Thursday, 8 November 2012

Tips on uploading to Youtube

Hi Guys,

I wanted to do a post on uploading videos to Youtube - gaming or any other category. And hopefully some of my experiences can help you avoid some of the pitfalls I have fallen into.

My setup is amazingly simple. I use an AverMedia Game Capture HD C281. This has in my opinion a number of advantages over the Hauppage devices. Number one it allows playthrough when switched off. Number two - most important of all for me - it that it supports two storage methods, neither of which includes linking it directly to your PC. I have an 8gb SSD installed inside. Which is enough for two hours recording on medium settings. Which is plenty good enough for Youtube or DailyMotion. Or - and I love this - it can record straight onto a USB memory stick or external drive. No messy wires.

One tip for anyone using an AverMedia is that it outputs .avi files. Which for some reason Premiere Pro doesn't like. I can't say whether they play nicely with Sony Vegas as I have never used it. There is some good news though. AverMedia themselves have released an official MP4 converter which outputs mp4 files (amazingly enough) which Premiere Pro does like.

Then I use Premiere Pro and sometimes After Effects to produce my videos.  I wont go into tips on using Premiere Pro as there's already a plethora of stuff out there on the internet.

But I will tell you the settings I use on Premiere Pro. Video size is 1280 x 720. I have it set to 59.97fps (why can't we have a straight 60fps?). Then when I export it I use H.264 mp4 with a video bit-rate of 5mbps. Not sure what the audio bit-rate is. But I did at first have the bit-rate at the default 10mbps but the videos looked horrible once uploaded to Youtube. Having spoken to other YT people the consensus is 5 is about as good as YT will allow.

So far so straightforward.

The difficulty in my opinion of Youtube comes from content. More specifically if you want to monetise your account. Anyone can monetise their account. Which is good news.

Youtube though likes to keep you on your toes and throw the odd hurdle or five in front of you.

There are a number of lessons I have learned on this score. Video content can only be monetised if either it's your own work (like say a video you've recorded of some fireworks) or you're partnered with someone like Machinima or Pixel Enemy. But the scope of what game footage you can monetise is also badly defined. I for example also upload retro videos - Gameboy, NES and SNES games - which can for some reason be monetised without a partnership with one of the big channels. I have to presume (though I stand to be corrected) its to do with the age of the games. PS3 game footage can be posted to Youtube but not monetised without a partnership. I did email EA (for Battlefield 3) and Geurrilla (for Killzone 3) directly. EA denied my request. But at least they replied. Guerrilla have never acknowledged a single tweet or email I've ever sent them.

You can also be pulled up on your audio. Obviously you own the copyright to your own voice. So for me uploading a review of F-Zero on the Super Nintendo for example means I can monetise it.

There can also be problems when adding music to a video. I have posted a number of videos with music and never had a problem. But this was because I expected there to be a problem. So my music is almost exclusively taken from Kevin Macleod's awesome website. And to press I have never been pulled up by the Youtube police for using any of his tracks. This might also be to do with the fact I use his music on Battlefield 3 and Killzone 3 videos so I don't attempt to monetise them.

But the one time I use a track from somewhere else was on the firework video I've linked to earlier in the article. I was at Alton Towers during a firework display. Whilst the fireworks were being let off they played some music. Called "The Hall of The Mountain King" by Edvard Grieg. The audio on the video was quite tinny so I decided to replace the audio with a proper copy of the music track. The copy of this track I got was from MuseOpen and all their content is 100% public domain and exempt from copyright claims. This hasn't stopped the Youtube police though. Within 10 minutes of the video going up I got a claim on my account from some Rights Management cowboys. So I put in my appeal the same wording I used on the video description. I didn't expect it to end well for me even though I was 99% sure I was ok to use the track without paying royalties. Low and behold though two hours later these cowboys "released" their claim on my video. But once  the rights management cowboys had finished Youtube decided to step in of their own accord. I had to provide proof of my freedom to use (read:monetise) this track. So I repeated what I had said earlier and also added a link to the MuseOpen page about public domain use. Three days later I am still waiting for them to monetise the video. Which is pissing me off as Nokia UK retweeted my link to the video so it currently has 134 views. I don't expect to make my living off Youtube but a couple of quid here and there wouldn't go amiss. But I can't make any money off the video as Youtube still haven't decided that I'm allowed to use the audio. Which sucks. A fellow YT uploader told me he got pulled up on a Chopin track.

The music industry is well behind the digital times (which might explain why gaming generates twice as much money as music in the UK...) and their draconian approach to trying to limit what we make money on is piss poor. Edvard Grieg wrote this track in 1867. He's unlikely to claiming copyright anytime soon. But someone always owns "it" when it comes to music. So just be careful about what you upload. Or just get it from InComptech :-)

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