamer at heart and I have a real passion for it.

So I've decided I will go in the direction of the "dynamic cam". I know that isn't the correct term but I think everyone understands. As has been mentioned, that will probably be very crucial when I do larger games. I started with a microgame specifically because it is small and much easier to shoot and practice what I want to do. Also it can be played single player which is what I will probably be doing for most of my videos.

That being said, it will be kind of difficult. I only have a single camera, so I will have to be creative and patient to try to accomplish what generally takes several cameras. Though not officially trained, I understand the techniques of filmmaking with multiple cameras.

Lastly, why am I making these videos? Well it's hard work and time consuming but also fun when I have a finished product. There are countless Let's Plays of video games but very little good ones of board games. Almost all of them I mention right here! I think there is room for more but I want do it to the best of my ability so that I can give someone something worthwhile to look at. There is also the personal pride aspect. I like to sit back and say "hey, I did that." I suffer from major depression and most days it is extremely hard for me to get motivated to even get up, let alone go shoot videos for several hours and then spend just as long editing. But when I do, when I am done, regardless of how good or bad it is, I can be proud that I created SOMETHING. When someone else likes that SOMETHING, well then that is the icing on the cake and gives me that extra fuel to go forward with more!

Thank you everyone for your support so far, it really means a lot and I am so looking forward to providing more videos. So enough of my long post and it's time for me to get going and put out more videos!
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Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I would absolutely love it if someone did game reviews/playthroughs in the style of film noir.
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