"What makes a good video review" advice

Discussion in 'Transformers Video Reviews' started by Takara_destron, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. Takara_destron

    Takara_destron Mainly lurking these days

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    To begin, apologies if this is the wrong place to ask this question :eek: 

    Basically I'm currently looking for advice on how to make a good video review for two separate reasons. At the moment as part of a university project I'm creating my own toys/collectibles magazine (and accompanying website) and have decided to write a feature on the do's and don't of video reviews.

    Secondly its something I'm looking into doing myself for my own personal blog, but honestly have no idea where to start, so any advice would much appreciated :) 

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Xkcer Man

    Xkcer Man Autobot

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    I don't make video reviews, but I suppose the most effective thing you could do is watch a bunch of different ones and make a list of what you like and don't like. Don't just stick to TF reviews, check out other toys/collectibles. If you've already done that, then you're off to a good start.
     
  3. Optibotimus

    Optibotimus Well-Known Member

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    Best honest advice i could give you is NOT watch other people lol. While in general that's a good idea. It's bad in developing a "style". You'll just end up copying someone. Do a video on what you think someone would want. Everyone has a reason why they started. For me, it was because at the time, no one did reviews showing transformations both ways. I like to think i actually "pioneered" those sort of reviews. I've talked to Peaugh and he started because he wanted to see quick videos on things, so he started doing those. Find out WHY you want to do these videos. What will make you different then the now hundreds of people doing them. Watch other people for what sort of videos they do, but not the style in which they do them. Watch for tips such as lighting and camera technique and such. If you see something that someone else does and want to use it...go ahead, but change it and make it your own by adding your own personality to it. Another piece of advice i'd give is when you're recording, FORGET you're all alone in a room. Get in the mindset you're actually talking to people. I watch some videos and they're sooooo incredibly dull and boring. I can't get through them simply because the person talking is treating me as if i'm not there. Talk as if you were talking directly to a friend. That way it'll bring out your personality and how you really are. One thing i get complimented on a lot (and it's always appreciated) is when people tell me that they don't even like what i'm reviewing, but love hearing me talk about it. That enthusiasm is real in me and it comes across to my viewers. Let your personality shine in these videos and you'll be more enjoyable to watch.

    One final thing is if you're doing this because you want to be the next big thing. Quit now. Unless you have serious drive and dedication. I've been doing this for years and i've seen 97% of people starting to do video reviews, give up shortly after starting for whatever reason. It isn't easy to start up doing this. Mostly because the immediate response is "oh great..another one...why should i even bother watching this guy when there are so many others doing it." I'm not trying to discourage you. But realize that me, peaugh and anyone else considered successful, have been doing this for years now and it's taken us that long to get to were we are. It's not going to happen for YOU over night either. But i see so many people that sit and say they do these for fun and do them for themselves. I straight up call them liars. None of us do this for ourselves. We do these obviously because they're fun...but doing it just for ourselves is no fun. I'll challenge anyone that says otherwise. Everyone that does these wants them to be seen. I mean really, what would the point be in doing them for ourselves if we already have the figure and know how to transform them? lol Seems redundant really. We share our thoughts with others. If more people see them, it strokes our egos more. If hardly anyone sees them, it discourages people. No matter what though, have fun with what you're doing though. If you can't enjoy it, then it'll come across and no one else will.

    Hope that helped a little
     
  4. herugrim

    herugrim Defiler of Energon

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    The best advice is ignore optibotimus. Anyone who mistransforms a figure, blames the design, flames people who points out mistakes, and blocks them shouldn't be giving advice for anything.

    Best advice is to tell people to get a good camera with a good stage (and lighting, sound, etc...). They should get to know the figure very well. To transform it in frame and in good view (I only watch review to see the engineering of the transformation, some figures are difficult to transform and ocasionally I will need help). Have good size comparisons ready.

    Also reviews are meant to be informative, not mere statements of opinion. That's a blog. If they don't want to offend people, keeping their opinions out of it, or to a minimum, is a safe way to do it.
     
  5. Optibotimus

    Optibotimus Well-Known Member

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    I'd like you to point out the figures i purposefully transformed wrong, then blamed the design. I spend a large amount of time studying a figure to get the transformation as perfect as possible. If i've made a mistake, i don't mind that being pointed out to me. If it's done in a respectful manner. That being said, i don't block people that just point out i made a mistake, again, if it's done in a respectful manner. Why should i allow people that are rude to continue making comments on my videos?

