Can I make my own Let’s Play videos? If so, how do you do it? Here is a list of some of the questions I get asked in regards to Let’s Plays and making gaming videos on Youtube. Check the last question for information on how you can submit your own questions for the Workshop.

Q: Can I make Let’s Play videos?
A: Anyone can make Let’s Play and gaming videos! The only requirements are to have the available technology and resources, the drive to want to make your videos, and a Youtube channel!

Q: What do you use for recording, editing, and making your Let’s Play videos?
A: My set-up has changed quite a bit over the years, so what I use now is not necessarily what I used back in the day, so I’ll name and mention a few programs that I use and recommend, based on my experience. This of course means that there are some options (especially more advanced options) that will work as well, or may work better for you than with me, but this is just what I have had experience with. This also means that I have not explored all of the options either.

For capturing, I use a Dazzle Video Converter, which connects to my Computer via USB, and has slots for the (Yellow, White, Red) AV Cables. I also use an AV Splitter for all 3 colors, so I can have one set of AV cables that plug into my television, and then my gaming system’s AV cords that plug into the other. This way, I can connect my system to my computer, and my television at the same time. In the past, I have used Windows Movie Maker, Pinnacle Studio, and Video Pad (current) as my programs for capturing video footage. For video editing, I have used Windows Movie Maker and Camtasia Studio (current). For recording commentary, I have a Logitech USB Microphone (the same kind that are used in Rock Band bundles), and for programs I have used, I have used Camtasia Studio and Nero WaveEditor (current). So basically, whenever I want to record a video, I have my video recording program, and my audio recording program open at the same time and record them both simultaneously. After I am done recording, I take my files into my editing program, sync them up, and create my videos. Also, when it comes to emulators, PC games, or Steam games, I use Camtasia Studio, a screen-recording program that I recommend tremendously for that kind of work.

Q: How much does the equipment cost?
A: This will depend on a variety of different factors. For one, you may have some of the necessary pieces of equipment at your home and you may not need to purchase anything. Second, some equipment; like microphones, capture devices, and video-making programs, may have additional features or may record in higher quality, so prices are going to be different. It is up to you to do your research and determine what you need and what versions/brands are best for you. It also helps to look at reviews to see what other customers have to say. Microphones can be as cheap as $20.00, capture devices can range from $30.00-$50.00, and video-making programs can either be free (as they CAN come with your operating system), or worth at least $100.00 for some of the high-end professional programs. If you are lucky, it may not cost very much at all, but a standard price range for the “effective minimum” can be from $50.00-$80.00.

Q: What is a good way to start making my own videos?
A: Before you start making videos, you should ask yourself what you want to accomplish with your channel and why you want to make videos. These questions are a lot more important than you would think, because your motivations and goals will set the pace for not just yourself, but also your viewing public. One of the most common pitfalls in video making is “I want to make videos because ‘another Youtube user does'” or “I want to be as famous as this Youtuber!” While these are ‘goals,’ they are narrow-minded goals that don’t really set yourself apart from other Youtube users. You have to give a name for yourself and the content you are providing because why would people want to watch a “copy” of someone when they could watch the real thing? Unique and interesting content will not only bring people back to your channel, but may also encourage them to spread the content around. 

Now that you have determined the direction you want to go with your channel, it’s time to create the content you want to upload. Take your time in coming up with something that is in your comfort zone, but also something fresh and new at the same time; something you can offer that others can’t, and something you can ease yourself into with as few issues as possible. Since you are just starting, there are bound to be some issues and you are bound to change your mind and not be completely happy with what you have produced. This is a good thing because you know you want your product to be good, so work with what you think needs to be worked on and don’t release it until you think you are ready. It’s extremely rare and unlikely to become “famous” on your first video, so don’t let that be the deciding factor. Also, be patient with your channel as it will take time to grow and build an audience for yourself. 

Q: Now that my channel is underway, how can I improve and make my channel bigger?
A: If you think you need to improve, look at other channels in the same realm as what you are doing and take notes over things you could implement to make your own content better (BUT DON’T STEAL OR COPY IDEAS FROM OTHERS). A Youtube channel is much like a business; it takes time and work to make it successful in the modern world. It also helps to communicate with other Youtube users. Look for other channels that have similar and relevant content (compared to your content) and are at a similar level as you (in terms of subscribers and views) and try to connect with them. You can help each other grow by promoting each other or featuring each other in cooperative content on your channels. It will be difficult to network with users on a much higher level than you, but don’t let that discourage you. Participate in events (streams) that will require you to interact with other users and audiences and get your name out in the open. Who knows, even leaving so much as a comment in a video may encourage someone to check out your own channel. Never try to force yourself to be popular or known though! If people don’t want to check out your channel, they have that right and you can’t make them. Also avoid spamming and mass-advertising your channel. You don’t need to link your channel more than once.

Q: “Will you subscribe to/follow me on Youtube/Twitter/etc.?”
A: Simple answer with no explanation; no! However, I understand the difficulty of trying to get yourself out there on social media and Youtube, so I’ll at least go into a little more detail with my answer. The reason I say no is because simply asking for followers and subscribers kind of defeats the purpose of what those functions are for. When you see someone you are interested in and someone who you want to keep following and someone you will be notified of whenever they post something new, you follow them or subscribe to them; and to me, that’s what those options are there for and nothing else. Yeah, there will probably always be someone who has more subscribers and followers than you, but in an extremely blunt and honest way…they kind of earned that by posting interesting content that a bunch of other people want to see more of. Not to say that your content isn’t as good or as interesting, but they’ve obviously done something that has made them more viral than you, and while I think it’s normal to be a bit envious and almost a little jealous of them, don’t think of it as a loss, think of it as an opportunity to come back later and try posting some other content and trying to build up your own gang of subscribers.

Almost 98% of the time, subscription and follower growth will be positive and not negative (if it’s negative, you are doing something terribly wrong). So just keep at it and try to earn your followers the natural way. So while I’m not following you now, who is to say I won’t be following you in the future? Wouldn’t you rather be in a position to say, “Wow, this person is following my stuff because they are interested in it,” as opposed to “Wow, this person is following my stuff because I asked them to!” Yeah….no offense, but the former is probably what you should be going for, not the latter. Social Media is a great way to increase your following, but give people a reason to come back. Don’t just ask them for the sake of increasing some numbers.

Q: Can I Ask Other Questions?
A: Of course! In fact, if it’s a good one and relevant to this page, I may put it here on the workshop! If you would like to ask something, submit a question on the Contact Form. Make sure you select “Question Corner” for the Subject and then ask your question in the text field below.