The trouble with lets plays: My frustrating experience with producing them

I love playing video games, a lot. In fact I like it so much that you could say when I am not scheduled to do anything else I try to make it a point to play some game or another.

When I first started doing YouTube videos way back before Google bought it out, I did a series of “video strategy guides.” This was before Let’s Plays and Long Plays became a thing. Of course back then you were very limited in the length of videos and there wasn’t ad sharing in those days either. I was doing the videos not so much as a business or even a job but it was a partnership with other colleagues who were trying to launch a business. In the end I walked away due to the convoluted way the site handled copyright strikes once Google got its hands on the site.

Since then I have dabbled on more than one occasion trying to get back into doing Let’s Play videos. My first attempt I spent money on a video capture device. I plugged my consoles into the computer and captured the video that way. Then I went back and watched the video footage while I talked over it. This was cumbersome.

I quickly gave up because it took too much time to produce videos in this manner. It also took all the fun out of the games. Due to the hardware limitations of my PC at the time I couldn’t play the games in real time because the capture card ate up all my CPU power. What I did to solve this issue was dual monitor out. I set it up so I could watch the footage live on the TV and record the footage on the capture card. It didn’t increase the speed of the process but it made the games playable.

I took a break for a couple of years while Let’s Plays became a popular form of content on YouTube. A few years ago I decided to give it another go. I invested in a more powerful computer and an HDMI video capture card. This allowed me to capture newer games real time and play them at the same time. I also picked up a Microphone and was able to record the audio at the same time. I was doing the part where you see my face on a separate camera because I didn’t have the capability at the time to do it all from the desktop. This added a step to the editing process. It also was a chore getting the audio to sync up with the video. It was a little more cumbersome process but it did produce a higher quality video. This venture didn’t last more than a week as each attempt yielded some technical difficulty in the chain each time that caused something to be wrong with the final video.

My most last attempt to do this I went simple. I downloaded a screen capture program and used the web cam in my laptop to record the video and capture desktop at the same time while recording the audio to a third program using the microphone. This was less complicated but it resulted in multiple hours of rendering. It was tiresome. It could take 8 hours to render a 20 minute video with all the parts. In an attempt to shave some time off I tried using the internal video capture of the emulators but again this required I play the game, render that video then watch it while recording the commentary part. This took too long so I gave up and deleted my channel.

I had maintained a separate channel devoid of Let’s Plays where I upload all my other content, be it personal or professional. I finally decided to try again. This time I am using two computers. The laptop will capture the screen image using the emulator and a screen grab program I downloaded. Then while I am playing the game on the laptop I will use my desktop to record the audio and video using an HD camera and microphone. I put everything onto a flash drive, migrate it to my working desktop that has all my video editing software and piece it together there. I decided to limit myself to 30 and 60 minute videos depending on the game I am playing. This way if something goes wrong and I have to redo the entire session it’s not the end of the world.

Recently I discovered one minor flaw. The capture software I use to grab the footage glitches out after a while and grabs random frames instead of full video. I haven’t solved this problem yet but I am at least finally using a setup that when it does work right produces a video I can be comfortable sharing.

That being said, I am going to do everything in my power to work out the kinks to improve the process. This time I am not giving up in frustration. I am making it a point to produce multiple videos each week. I don’t want my channel to become nothing but let’s plays. I am okay with making a number of them in an attempt to produce more content and, covertly at least, justify my desire to play old video games for the hundredth time.

Spider Man not in MCU, Game Informer layoffs, Virtual Boy to blame for Nintendo Labo?, Wii U Collecting,

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-whttc-bd2f1a

In this episode THERAT talks about Game Informer laying off a number of its workforce. Spider-Man is no longer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Is it fair to claim that Virtual Boy is to blame for Nintendo’s current aversion to proper Virtual Reality? Wii U game collecting story and Matrix 4 thoughts. Stay Cool.

Self defeating struggle of honesty

A few weeks ago I decided to throw caution to the wind and lay everything out on the table. My motivation for doing this was to clear the air. There is something therapeutic about getting things off your chest. I decided it was high time I did just that.

