Archive News: Update On The Archive Video Project

Bah! Bah to you, writer’s block! BAH!

Anyway, I did have some stuff to talk about regarding my goal of establishing a channel on YouTube. I’m currently gathering audio equipment slowly but surely and trying to hammer out the format that I want to present in. I’m currently leaning towards the format popularized by fine people like MovieBob, the earlier videos of Gaijin Goombah, and others where still-images are used as avatars for my emotional state (no camera, remember).

I think those of you reading will appreciate a format like this since it gives you the option of looking at pretty pictures, but you can always look away and just listen to the audio if you’re watching while you work at the office. It’s also a fair bit closer to the old radio talk show format that I used to work with in college, so I’ll be operating from a zone of mild familiarity.

At this point, I’m still green when it comes to the editing and production process, so I’m not sure how long it will take to publish videos on a regular basis. I’ll be looking up some tutorials for Adobe Audition and Adobe Premiere in the meantime while gathering requisite materials. If any of you would like to help by recommending tutorials for me to look at, I’d greatly appreciate it.

While I do that, I’d like to recommend two other hard working artists in the field of social commentary that are farther along than me and could really use your help.

The first is The Voyages; a channel that’s equal parts philosophical debate, psychology lesson, and Galaxy Quest. The show follows the adventures of Captain R.L. King as he travels the universe in search of the deeper meaning of our favorite Sci-Fi stories. His essays provide a lot of insight into the way we tell stories.

Next, there’s The Obscure; the ramblings of a white wig wearing, pot smoking, LSD dropping, jaded, weirdo hipster dedicated to cataloging and analyzing the memories of the past that are only just on the periphery of our vision. If you appreciate my broad range of topics, you’ll likely enjoy his musings from behind those mysterious shades and insane grin.

These two are small channels still and could really use your help to grow; The Voyages has only just begun its journey (no pun intended) and the fact that The Obscure only BARELY has more subscribers than I have followers here on WordPress should be a mortal sin. Go check these guys out and show them some love. I hope to be counting myself among their ranks soon.

3 Generally Awesome YouTube Channels

You know what, I’m still reeling from illness and haven’t talked about anything positive for a while. So, let’s shout out some talented people.

The last time I had something nice to say about YouTube was when I shared a trio of channels for the artsy DIYer. Today, I just want to go off on three channels that had nothing in common other than just being a lot of fun and offering something nice and/or useful to the viewer. So, let’s just get happy and celebrate some cool people.

The Obscure

The tongue-in-cheek review has been a staple of internet entertainment for as long as most of us can remember the internet. However, they’ve almost always come from a stance of crapping on old media for laughs.

The Obscure stands out from the horde of angry reviewers by demonstrating genuine nostalgia for the things of the past that mirrors the fond memories that we have for our favorites-gone-by; offered through the character of someone with all the enthusiasm of someone who probably shouldn’t have dropped the brown acid at Woodstock.

While the goofy comedy is the primary draw, The Obscure does occasionally drop some insight on us; showing how these things long-forgotten helped shape popular consciousness today.

AvE

Here’s a little something special for the handymen in the audience.

AvE may be a little to foul-mouthed and rough around the edges for some, but for me, he more than makes up for it with his knowledge of tools and machining.

AvE combines his experience as an engineer with his glorious and uniquely Canadian sense of humor (“skookum as frig,” has become one of my favorite phrases) to teach us the nuts and bolts of making your way around a DIYer’s workshop. In amongst his workshop tricks, he also works on his series, ‘Bored Of Lame Tool Reviews’ (BOLTR for short) where he disassembles and analyzes everyday tools and appliances to determine if they’re actually worth your money.

CGP Grey

An American-born teacher living in England, CGP Grey is the kind of person you want to run an educational YouTube channel; someone you genuinely enjoys teaching and believes that knowledge can change the world.

CGP Grey covers a broad swath of topics including modern technology, civics, politics, and geography while explaining in clear terms why these things are so important to know and how they affect us. Overall, he’s very good at making you care about what he’s saying with a calm, mellow, and charismatic voice.

He also has a podcast with his friend Brady at Numberphile if you need more knowledge dropped on you by people WAY smarter than I could ever hope to be.

