Friday, July 31, 2015

DIY: Fuzzy Lav Mic Windscreen for $2

Wind noise sucks. Nothing will alert a viewer to an amateur production faster than bad audio, and wind blowing on your mic sounds terrible. While a fuzzy windscreen (or "dead cat") is more commonly seen on boom mics, there are also smaller versions for lavs that do the same things for interviews or videoblogging.

Shooting outdoors can give you all kinds of challenges and audio is no different. I've been using a temporary setup recently, where the only possible place for me to shoot is outside. I haven't had any wind issues until recently, and then found that my foam windscreen was less than up to the task. I knew fuzzy windscreens were better, with their awesome sound-trapping capabilities, but I didn't want to shell out $20.

In the past I remember a YouTuber using a fuzzy glove to insulate his Zoom H1 audio recorder from the wind and felt that that glove could be put to the same use for lav mics. I found a cheap pair on eBay and gave it a try. Not only did it work, but it gave me nine other windscreens to use on other mics or to have as spares. Not bad for a couple of bucks.

As shown in the video, these little sound protectors can really tone down (notice I didn't say eliminate) the obnoxious wind that can blow on your mic when shooting outside. They can be a lifesaver and can make the difference in your production looking professional instead of shoddy.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Using Socialblade to Analyze Other YouTube Channels

If you decide to really go for it and create a robust YouTube channel with content that adheres to a single theme, you should always be aware of who else is doing the same thing. I believe that most YouTube "competition" tends to be friendly, especially since collaborations are very common and YouTubers appear to help each other out.

It is always a good idea to be aware of what other people are doing and how successful they are in doing it. Socialblade is a website that will let you peek at basic stats (among other things) that other YouTube channels are racking up. Just type in the name of the channel and it will give you a breakdown of subscribers per day and month (with averages) and views per day and month (with averages). While it might not be as eye opening for your own channel (because you already know), it is very interesting to see how good or bad others in your niche are performing.

In my case, there are really only a handful of Tubers posting regular content about filmmaking and even fewer that post regularly about DIY filmmaking. This is good for me, but also proves there is lots of room for other voices and angles, even when covering similar material.

It's always good to know how many eyeballs are watching your competition. Check out the channels that are doing better than you are. They are doing something right, and you should definitely find out what it is.


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