The more I contemplate the actual repercussions of my declaration the more I realize I am my own biggest obstacle for finding my soulmate, if there is such a thing.

I’ve gone back and forth from just narrowing it down to single, female and going out to find the first person who agrees to spend time with me. But then I figure I deserve better. I’ve worked hard at becoming a decent human being I think I owe it to myself to find someone who can appreciate my strengths and help me overcome my weaknesses.

The biggest obstacle standing in my way is my own mental block. It took me a long time to define the feminine aspirations I was hiding. Coming to terms with that helped me realize I was doing two things in my mind preventing me from seeking a proper companion. The first was the way I idolized women to a fault. I had to decide if I was genuinely transgendered or just obsessed with females to the point my curiosity delved into the weird and unexplainable. I decided it was mostly my feeling left out that pushed me into desiring to be more like my sisters and their friends. It took a lot of work for me to realize I did the damage to myself all those years ago when I forced myself into isolation.

The second thing I was doing was exploring female sexuality in a way to discover my own curiosity. As I was trying to decide if I wanted to consider HRT and eventual transitioning to female I began exploring the female form a little too much. I suppose despite my own curiosity for what I believed where fairly benign purposes, might have been too creepy for some women.

This brings me back to my current situation. One of the reasons I needed to define my terms as to know where I stand in my mind. A part of me knew if I ever got into a committed relationship with a woman she was eventually going to discover things that might push her away.

I thought if I could remove the barrier in my mind that makes me afraid to talk to women, if I could see them as people equal to men and not creatures to be admired, superior to the inferior creatures I perceived men to be, I would be able to bring myself to the point I could talk to them. Now I have this weird burden of having to explain how despite my complicated upbringing involving my own desires, I am still a man who has a very strong desire to find a female companion. Specifically, a friend, a soul mate I can share my life with. An intellectual and emotional equal not a trophy. What kind of competition would I qualify to claim a trophy anyways?

The trick is having that awkward conversation about how I explored the idea of being trans before I decided what I wanted out of life. The problem is finding someone who will understand that without questioning everything else. I guess that falls under the category of building trust. Honesty and openness should go a long way towards that goal.

In a way it was an attempt at learning how to discover how to converse with women. I can say with good confidence I never learned how to hold a conversation with other men. Any attempt I make quickly turns into an argument one way or another. It’s not like I don’t desire to be normal and make friends. Not defining what normal is but I mean, you know learning how to make friends would be nice. In the meantime I suppose I will spend time with my new cat as I try to put this life of mine into perspective.

Boobies and Noobies podcast impressions

Alright just like the Frigay the 13th show I held off on talking about this one for several reasons. I wasn’t sure how to tread into this without it looking, creepy. Listening to this podcast made me feel like being an 11 year old listening in through a hidden microphone to his sister’s friends during one of their sleep overs. Not that I ever did that but you know stuff you see on TV (Goldbergs) but whatever I checked it out so here we go.

The show’s premise is simple enough, it’s a group of people talking about romance novels. The hosts are clearly having a good time in the episodes and it sounds like they know the topic they are interested in.

I didn’t spend a lot of time listening intently to each episode for this review. I have been a follower of the show on Twitter for a while now but was too afraid to peak in to this world. As someone who did, on rare occasions “borrow” romance novels without asking out of curiosity I can say the hosts here have a much better grasp of the subject than I. My interest was more out of curiosity than anything. Of course my desire to be more feminine clearly intrigued me which is why I do highly recommend this show if you are interested in getting a closer look into the insights of women who do read romance novels.

Truth be told I am likely to go back and give this a much deeper shot in the near future but for now I just wanted to pop in and see what it was all about. I don’t think it is going to appeal to everyone. My own curiosity will not match most people. I don’t know who I should recommend this to, to be honest. I want to say trans women who are interested in learning more about how to explore femininity might be interested as an educational tool, or even peer bonding if you want to discuss these topics with other women, trans or otherwise.