The Agent on YouTube’s Restricted Mode and The Value Of Uncensored Debate

“This video is restricted because some people can’t handle a mature critical discussion on some topics. Sorry about that.”
Source: The Independent

What is this; the third – maybe fourth time I’ve had to weigh in on a YouTube policy change? You guys could circumvent a lot of this bulls*** if you just gave us some details before you made the change.

Anyway, for those of you not keeping up with the new media, YouTube recently went live with a new ‘Restricted Mode’ feature that had some, shall we call it, unforeseen effects.

The goal of Restricted Mode is to give viewers the option to hide content that some may deem as questionable such as violence, profanity or sexual situations. And believe it or not, I totally understand why they would want to do this.

Let’s not forget, YouTube is a business first and foremost. Their first priority is to placate their advertisers, shareholders, and viewers. So, anything that might be counter-intuitive to an advertiser/viewer’s interests – say having their ad for a new children’s movie just before a video of a particularly foul-mouthed Let’s Player who uses f-bombs like vocal punctuation or having their five-year-old stumble upon the same – might scare them away.

But, the problem arises from what kind of content gets blocked when Restricted Mode is active; namely people weighing in on LGBT politics. Most of them are not even talking about gay sex, mind you; They’re just chiming in on the politics of queer culture.

I think the problem is pretty obvious and it’s a problem that asexuals like myself encounter routinely – people conflating relationships with sex. YouTube saw the phrase ‘LGBT’ show up and just ASSUMED it was about sex without actually checking the content. I assure you, talking about romance or being in love doesn’t AUTOMATICLY imply someone is bumping uglies and we need to stop think like it does.

Of course, this wave of (very likely) accidental anti-LGBT censorship is endemic of a bigger problem that I have with YouTube’s Restricted Mode and censorship in general. Simply put, I’m against censorship because is restricts discourse from both sides of a debate and thereby halts social progress. It’s a pretty simple chain of logic to follow; if neither side is allowed to talk about something, how can they debate it in order to solve any problems with it?

It’s for this reason that I support YouTubers like Count Jackula who dedicate regular live-streams to debates with fans and fellow creators or Armored Skeptic who often makes debunking videos pointing out logical fallacies in other people’s arguments. Yes, things often get very heated, people will get offended, and I frequently disagree with them on at least one point. But at the end of the day, they offer a perspective that made me think and that surge of critical thought is what we need more than anything else in this societal landscape.

That having been said, I can still see where YouTube is coming from in terms of business. It needs some kind of system to please the people that make them money. So, what we need is a common ground… and I think I have it.

Firstly, STOP CONFLATING RELATIONSHIPS WITH SEX. I will scream this 24/7 until I go mute from the scar tissue building up on my larynx.

Secondly, I suggest giving more control to what shows up in viewer searches by employing a sort of ‘ADVANCED Restricted Mode’ that allows the user to select what kind of content gets filtered out based on what they personally don’t want to see. It’s not ideal and those people will still be very likely to miss out on mind-expanding discussions, but it’s probably the best we can do until we can build that utopian society where people’s anuses don’t slam shut like steel security vault doors everytime they hear something that threatens their fragile reality.

Three Types of YouTube Channels I Can’t Stand

“WHY WOULD YOU PUT THIS ON ME!”
Source: The Daily Dot

I’ve expressed my deep love for YouTube content creators of all types in the past. The fact that there exists a platform for young creative minds to get their ideas out in a fun and entertaining way (and get paid for it if they play their cards right) is an absolute positive. Even when we complain about policy or interface changes, we still keep coming back because – at the end of the day – it’s the producers creating informative and amusing shows that are the real heroes.

That said, there are some types of channels that just shouldn’t exist; the ones that garner millions of followers despite how horrid they are.

So today, let’s talk about how to sacrifice talent for fame on YouTube and examine a few channel archetypes that frustrate me with their poor quality and paradoxical success.

Commentary Videos

I may have mentioned in the past how I dislike Commentary videos, but for those who haven’t heard, let me fill you in.

Commentary Videos are essentially VERY low tech Vlogs that replace the man/woman talking into a camera in their living room with a backdrop of video game footage with their commentary dubbed over it; hence the title.

