Our story today begins with a guy called Roger, who called me cold (via text) asking for buying advice. The fact that Roger was supposed to use my private phone number to get buying advice from yours truly – and a Saturday to boot – was the reason for my brief response:
If you think I’m a little harsh with Roger’s call for help, consider this: my videos are ugly.
If Roger’s request had landed by email, I still would not have known anything about the man’s musical tastes, his sonic preferences, the acoustic composition of his room, his existing equipment, his domestic situation or any other element likely to inform a purchasing decision. The time it would take for round-trip emails to flesh out these details is not a minute. It o’clock. Hours that I don’t have.
Let’s dig deeper.
My hi-fi reviews consisted of words and pictures. Now they are posted as videos on YouTube. And the latter eats more of my time than the former.
You might think the review process begins with listening. But no, it starts with a phone call (or emails) to the manufacturer to find a review lender. It takes about 30 minutes. When the exam sample arrives, it must be unpacked and set up. Another 30 minutes. Don’t forget to read the manual. Another 30 minutes. I am 1.5 hours in producing video reviews before you even start reading.
Now we come to listen. Usually this is spread over six days (Monday to Saturday) with a minimum of 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening. It gives me 12 hours to make a first impression, explore a unit’s more advanced features, try it out with alternative gear, and take notes along the way. After spending six of those twelve hours on the unit itself (more if it has a myriad of features), I’ll come up with comparisons with similarly priced alternatives – which eats up the other six hours. My work week is now over 13.5 hours.
It’s time to write the script for the video based on the listening and comparison notes. I usually set aside 3 hours for this in order to have enough time to check the specs, prices and features that I could quote directly in the video because unlike the written reviews there is no correction afterwards . Cumulative total: 16.5 hours.
Then comes the day of the shoot. I spend an hour installing the furniture, lights and equipment to review (plus accessories). Cameraman Olaf arrives and we shoot a video for six hours. The storage and disassembly take me another hour. (Note: I hope you haven’t forgotten that even on the day of filming, I spend 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening listening and testing material). Top: Installation, video shooting and teardown brings our cumulative total for the week to 24.5 hours.
Olaf takes the pictures home, colors them in and calls me when they are ready. I cycle to his house, collect the footage, discuss any issues or changes we need to make with Olaf, and then drive home. This round trip lasts 1 hour. I load the graduated color clips into Final Cut Pro to begin the editing process. Each video is made up of around 150 clips: about 20 of me as the talking head and the rest as b-roll (see header image above). The talking head timeline takes 3 hours for rough editing, then finalizing. On this one, the b-roll clips need to be carefully (and surgically) cut and placed – it takes 8 hours. Why? I need to make sure the b-roll reflects what I’m talking about in the main timeline where I also need to hide as many jumps as possible. Cumulative total: 36.5 hours.
With the editing process now broken, I add the graphic labels and text animations (2 hours) and select the music that will mark the interludes (1 hour). Of course, the music is not only integrated into the project. It needs to be cut to the right length, the video clips cut to the sounds heard in the music, and its crossfade executed so that it blends in with my voice, just no. Another 2 hours. Hello, 41.5 hours.
Read checks are almost as laborious as cutting and placing the roll b. These checks require my full attention and are usually number four: one when I think I’m almost done, a second which hopefully fixes the errors found in the first, a third as an export from Final Cut Pro, and a fourth once the video has been downloaded. to YouTube. With each video running approximately 20 to 25 minutes, these four play checks can take up to 2 hours. My working week is now at 43.5 hours but we’re not quite done with the video yet.
Every YouTube video needs a thumbnail. This is the graph you see before you click play. It can make or break the success of a YouTube video. I usually build two or three versions and it takes me about an hour. It takes 30 minutes to complete the description box. With 45 working hours behind me I am now ready to click “publish” on the video.
And all this video production is coming before everything written on this website, videos made for my Patreon or a podcast episode is recorded and edited. Even by prioritizing work that benefits the greatest number (and not individuals), my work week grows 70 hours.
Also, because the 45 hours of my time spent on each video – plus Olaf’s sizable daily rate – is funded by Patreon and an increasingly small pool of advertisers, each video can be provided to you (thus only to Roger) completely free of charge. .
It is not a complaint. I am totally very well with the long hours required to make each video. I also don’t have a problem with viewers getting to watch the final result for ‘nowt. But beyond video production, podcast production, Patreon content production and the needs of this website, I have no more (time) to give after 70 hours in the saddle. Sorry, Roger.
If anything, I have to get some of that time back for myself …