Monday, 15 November 2010

Adverts on YouTube

For those who are not aware of the fact, I'm part of the YouTube partnership program and have been for a little over a year now. It's a very nifty scheme with some fantastic benefits that I plan on discussing in a future blog, and it's one that has expanded my fanbase and potential to a level so extreme it's almost overwhelming.

In this blog post I'm going to discuss more specifically the adverts that you can run alongside your videos, along with some of the pros and cons that are associated with them.

When will I see adverts on YouTube?

There are a few different occasions you'll see ads on YouTube. The most common is when a YouTube partner has enabled revenue sharing on their videos. The partner can choose to place adverts beside, below, and within the video in question, and earn money depending on the amount of views and "clicks" the advert receives.

You may also see adverts on videos that are using copyrighted material. Let's say somebody really loves Justin Bieber and decides to produce a fan video consisting of drawings they've done of him set to Usher's "Yeah". SME spot this video and flag it up for copyright infringement. They then have the choice to have the video muted, to have the video taken down completely, to ignore it, or to monetize the video themselves. These adverts do not earn the uploader any money, and the uploader has no control - or any right to control - over them. This is something else I'll be exploring in more detail in a future blog post.

What kind of adverts are there?

There are several types of advert available on YouTube, and as a partner you have direct control over which ones you put on your videos (and even, to an extent, what they contain). The most common adverts are shown to the top right of a video above the suggestions, and as a small pop-up ad during the video itself.



These are the adverts that you'll see more often than any other. The other option is called "Instream" advertising. This is the somewhat notorious and slightly controversial method of advertising where video adverts play before and/or after your video (and, for some longer videos, during). 

So how do YouTube partners earn money from adverts?

YouTube runs it's adverts through Google's own AdSense program. You earn a little revenue each time an advert is clicked or gains a certain amount of views, and when you reach a set amount (in the UK it's £60, here in the US it's $100, and it varies from country to country) Google sends you a cheque or money transfer at the end of the month.

It's not huge amounts so unless you're getting hundreds of thousands of views a day don't expect to become rich, but for smaller partners like myself it's a very effective way of helping offset the cost of equipment and software, and a very nice reward for the videos we produce.

But I hate adverts, I don't want to see them!

There are many complaints
like this!

This, along with the flipside "what if my viewers don't want the adverts?" is by FAR the most common topic and issue raised when discussing adverts on YouTube. People feel remarkably passionate about adverts, far more than I'd personally have anticipated, and to be fair there are occasions where it can be a little overkill (something I'll discuss a little later in this blog). The main complaint is that YouTube is cramming too much advertising onto their website - this is, of course, a misconception, since as I pointed out earlier the channels themselves have full control over what adverts, if any, are shown on the videos. So, the real complaint lies with YouTube partners monetizing their videos.

What a lot of people fail to realize is that making videos is hard work. When I post to my beatbox tutorial series, for example, I post two videos at a time. These take a full day of producing. I'm not exaggerating - every single one of my videos goes through a process that includes scripting, planning, filming (including setting up the camera, sorting focus and white balance, etc), editing, rendering (a process alone that can well over an hour even for a video that's five minutes long), uploading, describing, tagging, annotating, posting to Facebook and Twitter and various other websites... that's not even including replying to comments, deleting spam, and responding to emails I'm sent! Generally when I'm posting videos I'll be working from 9am with 9pm generally being the time I'm finally finished. That's 12 hours for two videos, with maybe an hour where I'll grab something to eat during the day.That's more than a standard full-time work shift, and I don't mind confessing that I work much harder producing videos than I have at any job before!

YouTube's "Destorm".
On top of this, making videos costs money. I purchased my camera, laptop, and editing software with my own money.

With all of this in mind, I find it rather exasperating when somebody complains about adverts on my videos. I recall when I first became a partner a user posted an extremely abusive comment on my channel and unsubscribed. This was before I'd even added the pre-roll adverts to my main video series! While the idea of losing subscribers and views is not something that appeals to me, at the same time I'm not that fussed if somebody cares so little about supporting me that they'd leave when I start making money! That is, after all, what it all boils down to - support. I have a lot of fantastic fans that show me support, and return I'll carry on making videos for them!

