YouTube Content Creators Production Rig Analysis

On Thursday I mentioned I have a YouTube channel I’ve been doing a lot of research for, may it be what tech most people use, to what marketing strategies. I am a huge attention to detail type of person, so I’ve been reading what audio and video software, equipment, and setups people tend to use that do what I do. I thought it would be fun to list what I found as a general setup for the cover artists that I’ve been listening to, who list the equipment they use in their videos.

Note: These setups aren’t what every you tuber uses (It would take me a really long time to figure that out lol) but is an overall trend in what people use that I have been watching. These people usually are cover artists (singers) and I tend to watch artists that cover songs from anime, video games, and movie and fantasy-themed soundtracks.

Cameras: People are either using a Canon HD model, or a Go Pro model. I prefer Canon, simply because Go Pro’s on board microphone is not hot for vlogging or recording live singing. Had one that I returned because of that: it has great picture quality (from what my Mom told me) and if not for the bad mic, I probably would have kept it. But can’t record live singing performances with a bad mic! Have never used a Canon, but I love the quality of videos that come out of it from the YouTube vlogs I’ve watched. Only based off of the audio quality of it, though. If someone could give some feedback on the picture quality of the Canon in the comments, that’d be awesome!

Microphones: The majority of cover artists, and content creators I watch have said they primarily use…the Audio Technica 2020! This made me super happy because guess what mic I use? The very same! Honestly, it’s a great mic for the money : It’s 100 dollars, but you can get one on sale if you look hard enough (I got mine for 60) and it sounds just as good as a lot of higher priced mics, if not better. The other mic of choice I see used is the Blue Yeti…which I am not a fan of, but I see why people use it because it’s a plug-and-play USB mic for 150 dollars. Personally, I think with Blue mics in general, you can get a far better value for that price (like the AT2020 for example).

Other mics are used around the YouTube-o-sphere, but those two are the most used I’ve seen listed in peoples rig descriptions. Honorable mentions are the Sure SM58, and the Shure SM7B – both wonderful mics, but suited for different types of vocals. The SM58 is a dynamic mic, so doesn’t pick up frequencies as sensitively as the AT2020 simply because they are two different types of mics.

Preamps: A preamp is what you would be using as your power source for your mic. If a mic says it will need XLR connection, then you’ll need a preamp, or a phantom power source to run it (along with XLR cables). The two that I’ve seen used are Focusrite Scarlet 2i2, and the Presonus audio box VSL 22. I’ve heard demos of both, and they have great sound! I use the Art Tube USB (100 dollars) and it’s a great starter, budget preamp, but picks up more white noise in my recordings then I’d like and the gain on it is not great. I definitely will be upgrading to something better in the future, am leaning towards the Focusrite because it’s another good budget option with cleaner pickup that would suit my vocal stylings well.

Video Editing Software: Gotta edit your videos before you post them, right? There are two programs used here, like, with one scarce exception: Sony Vegas, or Adobe Premiere video. Windows Movie maker, and I Movie are great free alternatives (I use WMM when push comes to shove) but the first two are the head honchos in the video editing world. Not sure how they work, because I don’t spend a lot of time with video editing. I wonder if it would be easy to do without seeing the screen hrmm, maybe like, if it’s video you’re talking through? Would be interesting to test! I’m lucky enough to have people who can do videos for me, but I like having Windows Movie Maker as an alternative when they are too busy with other projects and what not.

Audio Editing Software: This section was the one that had the broadest results. The biggest contender’s I saw were…Adobe Audition, FL Studio, Mixcraft, Logic, Reason, and Pro Tools. A few people use Audacity (Like me!) but if they do, they mainly don’t list it. It’s a great piece of free software if you work with it, but whenever I can afford a better option (aka, one that is accessible – and I mean fully accessible, not one where you have to work with ten year old scripts) I will switch over to that and work on the learning of said software.

Oh! Another one I saw used a decent amount was Garage Band – a great piece of free software, too! Sadly only on Mac, though –sighs and looks longingly at a Macbook Pro-.

And those were my findings! I know there’s plenty more equipment and software out there, but like I said that’s just a break down from channels I watch, and channels that list their equipment. Do you do YouTube stuffity stuffs? Wanna share any tips in the comments, or any equipment you use? Please do because I really want to know YouTube-y things! XD

See you all Thursday!