I actually understand the existence of this genre; setting up a YouTube career is a pricey investment and you need to cut corners sometimes. But if you’re just going to talk into a mic for half-an-hour, why not just do a podcast instead of wasting the potential of a visual medium? Even musicians on YouTube are kind enough to display lyrics on screen if they can’t make a video.

Also, most Commentary Video creators have a bad habit not editing their audio. The result is a lot of dead air and pauses that infuriates people like me who crave information-dense material.

And why is it always video games that serve as the backdrop? Why not shoot a walk through the park on your smartphone or play some royalty-free/fair use compliant stock video clips that relate to the topic? At least throw some spiffy images on the screen for visual humor from time to time.

Again, I get the need for this kind of video on a technical and budgetary level, but there’s a certain level of success one reaches when you need to start stepping up your game and put more effort into your craft.

Reaction Videos

Okay, not all Reaction channels are bad. In fact, the good ones provide a sort of psychosocial service by simulating the sense of community you get while laughing at stupid videos with friends.

But you want to know what the worst reaction videos often forget to do? REACT.

It’s shocking how many videos there are that just have the host/hostess in the corner saying or doing nothing while the video they “react” to runs uninterrupted. At that point, you aren’t adding anything to the original content. and what do we call it when you use someone’s work without adding to it in any way? That’s right, kids; PLAGIARISM.

This is another case where the judicious use of editing could save a video; Simply cut out the dead air and remember to emote to what’s happening on screen. You’ll be far more entertaining and people will be encouraged to seek out the full video – thus supporting the original creators.

Basically, if you must be a Reactor, try to be more like Chadtronic.

ASMR Videos

What’s that; You never heard of ASMR? Well, it’s short for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It’s that tingling sensation you get when you hear certain sounds. Some people apparently find it soothing and relaxing.

We had ASMR stuff back in my day… back when we called it WHITE NOISE.

This is another example an audio-centric medium that wastes the potential of being hosted on a visual platform. But that’s not the worst part; That would be the CREEPY AS F*** whispering that people often do while making these things. There’s a video of a guy whispering into the microphone while running a knife across his beard and it seriously feels like I’m being seduced by a serial killer.

I’m not sure if this is a problem for other people, but ASMR isn’t soothing for me; it’s a fear response. It’s the chills down my spine when I hear leaves crunching in the woods or the dull roar of a crowded room that prevents me from hearing what’s behind me. It’s my sign that some funky S*** is going down and I need to get the F*** out of there.

I hope to start a YouTube career myself some day and if I make a video like the ones I described here, I give you all full permission to demand I pay you for a round trip ticket to Manchester, New Hampshire just to give me one of those little tiny flicks to the crotch that barely makes contact but hurts twice as much than if you just kicked me in the nuts.

Why People Hate YouTube Heroes

Wow, YouTube’s been piling up the hate lately.

Last time we discussed YouTube’s shenanigans, I might have been a bit too harsh on them. Regarding their new Advertiser-Friendly policy, I can understand why they employed it. They have to appease their advertisers and creators, so they created a system to remove ads from videos that advertisers don’t want to be associated with while allowing the creators an easier means of contesting the demonetization claims.

My issue was with how openly the language could be interpreted and how easily it could be exploited. But, as a system to appease all parties, I get it; it makes sense.

There is NO excuse, however, for YouTube Heroes.

For those not in the know, YouTube Heroes is a new experimental system where YouTube is extending the job of editing and regulating content to the viewing audience and rewarding them with new privileges based on a ‘level up’ style system – privileges like direct communication staff members and workshops that high-profile creators should probably have by default.

What’s more, part of the job of people using the YouTube Heroes program is to report inappropriate content like offensive comments and videos.

Basically, YouTube is asking you to do their job with no pay. Hmm, why does THIS sound so familiar?

But the bigger issue here isn’t unpaid labor, it’s UNSKILLED labor. YouTube is putting the power of content management in the hands of people who, judging from the average comment section, are quick to anger and would be the most likely to flag down videos and comments – not because they were inappropriate – but because they just didn’t agree with them.

Unless YouTube comes out and says that they have a plan to ensure the quality of those using the service (unlikely, as they have disabled comments on the video to quiet the negative feedback), this is a terrible idea. Nearly every attempt to include the digital community in a major business has ended in failure purely by virtue of the fact that they can’t control the actions of random strangers. It’s the business equivalent of handing chimpanzees machetes and NOT expecting them to hack up a few people.

