Site Update: Videos

I had to delete a couple of videos from the YouTube channel today. I am working on taking the site in a new direction and the two videos did not fit the tone I want the site to go in.

Also, I am stuck using my cell phone for now. I promise I DO actually have a good DSLR camera for shooting videos, but the tab broke off my 16GB SD card rendering it useless. I am in the process of trying to get it fixed. I have tried a couple of do-it-yourself fixes with no luck. I have a 32GB SD card but for some reason it refuses to record video for more than just a few seconds at a time. If I can ever get that figured out I should be back in business.

For now I will continue using the cellphone camera. I don’t know how much longer even that will be an option as the cracks in the screen are starting to interfere with the touch capabilities so the phone is on its last legs as well. With all these technical issues I am facing an uphill battle. But don’t fret I will persevere.

YouTube Review: TodayIFoundOut

Simon Whistler hosts a well-written ‘edutainment’ web series called TodayIFoundOut.

The channel uploads a new video daily. The videos are often brief little micro documentaries on a particular topic. They are well-researched by a team of highly educated writers who also operate a website by the same name. Whistler also hosts other web series on YouTube, but this is really all about the TodayIFoundOut series.

Currently having over 1 million subscribers with 157.4 million views, the channel reaches a vast audience hungry for snippets of interesting factoids. The videos are hyper focuses, typically spending a few minutes on a single topic. Topics range from historical tidbits, such as a video explaining the origins and complexities of the Electoral Collage, to just weird little facts about strange observances, such as their video on the origins of the phrase “Pee like a race horse.”

The channel provides a nice little daily dose of trivia for the intellectual or intellectually curious viewer in today’s busy world. While Whistler appears to be the chief host, he isn’t the sole host of videos. Another fellow by the name of Daven Hiskey, who also writes for the website, does make occasional appearances in the videos. However it is Whistler who is billed as the Host and he is the topic of discussion.

Whister himself offers a very soothing voice when doing his videos. The tone is both informative and entertaining, hence the reason they bill their show as edutainment. The writers are all well-education, many having advanced degrees in various fields of study. Whistler himself also hosts other YouTube channels, so he is no stranger to standing in front of a camera and talking to an audience.

The channel’s videos tend to have fairly broad appeal. Viewers of all ages should find the topics discussed interesting. The videos are typically short, which is fairly common of the more popular videos on YouTube. They are produced daily with Whistler standing in front of a green screen with animations, file photos and other videos playing in the background to accent the topics. Anyone looking for a channel to subscribe to that offers a quick little relaxing break from the norms should check out TodayIFoundOut on YouTube.

The videos tend to have fairly high quality production values. They are well-written, well lit, and employ the use of advanced editing techniques including animated lower thirds. The videos could easily be strung together into a 30-minute Discovery Channel or PBS style show inter cut with voice overs and transitional segments and the viewer would be none the wiser. The videos are highly informative, fairly entertaining, and extremely creative. The host is pleasing to listen to while not being too distracting. The sound editing is also top notch. The series is well-produced, anyone with access to YouTube should be sure to check out their channel. The motto, Feed Your Brain, is quite fitting.

Summary: This web series is the pinnacle of short-form entertainment. It’s production values could be mistaken for a network TV series. The writing is excellent. With new videos, each in typically short form, usually under 10 minutes, they easily fit the bill of today’s YouTube audience.

Rating: 5 stars

The Spiders Lair Podcast Episode 9

In this episode I talk about my interest in the new IT remake. I share some of my thoughts on remakes and reboots in general. I also talk about Gremlins 3, and briefly mention the passing of legendary comedian Jerry Lewis.

I also have a sponsor for this episode! Check out Sojourn Artworks, a dynamic initiative that strives to bring a revolving and diverse portfolio of unique works to the everyday art aficionado Visit http://sojournartworks.wix.com/sojournart for more information.

The rise of digital content production

The world is in the midst of a digital revolution. For the past twenty years most popular forms of entertainment have been driven to digital distribution. Radio has been replaced by services such as Spotify or Pandora. Talk radio was given way to the Podcast. Newspapers and magazines are being replaced by Blogs. Even television and film has shifted from theatrical and broadcast distribution as the only method of delivery. The medium itself does not really matter. A well-written editorial piece published for a weblog shouldn’t be any different to the readers than if the same article were published in a print magazine. If digital distribution channels have begun to supersede traditional methods, why hasn’t the digital content producer become equal to the content producers who rely on more traditional, restrictive mediums?