Living the Creative Life

Aaaah I have been so busy lately, it’s crazy! I’ve been reading a lot of things about building an audience for my YouTube channel, reading about how social media can work for building a business, and generally researching things for building an internet presence. It’s been really fun researching, and learning new things about how marketing works! I’m an eternal learner at heart, it seems: Whenever I need an answer for something, I instantly get engrossed in finding answers, no matter how long it takes! Is that obsessive? Maybe XD but it makes me know a lot about different things, I suppose!

So yeah, really quick update today – I’ve been planning different things for different….platforms, and that’s been taking up the bulk of my time. On the plus side – I’ll have more stories to share with you guys, which for me is one of my favorite parts of writing for this blog 🙂 right now, trying to balance all of my creative projects while keeping up with um, life ^^;

Not really sure how to finish this, so uuuuh….see you all next week!

Work With What Ya Got

I am the biggest culprit of the “I need something better, flashier, more expensive!” when it comes to my profession and hobbies. I always have to stop myself and think, will this actually help me? Or am I just wanting it cuz it looks new and snazzy and I don’t have it. Usually, it’s 50/50: Yes, I do need some newer equipment, especially when it comes to audio mixing and recording. But, do I need it right this second? Probably not. I’ve been dealing with Audacity for years, so one more year won’t hurt me, right? And even when I do get what I need to further my mixing journey, there will be a huge learning curve just because it’s going to be a new system, new tech, and new frustrations because, let’s face it, the learning curve when you’re blind is far steeper than when you’re…not blind, lol.

Recently, I was dealing with this issue. In my new place, my room doesn’t have a lot of furniture. Is that really a big deal to me? No, is it a big deal to my recordings? Yes! Because lack of furniture = lots of room echo that makes my recordings not sound as good as they can. So what did I do? Silly me, I assumed what I did in my hotel would work for here – making a pillow fort to use as a recording booth for my mic. It canceled out a lot of the ickyness from my hotel room recordings, and I could EQ out the rest, but in my new room? Just boxed all of the bad sounds into my mic and made it really, really infuriatingly hard to mix. After
A lot of “You’re mic sounds like crap” comments (worded far nicer than that but ya know) on a singing forum I frequent, and a lot of help from my audio-savvy friends, I realized….I was setting up things wrong! That I needed things spaced out a lot more than I had them in this room to get an ideal recording space. My first instinct, was “Yes, I need to buy everything to make a portta-booth to isolate my sound!” But then, after suffering from recording withdrawals, and knowing I wouldn’t be able to get the supplies to make said booth for a while, I decided to work with what I have and try to emulate what a porta-booth would be: a box with about a foot or two of space between the sides and the mic, so the sound could be absorbed and give me a clean, as crisp as I could get recording. What did I use, you ask?

Some things…a bit outside the box. I took a dresser that was full of things easily movable out of my nightstand, and covered it with a blanket. That way, I had something hard to lean the pillows against that I was using for my pillow fort. With the dresser drawer covered by a blanket, And the pillows on each side, I put a little throw rug under where my mic would be for more sound absorption. Then, I put the mic in the middle of the entire thing: A foot away from all sides respectively. Lay a blanket over the mic, and what did I get?

Better recordings, with no cost to me! Yay!

I mean, this setup is really tedious to make: But it does the job: It gets rid of the bad things in the recordings I was making that I couldn’t remove. Has a teeny bit of echo, but that is an easy fix – just add less reverb. Will it be my forever setup? Of course not! I plan to make a little booth as soon as I can afford the materials. I’m glad I did this though, because knowing this setup will work, now I know that making a portable recording booth will work for me. Something that I wouldn’t have normally thought unless I tried to do this.

So in short, working with what you’ve got is hard sometimes, but it totally works!

Have you ever done any out of the box DIY projects? Share some in the comments!

YouTube Comment Inaccessibility Rant

Aka a rant about using YouTube’s new commenting system with a screen reader – access technology that I use to use the computer. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to be blogging right now! It’s legit a necessity for me, and all blind computer users. There are 2 for Windows that are used – JAWS, the screen reader I used to use that is the price of a computer, and NVDA – a freeware screen reader that works the same (and sometimes better) than JAWS. I switched to NVDA a few months back after buying a new computer, and am a full-fledged convert! It’s so awesome to use, and has all the things JAWS had. And the best part? It’s free! I was on a really old version of JAWS that didn’t have all of the features that the newest version of JAWS had. When Windows updates, JAWS has to also because new hardware and software specifications usually equal new inaccessible sections of the OS. But NVDA? It just tells you when there’s an update, you download it and get all the nice new features. Bless the blind programmers that took their time to make this for a viable option as a screen reader for those of us who can’t afford JAWS, or Mac computers!