I suppose the core audiences is likely women and possibly men who enjoy reading these types of novels. I can say I’ve dabbled but never really spent much time beyond that. I would say the hosts are having fun with the show so that is a bonus. I didn’t hear anything that made me say nope this is trash. It was a group of people with a mission and it sounds like the show has a pretty solid focus. It kind of reminds me of that Hanna Montana song Fly on the Wall. I would rate it as entertaining with a clear focus and a fairly specific audience range. Production values are strong, the hosts are into the material and clearly having fun doing the show. That all the way around should make it entertaining for someone who is into the subject matter, in this case romance novels apparently.

Less mature male listeners will likely be drawn to the name of the show if nothing else.

Meet Chloe, my new cat: could MS survive without Xbox? GameCube and Wii U collecting: He Man Wrestling toys and more!

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-qyjcm-bc23a6

In this excited episode of The Dark Web Podcast, THERAT introduced Chloe to the world. Who is Chloe? My new cat! She is so cute. You should check out the video to see her in action. 

 

Topics include what movies/TV shows I watched this week.

Starting a vinyl record collection? Maybe?

Could the Microsoft survive without Xbox?

What factors make collecting for Nintendo GameCube different than Wii U? Why did one get better support than the other despite the differences in their predecessors success? 

Toy topic is a brief discussion of Masters of the WWE Universe. Not much to go on so check it out.

Also what is up with The Walking Dead? What is the nitpick now? Find out in this episode here at The Spiders Lair, Where Chaos Resides. Stay Cool.

Frigay the 13th Podcast thoughts

I have been saying for a while now I was going to begin reviewing podcasts. I wanted to wait until I was comfortable talking about my personal stuff I was hiding before I did so because I knew if I wrote an honest review of this particular podcast before my reveal it was not going to be all that honest. I was trying to pick shows I have heard more than one episode before I reviewed them. Since that is not the case here consider this more of a general musings than a proper review.

Here goes. The premise of the show is you have two guys that are both openly gay and horror fans. The show appealed to me because talks about horror movies which I am a fan. The thing is they do more than just review horror movies from an LGBT perspective, they tie it into an aspect of real life horror tales, in an attempt to analyze the real world horror through the lens of the art. It’s an interesting concept.

I only listened to the most recent episode so I don’t have a lot to go on. Basically what they did was discuss two topics involving horrible people from society. They did an old Hollywood segment and a new Hollywood segment. They talked about recent controversies surrounding Kevin Spacey and Brian Singer. They then dove into a discussion on two films they tied into the topic.

It was an interesting show. Based exclusively on the name of the show combined with their social media posts the show was nothing like I was expecting. While I would have been fine with two gay guys talking about horror movies and doing voices, having fun or doing a lighter show, I was very impressed with the maturity of which they handled their subject matter. It was a decidedly darker show than I expected. As someone who lived through the horror of being bullied for being different, let’s be honest I wasn’t as good at hiding who I was as I thought, I can say it was a relief to be able to listen to relatable stories that reminded me of the things I had to go through. Fortunately my story isn’t entirely as dark as some of the topics discussed but it was relatable nonetheless.

The hosts are very familiar with the topics. They are clearly fans of not just cinema but the Hollywood lifestyle as well. This does allow them to offer a pretty deep looking into the darkness they covered. As someone who calls their website The Spiders Lair, I can appreciate taking a stroll into the darker side of humanity.

I would highly recommend the show for anyone who is a fan of cinema, especially classic cinema and horror movies in general. The show does have a gay slant, as the title implies, but don’t let this turn you off, they are able to talk about these topics in a manner I believe was respectful and insightful. They do speak opinion on the show so fair warning. Also there is profanity.

I would need to listen to more episodes to give it a true and proper rating but for now I enjoyed what I heard enough to subscribe. My intention is to go back and check out some of their earlier shows in due time. The episodes were reasonable length too. I have a hard time with 3+ hour long podcasts, which there are many, but a sub 90 minute show is manageable for me.