There shouldn’t be any difference between a filmmaker, television producer or a YouTube content creator. At the end of the day, the content is all that matters, the distribution method is just that, a way to consume the content. The writer, photographer, and editor who producers a web series uses the same skills as a team of producers working on a television production all doing the same jobs. What YouTube creators specifically do is create digital content that is consumed using the internet. While a lot of content on YouTube could be considered social media to some extent, there is a host of quality content that itself could easily be mistaken for a medium budget television production.

High production values, good writing, quality editing, and compelling stories are all what makes for a good production. The end product could be streamed via YouTube, in the case of something like the Angry Video Game Nerd. However those same videos are also available for purchase on DVD (and Blu Ray in some cases) where they can be viewed on a more traditional screen in a more familiar setting. Sitting down with a DVD set of AVGN DVD’s, a bag of popcorn and your favorite soda should be no different than having the same experience with a run through of Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVD’s. The only difference is in the actual content itself. Even James Rolfe, the “Nerd” himself has stated his goal was to be a filmmaker. In fact he achieved that goal just a few years ago when he released his feature length theatrical debut in the form of “The Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie.” I had the opportunity to interview Rolfe during the production phase a few years ago for my college newspaper. Sadly the story wasn’t deemed “local” enough for the editors and it was canned. The point remains the same. Rolfe did not become a filmmaker the day his movie was released to audiences in limited theatrical runs. He was a filmmaker the first time he edited together a series of shots.

Visit FilmmakerIQ and take a trip back in time to look at the history of cinema. The earliest films were little more than just “animated photographs” in essence. They would become more complex over the years as audiences became more invested in the medium. Then Television, or the small screen, threatened the Hollywood system. Television production had it’s start in a similar way as movies. The earliest movies were just experiments. They didn’t become successful until filmmakers learned to create a narrative. Once they discovered to edit shots together they were able to adapt whole plays into motion pictures. Hence why we call the script of a film the screen play. Television got it’s beginnings in radio. The earliest TV stars were just radio performers standing on a stage doing their acts in front of a camera. Not much different than the earliest Angry Nerd videos, or even much of the content that is produced on YouTube these days if you get down to it.

Whether a content creator releases their product via television to audiences over FCC regulated airwaves, projected onto a silver screen in a large auditorium, or streamed over WiFi networks via YouTube, the point is the content is all that matters. Digital content producers deserve the same respect as filmmakers and television producers. In fact many deserve greater respect as they are often one-person shows. When a quality, professionally produced product can be written, shot, edited and dubbed by a single person, or a team of two in some cases, that’s even more impressive than a shoddy production using the best equipment and a team of professionally trained writers, editors, directors and photographers.

 

A sneak peak at an upcoming Game Sack episode: Sega Game Gear

Game Sack’s Joe and Dave ‘gearing up’ to tackle the Sega Game Gear in an upcoming episode of their popular review show.

 

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Here you see the self-proclaimed Sega fanboy battling it out with the Nintendo fanboy over the merits of the machine that took on Nintendo’s monopoly in the handheld gaming market in the early 90’s.

 

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This screen shot was taken with the duo’s recently RGB modified Game Gear console they will be using to do their review in the upcoming episode, set to air Oct. 1 on their channel.

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The Sega Game Gear was a full-color, 8-bit gaming device based on Sega’s aging Sega Master System technology. It was released to compete directly with the ultra-successful Nintendo Game Boy, a device whose legacy continues to this day.

“We were finally able to procure a Game Gear modified with an RGB video output so we could record the gameplay without using an emulator.” said Joe Redifer, co-host.

“People really enjoy these dedicated episodes and this one was really fun to make.” he added.

The episode is scheduled to air on October 1. Visit their channel for more console reviews, game reviews and skits. The duo mixes humor with high production values to create entertaining reflections on the gaming culture of the 80’s and 90’s.

Also be sure to check The Spiders Lair for more digital media coverage as we try to bring you all of the exciting news coverage of the world of digital content.