In short, my open letter can be simplified as such; Youtube, start doing your own damn job. And if you don’t have the people to pull it off, stop being so stingy and expand like a responsible business should.

YouTube Decency Standards or Controlling Creators?

Why do you hate the people making you money, YouTube?

Okay, that’s an admittedly abrupt way to start an article. But after the long string of problems we’ve seen coming out of YouTube – including their archaic automatic copyright strike system that’s still a problem today – we seeing garbage like this.

The short version of the story goes as follows; YouTube has made a new set of guidelines allowing them to pull monetization rights from videos that they feel may too violent, sexual, or controversial for advertisers. For those like me who are strictly anti-censorship, this would be bad enough. But, they had to make it even worse by defining the guidelines in such vague terms that they could pull ad revenue from videos at random and arbitrarily.

In fact, I don’t really need to say anything as one of my favorite Youtubers, James “Caddicarus” Caddick, said everything that needed to be said in the above video demonstrating the hypocrisy of the new guidelines (bonus points for giving Nicki Minaj’s garbage music a proper thrashing as well).

Look, I know this is going to be the shortest article I’ve ever written, but I just don’t have the strength to keep up with this sort of thing and there’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said before. So, I’m just going to say this and be done with it – YouTube corporate, you need to understand that this is not a hobby on the web anymore; it’s a job and people are going to treat it as a job. All of the attempts to control content will only serve to place enmity between you and your creators.

If you’re that worried about how your advertisers feel about placing their product next to Nicki’s jiggling ass, maybe you should try letting THEM decide where their ads go instead of making a blanket statement that you can (and likely will, if corporate greed acts its part) use as a blank check to destroy a channel that rubs you the wrong way.

And if that’s just too much work for you, then stop whining and learn to live the fact that the world will always have a bunch of dreary crap in it and you will never stop people from talking about it.

Bottom Line: If Steven Universe can get away with having Garnet and Amethyst’s sexy fusion dance on cable T.V. (huh, more Nicki Minaj. Weird), we should too.

Three YouTube Channels For Creative People

Okay, A real short, simple one this week because a lot of stuff is happening right now.

Recently on my Facebook and Twitter pages, I started sharing craft and cookery ideas under the banner of the hashtag #MakeItMonday. I feel that it’s important to give yourself a project or two to tinker with for the sake of mental health. It keeps you sharp, it’s entertaining, and it give you a sense of accomplishment when you’re done.

So, for all of those DIY Field Operatives out there, here are some specialty crafted YouTube channels designed to teach you how to make it yours… whatever “it” may be.

Grant Thompson – “The King of Random”

Grant Thompson is probably one more well-known DIYers on YouTube and it’s easy to see why people love him. He’s has a wide range of interests, deep respect of his viewers, and has a deep passion for creating.

True to his title, part of the fun of Thompson’s channel is the random nature of the videos. One week he’ll show you how to make sweet smelling bath bombs for your amoré. The next he’s MacGuyvering a metal foundry for recycling aluminum out of a flower pot.

His varied tastes ensure that you won’t be doing the same boring stuff every weekend. Just check out a random video, and see where it takes your ideas.

Tasted

For the foodies, there’s Tasted – a channel that, like a parent trying to make a fussy child eat, strives to make food fun.

In addition to sharing food and drink recipes on shows like “Superhero Kitchen,” “How to Drink,” and “Rustic As F#%K,” they also report on various food-related topics like new flavors of snack foods and options at popular restaurant chains.

My favorite show of theirs is “Why Would You Eat That?” – an exploration of traditional foods from other countries that often ends with hilarious results.

Bill Doran

Bill Doran is a blessing to cos-players and LARPers the world over. If you ever needed a prop or suit of armor that you just couldn’t find online or didn’t want to spend the money on, he’s your man.

Doran’s videos not only show his process as he recreates props from movies and games, but his “Prop: Shop” series also goes into detail on specific techniques.

Personally, I get the most use out of his EVA foam tutorials (you know, the kind of foam people put on the floors of workshops and gyms to reduce the impact on your feet and knees).

If you enjoy and get good use out of his videos, you should consider going to his online store and buying his books and blueprints.