As I've touched on above I've added pre-roll ads to my main series. These are the most controversial adverts by far; generally they consist of short ~15 second long adverts that play before a video. There are occasions where the criticism of these can be somewhat reasonable - for example, I've seen videos that are only 30 seconds long that have these adverts - but these occasions are few and far between. To bring the point up again I spend hours on my videos, and I know many YouTube partners work much harder than I do with far better equipment. If you don't like the adverts, don't use that channel. It's as simple as that!

So what are the pros and cons of running adverts on your videos? How can I run adverts without alienating my fans?

The main pro is, obviously, earning money! For my videos I've had to buy my own camera and laptop for editing, along with the editing software (which alone can cost hundreds of dollars). Therefore earning some money for it means I can upgrade my equipment (I have major plans to upgrade to a tastier laptop!) as well as earn some spare cash for my own use; I have a wedding fast approaching, after all.

The cons boil down to the reaction of your fans. You might lose subscribers (although I've only lost one) but to be honest any real fan will understand and even appreciate being able to support you. You'll get the occasional hateful comment, but nothing too overwhelming in my experience.

Really it's a case of balance. As I've touched on a couple of times it's very possible to go a little overkill with adverts. If your video is particularly short a pre-roll advert is probably not a good idea. To visit the example I gave of a 30 second long video having an advert, that means a third of the time I spent on that page was consumed by an advert. That's a little too extreme in my opinion. Treat pre-roll ads responsibly - limit them to your "main" series, or to your longer videos.

Conclusion

I spend a lot of time on the YouTube help forums for a variety of reasons and adverts are probably the most misunderstood subject I see. Viewers, it really boils down to this: if you like the channel you are watching, then show your support and accept the adverts. If you don't like it enough for that, go elsewhere. Uploaders, make sure you don't go overboard with your ads, and keep constant interaction with your fans so they understand it's you, not YouTube, who place the adverts there. Make sure they understand your appreciation for their support.

Thanks for reading!

Peace, love, and if I see that blinkin' Vampires Suck advert one more time I'm going to punch someone

-FT

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Nintendo DS - My Boyfriend review

There are many things women can't do. They can't drive, they can't play video games, and they can't read for more than 15 minutes at a time without having to pause to do something ladylike, like cooking or doing the washing up.

One thing they are able to do is get guys. And girls, sometimes - let's be honest, we've seen it, we're all on the internet - but that's beside the point.

I'm here to talk about My Boyfriend. Don't get too excited lads, I'm not coming out the closet, I mean the DS game.


My Boyfriend is one of many (generally awful) games on the DS aimed at young / teen girls and is one of the few games for that demographic that doesn't have "Imagine" stapled to the title. While that already gains it some bonus points it almost goes without saying that this game is awful. Sure, I'm not young, or a teen, or a girl, but I still feel qualified enough to call it bad.

The game begins with you picking a name for yourself and picking your dream guy. I named my lass Fat Tanya (because if there's one thing teenage girls need it's self-confidence and weight issues) and picked my dream guy as somebody tall, dark, handsome, and musical (the idea being if he was exactly like me it'd be less gay).

The game plunges STRAIGHT into the action by having your hopelessly socially inept girl texting her friend about some dreamy guy she's seen who, believe it or not, is tall, dark, handsome, and musical. The rest of the game is basically set around trying to get this guy to fall in love with you through a series of mini-games.


Now, this is one occasion where I was expecting some X-rated DS action. I mean, in this kind of game you expect mini-games like "thrust the stylus against the required orifice" or "move the stylus up and down paying attention to his mood meter". Alas, there's no such luck. There are, instead, games involving pizza toppings, alphabetising books (because NOTHING screams fun like sorting paperbacks in a library) and dog feces. I wish I was joking about that last one. Said feces-based mini-game is actually the most rewarding since you can net roughly $35 per go - you get a dollar for each dog poo you clean up. Mini-games are the only way of making money which is what drives the game forward. That's not to say the game is entirely without innuendo, however - one peculiar challenge saw me pitted against a rival female in a mini-game called (I wish I was making this up) a Beat-Off.

A green high-cut sweater. Fat Tanya, you saucy little minx, you.
  
The entire premise of the game is "make money, buy slutty outfit that you only wear for five minutes, meet your guy and use your psychic powers to predict what the game wants you to say, and repeat". That's IT. The game is so blatantly sexist that it makes my opening paragraph look like a quote from Abigail Adams. At one point you're even told by a club owner that you look so bad you're putting off his other guests. Fat Tanya has enough problems, you insensitive jerk!