    Speaking of rude..this is a person asking for help and advice. Your opinion on me and throwing me under the bus because you don't like me for whatever reasons, aren't helping him.
     
  6. darthdevious

    darthdevious Destroyer of Worlds

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    Yeah man, listen to Optibotimus. He hit the nail on the head. Find a style all your own. As for the technical end, never underestimate the power of multiple light sources and a good white background. White foam board works great!

    As for the guy bad mouthing Optibotimus, if YOU do not like him, no one is forcing you to watch him. Flaming him while he is trying to give honest advice, that is just dirty pool old man!
     
  7. BaltMatrix

    BaltMatrix Well-Known Member

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    Takara_destron, are you looking for specific advice on how to do things or are you looking for something a little more general to get you started?

    If it's something on the 'general' side you will need to first consider four things.
    1) The subject
    2) The camera
    3) The lighting
    4) Post production

    The Subject: What do you want to review? Is it transformers? Is is Sentai? Is it MLP? Make sure you read the directions!!! Think about what you want to review and how you want to convey your message about the subject. In the 6+ years I have been doing video reviews I STILL have issues with this.

    The Camera: What are you using to record your reviews with? In this day-in-age I would say that HD recording is a MUST. I personally don't go over 720p simply due to the fact that Youtube keeps crashing when I try to upload anything at a higher resolution. Also, 720p make a much smaller file size. But back to the camera. Does it have a manual focus? Do you have something, like a mini tripod, that will keep the camera stable. How is the microphone on the device? Are you using a smart phone? How is the zoom and how does it manage up close shots? You will need to take into account these questions.

    The Lighting: This is VERY important because a poorly light subject makes for a terrible video (and a LOT of futzing in post production). It has only been recently that I have nailed this. I purchased a photographers backdrop and two 4500k bulbs. A $30 - $40 investment. Why? Well the bulbs mimic natural daylight and all me to perfectly white balance my subject and using a consistent neutral color for the backdrop keep my camera from going focus crazy and white balance crazy. If you don't have the money to purchase these items you should consider using a clean, solid color bed sheet and light with 'natural light' bulbs. Then setup the bulbs in a three-point lighting pattern (google it).

    Post Production: What programs are you going to use to edit the videos. If you are just starting out I suggest imove (mac only). If you don't have a mac there are several free options on the pc (Avid FreeDV would be my suggestion). Also, for the love of all that is holy, actually edit the video. Take out things like babbling, burping roommates, unnecessary things, etc.

    To start out I suggest you get everything setup and then just start recording and editing. What you need is experience and you need to find what you style. This won't happen overnight. Like any new skill you will need to work at it.

    My last piece of advice would be to grow some thick skin. I know that sounds silly but there are a LOT of haters out there you will have to deal with it.

    Good luck and let us know if you have any more questions
     
  8. Peaugh

    Peaugh Hi.

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    Actually, Optibotimus gave some good advice. I think the best advice to someone starting out is to get a tripod and a well lit area, and just be yourself. The rest will come over time. The toys are all the same, what makes your videos unique is YOU. If you're not forcing yourself to be something you're not and having fun with what you're doing, the audience WILL find you. It may not happen overnight, but it'll happen.

    Also, second the thick skin. No one is capable of producing anything in this day and age that will be loved by everyone, and people, especially online, can be harsh. Learn to take it in stride and focus on the positive.
     
  9. Reaper Cloud

    Reaper Cloud Dark Wrecker

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    Yeah, if you are going to be hosting on YouTube...be WELL prepared for ******ed jackasses giving you a TON of shit for whatever reason their inbred-brain gives them.

    Besides the equipment side of things, my biggest suggestions would be:

    - Be 100% honest about the item in the review.
    - Try and cover the positives and negatives. Realistically, most toys have at least one negative point to them (albeit small, but still there).
    - If you are covering a figure that happens to have a better version...DON'T make comparisons to it! Make two separate videos, and focus on the ONE! Anyone can ridicule a certain figure if a better one exists, but a good review should focus on the figure at hand and not make comparisons. My opinion.
    - Do a transformation of course, either just from vehicle to robot mode...or vice versa. Or you could show both, which could help people 100% instead of just 50%.
    - Being funny can help, but since humor is subjective...it is hard to cover every viewer. Try to keep it clean if you are trying to get a younger viewing audience.


