Recent podcast regarding Let's Play videos

I wasn't sure whether this was more suitable on the Games section of the forum or Everything Else, so if it needs to be moved let me know.

I was listening to the latest GWJ Podcast, and was quite interested when they began to discuss Let's Play. I thought I'd come and bring in a bit on the other side of the fence.

I run a (very small) Youtube channel and record Let's Play videos. Or more specifically, they are titled "Mortus Sucks At". So you can tell the type of quality work I produce. I actually only started doing it May of last year, but it's gone from a small hobby to an almost obsession. I churn out (on average) 14-18 videos per week, which is pretty time consuming. Considering I work 9 hours a day, have a 45 minute commute both ways, and have other household duties, you can imagine how difficult it can be. But the reason I do it, or rather the reason I started, was purely because of my enjoyment out of bringing entertainment to others. That and I'm slightly insane. But don't tell anyone.

Now there's a multitude of reasons why people decide to start producing LPs. It could be that they are just hobbyists. It could be their friends told them "you're funny" a lot when they played together and they thought they'd take it to the next step. And of course there's those that want to be 'internet famous'.

For me it was a bit of a no-brainer to take the next step, because I've always been one to talk out loud to characters in games I was playing. It was especially noticeable when I was playing a game with a voiceless protagonist. I'd start having actual conversations with the NPCs, which ended up leading to some rather odd moments (which usually got onlookers laughing quite heartily). I had some rather heated arguments with Navi in Ocarina of Time. Sadly my threats of violence using a tennis racket and a bottle of crisco went unheeded.

Now I did note previously that it's turned into a bit of an obsession. And it has. I've gone from someone with absolutely no experience in recording, video editing, etc. to being proficient in Sony Vegas and using multiple programs. Hell, I even know what different codecs are out there and what the benefits of each are, and even tried learning Blender just to make an intro video. Every day I'm researching, trying to eek out every bit of quality I can out of my software without making videos that border on ludicrous in size. It's a very fun juggling act. I've even gotten to the point where I've picked up a real mic setup instead of just rolling with a headset. As I said, obsession. But that's part of the experience of doing it. Not everyone has the time, or desire, or willingness to just jump in and try to figure something new out. Especially when it's something that can easily go to hell (I've had to scrap/record quite a few videos due to snafus on my part).

Now the amount of content I put out is a bit high, even by Youtube standards. The only reason I do it is because I'm quite A.D.D. in my gaming, and usually just record everything. Most LPers that I follow generally put out maybe 2-4 videos a week, and that works just fine for them. It's as much about the personality as it is about the amount of content.

And now that I've rambled incoherently for a bit, I just wanted to say great job on the podcast and I'll continue to listen as long as you continue to produce it.

Thanks! Appreciate your input on LP's. The more I look into the community, the deeper it goes.

This is the Youtube channel in question. You are not kidding! Good lord you've done a lot of videos. I'll check a few out!

Well I hope you enjoy them. Unfortunately I had a slight issue last night. I decided to start up an LP of Blood Dragon, and uploaded the first set last night. But I awoke this morning to find that it's been blocked worldwide due to "properties owned by Ubisoft". Sadly this is one of the biggest headaches that LPers have to deal with, Youtube's copyright system. And it's not the first time I've had to deal with this. What's amusing (and sad) is that I did a full series for Far Cry 3 and the only notices I ever received was for the part where Skrillex was playing.

Now by definition, LPs are covered under the Fair Use Act. But the copyright system set in place by Youtube is in favor of the IP holders, even if they're not. And by that I mean I've gotten such obscure copyright notices before from companies that are in no way affiliated with the product, not even by proxy. But we as the uploaders have to prove that the claim is not valid. Here's how the process works.

We upload a video. Within an hour, the copyright bots issue a notice. Now you can get one of three.

1. You can get a third-party notice, which means that you have third party content (usually music) on your video. It's still available for viewing, but the content holder gets to advertise on that video and gets all the revenue. These are usually the most ridiculous ones that you get, because there's no way to prove that the person making the claim is even affiliated with them, but they're banking on you not caring enough to dispute it since you are still getting your content out.

2. Copyright notice. This is when your video gets blocked in some countries. Germany is notorious for this due to the ongoing battle they're having with the copyright laws here in the states. But sometimes you can have your video blocked worldwide, as I did with my Blood Dragon video.

3. Copyright Infringement. This is the big dog. You get this one, and you're account is flagged. You lose your partnership status if you have it, and lose the ability to upload videos longer than 15 minutes. On your first offense. I had this happen to me when I was doing an LP for Tomb Raider. The first couple of videos got flagged with Copyright notices, which blocked them in some countries. The 4th video I uploaded got hit with an infringement from Square Enix. Apparently they didn't want anyone showing off their game, even though it had been released.

Now we as the uploaders have to prove that what we're doing is covered under the Fair Use Act in order to get these infringements overturned. The problem is, while it takes no more than an hour for the copyright bots to flag your account, it can take up to a month to dispute it and have the video reinstated. So for people like me that do LP videos, it's not like we can just upload parts 1-5 and then have 2 and 4 missing, only to be made available "at a later date". Especially in games with storylines, continuity is key.

So yeah, it's not all fun and games doing this type of stuff. There's a fine line that you have to tiptoe around to make sure that you don't get hit by the copyright bots, because when you do it's a very frustrating thing.

Welcome sir! It's funny you come here now because a number of Goodjers have gotten into video stuff, myself included. I do a twice a week show focused on showcasing retro titles and my friend and I recently started a comedic co-op Let's Play series as well. You're right, this is one Hell of a rabbit hole to go down. I've already commissioned someone to do channel art for me and I've bought about $250 worth of audio gear which is on its way. A lot of us have been discussing copyright/monetisation issues as well. I've spent a lot of time lately on the excellent YTTalk forums and discovered a lot about not only how gutless YouTube is when it comes to Fair Use but how their review process is literally random.

Given your clearly far greater experience than me with Vegas (I use Movie Studio Platinum which is basically Vegas Lite), I'd love to pick your brain about codecs if you have a minute but probably best we do that in the other thread. I'll definitely give your channel a look see.

Mortus, is there an alternative to Youtube that is not crazy paranoid about copyright?

Mex wrote:

Mortus, is there an alternative to Youtube that is not crazy paranoid about copyright?

Blip used to be that place but they've now made it almost impossible to get on their service if you aren't insanely popular (like TotalBiscuit or Yogscast level popular.)

Yeah, sadly there's no real alternative at this time. But I'm thinking that the issue with Blood Dragon was more to do with the game being hacked and playable early by people. They were uploading videos of it before release, so I'm guessing that Ubisoft just haven't had Youtube change the flag on the content yet. My best guess is to just wait until others start putting up videos, and then it should be safe.

I'm still trying to figure out other games that would be fun to LP. I've been running basic series such as Day Z: Lone Wolf Diaries and Skyrim: Adventures of Mortus Bunnybane as placeholders while I'm in between main games. The last one I finished up was Bioshock Infinite. I'm thinking Metro: Last Light will be a good one, as horror games are always fun.

What about vimeo?

Vimeo is decent, but it's really hard to gain an audience there.