Be sure to check them out and as always, Stay cool.

Stephanie is out, new format to show comng, Retro Nintendo topic and more!

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-j3bu2-bb5000

The show is a little short. I recorded it with the expectation I would have a guest. Due to an error on my part we didn’t schedule the interview as planned. In the interest of keeping the show going here is the condensed episode. It cuts off abruptly as I was expecting to finish it later.

 

The new format going forward is going to be shorter, around 60-90 minutes in length. There will be far less, if any, swearing and since I am outing myself in the process a lot of the fear and anger I was holding onto is gone so the show is changing to fit my new more open life decisions.

The topics this week include a brief look back at some stuff I talked about recently. I talked about my self discovery at an early age and how I held onto fear and anger as I hid who I was from the world.

I talked about Supergirl on Netflix. Might be getting into that show maybe. I had a retro Nintendo topic where I tried to decide if a Nintendo only gamer or a NO Nintedo at all gamer would have the upper hand. There was other stuff planned but it go cut short. Anyways thanks for listening and stay cool.

 

Out but not down. Or down but not out? You decide. Stay cool.

Discovering my place in the world

These last two years have been the most complicated time in my entire life. I have spent a tremendous amount of my life trying to figure out who I was. What I was. Where I fit in. Two years ago I started coming to terms with things I had kept hidden for most of my life. Things I was either afraid of, or ashamed to admit. That is no longer the case. I don’t have to talk about things that are personal, things that are nobody’s business, but I want to get things off my chest, as they say set the record straight.

When I was 11 years old I discovered I had an inclination to explore the taboo world of cross-dressing. At first I considered the implications. Does this make me gay? Well I was attracted to females so I thought if it did I must be a lesbian. I continued to struggle.

I had a friend who was a cross-dresser turned transwoman who eventually transitioned fully. After I discovered the internet I began exploring other things. Seeking different perspectives and opinions. I never how to come to terms with my confusing sexual identity with my strong Christian faith. It was a struggle I had to discover for my self. It took years of agonizing over this one fact, my personal relationship with the Lord is, in fact, between me and God. Once I came to terms with I didn’t need to let people run my life. I know who I am now. I know what I am now. I am a Christian. I am a gender queer person with masculine and feminine tendencies and I am still a Christian. I am not homosexual, not in the strictest sense. At least I don’t know fully since I do question my own gender identity obviously this causes some confusion in the rest.

But, I determined it is my life to struggle with. I am the one who has to make the decisions. I am the one who has to decide who to let in, and who to cut out, of my life. I have decided that my life is my business. Of course I have to reconcile my choices with my beliefs but again, that’s for me to decide. God will judge me and I am comfortable with my relationship with him. I am comfortable in my unwavering faith.

Now as for the rest. Here is my stance. I am not going to undergo surgery or transition to becoming a woman. For a number of reasons I don’t want to discuss here, I don’t need to go through with that. I don’t want to be a drag queen in public either. You might be wondering if I am going to basically keep it, well to myself in private why bother coming clean? Well every individual who harbors these out of the ordinary feelings has to find their own voice. Every person’s struggle is personal. Does this mean I am “coming out of the closet” well if that term helps you understand what I am saying sure why not. Does it mean I am gay, trans, or gender fluid? Well again whatever helps you sleep at night.

No, what I want to make sure is this, I am who I am and I don’t care what other people think. I don’t want to hide anymore. As far as why I wrote this. I had to. I needed to make sure I set the record straight. I am not entirely gay nor am I completely straight. I am not entirely trans nor am I entirely gender fluid but I am not going to fit into a box. That is all.

There is another person living inside my mind, heart and soul. Her name is Stephanie Bri. I don’t give her a voice as often as she would like. But I have come to accept she isn’t a part of me, or rather a separate part of me. She is me. We are one. One person, one mind, with one goal. You will likely hear more from Stephanie in the future. At the very least I can finally admit she is real and I am okay with that.