Why this dev is doing vids

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Hopefully you have noticed I’ve been doing some videos about what’s going on behind the scenes during my work, this at the cost of me doing blog updates. So here’s an old fashioned read-it-or-leave-it blog.

 

So, I’m a firm believer that when you run a business, you should keep innovating and trying out new things frequently in order to grow and not fall behind. For me that’s trying something new, and setting some challenges every year. This year I had a few plans, and I’ll dive into the other plans in a later article, but for now I’ll talk about this whole video thing.

The plan

The plan with the videos is, at it’s core: marketing.. but on a slightly higher level I also want to show more of what’s going on in my day-to-day programming life and get a connection with the people who enjoy my games. A way to show people that I’m just a guy working on his game ideas with a passion.

I don’t plan on becoming a youtube personality or anything like that, this is really about showing how I’m creating my games and what I do with my time while working.

To give myself a bit of a kick in the ass to make sure I’ll put serious effort into this I bought myself a new camera (Sony CyberShot DSC-WX500) and last week I added a Samson C03U microphone to the mix (also useful for creating some game voices and sounds). This is not a high-end setup, but it’s too expensive to not use it!

The rules to the plan

As mentioned above, I have no plan to become a youtube star, or even make money from the video’s. These video’s are really an extension to my day to day work as a game developer. So I’ve came up with a few rules for what I want to do with my videos:

  • keep the video’s short-form, between 3 and 8 minutes if possible
  • make it look professional, nice intro, sound, good quality editing, etc
  • make it honest and raw.
  • keep it interesting for a wide audience of gamers, not just game-developers

So the first two are pretty clear; I find it amazing that many youtube stars do daily vlogs, or even just a few a week, but it’s also their core-business. For me this is not my core-business, so I don’t want the video’s to take up too long of the actual work. Creating a 3-8 minute video can easily take between 1 and 3 hours of recording+editing+uploading.  It’s not a huge amount in a week, but it still makes an impact on my work at least one day in the week. So, keep the video’s short, but put some quality time into the editing.

Luckily I already know how to edit videos, due to me doing my own game trailers for a few years now, and this is even less work since it’s mostly doing jump-cut editing (cutting out parts) and making sure it all moves a long at a nice pace. For those asking: I use Screenflow (mac only, not free) to do my editing.

Making the video’s honest and raw – means that I don’t want to script anything. I’ll of course try to come up with what I plan to record the coming week, so that I can have stuff setup before I work. But I don’t want to put a whole day into filming it. So the jump-cut is a pretty common thing for you-tubers these days, and that’s basically cutting out the “uh” and awkward silences, and mistakes.  This is really a requirement for keeping the recording and editing quick, and not a huge task that needs hours to do, and it also allows me to cut the video shorter and faster, cause that’s the current trend in the world!   The trick is to try and keep it to a minimum of cuts, a learning process.

Final point: to keep it interesting; I try to not focus or linger on long coding-sessions or other boring aspects of what I do, because as I noticed with many other “dev-logs” I watched before I started this, is that those are kinda boring to watch. Nobody cares if you are working on a specific solution for 10 minutes or more.. it’s boring to watch people write code unless you’re a programmer trying to learn something.  Again this is a learning process on my end, but we’ll get to a informative and fun video format before the year is over! (I hope).

Not to say that I don’t do those videos, because obviously that IS my work. But I can post-edit them to speed up boring area’s and highlight the interesting bits. So a 30 minute coding session might end up cropped into 2.

Luckily there is more to my day-to-day then just working on games, so eventually I will probably show some more of the life and world around me. Maybe take you guys out on my daily walk, we’ll see.. that’s mostly me having to overcome the hurdle of taking the camera outside and recording in public.

The learning process

I already mentioned that it’s a process a few times now, and that’s really what this is.

The main hurdle when starting this, is seeing and hearing yourself on camera. What helped me get over this was to understand that it was only strange to hear and see “me” speak on camera for me. Because due to how mirrors work, I always see myself mirrored from how everybody else sees me, and due to how our heads work, I also hear myself different from everybody else.

So there’s nothing weird about recording yourself for other people, it’s only weird for you!  get over it!

The second thing to overcome was talking in english and talking to the camera, it’s weird, it’s silly, it’s unnatural. What I can say is that with some practice it becomes fairly easy. Especially once you are over the whole “hey that’s me talking!” thing. Imagine to look into the lens, not the display, and talk like the other people are with you in the room.

I also think (hope) my English is above average for Dutch people, but it’s obviously not my native language and I very rarely speak English in public. So speaking English out loud requires my brain to think in English and not Dutch. When writing that’s a lot easier because I can take some time to think about the right wording, but when I talk, it has to be more fluent and snappy, I’m pretty sure that’s just a matter of doing if more often.

The difficulty

I now did the first 4 video’s, and I can already see that the difficulty will be about the content. What do I record this week? what would be interesting? I enjoy my day-to-day work a lot, but it could be boring to watch for others since it’s 99.5% programming and drawing.

So that’s something I have to figure out, and is a fun challenge. For one example: should I have done this written blog in a video instead? Food for thought, but as I said: it’s a process!

Now, I hope you guys will follow me on this journey by subscribing to the youtube channel, and if you enjoy a video give it a thumbs-up and drop a message if you like (always love that).  Worst case it will be a short video session ending in a few weeks, or in a better case it will only be 52 videos a year – easy!

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