While I knew from the start I was going to hate this game nothing can really excuse such a poorly made product. Mini-game driven stories are only really good if you enjoy the mini-games - this offers little variety, and the games NEED to be played so often that even hardcore dog poo lovers won't be able to get into it.

Avoid, girlfriend.

Peace, love, and does my bum look big in this?

-FT

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

A live action Pokemon movie possibly in the works?

"Evidence" here

Well, well, well. I will be honest, Pokemon has been one of my weaknesses in gaming since the television series first started showing on SMTV live when I was roughly 10 years old. After picking up Pokemon Blue (and totally destroying everybody else on it, I might add) I was a completely devoted fan, even going so far as to have the special edition Pikachu N64 to play Pokemon Snap and Pokemon Stadium on. I was a little obsessed - even now I find random Pokemon toys when I clean out my room, tucked into old boxes and left to gather dust.

I might sound like I'm exaggerating, but I'm really not. I still have the N64 laying in a closet, I still have my copy of Pokemon Blue, Yellow, and Silver, Stadium, Snap, Diamond and even the Trading Card Game for the Game Boy Color. I remember going to Pokemon events and obtaining Mew (legitimately, not with one of those bloody Action Replay cartridges). I collected all 151 Pokemon in the original game and had a full team of maxed out Pokemon. I knew every trick, every tip, every exploit and every bug. I collected the cards and went to friendly tournaments. And, in the earliest display of geeky shame I can think of, I knew all of the lyrics to the Pokerap.



Man, even the first bar of that song makes me cringe.

Anyway, keeping in mind that it is a franchise I still have quite the Achilles Heel for, I'm sure you can imagine the mix of feelings when I saw the possibly leaked footage of a potential live action movie that might be in production (and really, I cannot stress the indicators of uncertainty enough here). Elaborate joke, total hoax, or legitimate footage? If the latter, is it going to be head-burstingly awesome or a total, embarrassing flop?

Let's pause the questions for a second and look at the "trailer".


Source: http://www.shogungamer.com/news/live-action-gritty-pokemon-movie-trailer-leaked-shogun-gamer-exclusive

A few things are evident right from the start. Firstly, like everything being released these days, it's supposed to be gritty. Secondly, it seems to cram as many Pokemon in as possible, presumably as fan service. And thirdly, it's going to be far from a family-friendly flick.

Anyway.

Having watched the trailer more times than is necessarily healthy (partly through trying to get the facts and partly out of sheer disbelief) I've managed to compile a full list of the Pokemon making an appearance, in order: Meowth, Voltorb, Haunter, Gyarados, Pikachu (of course), Psyduck, Snorlax, Mewtwo, Arbok, Weezing, Squirtle, Jigglypuff, Onix, and Charizard. It's very possible I've missed a couple since it's hardly crystal clear footage, but there we go.

The characters look to be the standard line-up from the TV show, namely Ash, Brock, Misty and Team Rocket complete with their characteristics, distinguishing features, and trademark Pokemon. It's interesting seeing guns and vehicles involved (since there are no firearms in any of the Pokemon games and the only transportation seen consists of boats and trains) since that does suggest it's going to be set in the "real world" as opposed to Johto or Kanto (although the fact the trailer only showcases Pokemon from the first 150 suggests it may be set in Kanto).

If it is a hoax, and the seriously sub-par CGI, total lack of dialogue or narrative, and seemingly T-rated action suggests this is more than possible, then it's one that's still going to hook my interests for quite some time. And if it's real, even though I'd wager it's going to be embarrassing and terrible, I'm still going to be first in line to see it.

Peace, love, and Charmander better make an appearance or I shall cry

-FT

Friday, 10 September 2010

My favourite beatbox videos

It's a question I anticipate whenever I am interviewed, and something I get asked more than you'd believe.

"What's your favourite beatbox video?"

I'm asked this almost as often as I'm asked the question "who is your favourite beatboxer?" and it's one I'm always a little hesitant to answer. This is because I don't actually listen to beatbox anywhere near as much as I used to, as I find this can have a rather detrimental effect on my originality. It's also rather demoralising to spend some time working on, say, a song cover, only to discover somebody got there first.

That's not to say I don't have favourite videos because I do (otherwise this would be a rather short blog post) and I'm going to list my five favourite clips here, in no particular order, along with a reason.

