Podcast vs Player News

Yo! Youz Iz Succezful?



Apologies for the lack of activity on here, there's no excuse for it. Well there is. But it's a boring "been on a work holiday" so that means family time. However, all is right in the world once again, so we can all go back to normal.


The main reason for this update post, is that I had an Email asking about tips, equipment and what not for a YouTube channel.
Now, as flattering as it is, we're not really the folks to dish out "tips for success", as we're not really successful.

But we will anyway!


First and foremost; this is not a "how to guide" or a step-by step. We are not professionals and this is all just how we do things. These are our opinions and how we do our shows, but, nonetheless, let's begin!


Equipment

Whilst this is highly important, it also doesn't mean you need to go out and buy the most expensive stuff around. But as this is mostly a video games niche website/podcast/channel, if you're checking us out, odds are you're into video games too.
So for video games, you need the new fangled gismobobs to play them. Really, the biggest tip here, is if you're serious about doing anything like this, then you need a access to a reasonably wide array of consoles. For PvP, we have the following current and last gen:

Xbox 360 x2

PlayStation 3 x2
Nintendo Wii U
PlayStation 4
PlayStation Vita
Nintendo Wii
Sony PsP x2
Nintendo DS
Plus two high end gaming PC'S.

Retro games are also a pretty good way to go, and from time to time we'll venture into the following:

Gamecube
Nintendo 64
PSone
Xbox Original
SNES
Mega Drive (Genesis)
PlayStation 2.

Now of course, none of these are absolutely essential, but a broader catalogue of games to choose from means a more diverse package, the more diverse, the more people you will attract. I'd probably say you want at least three consoles, either all current Gen (Ps4, Xbox One, Wii U) or maybe a mix of current and last gen. But of course, its completely up to your style.


You'll note we don't have an Xbox One, and that is for one simple fact; we don't want one.

We do however, have access to a couple, so if we 'have' to, we'll use them. But only if we HAVE to.
At least until it starts to turn around. Then we'll love it.

Moving on, games are also an obvious essential, but if you're doing 'Let's Plays' I'd suggest starting with games you're already familiar with, rather than the latest title. The reasoning for this, is with an older title you're familiar with, you'll find it much easier to commentate over, and if you're speaking coherently, the viewers won't be bored/put off. Its simply a learning curve, some find it easier that others, but its all practise.


Recording

Now you're going to need to record the games you're playing, and the easiest and, more often than not, cheaper way to do this, is with a PC. We'll get on to console recording after, but if you're starting out and have a PC/laptop that can play games, this is the best way to start.

We're not even talking resource and graphic hungry games like Battlefield 4 or Arma 3; just games. A popular choice (even for us) is Minecraft, which the majority of PC's/laptops can run reasonably well. 

If you're geared up to play, then you need some screen capture software. 

The two most popular for PC recording, are Fraps and Bandicam


We use Bandicam, although there's very little difference between the two, but, Fraps is the more recourse hungry of the pair, so if you have very little CPU and RAM, using Fraps may hinder you as you play and record. Both Fraps and Bandicam offer a 'free' version, but you are limited in what you can record (quality, length) and the results also leave a watermark on your video, but purchasing the full version removes these, plus, it's still cheaper than a capture card/device like an Elgato. There are also many more screen capture alternatives out there, but personally I find Fraps and Bandicam to be the best.


Microphone

Obviously, this is a simple one. You need a microphone; you can't record your voice without it. End of.
What microphone you choose is down to you, but as with anything, typically the more you pay, the better the quality. Now, again, this isn't a reason to bankrupt yourself, as with a little research your can find yourself a bargain. Just be sure you know what you're paying for. If you don't know the difference between dynamic microphones and condenser microphones, then keep that wallet closed before you buy one. We wont go into detail on those here, but a simple google search will give you all the answers you need.


Samson CO1U
Ironically, at the moment, I'm having to use the microphone on my laptop until my new mic arrives, but depending on what you're doing, sometimes all you need is a laptop mic. Some often sound just as good as standalone mics, although at times you will notice the difference.

Dan uses a Samson CO1U - USB Studio Condenser Microphone, which, whilst not cheap, it's certainly worth the money. 


Another often overlooked option, is if you're not in the same place as someone you intend to make videos with, Skype is an excellent way to go, and with the right equipment, it sounds as if you're in the same room.

Editing

Once you've recorded your voice, you may want to edit it slightly (especially if you're using a built in mic). Another reason we use Bandicam, is that it records your voice in a seperate WAV file, so we can adjust vocal levels etc without having to manually take it from the video, which isn't a particularity easy, nor good thing to do.