But my gushing aside, there is one thing that has been bugging me to no end. I’ve been becoming more active on YouTube – not just watching videos, but I’ve been wanting to comment on videos to become active in the community. Looks easy enough, right? Just click ‘Share your Thoughts’, the typing window opens, type and hit post! Right? Sounds so simple? Haaaa! Not for me!

It’s so frustrating: The way that YouTube has ‘Share Your Thoughts’ displayed isn’t like, as a link that would be easy to click. It’s some sort of imbedded text I can only assume? All I know is it’s the kind of text that my reader says is “clickable” then when I click it, nothing happens. Have to scroll up or down, because it likes to just turn into average text. Ok, I can deal with that. So I scroll up or down to get it to show as clickable, and…nothing! Maybe I’m not on the right section of the link…text…thing? So I move to the right so I’m somewhere in the sentence “Share your thoughts” and see if that works.

Haaaa!

YouTube won’t give me that, not at all! I have to mash my enter key, tab away from the window, and mess around with the stupid ‘Share your thoughts’ area for like twenty minutes before I can comment on a video! After I do it the first time, it seems to work with just one click after everything, but seriously YouTube? Why is it so hard for me to make commenting work? I just want to leave feedback on peoples videos!

I miss the good old days where the edit field for comments was just there along with the post button underneath. You got to go into the edit field, type your comment, and bam you were done! Why do you have to make everything look so “snazzy” at the cost of easy access for EVERYONE Google? You tend to do that, a lot! It’s sooo frustrating! I just want to comment in peace, is that so much to ask?

Ugh I can go on so many inaccessible technology rants. Don’t get me started on audio mixing, and composing software – some of the worst culprits’ of inaccessibility for the sake of a nice looking visual design. We’re lucky to have companies like Apple, Pro Tools and Amazon who keeps everything accessible for us blind users. But companies like Google, Adobe (the worst company with this in my opinion) and sooo many others need to get it together for this sector of the market that gets so frustrated with having to download software, see if it works and if (or usually when) it doesn’t work, uninstalling and going back to the drawing board.

That went into more than just YouTube comments XD but this has been bugging me for a while now and just had to get it out there! Do any blind users have any tips for YouTube commenting? I’d love to get any help with this – it’s been driving me crazy!

A Major Wake Up Call

There comes a time in your life where something happens that makes you have a huge reality check. That makes you go, “Is this really going to be the rest of my life? I should change this” and for me, that happened last week. I won’t go into too much detail, but it was something financial and it affected me so much that I didn’t think I was going to make my rent. Now, I am making changes, right now in my life that I have been liking and keeping, but like…this is something I’ve been working on, kind of slacking on but working on nevertheless, and this financial scare just really woke me up.

Was this going to be the rest of my life? Not having anything saved for a rainy day fund in case this stream of income I depend on doesn’t come through? Not working on my career, my business ideas, and just surviving, not thriving for the rest of my life? I saw a glimpse of what my life would be if I kept on slacking, not making any monetary changes, and it was not a pleasant one. I need to change sooner, rather than later, and I just thank God he got me through this hardship in one piece.

When I got back from dealing with everything, I was seeing things in a new light. Seeing the people on the streets, just seeming so sad and struggling so much and it was like, really weird seeing it all from a different perspective. But it was also, another sort of wake up call: I wasn’t going to be this, not anymore! I’m not going to put myself through this hell, I’m going to make money no matter what it takes: The amount I want so I live as comfortably as I desire. I’m going to make myself happy with what I do, and work the ways that I already know work at making money to do so. I’m gonna stop sitting on my butt, and go out there and build my income, save, and live life to the fullest! Raaawr!

I want to travel, I want to experience so many things…and simply surviving isn’t going to cut it for me anymore. I deserve better, and I’m going to fight until I get it!

So all in all, now that this crisis is over, I’m glad I got this wake up call. Sometimes, you don’t change your life any other way, right?

New Hair Care Trick!

Zomg you guys.  So on Saturday, my Mom was messing with a few organic beauty treatments.  While we were doing the facial she was like “I’m going to wash your hair” and she put something in my hair that made it so silky and fluffy after I washed it out, then did a normal wash to my hair.  Now, I know it’s going to sound weird, but it totally works!  And you probably have it in your house already…

Mayonnaise.