So, drum roll please!

THAT video of Skiller



There are few videos nowadays that make my jaw hit the floor, but this one does it every time. It's not just the speed - although, I'm sure you'll understand, it's certainly the most striking thing about this clip - but the clarity and rhythm that Skiller shows in this clip. His timing is insane and it all flows incredibly well. Finally, the drum and bass at the end is absolutely ridiculous and unlike anything I've heard before or since this video.

Sly the Mic Buddha vs. Qbert



Another video that still blows me away. Again, the speed has a lot to do with this, but there's the crazy levels of realism in Sly's scratching here that are simply impossible to ignore. The first time I heard this I wasn't watching the video, just playing random videos while I was gaming, and I genuinely thought this was two DJs battling. The last couple of rounds are the finest examples of vocal scratching I can think of.

Kitchen Diaries



Is there anybody who hasn't seen this? It is far from the best beatboxing you'll hear from Beardyman but it's extremely creative and put together very well. Plus Beardyman rocks a dress rather well.

Thinking About Your Body by Bobby McFerrin

Embedding disabled, so I'm afraid you'll have to click to watch it. I know, in this day and age as well. What are we, cavemen? Madness.

Bobby McFerrin is a musician who I could listen to for days on end and never get tired of. His live shows are fantastic, and this video shows why. While it is argued that he isn't really beatboxing he is certainly utilising aspects of vocal percussion and multi-vocalism. This song is one of my favourites by him, and well worth a watch.

"All mouth, and trousers!"



Might as well answer the question regarding my favourite beatboxer, eh? It is Shlomo, and this video is the reason why. See, way back when I first heard beatboxing, I only heard people like Rahzel and Kenny Muhammad. Shlomo was the first white, English, and slightly geeky looking beatboxer I saw, and I pretty much said to myself "if he can do it so can I!" I watched this video dozens of times in the space of a couple of days, then set on the journey that took me to where I am now (beatboxing, that is, not sat in my front room blogging - that'd be an anticlimax to any journey).

So, there we have it. My favourite beatbox videos laid out for you. Of course, it's far from an exhaustive list, and no doubt as soon as I hit "post" I'm going to think of twenty more that I've forgotten to mention, but I'd rather not inundate you with videos.

Feel free to share your own personal favourites!

Peace, love, and cross-dressers

-FT

Friday, 3 September 2010

*Tumbleweed*

Hmm, I should probably have thought of this before I started this blog. My mind has a tendency to wander, you see, so I end up forgetting about all these little projects I start. There's no real reason to it other than just being busy, but I am acutely aware of the fact that as soon as I forget about something, so does anybody who might have been interested in it.

Ah well.

Anyway, this is just a bit of an update post, partly because Tony's Heart needs some love, partly because it's been a mental month, and partly because I feel like keeping everybody in the loop.

As anybody who has been following me for a while will be aware of, I am currently in the process of moving to America from my humble abode here in England. I'm only in the country, if all goes to plan, for another 22 days, which as you can probably imagine is as much terrifying as it is exciting. Anyway, we are down to the very last stage of the visa application which consists nice and simply of an interview. I've already gotten the shots I needed, endured various things being stuck into me and a doctor checking out my doo-dah so in a couple of weeks, fingers crossed, I'll be holding the little piece of paper that'll make it all worth while.

I have also left my job now which means I have a few weeks to just chill out and get into the serene state of mind that is no-doubt ideal for moving. It also means I have videos to record and upload which, in fact, would have been done sooner had I not come down with a throat infection just last week (something which threatened to ruin my leaving party, but didn't). The videos I have planned for the immediate future include:

-The Hollow Snare
-The Whistle Scratch
-Combination Snares
-Roland Street Cube Review
-M-Audio Fasttrack Review
-Back to Basics
-The Kick Drum
-The Hi-Hat
-The Outward Rimshot

The idea for the "Back to Basics" video is that it'll give me a great video to "feature" on my channel (I mean, the cricket is my favorite sound, but it's not the easiest sound to learn!) and in turn a handy way of attracting more subscribers. I've also been wanting to do individual videos for the kick, hat, and rimshot since I became a YouTube partner - half the comments I get on the "Basic Sounds and Beats video are pertaining to a specific sound, so it'd be nice to break them up and go into a little more detail.