Audacty is a free audio recording/editing software, that, is easily on level with premium audio editors. It has tons of features, easy to use and, of course, is free. We use Audacty to take out background noise the recordings may have picked up and in doing so, it makes the recording that little more professional.


At PvP, we're big fans of editing. No one wants to watch a 45 minute video of you crawling around dying in DayZ. NO ONE! But editing isn't all that bad.

For instance, just record a play session (we'd recommend no longer than 30 mins) then edit out the bits you don't want. This style of video has numerous perks:


  • The outcome is shorter, thus easier to watch
  • Only your best bits are shown
  • Upload time decreases

Now, the biggest drawback here, is you have to sit and edit it all. Every last second. It's tedious to say the least, but done right, the finished product is highly rewarding.



For our edits, we use Sony Vegas Pro 12, which isn't cheap at £359.95, but it's a rather robust editing suit capable of some awesome results once you get past the steep difficulty curve. Although not as comprehensive as Adobe Premier, it is slightly cheaper and is more inclined at editing, rather than producing videos with special effects (although Vegas does have options to make rather cool SFX for home-made videos).

But, if both of those are out of the question, even if just for now, Windows Movie Maker is more than capable of editing your videos, plus, it's a lot easier to use than most paid programmes whilst having the bonus of coming pre-installed on your PC/laptop. Just don't expect Hollywood results.




Camera

This is a big one, maybe. Possibly. If you're going to be literally just recording games, then a camera is not really on the priority list, you don't need one. If, however, you plan on doing more than just games, say, reviews, then you may want to think about a camera.
For PvP, we also do reviews, game reviews, tech reviews etc, and for photos and even videos (for example, if we were reviewing a phone) then a camera is pretty much essential.


Myself, I use a Fujifilm S8600 16MP 36x Zoom Bridge Camera, which you can now pick up for less than £150 and that right there, is a bargain.

Specifications:



  • Advanced filters apply artistic effects in-camera.
  • 16 megapixels.
  • 36x optical zoom.
  • 72x digital zoom.
  • 3in screen with LCD technology.
  • Focal length of 25mm.
  • 25mm wide angle lens.
  • Up to 8 frames per second.
  • Shutter speed of 1/2000 to 8 sec.
  • CCD sensor.
Lens information:
  • Minimum aperture: 2.9.
  • Maximum aperture: 6.9.
Features:
  • View finder.
  • Minimum ISO rating 64 and maximum ISO rating 6400.
  • Built-in flash.
  • 1080p HD recording.
  • Video capture with sound.
  • PictBridge compatible.
  • Detect up to 10 faces.
  • Features intelligent scene mode feature.
Memory card compatibility:
  • SD, SDHC and SDXC memory card formats
Whilst the S8600 is by no means the best camera out there, it does a stellar job of both photos and video capture, in great quality, plus, with it being optical zoom, you can get tremendous close up shots without losing any quality whatsoever.

Console Recording
If you're going the way of the console for your recording, there are so many different ways of going about recording your gameplay, but the problem with console recording and PC, is that on PC you can generally record both gameplay and commentary at once (Bandicam). With console recording, you're going to need a capture card like an Elgato, as well as a decent microphone.

My personal choices for microphones would be, in no particular order:

The £27 Logitech is the cheapest of the bunch, but it is also a headset mic too, but for the price, it's a really good sounding mic. The Blue Snowball is an outstanding mic, as is the more expensive Yeti, but these two are industry standard recording microphones, that, in all fairness, are reasonably priced. Amazon has the £70 Snowball at £39.99, whilst the £100 Yeti is at £94.57. If you have the money, I'd reccomend either the Blue SnowballSamson CO1U or the Blue Yeti over any others. 

If funds are low, then the Logitech isn't bad at all, but if you're after something really cheap, the Trust Starzz Microphone at £11.39 is actually pretty decent for the low price.

Now you need to capture your Call of Dutys and your Batmans. For this, there are two highly reccomended pieces of kit. There are obviously a lot more, but these two are my pick of the bunch.

The Elgato Game Capture HD is a tiny little thing, that whilst on the pricey side, gets a great job done. Simply attatch the Elgato to your console, then the other end into your PC/laptop and record. Simple. The free software that you install on your computer will also use your microphone to record commentary, plus, it also has it's own editing suit. Marvellous.

If you have a higher budget, the Hauppauge 1512 HD-PVR 2 is a bigger beast in terms of size, but i's also a beast in terms of functionality. Out of the two, the Hauppauge 1512 will also run well on low end computers, something the Elgato may struggle with if you're running anything less than Windows 7 or later and a 2.0 GHz dual core CPU.