Like, as soon as I washed the mayo out of my hair, it already felt like it was washed!  Felt better than any high-end conditioner I had used in the past, too.  I left it in my hair for maybe about, 3 hours before showering and man, what a difference!  I usually have a really hard time brushing my hair right after the first wash, but my hair was so fluffy that my brush just cut through the tangles like it was butta!  Butta, I say!

I know this treatment isn’t for everyone:  But I’d say it’s definitely worth a try!  I love holistic beauty treatments, and this is one I now want to start using on a regular basis.  Wowy, what a difference!

Do you have any good holistic facials or hair care systems you like to use?  Say so in the comments!

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Paid What You’re Worth

I had another post scheduled for today, but yesterday something kind of big happened to me, so I wanted to just take a minute to jot down what I was feeling in the moment (writing this on Monday). Before I go into that, though, some back story:

In March, I was asked to perform at a Women’s group meeting in June. There’s someone that plays the flute, and she wanted to accompany me while I sang a classic song (The Water is Wide) and at the time, she said I would be getting a certain rate. Now, there’s this one busy body, sticks-her-nose-where-it-never-belongs-secretary who is a control freak and I really don’t want to swear but what I’d prefer to call her is not a very pleasant word. She has consistently done her best to try and butt into me, and my family’s business, ruin opportunities for my career, and generally just be a gossip and irritancy. I moved recently, as I’ve stated before, and when my manager called to confirm the gig last week everything was fine. What happened last night? Glad you asked! My manager gets an email from the flute player saying “The secretary said you moved ___, so you can’t commute to perform? Also, we didn’t say we’d pay you the amount you’re saying we did”Well,

I was furious! I also felt bad because the flute player has wanted to do this particular song with me for like, a year and I didn’t want to let her down. But lowering my already low rate? I can commute, I have no idea where that stupid logic came from that I couldn’t get to the freaking location on time when ya know, this is my job. But even so, getting there costs money. Money, that they weren’t going to compensate me for because hey! The rate we are offering by the way is generous because we usually don’t pay for this event anyways.

…Then why did you tell me in March that I was going to get paid? Why are you undervaluing my worth as a performer in the first place? Why are you treating what I do, and work so hard at Every SINGLE DAY like I’m doing this as a hobby, have other means of making money, and generally disrespecting me?

I had to get the entire story from the flute player: Apparently, the secretary had spoken to the Arts event manager, and had been telling everyone involved that I couldn’t make it to perform. Another person on the board who plays piano conveniently said they could step in if I “couldn’t do it”.

My guess is that the piano player wanted to do it the entire time, but that’s just a theory I can’t back up with anything other than my gut feeling.

After I got the whole story, I had to sit and talk with my family. I felt really conflicted: On one hand, I didn’t want to seem flaky and bailing on something I had committed to months ago, but on the other hand, I really wasn’t getting anything out of staying commited to a deal that had been altered because of this woman. My brother kept on telling me “Keep your emotions out of this” and eventually after weighing the profit margin, and objectively looking at the situation, I declined to make the appearance.

Why?

I felt like if I had said yes, it would have been a slippery slope to my devaluation of my skills, and my self-worth. I have gotten lessons from a very well-known voice coach, I practice every day. I learn songs when they are requested of me to learn, and I put together sets and travel, and so much more I can’t even think of right now. I am worth more than what they were offering me, and I was not going to put myself through a week of drama, stress, and irritation when I have better things to be doing. I’ve been working on some songs, and during that whole ordeal earlier today I had lost complete motivation to do anything related to my singing tonight. It was draining, it was frustrating, and I did not need to put myself in a tense situation for no profit.

After I decided “No” a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I felt a lot happier: and I think that had a lot to do with just the fact that I took a stand, knew I was worth more, knew I needed more respect than these people were giving me. It felt good to make a difficult decision and know after making it that I had made the right choice. After all, what good is doing something you love for a living if you’re going to regret doing a certain gig and be angry with yourself later?

What will I do now? Why, what I’ve been doing: recording covers, working on getting gigs that pay me what I’m worth, working on youtube videos and generally improving my craft. Oh, and recording a video on Wednesday with the flute player: she agreed to do the arrangement with me on both of our free time so we could record it. I’m so excited! Never had live accompaniment before 

But yeah, a very valuable life lesson that I am going to take with me. I can only go up from here!