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YouTube Killed The Video Star

A lot of strange things get talked about on the WoS forums. For example, just yesterday this video came up. It’s ostensibly a video review of Hydrofool, but, well… why don’t you watch it? It’s so terrible you’d never believe me if I told you.

Anyway. If you suddenly have the bright idea of doing your own video review, for your own dignity please follow these guidelines:

1. Don’t Wing It

There is a ninety-nine percent chance that you are not innately skilled or witty enough that you can carry a video by just saying whatever pops into your head. Write down what you want to say first, then just read it out. That way you won’t say ‘basically’ eight times in three minutes, or trail off halfway through sentences, or otherwise announce to the world that you don’t have a clue what you’re doing.

2. Play, Then Review

‘I can’t really review it as it should be reviewed because I don’t know what you’ve gotta do and I don’t have any idea about what exactly you’ve gotta do.’

If you can’t review it, DON’T REVIEW IT. If I don’t feel I can really build an extension to my house because I don’t really know what I’ve gotta do, or have any idea where to even start, I don’t grab some bricks and throw them in a vague box shape. I don’t want to watch, read or hear a review by somebody who’s played the game for three minutes, especially when they’re giving it a score at the end.

Do some research on the game. Find out how to play it, play it a few times first. Then, and only then, are you in a position to review it.

3. Get Decent Footage.

Part of the reason you can’t just wing it through the review is because you’re too busy trying to play the game. Get some footage first, and then put your voice over the top later. It’s really not hard. Edit down your original footage to just the interesting bits, not the bits where you’re messing about trying to learn the controls and how to play the game. Nobody wants to hear you cussing because you’re stuck, especially if it’s clearly your first go in ten years and you’ve no clue what’s going on. (See 2 above.) Also, nobody wants to just sit and watch you play.

5. Speak Clearly

Don’t mispronounce your words, especially the simple ones. Don’t slur your way through an entire video. (This may be related to making videos while you’re drunk. Don’t do it and then claim it’s a review.)

6. Showing Not Telling

Don’t read out the text on the screen. Both the UK and the USA have a 99% literacy rate. You’re pretty safe assuming that your viewer can read menus at least as well as you can. Nobody wants to waste thirty seconds of their life listening to someone talking about a vanilla control menu that they can see right in front of them.

Making a video review isn’t entirely straightforward. It takes a little more work than a text-one, but it can offer a lot more information to whoever sees it. But a bad video review is worse than a bad text review, if only because of the extra time and energy you’re wasting in making it.

And in case you think I’m just hating for the sake of it, here’s my own effort. It’s at least six times better than the other one, even if it doesn’t finish with me saying ‘goodbye’ in a silly voice.