Free Games
One of the questions we were asked, is how do we get free games? This is a question we can't really answer with guaranteed 100% success. Before you go off asking developers/publishers for free games, I'll tell you one thing; don't do it.
They're not going to send you any and worst of all, it looks poor on your half. Now, it's not impossible, we get review copies, early access betas/alpha and game codes sent to us, but this all started after a lot of hard work. Our success story really just boiled down to luck.

For our old website Tech Beever (R.I.P) we just reviewed all the games we could; games we owned, rented, borrowed, whatever. If we could play it, we would review it. Now, this could be a never-ending cycle that amounts to nothing, it's kind of a gamble, but if you're going to be reviewing games, you need to enjoy writing. Don't do it to get games, otherwise there's a high chance you'll be disappointed.

Luckily for us, our reviews caught the attention of the right people, and as well as getting review copies of games, these people also opened the door for us to attend events, interviews, and even got us in contact with Robert Pietranton (Executive Director, Publicity & Written Communications for Warner Bros.) for some of our Comic Con articles. Since then, I've managed to branch out as a journalist, and as well as being part of Podcast vs Player, I'm also a writer for the critically acclaimed Blogcritics and Venture Beat/Games Beat

So with that all said, the only advice we can offer, is just work hard. If it pays off, then it's awesome. If it doesn't, just get back into it, think about what you could change about your approach, carry on and just have fun.

Networking
Social Media is your best friend if you want to spread the word. For PvP, we only use Twitter, Google Plus and of course YouTube. The main reason for those choices? We're not pushing the content to everyone, PvP is really just something myself and Dan enjoy, so we keep it minimum. If people like it, awesome, if they don't, no big deal. Tech Beever was pushed around like crystal meth, but keeping a website fresh by constantly spreading the word everytime a new post goes live is exhausting. Sure, there are ways to have your posts automatically send as they go live, but it's not very personal (although we do use that feature for new videos). 

My point is, having at least one high profile networking site will help you considerably. Twitter, for example, is very good to us. We don't actually have fuck load of followers, but, the ones we do have, do most of the work for us. One of our followers, a certain Kevin Porter AKA BATMAN from Bat In The Sun Studios, sends us tweets, favourites our tweets, retweets our tweets, and it's awesome. Why is it awesome? Well for one, he's fucking Batman! And two, each time he interacts with us, every single one of his followers see us. Chris Owen (Community Manager at PlayStation Europe), comedian Chris Gore, TV host Richie Rosati, fellow podcasters Schree and Baby; all these people all help us spread the word. And all we do is tweet "After a weekend of #Rust and #DayZ, I miss the days where I didn't get scared when I saw an open door" and then the rest is up to our twitter friends. It's easy, and it works both ways, as we do the same for them.

Obviously, having the likes of Kevin Porter sending fans our way is yet more pure luck, but if someone like that follows us, then you guys may get the Pope.

Content
The content you use is a complete reflection of you, so choose it wisely. Some say you can either be funny, informative or random, but we disagree completely. With al our work, whether it's a podcast, video or written article, we (try to) make sure it's a mixture of everything. During the news segment of our podcast, we deliver actual video game news, but there's no reason it can't be funny too. Just make sure you don't cross the line. If you're going to poke fun at someone (a company, a game, movie etc) then that's fine, but don't turn that witty one liner into a full blown onslaught of hate.

We regularly make fun of the XBox One, but it's all good natured. We say many times that at some point, Microsoft are going to deliver and we're going to change our opinion. But until then...

Branding
So you've got your name, you've got your videos and you've got your content, what next? Well, one thing to consider is affiliations. As you can see at the head and footer of this post (and throughout the site) we are affiliated with Gameseek.



Gameseek is Europes number 1 vdeo game internet shop, selling PAL (the format for UK, Europe, Australia & New Zealand) Video Games, Region 2 DVD & Blu-Ray Video, aswell as selling a vast selection of Electronics, Computers & Peripherals, Books, Clothing and the very latest Toys & Gadgets. In return for advertising for them, we earn some money for each sale that goes through us. It's a simple setup, but not one without boundaries. For example, an affiliate has to check all your work, make sure you reach a quota (in our case, viewers, content, page hits, listeners etc), but if you meet the criteria, then you're all set to go.

We actually had another Video Game company approach us about affiliation last week, so the doors never close, once you've got an affiliate, you're still able to branch out to more. Plus, it's great advertising for yourself, being an affiliate means you're being noticed, and once people see you're affiliated with a brand, you never know what could be around the corner for you.

Wrap Up
That pretty much covers everything, you may use this insight into how Podcast vs Player works, or you may ignore it completely. Just make sure you have fun.

If you do find any of this helpful, feel free to contact us and we'll most certainly give you and your channel/podcast/website a shout out on the show.




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