In other (rather cool) news, the missus has now been made a YouTube partner too! Please go subscribe and check out some of her videos - I have plans to use both channels together very soon, and I might even be starting up a TnT beatbox channel for videos like this one.



Anyway, I feel like I've waffled on for long enough. I hope this has filled you in on some of the crazy up-and-downs I'm clambering through, and again I am eternally grateful for the continued support and patience you guys show me - I know I'm far from the most reliable or consistent individuals on the planet so it really means a lot to me that you all still follow and subscribe to me.

Much love!

Peace, love, and we're going through changes

-FT

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Where have I been, you ask?

That's a terribly nosy thing to be asking, if I'm honest. I'm entitled to my privacy, y'know. If I choose to hide from the public eye for a few days or a couple of weeks it's entirely at my discretion. So nyah.

But if you are interested (and I'm guessing you are, if you're reading this) I've been exceptionally busy with my new job for the past couple of weeks. As you may know I'm currently saving for a wedding which has meant incredibly long shifts that simply haven't allowed me much time for filming, let alone editing. However, this weekend should see the long-awaited freestyle lesson video, along with a couple of surprises I have planned (without giving too much away, I've discovered a way of teaching the siren with a 100% success rate...)

So, in between working and tackling the exceptionally tough visa checklist (that is so long the print-outs are totally covering my bed as I type this) I've been tackling Final Fantasy XIII. Terrible. Simply terrible. Without meaning to sound like every other critic it does genuinely get good towards the end, but I wasn't having any actual fun until the 35 hour mark. Everything up to then felt like an absolute slog. I'll probably post a full view on that at some point, mind you.

Anyway, to sum things up, this weekend you should expect to see the videos teaching the freestyle I posted some time ago. I haven't decided how many videos it'll take yet, but it'll probably be two or three bars per video. I'll also be turning the cogs for the Beatbox With Me series too, since I have several beats that I need to film footage of. I doubt I'll be posting them this week since I do hate posting too many videos at once, but they are high on my list of things to do.

So, keep your eyes on the YouTube channel, keep spreading the word, and hopefully once I've sorted all this paperwork I'll finally have some actual free time!

Peace, love, and several acres of rainforest

-FT

Monday, 29 March 2010

Tricky beginnings

Whew, I feel like a guy who has a car sat in the garage that hasn’t been used for a couple of years.

I’ve tried to start it for days, weeks even, but to no avail. The cobwebs and weeds wrapping around it have stopped it slipping into motion.

But now, finally, I’ve started a blog. The car is rolling along merrily and showing no signs of flat tyres thus far.

So, blogs. What will I be blogging about, you might ask? “Well,” I’ll respond, with a carefree look on my face, “I’ll be using this blog along with my beatbox tutorial series on YouTube (that you should totally check out, by the way) to talk about certain topics in more detail!”

“Anything else?” you may respond, with a somewhat underwhelmed look in your eyes.

“You bet!” I’ll answer excitedly. “I’ll also be posting videos that I find impressive and discuss events that may be of interest to budding or experienced beatboxers!”

“Is that all?” you’ll say, looking a little more impressed but still rather unmoved.

“Well,” I’ll reply, feeling like I’m running out of ideas, “I write reviews and funny articles, I suppose I can add those here as well...”

“Reviews of what?” you demand, interrupting me in a very rude manner.

“Computer games reviews mainly” I’ll proclaim proudly.

“Computer games are for lame asses” a buffoon will yell from the sidelines.

“Your mum’s a lame ass!” I’ll retort, wittily

“My mum’s dead dude, that’s harsh” the unsocial cretin will answer.

“Exactly, how lame is that?” I’ll yell back, undeterred.

“That’s out of order!” you’ll say.

“You keep out of this” I’ll demand.

“Screw you man!” the games-hating moron will shout before flipping me off and leaving.

“Where were we?” I’ll ask.

“You were telling me that you’ll put reviews up as well” you offer.

“Ah yes, see, I also write for a couple of sites and will write up my thorough and oftentimes humourous reviews here for you to see!” I exclaim proudly.

At this point, however, you’ve lost interest and gone home.

Anyway, this is my new blog, I do hope you enjoy reading the topic-specific ramblings that I write up. Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel for the world’s best (and most up to date) beatbox tutorials, and become a fan on Facebook! And above all else, spread the word!

Peace, love, and jumpstarts

-FT