    That's all I can think of. If you do happen to give the reviewing a try make sure to post links here so we can see them. :D 
     
  10. silenth

    silenth Well-Known Member

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    There is only 1 thing that you shouldn't do...

    1-Don't try to be funny. If you are funny great. If not, still great. What sucks is when people try to sooooo hard to be funny and end up looking like douchebags. It's sad watching someone fail at comedy.
     
  11. Takara_destron

    Takara_destron Mainly lurking these days

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    Thanks for the responses guys :) 

    General advice really, other than having watched video reviews its a subject I know very little about and wouldn't know where to start otherwise! Thanks for the tips :D 
     
  12. Sportimus

    Sportimus Well-Known Member

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    Lots of very good advice here.

    I would like to add that you should take your time! Do not rush when making a video. Each time you make a video, treat it like a learning experience. Watch your own videos and look for things you might think need inmprovement.
     
  13. Bountyan

    Bountyan Well-Known Member

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    Get a good quality camera and lighting.

    I don't even bother clicking on a review if it looks like I can't see what the hell's going on or a good view of what the figure looks like.
     
  14. BaltMatrix

    BaltMatrix Well-Known Member

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    Oh yeah, this is a BIG one. As he said, do NOT try to be funny. In fact, don't try to be anything but yourself.
     
  15. MisterFanwank

    MisterFanwank Toy Industry Analyst

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    I haven't been doing reviews for very long, so I have a bit of a fresher perspective on this than Peaugh and Optibotimus:

    1. Like Peaugh said, get a tripod. Get good lighting (I like lamps with bendable stalks) and a decent camera. Buy a camera, test it, if the audio whistles or the video quality is too low, return it the next day.

    2. When you first start, make as many reviews as you can each day. Unless you get figures early all the time, no one is going to see your first 100 reviews. Power through them so you can get as much practice as fast as possible.

    3. Once you've found your stride and built an audience, slow to one or two reviews each day every day you can.

    4. All figures from your first 100 reviews should eventually be rereviewed after you've built an audience so the content isn't wasted by not having been seen.

    5. Once your channel is monetized on YouTube, which is different than being a partner, monetize all of your videos and alwaus be sure your videos have "True View Ads" enabled in the AdSense tab for each video.

    6. Refrain from padding your video count with boring fluff. Don't do vlogs very often and only occasionally make videos that aren't relevant to toys. Make sure people who go through your archive's aren't flooded with boring videos.

    7. Tag your videos with relevant tags and mention every search term you think people will use in the video description. Like and use Google+ to +1 your videos. Good SEO is required if you want to be found.

    8. Post your reviews here.
     
  16. Th0r4z1n3

    Th0r4z1n3 PlastiqueBoutique.com Veteran

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    ^THIS^ all sounds very familiar...hrmm..... j/k

    I've just recently made the leap from written reviews to video reviews (for various reasons), and Optibotimus gave me the same advise while we were talking on Twitter the other day. I found it very hard to be comfortable taking to myself..alone..in the dark...with a toy...

    Once I started thinking of it as taking to other people rather than just talking to myself, it helped me out a great deal. I was a lot more comfortable taking in my last review than I was in any of my other previous reviews. (Not that I'm great at it now or anything, but my first few were absolutely horrendous.)

    That being said, as a fledgling at the hobby of video reviews, the one thing I have to offer as advise is: don't be afraid to try it! You'll learn as you go along, you're first few tries are bound to embarrass you when you look back on them a few months (or even days in my case) later. But the more you get comfortable, the better you'll get; as long as you stick with it.
     
  17. Optibotimus

    Optibotimus Well-Known Member

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    well, most people would agree with me...despite some people trying to bash me. Most reviewers would agree you need to be able to communicate your thoughts and stuff well. If you're nervous, it all comes out sounding like poop. Talk to your viewers like you're their friend and things should be easier :) 
     
  18. megatroptimus

    megatroptimus Translatorminator

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    Review figures that are relevant.
     
  19. MisterFanwank

    MisterFanwank Toy Industry Analyst

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    Only partially correct. Review EVERYTHING you have and EVERYTHING you get.
     
  20. Kalel

    Kalel C-Mac

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    as im just starting out i appreciate all the help here also :)  Thanks MisterFanwank for pointing the thread out.
     

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